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close reading informational text

Review & teaching ideas for new book Seeds of Freedom

The new trade book Seeds of Freedom (Bass, 2015, Candlewick Press) is a good fit for 4th-6th grade students because it’s complex and has content worthy of close reading and collaborative discussions. Bass, the author, does not just tell a straightforward narrative about what happened in Huntsville, AL; instead her narrative requires the reader to …Read more

Brief, focused opportunities to build background knowledge

Recently I was asked to teach a lesson to second grade students with an informational text on magnets. As I read through the text, I began thinking about how many of the students I’d be working with may not have had many language and hands-on experiences with magnets or magnetism or the concept of force, …Read more

New Book for Reading Aloud, Close Reading – Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel (K. G. Davis, 2014) This would make for a great read aloud in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade with opportunities for rereading excerpts of text to think critically about the author’s central ideas and purposes. The main part of the text is written as a narrative with the purpose of …Read more

Close Reading 2nd Grade Text – Tricky Details for Students

As we ask transitional level readers to engage in close reading, let’s be aware of tricky details. Below I share my analysis of one informational text that is very similar to other texts we use in our classrooms. A few weeks ago, I taught several second grade “close reading” lessons with informational texts from the …Read more

“Can’t live without doing” during my close reading lessons

Last week I had the honor of visiting multiple schools and giving demonstration lessons in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms. For each lesson, there were 10-15 teachers observing. Afterwards we debriefed about methodology and evidence of student learning. Some amazing insight was gained – as well as a sense of affirmation for what they are …Read more

Book Review and Excerpt for Close Reading, grades 4-8

Review of At Home in Her Tomb (Liu-Perkins, 2014) and excerpt for close reading. This book joins a growing group of titles about how archaeology and forensics inform our historical knowledge. Great for STEM classrooms and also for teachers who are trying to expand students’ interest in reading informational texts. In the early 70’s a …Read more

Bootleg by Blumenthal – Recommended read for 7th-8th grade

Blumenthal’s writing is always solid and her research is exquisite. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition (2011) is no exception. This would be a great read for students who are researching prohibition or this time period and wanting lots of juicy-interesting details. Blumenthal’s purpose is to explain the many, many factors involved …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

Close Reading Instruction Essential #1

When you engage students in close reading of an informational text excerpt, you must study that excerpt thoroughly. I find that I have to read and reread carefully, keeping the purpose for close reading in mind, doing my own close reading (line by line) and taking notes. I can use these notes later as I …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