Spotlight on Strategies

Notice & Note Signposts


Kylene Beers and Robert Probst co-authored Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading. These signposts are hints authors use for readers that it's a good time to STOP and NOTICE what is happening in the text. The signposts act as a natural stopping point help students close read in a natural way.

Watch Kylene Beers and Robert Probst speak about their research, close reading and engagement.

This anchor chart is used to introduce all 6 signposts: Contrasts & Contradictions, Words of the Wiser, Aha Moments, Memory Moments, Again & Again and Tough Questions. Students know that reading is like going on a journey, or a road trip. Just like speed limit signs or school crossing signs, authors provide signs to the reader that encourage us to STOP and NOTICE and NOTE something in the text. Students can recreate this anchor chart in their Reader's Notebook.
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Contrasts & Contradictions

I typically start with teaching the signpost Contrasts & Contradictions. This signpost is relatively easy to find in texts and lends itself well to describing character traits. Using modeling strategies and gradual release of responsibility, students are encouraged to become more and more independent in finding their own signposts. My ultimate goal is to have students independently reading, noticing signposts, marking the signpost with a post-it note, continue reading and looking for signposts, then at a good stopping point, return to the post-its, reread (close reading) and reflect (through conversation, blogging, writing, Padlet, Google Docs, etc.) on the signpost. But before all of this can happen, I would engage my students in these following lessons...

Tin Toy - Pixar Short

In this video clip, students will see the Tin Toy change two times. These are the perfect opportunities to stop and talk about Contrasts & Contradictions in film! Remember to always ask...why is the character acting this way? It may lead to great discussions about problem/solution and students can infer conflict!
Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1 Tin Toy 1988 HD 720p

Educator Challenge

The ways I've used signpost in my third grade classroom have changed over the years. I've been really selective in the read alouds I use by ensuring there are plenty of signposts so that I can naturally model how I might STOP and NOTICE and NOTE a signpost along the way. As you're reading aloud, use a Padlet displayed on your interactive white board to track your thinking by asking yourself the signpost's anchor question and writing about your thinking.

Think your kids have the hang of it? As they write narrative stories, challenge them to use signposts in their writing! You will be amazed at the pride students have with themselves when they say to you, "did you notice my character's Aha Moment? I did that on purpose!" Let their Creative Mind take over as they explore, successfully or unsuccessfully, how authors plan for signposts or clue the readers into a signpost. The sky is the limit!

Common Core State Standards

RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

RL.3.5 Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.

RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)

RF3.4.A Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Citations & Credits

Beers, G. K., & Probst, R. E. (2012). Notice & note: Strategies for close reading. Heinemann.

Brown, P. (2014). My teacher is a monster!: No, I am not. Little, Brown Books For Young Readers.

Gardner, H. (2008). Five Minds for the Future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

H. (2014). Notice and Note - Contrasts and Contradictions. Retrieved June 04, 2016, from

H. (2015). Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1 Tin Toy 1988 HD 720p. Retrieved June 04, 2016, from

H. (2012). The Importance of Close Reading (Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading Video 1). Retrieved June 04, 2016, from

Padlet is the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world. (n.d.). Retrieved June 04, 2016, from

Preparing America's students for success. (n.d.). Retrieved June 04, 2016, from