According to an article written by Nancy Boyles in Educational Leadership Magazine, “close reading leads to significant gains in reading proficiency and finds close reading to be a key component of college and career readiness. She also says “We can't wait until middle school to teach students to read closely. These practices bring close reading to the lower grades.”
With this in mind a search was on to find a new professional text that would lead in professional development in the area of Close Reading with fiction text.
The text Notice to Note by G. Kylene Beers was chosen to be the guiding force.
In the text the author walks the reader through the definition of close reading, the importance of close reading and how to help your students locate signpost in the reading.
These signposts include:
Contrasts and contradictions: When a character says or does something that's opposite (contradicts) of what he or she has been saying or doing. Why is the character doing that? This can help you make a prediction or inference about the plot or conflict.
Aha Moments: When a character suddenly realizes, understands or finally figures something out. How might this change things? You may learn about the conflict or theme.
Words of the Wiser: When a character (usually older and wiser) takes another character aside and gives serious advice. What's the life lesson and how might it affect the character? You may learn about the theme.
Tough Questions: When the character asks himself a really difficult question. What does the question make you wonder? You may learn about the conflict and make predictions
Memory Moment: When the author interrupts the action to tell you a memory. Why might the memory be important? You may learn about the theme, conflict or found foreshadowing.
Again and Again: When a word, phrase, object or situation is mentioned over and over. Why does this keep showing up again and again? You may learn about the theme, conflict or found foreshadowing.
After the attempt at implementation into small reading groups, the in-depth signposts proved to be more than difficult for students to locate and discuss. As well as for the teacher to find leveled, relevant fiction text that would lend themselves to these areas of focus. From these attempts at implementation, it was decided, through professional judgement, that a different coding strategy would be more feasible, appropriate, and engaging. It was decided through research and implementation that “Sticky Note Reading” would be most beneficial for students at this grade level, their need for scaffolding, and differentiation. Through this strategy, students use a coded anchor and think marks to make their thinking and learning visible. This strategy also provides support to the end goal of close reading and overall comprehension.
Below is the reading journal anchor chart students were provided as support.
Kindy Kessler & Jamie Hedrick| Lewis Elementary | 3rd Grade Teachers
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