Please welcome Tammi of The Balanced Classroom! Today we get an in depth look at how close reading works. Thanks for the great post Tammi!
Close reading is the buzz among implementation of the Common Core ELA Standards. Being on the committee to map the ELA standards, I received some training last spring on how to do a close read. I decided to jump in with both feet and try it out. Like anything else, it required practice and adjustment to my style of teaching.
I looked further into how to put close reading into practice and found that it has traditionally been in practice at the college level to teach those students how to exam a text critically. Along with that information, I found many different ways to conduct a close read. This further confirmed to me that there isn’t one correct formula for teaching students how to close read. The ultimate goal is the same, however…..for students to learn how to read a complex text. Yes, even the struggling readers.
After several trials, I found a format that flowed well for my third graders. I call this “Close Reading My Style”. It usually takes a week to get through. Here it is:
First Read: Get to Know the Text or Characters.
I have the students read the text silently. If it’s nonfiction we talk about about the topic of the text when they are finished. If it is fiction, we discuss the characters. For example, my class did a short read about matter. After they read silently, I had them turn to an elbow partner and say one word that tells what the selection was about. We recorded matter on a chart as the topic of the selection.
Second Read: Read with your Pencil
This requires a lot of modeling at the beginning of the year. They read along as I read a paragraph at a time. This usually takes a 2-3 days. depending on the length of the text. I think aloud as I code the text on the Smartboard. For example, in the Matter Close Read, I coded the word “properties” and starred the parts in the text telling the properties of matter as important parts.
I recorded properties on the chart and told them I noticed it comes from the word property and we defined what we thought it meant as a class.
Later in the year, I will have them do the second read in partners and code. I’ll pull the group back together to discuss what they identified as vocabulary and important parts.
Third Read: Read for Skill
The students partner up to read the text again focusing on a skill we’re working on in class. Example, I showed the students that the main idea of the Matter Close Read was found in the opening statement. I recorded it on the chart. I gave each set of partners three post-its to record supporting details from text.
They stuck the details on the chart when they were finished. As a whole group, we discussed what details supported the main idea.
You may download a copy of my Close Read Poster and Code It symbols. No matter how you implement close reading in your classroom, the goal is for students to read short complex text critically. Remember, it has to work for you…so implement it with your style.