Oh, close reading, you temptress. How could I resist your charms?
Who gets tempted by close reading? I mean, seriously, who?
I love task cards. Really, I do. Task cards are awesome, and they will always have a special place in my heart. I am not in any way abandoning them – really, I’m not. I’m just taking a little break. Here’s the thing: I was feeling a little restless creating the same kind of resource day after day, and I needed a change – something different, something more ambitious, something that could be used with informational text! I didn’t really mean to become obsessed with close reading, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I know close reading might seem boring, or overwhelming, or even scary to some people, but for me it was a perfect match. In between teaching and creating resources for TpT, I was a children’s nonfiction author. In fact, I have written over 100 nonfiction books for kids; I’ve written about animals, notable places, science, famous people, historical events, and even self-help books for kids. In doing so I not only learned a little bit about a lot of different topics, I also learned a lot about informational text – how it’s structured, effective writing techniques, current trends, etc. So, writing informational text passages for close reading was a natural for me.
So, I started writing. But then I realized that those passages needed activities to go with them. So, I started creating activities, too. That led to the realization that while some activities were specific to the passage I was writing, others could go with any informational text passage. So, I stopped writing and focused on creating the Close Reading Toolkit, which can be used with any informational text. I put a lot of thought into it. I wanted provide resources for all three reads, for discussion, and for writing and also to include text-dependent questions that could be used with interactive notebooks. And, of course, I wanted it all to align with RI Common Core standards. In the end I made this:
Finally, after my proofreader did her excellent work, I posted the passages and the toolkit. I was planning to make a social studies set – maybe something on the Jamestown Colony, or the Declaration of Independence, or Lewis and Clark, but I got impatient…and I got an idea for a set of task cards that is begging to be made. So, Lewis and Clark will have to wait. But, those passages will get made, along with dozens of others on common science and social studies curriculum topics. So stay tuned!
If you read this far, I sincerely thank you. I rarely write a post just on my own products, and I never talk about my process, so I do appreciate you coming along for the ride. Of course, I would love it if you would purchase the toolkit and/or the passages, but if you are the type who likes to try it before you buy it, you can download this freebie from the toolkit. It includes the poster pictured at the top of this post, some graphic organizers, and a set of “Talk Time” discussion cards.
And don’t say I didn’t warn you: Close reading really can be fun and rewarding if you put your heart into it.