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close reading informational text

Three-phase plan for learning?

Below is a guide I’ve developed for planning and teaching with informational sources. Each “phase” can be one or more lesson periods (20-40 minutes) based on the needs of your students. My hope is to make teaching with informational sources (texts, video, infographics, etc) more manageable. There’s so much we can do with these sources, …Read more

Do they really get what the main idea means?

Can your students explain what their main idea statement means? Is a superficial understanding or misunderstanding of the main idea impacting their ability to identify or explain supporting details? We need to give students time to unpack the main idea. It’s worth it and pays off when they begin to identify key details and explain …Read more

Do our students understand “definition” and “example”?

Yesterday I was giving a demo lesson closely reading a science text when I realized the students did not understand the terms–definition and example. Many nonfiction authors use definitions and examples and other types of details like cause and effect when they describe concepts like forces, magnets, weather and so forth. Readers need to recognize …Read more

Sample Lesson – Close reading with NewsELA article

Do your students need help with clearly stating a main idea? And with organization when they elaborate on that main idea? Last month I had the honor of teaching close reading of an informational article to a small group of fifth grade students for a demonstration lesson in front of 40 educators in the North …Read more

NEWSELA–I like this site but beware…

Just be careful. NEWSELA is a great site for short informational articles for students to read. The  content is usually worthy of student-led discussions and writing about in response. The beauty of NEWSELA is that the same article is available at different Lexile levels. (When you click on an article, check out the blue bar …Read more

Start the year with THIEVES and a clear purpose for previewing/predicting

Teaching students to “get ahead” by using the mnemonic THIEVES (Manz, 2002) to preview a text is an easy way to start the year and nurture students’ sense of agency–especially if you are reading feature-dense nonfiction like magazine articles, websites, textbooks and so forth. In the poster below (created by a colleague!) you can see …Read more

Quick way to review text & content before close reading

I tried something new–I provided a list of “key details” from a section of text as a way for students to review content before engaging in close reading of a more difficult section of the text. During a previous lesson, the 3rd grade students had read an article about Dolores Huerta (in the McGraw-Hill Wonders …Read more

Analysis of Responses to 8th Grade Text Set & Prompt, Part 2

In the last blog entry, I shared a rigorous text set and prompt developed by an middle school ELA team. The team and I met (via Webinex) to discuss the students’ written responses. First we look at the strengths of each student’s analytic essay; then we discuss the students’ needs as writers. Integrated into this …Read more

Do students understand what we mean by “key details”?

Is the term “key details” vague for your students? I’m teaching 2nd/3rd grade students this week and trying out an anchor chart that attempts to make the term “key details” more concrete for students. I think a “key detail” might change depending on what our purpose is for reading. Here are a few of the …Read more

Close reading lesson with A to Z text excerpt

Last week I gave a close reading lesson with an excerpt from an A to Z text, George Washington Carver, written at Level O. (See my previous post “Tips for using A to Z texts for close reading”.) Our text-dependent question was, “What did Carver achieve?” This seems like an easy question at first, but …Read more