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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

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Do you have high-reading kinders you need to challenge?

Some our of kindergarten students read above grade level. How do we keep them challenged? A colleague of mine, Lisa, engaged a small group in close reading of an informational text about energy with great success. Here are some photos and tips she shared with me. Just some background. These nine students were reading at …Read more

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Are your students’ minds wandering while they read?

Gave a demo lesson with students on how to use CODING to think about their thinking. When I asked these students if they ever think about lunch or something else while they are reading, most gave me a thumbs up! When I asked them if they finish reading and sometimes have no clue what they …Read more

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8th Grade Text Set & Prompt for Written Response, Part 1

Kudos to my ELA colleagues in a middle school who developed this appropriately rigorous text set and prompt for their 8th grade students studying the Holocaust. Together with the 6th and 7th grade teams, we analyzed several students’ written responses to this prompt. More on that in the next post 🙂 TEXTS: Source A (entire …Read more

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Choosing info text excerpts for close reading

Close reading can be powerful experience that moves readers into deeper understanding of a content area concept or theme. But we can’t “close read” everything so how do we make decisions about which excerpts are worthy of close reading? Here are a few suggestions. If you are just working with ONE (well-written) text (versus a …Read more

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Please dump traditional book report requirements and try…

My daughter is enjoying a new school in a new state, but I was dismayed to see the traditional, worn out book report requirements for her 5th grade class. I want to say first – her teacher is  hosting some amazing learning experiences – they are currently studying the eye, are engaged in research reports …Read more

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Displaying Nonfiction in Your Classroom Library

Here’s a model for displaying nonfiction in your classroom library. Notice how the books are facing forward in baskets – easy to flip through and find a title of interest. Also, if you zoom in, you’ll see the books are categorized and coded – “Transportation NF#5.” The codes are marked on the back of the …Read more

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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

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Nonfiction Author Study – Moving preK-1 Towards Close Reading

  Last year I had the honor of working with two kindergarten teachers who immersed their students in nonfiction author studies. Late in the spring they led a two week author study – week one on Steve Jenkins’ books and week two on Nic Bishop’s books. Monday-Wednesday or Thursday, they read aloud a book and …Read more

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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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