We first think about the preparation of our students to become college and career ready. What needs to be in place for our students to be successful? How can we engage our readers to comprehend at the level of complexity that is required?
In talking with our grade level teams our goal is to find samples of text related to their integrated units of study. There is a great site for non-fiction text http://teacher.depaul.edu/Nonfiction_Readings.htm and fiction text http://teacher.depaul.edu/Reading_Passages_FICTION.html from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Multi-media examples are also at our students fingertips by use of their device.
Modeling a typical close reading lesson begins with the first read. Reading to discover meaning and asking “what is the text mostly about”? We ask the students to turn and talk in small groups to share what was going on in the text and how do they know? This is a first impression to begin comprehension.
With the second read, we introduce annotation of the text. Annotating is the marking of textual evidence to support a purpose for reading. We have the student underline key ideas and details, write important thoughts in the margins and mark important words that are repeated, unknown or seem important. A focus question might be, “how do the author’s choices help me understand or appreciate something that I didn’t notice the first time I read?” This is a second impression to bring meaning to the reader and begin comprehension.
The third read is to determine a purpose for reading which relates to a Common Core State Standard strategy. An anchor question is introduced for the students to depend on during reading. The text is re-read and annotated for a specific purpose. Students use margins to explain why textual evidence supports the purpose of reading. The text may help the student to think or wonder about some larger aspect of the text and of the human condition.
Teachers are celebrating their students’ growth as they facilitate cultivating new reading habits. Our goal is to produce more independent readers and develop patterns through our close reading lenses. Close reading is not achieved overnight, but with practice and perseverance. Our students are enjoying what is happening with close reading – reading responsively and with pleasure!