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close reading informational texts

Observing for what students are “not saying” during conferences

During conferences, I listen to what students are saying but I also listen for what they are NOT saying. For many students, when you ask them to tell you what they have learned from a complex informational text (or a part of a text), they will talk about content they understood without you. Rarely will …Read more

Do you have high-reading kinders you need to challenge?

Some our of kindergarten students read above grade level. How do we keep them challenged? A colleague of mine, Lisa, engaged a small group in close reading of an informational text about energy with great success. Here are some photos and tips she shared with me. Just some background. These nine students were reading at …Read more

Liberate your students! In the beginning, give them the main idea!!!

Do your students hesitate when you ask, “What is the main or central idea?”  I find that many students have not had enough experience with concepts like extraordinary, perseverant, determined, tenacious, collaborative, compassionate, ambitious to pull these ideas out of an informational text easily. ALSO, many times if they do identify a main idea like, …Read more

Tip #3 for Locating Paired Informational Texts – By Same Author

What do you notice regarding the similarities in the types of details included in these sentences from two different books by Seymour Simon? Your backbone, or spine, is a flexible column of bones that runs down the middle of your body. It is made up of a chain of thirty-three small bones called vertebrae, which …Read more

Lesson: Teaching Term Perseverant Through… Part 2

Lesson Experience – Even when definitions of vocabulary words are carefully planned for discussion during close reading, these definitions can be problematic… In a blog entry from last December about a lesson experience, I discussed the needs of a specific group of 6th graders I worked with in an urban school. Many seemed to lack …Read more

Choosing info text excerpts for close reading

Close reading can be used for the purpose of moving students towards deeper understanding of a content area concept or theme. How are excerpts of text for close reading chosen, though? Here are a few suggestions. If you are just working with ONE (well-written) text (versus a text set) and want students to grasp the …Read more

Please don’t overdose on “close reading”

I have been asked several times recently, “How often should teachers engage students in close reading?” I don’t have an easy answer on this. I’d like to start by saying that close reading of an excerpt of informational text should be part of a larger integrated unit of study. These units need to be filled …Read more

PARCC’s 3rd grade sample test items – make time to read and this is why…

This is a quick and dirty summary of the newly released PARCC sample test items. If you are in one of the 19 states that will be taking the PARCC tests in 2014-2015, thought this might help you think about what our students will be facing. Third Grade Sample Items – summary and a few …Read more

Ann Petry’s Harriet Tubman does not meet current standards for “nonfiction”

While there might be value in reading this book to get a “feel” for Tubman’s life, it should be considered historical fiction not nonfiction (despite being listed as an exemplar informational text in the CCSS Appendix B). It was written in 1955 and Petry’s purpose was to provide readers with a viewpoint of slavery that …Read more

Intriguing Notices as Mini-Lessons

I’m always intrigued by the notices posted around us. Many are perfect for mini-lessons focused on close reading of informational text. Check out this one I saw in a restroom in Chico, CA. For a close reading exercise, I would put this on the document camera or Smart board and ask students some of the …Read more