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k-1 new book moves students towards close reading :)


LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! Seeger’s text and illustrations require students to slow down and look closely and think. Each two-page spread in green, a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book, is dedicated to one particular shade of green. I finished this book and then read it again immediately, slowing myself down, savoring each page and thinking through the difference between the shades of green that Seeger features. Most of the shades are revealed through a nonfiction topic – forest green, sea green, lime green, pea green. There are few off beat greens – a “wacky green” with a green striped zebra; these do not deter from her message that there are a lot of different shades of green in our world. Instead “wacky green” expands our understanding of the presence of shades of green beyond the natural world to the creative, imaginary world.

There are so many teaching possibilities here.

FIRST, I’d just enjoy the book with children. Read it aloud all the way through without stopping. Let the students absorb Seeger’s message, the amazing illustrations, the specific words. Then you could move into conversations that help students track their thinking when you reread the text. I’d ask text-dependent questions like, “What do you notice?” and “What in the text makes you think that?” I really believe helping students to slow down and look closely at the illustrations is a move towards close reading of text in later grades. I’d suggest putting the book on the document camera and asking the students to look at a particular illustration without comment for a minute at a time. See where this goes and comment on how slowing down to look closely revealed so much more in the picture than just glancing at it and moving on. As a result of this looking closely, the students made more meaning as readers – they began to understand what “faded green” really looks like.

You could also teach for expanding vocabulary (different shades of green) – to use in students’ descriptive writing, to think about in their drawings, to employ in conversations about pictures they are observing (see my blog entry on that).

Oh, the possibilities.

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