Thursday, June 5, 2014

Links to two resources

Here are two links from teachers pay teachers for close reading freebies.

Scholastic's Take on Close Reading

Great article picking out the "most important" ideas of Close Reading - "Close Reading for Dummies"-ish.  Would be good for quick reference.  Then gives some of their own resources available for purchase @ the end of the article - resources are geared towards grades 2+.

Free Close Reading Resources on TeachersNotebook

These are some great FREE downloads from - a site very similar to TeachersPayTeachers.  Free to join!  I simply typed in "close reading" in the search field & resources for all grade levels popped up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Heinemann Publishing Videos for Notice & Note

Resource of several YouTube videos published by Heinemann Publishing, the publishers of Notice & Note.  

- Strategies for Close Reading
- The Importance of Close Reading
- Collaborating to Foster Will and Skill
- Rigor and Text
- The Influence of Louise Rosenblatt
- Literature in the Contemporary Curriculum


Here's a link to the resource I used for part of my close reading project.  The "Thinking Notes" cards were especially useful and my students really enjoyed working with them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

First Grade Resource

Here's an additional resource by the same creator of the lesson that I used for my project.  This is the winter edition.  It contains 5 nonfiction and 5 fiction close reading passages.


Here's a link to the resource that I used with my class for the close reading project.  I found it very beneficial for students, and they truly enjoyed it!  It contains both fiction and non-fiction passages.  This is the spring edition.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Close Reading Pinterest Board

Here is a link to a pinterest board filled with tons of close reading lesson ideas and information on how it can be used in the classroom.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Reading Corner

This was an interesting read because it gave ideas of how to make a close reading activity hands on for students. It was a short article with 5 activities for close reading. I like that this lesson started with a big book and then created charts, story boards to add to the classroom bulletin board and even story necklaces.  This article discussed extending the story. I did this with my class to see what they thought would happen if the book had not ended when it did.My students came up with great questions that they wanted to know about what happened after the book ended. I like the idea and used it in my class and it was a great way to end the the lesson.

Pintreast close reading examples

great close reading lesson K/1

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Close Reading Lesson Plan


Title- Treat Mya / Close Reading
This is a great source. I like this lesson plan format and the follow up activity. I could definitely use this with a kindergarten class.This lesson is teacher directed and uses fiction and non fiction books about the same topic. The lesson is followed up by a writing activity that ties in nicely.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Close Reading Article

This Close Reading Article focuses on implementing close reading. It includes videos of close reading in action and examples of how to use it with all sorts of different text types. It also includes on why it is important and the basic principles of it.

Free Notice and Note Bookmarks

These are colorful bookmarks that explain the seven signposts, shows key words to look for, and reminds students of the question for each signpost.

Friday, May 16, 2014

TPT link to Close Reading Pack for K-1

This has great reproducible pages to incorporate any text in regards to close reading.  It also offers many question cards to guide the students thinking. Excellent purchase.
*note it does follow the common core

Close reading example for K-1

This is an example of a K-1 lesson for close reading.  It has good visuals to aid understanding.

Kindergarten rigorous reading lesson example

This is a wonderful example of a rigorous reading lesson for our kindergarten students.
It actually shows the learning level of how to engage students in close reading.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Discussion Question #4

2) Based on the book you read, what did you find most/least valuable to use in your classroom?

Discussion Question #3

1)What did you learn that you did not know, or use before in your teaching?  What reaffirmed what your already doing in the classroom?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Linda Upshaw's comments on RIGOR

The concept of rigor has been emphasized for many years but it seems to be one of the "new hot" words in education.  We are continuing to read "our goal is to be increasing rigor." In the Virginia SOL manuals there is a push to implement a more rigorous content of standards to meet national and international benchmarks for career and career readiness.

In a recent article I read entitled Never Say Anything a Kid Can Say an experienced teacher realized her style of teaching (Math) was working several examples on the overhead projector (smart-board) then answering every student's questions in detail and explaining the concept so clearly she was sure every student understood.  However, she would find out the following day this was not true. She realized she needed to increase the "rigor" in her classroom which is not a measure of quality of material covered or number of times it is covered but an element of the learning environment that promotes an in-depth, active and engaged learning process for students.  This rigorous classroom would create excitement and enthusiasm for learning. When you walk into her classroom now you see a more student-centered, problem-based approach, and higher order thinking skills to her math lessons.

This article ran parallel to our book club book Close Reading of Informal Texts.  The students do the explaining and the teacher the listening.  The students now explain things so well they can be understood.

Rigor really is keeping the students, be it in Math or Reading, always working slightly above their ability and giving them the help they need to grow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Resource from the Reading Teacher on Elementary Teachers Using Close Reading for Nonfiction Science Texts

Description: This article from the Reading Teacher gives examples of elementary  teachers using the close reading strategy with nonfiction science texts.  Many of the components described in Close Reading of Informational Texts by Cummins are incorporated into the sample lessons.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sample Resource Post 2 - Reading A-Z Close Reading Packs

Reading A-Z Close Reading Packs

Description: This website has several lesson plans and close reading passages for grades 2-5.  The passages for each grade level have different levels within, to help with differentiation in small groups.  They also provide suggested questions and worksheets to help with comprehension and encourage discussion.

Sample Resource Post 1 - Reading A-Z Close Reading Packs

Reading A-Z Close Reading Packs

Description: This website has several lesson plans and close reading passages for grades 2-5.  The passages for each grade level have different levels within, to help with differentiation in small groups.  They also provide suggested questions and worksheets to help with comprehension and encourage discussion.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Key Points and Summaries from the First Meeting on 2/20/14

Key Points / Summaries from the First Meeting on 2/20/14

Close Reading of Informational Texts: Assessment Driven Instruction in Grades 3-8
Key Points/Summaries from the First Meeting on 2/20/14

Chapter 1   What does "Close Reading" Mean?

  • Close Reading (Brummett, 2010) is a purposeful and disciplined reading of a text to get a deeper understanding of its meaning.  The reader analyzes the text at the word or phrase level and the sentence and paragraph level.  The goal of close reading is for the reader to be able to identify the author's central ideas and describe why any particular idea is significant.  The reader also finds supporting details in the text and explains how the details support the central ideas.
  • Analyze text at the word or phrase level - sentence and paragraph levels
  • Essential Skills for Close Reading
          1)  Prior knowledge of text structure
          2)  Prior  knowledge of topic and related vocabulary
          3)  Setting a purpose for reading
          4)  Self-monitoring for meaning
          5)  Determining what is important
          6)  Synthesizing  
  • Close reading is most effective when integrated across content areas
  • Identify author's central idea and describe why
  • Important to know students strengths before each lesson
  • Prior Knowledge of Text Structure and Related Vocabulary
  • Student practices using strategies to understand unfamiliar vocabulary 
  • Students learn the features of how authors present information in  a non-fiction text to begin to make predictions about text and set a plan for reading  
  • Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • The reader previews text to make a relevant prediction about the author's purpose for writing text     
  • Self-Monitoring for Meaning
         1)  What are you reading that you already know?
         2)  What are you reading that is less familiar? / Slow down, reread, utilize prior knowledge of text 
              structure and prior knowledge of topic and vocabulary 
         3)  What are your questions?
  • Determining What is Important 
  • Determine and understand the author's central ideas by identifying the key words and phrases at the sentence and paragraph levels
  • See "pasta" analogy on page 22
  • Synthesizing 
  • Reader develops a deeper understanding of the text by using knowledge of vocabulary and text structure; setting a purpose for reading the text, self-monitoring, and determining what is important in order to identify details that support the central ideas and how this information influences the reader's own thinking and knowledge of topic(s) presented in text
  • Synthesizing involves active reading and thinking
  • See "frame" analogy on page 26
  • Synthesizing knowledge ultimate purpose of close reading described in this text

Chapter 2   An Assessment Driven, Structured Approach to Teaching
  • Teaching -learning Cycle 
  • Ongoing assessment by teacher before, during, and after reading
  • Structured Teaching
  • The gradual release of the responsibility of learning to the student
  • Scaffolding - Teacher uses "Step-in" - "Step-back" approach 
  • Key Components of Assessment Driven, Structured Approach to Teaching
  • Assessment of students' strengths and needs
  • Lesson preparation and text study
  • Focus lesson - explaining the instructional objectives with teacher modeling using read-aloud, thinking- aloud, and writing-aloud strategies
  • Guided practice
  • Independent practice
  • Student self-assessment
  • Writing about the text during and after reading helps the reader synthesize 
  • Teacher writes-aloud during focus lesson to model the process
  • Teacher uses "I" not "you" when writing-aloud 
  • Guided Practice (after Focus Lesson and Teacher Modeling)
  • Students think through a section of text by using strategies modeled in focus lesson
  • Students collaborate - partners or small groups
  • Teacher only listening and supporting - step-in and step-back/scaffolding
  • Independent Practice
  • Essential that student practice reading and writing about text independently using text on his/her reading level
  • Student Self-Assessment
  • Helps student develop a sense of self-efficacy - I can do this
  • Provide opportunities for student to be in conversations with peers about strategies used when reading and writing about text
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Using Close Reading  Effectively with Diverse Groups of Readers
  • Students with Learning Disabilities
  • English Learners
  • Students Reading above Grade Level

Monday, March 17, 2014

Here are two additional articles from Nate Collin's New Kent Learning Newsletter about Close Reading.  These articles are focused on modeling Close Reading and Close Reading resources.  They may provide insight into how Close Reading would look in your classroom, and give you ideas as to where other teachers are getting resources from.  Thanks Nate!

Article 1: Modeling Close Reading for Future Teachers: Why Video Works

Article 2: Modeling Close Reading for Future Teachers: Professional Resources

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Discussion Question 2

Discussion Question 2:
The above site provides an additional perspective on rigor.  After reading Close Reading of Informational Texts, Notice and Note, or even some of the additional close reading resources you have found on the internet, how has your definition of rigor changed?  How can you increase rigor in your classroom?  Give examples.

Discussion Question 1

"Close reading should suggest close attention to the text; close attention to the relevant
experience, thought, and memory of the reader; close attention to the responses and interpretations of other readers; and close attention to the interactions among those elements."-Notice and Note

"Close reading, as described in this book, results when the reader analyzes any given text at the word or phrase level and also the paragraph and section levels.  As the reader analyzes the text, he or she determines which details are most important and how these fit together logically to convey the authors central idea(s) or theme(s)."
-Close Reading of Informational Texts

Discussion Question 1:
The above quotes provide a definition of close reading from each of the texts we are reading.  Based on the book you are reading, what similarities and differences do you see in how you would approach close reading of a fiction or nonfiction text?  Can some of the elements of close reading be applied to both fiction and nonfiction?  Give an example.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Key Points/Summaries From the First Meeting on 2/20/14

Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading
Key Points & Summaries from the First Meeting on 2/20/14

Question 1 - Is Reading Still Reading?
 Print Text vs. Digital Text
  • Entertaining
  • Ease of use - highlighting, note-taking, googling unfamiliar words, making connections, discussion through social networks, etc.
  • Either form of text still includes decoding and interacting with the text, and bringing your own experiences to the text.

Question 2 - What is the Role of Fiction?
  • Fiction appeals to ALL audiences.
  • Fiction is more humanized.
  • With nonfiction you learn more, with fiction you can be more.
Question 3 - Where Does Rigor Fit?
  •  A harder text does not equal rigorous results.
  • Rigor needs to be differentiated.
  • An essential element in rigor is engagement.
Question 4 - What Do We Mean by Intellectual Communities?
  •  Satisfaction in creating places where we all want to work.
  • Rigor is high because students want to learn more.
Question 5 - What is the Role of  Talk?
  •  Talk is a valuable tool for improving understanding.
  • Monologic vs. Dialogic Talk 
    • Monologic 
    • Dialogic
  • "Asking questions for which you already know the answer is inauthentic..."
  • Tips for improving rigor and talk (student to student discourse).
Question 6 - What is Close Reading?
  • It should bring the text and the reader close together.
  • "What we want is to notice those elements of the text that are, for example, surprising or confusing or contradictory, so that then we pause and take note, think carefully, reread, analyze--read closely."
  • A students background and connections are still important.
 Question 7 -  Do Text-Dependent Questions Foster Engagement?
  • Students need to create their own text-dependent questions.  We need to move away from teacher created questions and reliance on the teacher.
  • Meaning is gained when the reader thinks/applies the text to themselves.
  • Kids should be able to learn about themselves, others, and the world from the text.
  • Different readers bring a different interpretation to a text.
  • Student-made questions are engaging and "genuine" and might encourage them to explore further.
Question 8 - Must Everyone Read the Same Book?
  • Students benefit from reading the same book - it builds community and teaches them about their neighbors and themselves (think about book clubs).
  • Differentiate instruction using the same book.
  • It encourages kids to be in a community of learners.
  • It's ok if a text is not on the instructional or independent level.  Students need to be supported when handling a harder text based on their needs.
  • Self-selected reading is still important.
Question 9 - How Do I Judge the Complexity of a Text?
  • Quantitative vs. Qualitative Measures:
    • Quantitative - Features in the text that you can count (i.e. miscues, self corrections, wpm)
    • Qualitative - Levels of meaning, structure, language, conventionality, knowledge demands (can't be counted or numerically measured).
  •  Reader and Task Considerations - Determining Text Complexity - "Who reads the text matters."
    • background & ability
    • vocabulary
    • attitudes & maturity
    • interest & motivation
  • "We finally had to face the fact that the most complex factor in text complexity is the transaction between the reader and the text."
  • Moving beyond just the measurable elements in determining text complexity and including placing attention on qualitative issues and the connection between the reader and the text.
Question 10 - Are We Creating Life Long Learners?
  • Our goal should be to make a student a better person.
  • Schools and teachers should help students develop a passion for learning that continues throughout life.
  • Create life-long learners!