Close Reading and Academic Vocabulary - Interacting With Text

This morning, I am presenting here is Los Angeles to a group of educators that were selected to be part of the Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC), which is a collaborative partnership among the California Teachers Association, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and the National Board Resource Center at Stanford. Teachers have traveled from all over California to be part of this amazing project.
The ILC will provide professional development support to assist teachers in the implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California Public Schools. I am not only a selected participant, but also a presenter for a session. My session is on Close Reading and Academic Vocabulary. 

Presentation materials for this session

Close Reading Strategies for The Common Core 

Close Reading is a way to teach analytical reading and critical thinking in one lesson. Close reading is the foundation for all explicit and rhetorical reading exercises that demand a deeper understanding of literary works. Close reading can be presented in a simple form for students starting out and progressively advanced to a highly complex analyses of advanced literary concepts suited for graduate students. Close reading and critical thinking plus higher order questioning go hand in hand. 

Text Complexity

Definition: Text Complexity includes three components, qualitative dimensions, quantitative measures, and reader and task considerations.

Qualitative refers to meaning, structure, text features, clarity of the language, and the intended purpose of the text.

Quantitative refers to word frequency, sentence length and text cohesion. To get a sense of the difficulty of school texts, you have a measure on your computer called the Flesch-Kincaid.  This is a tool that is designed to show if a text is easy or difficult to read.  When using this tool, you will receive a readability formula called Lexiles.

Reader and task considerations refer to the students’ cognitive abilities and skills, motivation, prior knowledge, and content/theme considerations.

Strategies for teaching complex text: 
  • Challenge students to struggle with the text.
  • Encourage use of context clues and structural analysis of vocabulary.
  • Teach the reading/writing connection by having students practice variations in their writing to match the complexities of what they are reading.Model and teach critical thinking skills to understand complex text.
  • Adjust instruction to accommodate reading issues as students read more complex text.
  •  Encourage independent reading outside the classroom to increase comprehension and vocabulary.

Additional Resources: 

Tales with a Message, Unlocking and Exploring Folktales - Educator's Guide with Close Reading embedded

Academic Vocabulary

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