Posted on 11/20/2014 at 02:30 PM by Blog Experts

Close Reading Texts- Close Reading Lives

I had the opportunity to listen to Christopher Lehman at the 2014 Jacobson Center Comprehensive Literacy Academy.  I've read his book Pathways to the Common Core  and have been following his blog and tweets. I thought I had a good understanding of what close reading is but after listening to him speak about it in more detail, it was another light bulb that went off over my head.  

Here's what I learned from Chris:

We do close reading with all things in our lives.  Things that we care about. Your kids you study closely. Special places- the smell, the feel.  

The details that we care about, bring people in.  Let’s people know why it’s important to us.  
We study the things we care about.  We can also study things to love them even more.  

When students are reading are they feeling that way?

The important this is why.  Why should we study things closely? 

Close reading is when while reading independently we stop at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made  He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read or song heard or life lived and thought about.
(Those bold words above are important but may be hard for our students)

Close reading is not going to fix kids being able to read complex texts.

Close reading can help kids be more thoughtful to what they read, choose to read.  In their ZPD.

Close Reading shouldn’t be:
Just giving hard texts and rereading over and over again
Rifling quizzes at them- teachers making decisions at what text is important- we always have to be there. 

What close reading could be:
HIghly engaging and joyful
Led to student independence
Part of a balanced diet of reading instruction
Be considered a method in your-and your students’- toolbox

What are opportunities beyond the text?

Teaching Close Reading to Kids- Not Just Near or at Them
Developing Emergent Habits
    K-2 close reading-  (different than the upper grades)
        -teach them stances (habits)
        -pause and think a lot about it
        -Object study to start with (not text) 

What habits could we work on?
    Specific word choice/Descriptive language
    Listening to others
    Noticing details
    Questioning
    Lingering

What are some behaviors we can put in place?
    Observing like an investigator
        *"Hold on moment!  Wait!"
-How to look where to look
-Talk a lot about little things
-Ask Questions

What’s the purpose we can give them?

If we have a really challenging strategy, we can’t use a really difficult text.

Challenge strategy with accessible text. 

Examples of close reading we did together:  And object (the Batman bat wing), a song- listening and looking at lyrics (Everything is Awesome), a photo in a book, and text.

 

What feels most essential in close reading?  It’s not about what the standards say.  Its about what are students are doing and what our colleagues are doing. 

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