Thursday, December 11, 2014
Friday, January 24, 2014
The conception of close reading that is embodied in the Common Core standards is the one drawn from literature. However, it is not a particularly doctrinaire version of the concept, so it really can be applied across the curriculum, though it will require a bit of stretching here and there. There is more need for stretching with some texts than others. For example, in some ways a literary close read is sort of an attempt to read stories and poems in the way mathematicians read math, so math reading wouldn't require much of an adjustment. However, history reading tends not to be so single text focused so some variation is in order.
One basic idea often stressed in discussions of close reading is that the teachers' role is to ask questions about the text. However, let's not take that too literally. That could be questions that guide a discussion, but it also could be tasks that require students to analyze the same information, such as a writing assignment or some other kind of task, like the one in the attached Powerpoint. I was asked by Lesley Morrow (Rutgers University) and the New Jersey ASCD to speak to a group of New Jersey educators about informational text and close reading. Here is the presentation.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
My friends at the Thomas Fordham Institute asked that I weigh in on the controversy over the close reading lessons being touted by School Achievement Partners. I wrote a blog for their site and have included a link to it here. You might be interested in my assessment of those lessons and on some of their claims about close reading. Here it is:
Commentary on Gettysburg Address Close Reading Lessons
Since I was posting that article, I thought it would be a good time to provide a couple of other links. This fall, I had an article in American Educator about how Common Core is changing reading lessons:
American Educator article on Reading Lessons and Common Core
I also published an article in Educational Leadership on the emphasis on informational text in the classroom.
Educational Leadership Article on Informational Text
I hope you find these links useful. I appreciate the generosity of the Thomas Fordham Institute, the American Federation of Teachers, and the ASCD for making these available to you.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Yesterday, I debated the literature-informational text mix recommended by Common Core with Diane Ravitch on Minnesota Public Radio. Not a bad discussion all in all. A few observations: (1) Press and media are starting to get wise to the fact that the common core does NOT require that we diminish literature in the curriculum, but they still want a contention hook as the price of admission for their attention to common core. (2) Many of the observers up in arms over this issue claim that literary interpretation transfers to all other life pursuits. Thus, if you can read Ulysses, you will have no problem with DNA, microchip design, or relativity; or if you want to invent you must be imaginative, and you can't be imaginative unless you read fiction or poetry (I know the latter would surprise many scientists and engineers who do an awful lot of the world's inventing, but are usually a little low on things literary). Literature reading is, indeed, valuable, but so is science and history reading. Here is the recording of our Public Radio discussion: