Like many of you, my district is transitioning to Common Core this year. The past two years we have heard rumblings of it, but full implementation has now completely begun.
With this transition comes many "new" ideas that are getting a lot of attention, one of them being "close reading."
Now, I would love to say that of course I have been teaching close reading all along. My students regularly read for evidence of questions that I pose, scouring the text to find the answer that I am seeking. However, I am just not sure that that is enough. So for the past few weeks (in between feedings and playing with the baby....during naptime :) ) I have been searching around for all that I can about this idea of Close Reading and what it will mean for me as a teacher.
One of the best resources I have found so far is Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
by Beers and Probst. If you know anything about me at all, you know that I love easy to follow ideas that get the most bang out of my buck....and this book does just that.
Looking at the Common Core Standards, Beers and Probst have been able to take what they know about reading and use what they call signposts to up the rigor within the passages themselves. The simple signposts are things that will be found in most of the literature that we are using with our students. What's more, the book outlines lessons to do (even giving the wording to use!) to introduce these signposts to the students. Score on that one!
What I liked best about the book was the explanation of rigor. The word is thrown around so much these days, and how they explained it -- as a product of the interaction with the text, NOT the difficulty level of it -- really hit home. It is just along my lines of thinking and I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks of rigor in this manner. It isn't just assigning something hard and calling it a day. It is how you dissect the text and work with it that makes a piece of literature or informational text rigorous.
Well, after reading this book, my brain began spinning with all of the ideas that I now wanted to implement in my classroom. I definitely want to use the signposts and make them part of my instruction. In order to streamline things a bit, I premade some anchor charts for my room. The charts include the signpost, the definition, and the anchor question....seriously, I just copied them from the book. :) But what I did add were some icons for each of the signposts. I figure the students can learn the icons, since they will be posted, and when noting the signposts they have found in their reading, they can use the icon with it. Sort of a visual aid for them.
I also made up these signpost trifolds (something I adapted from an idea in the book) as well as a bookmark to accompany them. The icons are on all of these, which I hope will help. For the trifolds, I plan to use them to record when the students find the various signposts in their reading. They can be used for one text or multiple texts.....then go in their reading journals.
bookmarks, I am going to copy them on cardstock and ask the students to use them while reading their books of choice (ala The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
) so they can find the signposts in their independent reading as well. Click on either pink link above to access the trifolds and bookmarks on google docs.
I am in the initial stages of planning for my class, but I wanted to share these tools with you now so that once I start using them, you can be on the same page with me. I have also started a pinterest board for Close Reading with all of the resources I am finding. As I find more, I will pin more. If you would like to follow that board, it is here :)
Have you read Notice and Note? What are some things you took away from it? Any helpful hints for me to use while getting started with it in my classroom?
Here is a link to Notice and Note if you would like to begin reading it as well.
Our very mischievous elf......
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