Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources for Close Reading

This week I had the opportunity to launch close reading with the first grade teachers. Our co-teaching was the highlight of my week! Working with these young learners was nothing short of amazing! The students were joyful, curious, and so observant as we closely read photographs and texts to teach them about apples before their trip to the orchard. I have no doubt that these young readers will become stronger though the experience of close reading! Our lessons this week reminded me that close reading isn't just about rereading a text. You can closely read a photograph, a painting, a video, a map, or a song!

We need the support of one another as we try something new! (I certainly benefited from the support of the first grade teachers this week!) Please let me know if you are interested in co-teaching some close reading lessons or if there are any other ways I can support you!

Happy Reading!

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Launching Close Reading in First Grade!

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In first grade, we launched close reading by using images related to apples and asking the students to closely read the photograph. We connected close reading to using binoculars or a magnifying glass to look closely at the images. Students used the phrase "I noticed..." to share their observations.

Here are just a few of the observations from Miss Bickford's first graders:

*I noticed the seeds are hazel and shaped like a boat.

*I noticed the leaves (on the sapling) have jagged edges with little lines.

*I noticed the blossoms are spreading out before the apple forms.

*I noticed the apples look like green blueberries growing in a bunch.

These types of comments were heard in every first grade classroom! We were all so impressed with the way these young learners started to use the phrase "I noticed..." with the vocabulary from the images. Throughout the week, the teachers continued to provide students with opportunities to closely reread the photographs and practice the vocabulary. I was amazed as students shared their thinking, reread the text fluently, highlighted key words in the text, and completed word work activities with our new vocabulary. Below you will see some word work activities completed during the week connected to our text. It was incredible to watch the students so engaged and joyful!

What's all the fuss about close reading?

(The slides and information below are all from LeeAnne Larsen and our work at the Summer Literacy Institute.)

Why should we start close reading in K-2?

*Build familiarity with text characteristics and conventions, study authors craft and build knowledge.

*Assimilate new information with background knowledge to expand schema by integrating reading, writing, listening and speaking and language.

*Apply comprehension strategies in text in which the strategies can actually be useful.

*Build habits readers need when engaging with complex text-reading strength and reading stamina!

*Research is demonstrating that steady doses of lower level or "just right" texts do not exercise all of the mental processes necessary for dealing with complex text.

How is close reading different in grades K-2?

*Look for texts that are more sophisticated than the ones students use to practice foundational skills. The text should require guidance from the teacher to build comprehension.

*Teacher read aloud or shared reading approaches are use commonly, especially in K-1.

*Ue manipulative tools for annotating (wikki sticks, sticky notes, highlighters).

*Not all texts need to be frontloaded. Let students do some of the heavy lifting!

*Focus on "What the text says" and "How the text says it".

A Few Benefits of Close Reading

*Builds stamina with and knowledge from content rich, appropriately complex text

*Builds academic vocabulary

*Develops metacognition

*Helps identify and clarify points of confusion

*Fosters inferences and locating support in text

*Expects readers to find evidence to answer questions and to pose questions themselves

*Supports analysis and synthesis of text meaning

*Supports determining author's purpose and studying author's craft

*Integrates reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Click on the screen shots of LeeAnne Larsen's slides (below) for more information on planning and incorporating close reading.

Possible Steps for Close Reading

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Anchor Charts for Close Reading

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Here is a great link for 21 Cool Anchor Charts to Teach Close-Reading Skills! These samples can be used in classrooms K-5! If you google "Close Reading Anchor Charts", you will be amazed by the ideas you will find! Enjoy!

Resources for Close Reading

You should definitely check out the Close Reading Packs on Reading A-Z! On Friday, fifth grade teachers explored how to connect the pack with the essential question, "Why are some mysteries difficult to solve?" with their unit on mysteries. They are planning to use one of the passages for a whole group close reading lesson and the leveled passages for students to read closely in a small group. Don't feel that you can only use the packs for your grade level. You absolutely can use the packs for the next grade level in order to expose your students to a "productive struggle" with complex texts. These packs include essential questions that will encourage your students to think deeply!

If you are looking for a short text for close reading connected to your content area or a particular standard, you should search on Read Works! In my work with first grade teachers on their apple unit, I just found many texts beginning at the first grade level that would be perfect for close reading! This site is an outstanding resource for all grades!

Read Works has materials for grades K-6 organized by:

*skill and strategy units,

*comprehension units,

*novel units, and

*reading passages.

Close Reading In Action!

LeeAnne shared many of these videos with us this summer at the Literacy Institute. If you search for Close Reading videos, I'm sure you'll find even more, but these are a great place to start! There are also links below for archived webinars on close reading featuring Karen Mayo and Nicole Quirion, who are both excellent resources on this topic!

Close Reading in First Grade

Close Reading of a Short Text in Second Grade

Close Reading in Second Grade

Close Reading in Fifth Grade

Webinars on Close Reading and Text Dependent Questions for grades K-5 - featuring Karen Mayo!

Webinar 1:

Webinar 2:

Webinars Connected to the Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading

Webinar 1:

Webinar 2:

Webinars for Close Reading: Before, During and After Strategies to Increase Student Achievement with Informational Text (PK-5) - featuring Nicole Quirion!

Webinar 1:

Webinar 2:

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Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, Grades K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School