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close reading informational texts

Close reading anchor chart…but remember…

So…I’ve been getting a lot of questions about “anchor charts” for “close reading.” I’ve been hesitant because I don’t want students to consider close reading as a lock-step process. Close reading is the simultaneous orchestration of multiple skills, used fluidly and iteratively. BUT there are potential benefits when we use an initial anchor chart as a …Read more

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The Great Fire by Murphy – Good Example of Nonfiction 4th-8th Grade

The Great Fire (Murphy, 1995), a Newbery Honor Book, is listed in the Common Core Appendix B as an exemplar text for 6th-8th grade reading. Filled with black and white photos and illustrations, this isn’t a book that is immediately appealing like some other titles. If you can get kids to start the book, though, …Read more

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Museums as Nonfiction Sources with Central Ideas

  I’ve always found field trips frustrating. The students are very excited, but most of the learning is superficial. But what if we treated field trip locations as nonfiction texts that have central ideas? What if, while on a field trip to a museum, we did the kind of thinking we do to make sense …Read more

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The Mighty Mars Rovers – Close Reading Lesson

If you’re exploring the new Next Generation Science Standards and wondering how to get started, I’d start by reading this book aloud to your students. The standards have added “engineering and technology” to the landscape of science instruction and the authors have shifted from “methods” to “practice” in their descriptions of what scientists and engineers …Read more

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Meghan – Determined Reading Specialist in Action, Part 2

Have you ever modeled reading and writing for your students and then when it’s time for them to work independently, they have blank looks on their faces? They are not sure what to do? Meghan, the Reading Specialist whose work I highlighted in my last blog entry, has found a way to “bridge” between modeling …Read more

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Be a Nonfiction Book Whisperer – Please!

Anybody read The Book Whisper: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (Miller, 2009)? Miller reminds us that one of the best ways to teach reading is to provide space and time for students to do a LOT of reading of high-quality texts. She challenged her students to read 40 books in a year and …Read more

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Lesson – Text-Dependent Predictions, Part II

So I had a great time teaching a lesson on making text-dependent with a class of second grade students a few weeks ago. In my last blog entry, I wrote about teaching objectives that surfaced during reading conferences with three of these students. The students revealed to me they were not previewing nonfiction texts strategically …Read more

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Review and close reading excerpts – Titanic: Voices From the Disaster

“Don’t you know what happens in the end?” My husband could not understand why I wanted to leave the dinner table early to finish this book.   Yes, of course, I know the ending, but Hopkinson’s writing had me in its grip – one of the reasons this book was awarded a Sibert Honor Award for …Read more

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Powerful Vocabulary to Explain Powerful Nonfiction

Making sense of nonfiction narratives related to history is easier if students recognize themes or central ideas the authors are revealing AND have a strong grasp on vocabulary they can use to help them describe these themes. Imagine how understanding and using words like perseverance, courage, tenacity, and despair can lift the level of access to …Read more

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