The title of this post (It’s Rigor, Not Rigor Mortis) comes from a subheading in the book, Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. I love this subheading because it speaks to what so many fear will be the outcome of close reading: the death of the love of reading in our students. And it certainly could be. But it shouldn’t.According to the authors, the rigor isn’t in the text itself. Forcing students to slog through text that is way above grade level is not the point (and in fact can reduce rigor as students are just trying to get a bare-bones comprehension of the text rather than a deeper understanding). Rather, “The essential element of rigor is engagement.” How cool is that? It is what we do with the text that matters. What questions do we ask, and more importantly, what questions do our students ask? When we help our students to dig deeply into the text – to make inferences, to consider different points of view, to explore the structure of the text, to form their own opinions and so on, that is rigor. And it is engaging. And it can be, dare I say it? Fun!
So, what do you think of the authors’ definition of rigor? And is that definition different from how rigor is defined at your school? Please share with a comment.
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