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close reading nonfiction texts

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

Read This Book on Titanic Not That One

A Night to Remember (Lord, 1955) is listed as an exemplar text in Appendix B of the Common Core. It’s okay, but not stellar. Instead I would recommend reading Titanic: Voices from the Disaster (Hopkinson, 2012). It is a better exemplar of what 6-8th grade students should be reading. See my blog on Hopkinson’s book …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

Review of Exemplar Text in Appendix B – Grades 6-8 – Oh, my!

So I’m reading all of the texts on the Common Core Appendix B Exemplar Informational Text list. My reading is focused on what makes these texts rigorous for a particular grade band, what makes them hard for students, what do we need to think about when students are reading texts like these with a lot …Read more

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

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

Field Trips as Nonfiction Texts & Opportunities to Synthesize

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, though? Last week I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and spent quality time in the special exhibit Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity. (Okay – this isn’t …Read more

Frog Song – TINKTINKTINKTINK! – read aloud, close read, research mentor

Stunning illustrations and tightly focused text make the new book Frog Song (Guiberson, 2013) an ideal read aloud and independent read for k-5 students. On each two-page layout, Guiberson, the author of many many nonfiction books, describes the characteristics of a particular frog including – in varied bold fonts, the frog’s sound (TINKTINKTINKTINK! the male …Read more

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