Thursday, March 3, 2016

Close Reading Enhanced with Collaborative Conversations to Support Reading and Writing

Welcome to our first Common Core Café Session for 2016! Today, we are presenting for the Montebello Unified School District teachers. Our session topic is close reading, but we are incorporating several additional learning targets.
q How to select a balance of texts that prepare students to read challenging fiction and non-fiction at their level
q Learn to write text-dependent questions for both narrative and expository genres, and how to provide entry-points for all children through discourse, visual media, and annotation.
q How to incorporate writing as part of a rigorous close read
q How to support students through close reading processes
q How to structure and support collaborative conversations around text

To access today's slides click HERE. 
What does close reading mean?  
Close reading describes, in literary criticism, the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text. Such a reading places great emphasis on the particular over the general, paying close attention to individual words, syntax, and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they are read.
  • Unfolding
  • Making what is implicit, explicit
Our reading can enhance (not simplify) our understanding of literature.

Skills involved in the close reading process:
  • Careful Reading
  • Critical Reading
  • Focused Reading
  • Re-Reading
  • Persistence
  • Discussion and responses connected to the text




Text-Dependent Questions
¨ are questions that can only be answered correctly by close reading of the text and demand careful attention to the text.
¨ require an understanding that extends beyond recalling facts.
¨ often require students to infer.
¨ do not depend on information from outside sources.
¨ allow students to gather evidence and build knowledge.
¨ provide access to increasing levels of complex text.
¨ call for careful and thoughtful teacher preparation.
¨ require time for students to process.
¨ are worth asking.

When students are working on text-dependent questions, teachers should look for:
  • Rich and rigorous evidence-based conversations about text amongst students and with teachers
  • Discussions that stay deeply connected to the text so that students make evidentiary arguments
  • Students revisiting text for evidence to support their argument in a thoughtful, careful, and precise way
  • Students slowing down to explore and learn from the evidence
Websites and Resources for Close Reading


Collaborative tool lets kids annotate songs, literature, and news 
Genius is a tool for annotating text online. An outgrowth of Rap Genius (a longtime tool for collecting and annotating rap lyrics online), Genius lets users annotate and analyze texts from songs to literature to historical documents. Users can annotate any text with their own text commentary, images, and GIFs, and they can explore all other users' annotations by clicking highlighted text and viewing text and annotations side by side on screen. 

Free Reading Materials for Students:
  • Beginning Reads, decodable texts for early readers (here)
  • Free 4th through 10th grade passages with questions http://www.commonlit.org 
  • Free K-8 passages by reading level (here)
  • TextProject Word Pictures: provides pictures of concepts that are critical to particular literary texts (here)
  • FYI for Kids is a collection of engaging and high-quality magazine articles designed to enhance the Common Core classroom’s reading repertoire.
  • Newsela is an online collection of current events and nonfiction articles with guiding questions and text students can annotate. Teachers can create their own online classroom and track student progress. Students can also adjust the reading level for the article.

Text Complexity: Definitions & Distinctions

Text Complexity & Instruction
7 actions teachers can take right now:  Text Complexity (Text Matters)

Text Complexity & Vocabulary

Text Complexity & its Measurement

Resources for the Book: The Most Magnificent Thing
Join the NEA Professional Practice Communities!
All my Close Reading resources are posted for FREE in my Ed Communities group. Click on the "common core K-5" link below to take you directly to the site. It's completely free, since it is funded by your NEA dues. 
What is this?
The NEA Professional Practice Communities, a place where teachers, parents, school support and administration professionals, and community members share ideas and resources to improve student success. It is free and open to all!

Link to join my online community:
Common Core K-5
https://www.facebook.com/commoncorecafe 

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