Sunday, July 13, 2014

Falling In Love with Close Reading: Chapter 2

 Hey all!  Last week I blogged about the first chapter of Falling in Love with Close Reading and this week I'm back to tell you about chapter 2 "The Essence of Understanding."

I found the first part of this chapter to be particularly relevant to my practice in the classroom.  For years, I've tried to teach my students to "write long" off of their sticky notes. Each year, I have students who master this and write beautifully off of their stickies and I also have other students who struggle to simple post something on a sticky, forget "writing long."  In the first part of this chapter, the authors write "it turned out that the issue was not whether they could cite, the challenge was how they constructed their ideas in the first place" (page 11-12).  Like I've found, they authors wrote "students have an idea, then go find evidence." But what we want is for students to "gather evidence, then develop an idea."  My goodness, I had a fellow this year who really needed a few lessons about using text as the basis for ideas rather than using his imagination!

The idea of reading through a lens is definitely going to become a part of my classroom practice next year as well.  Rather than having students read without purpose, the authors suggest teachers create a chart with their students to teach them to read through a lens.  This lens could be to gather information about
* what characters/people say/think/do
* relationships
* setting descriptions
* time period

The authors lay out a narrative a teacher might use to teach his or her students to read through the lens of studying character.  It's three and half pages of teaching that is in the style of what you might read in Fountas and Pinnell's Guiding Readers and Writers.  It really helped me envision how I might frame a mini lesson or several mini lessons to teach my students how to read through a lens.

From the narratives and anecdotes, you get the sense that the students do a lot of talking. I've always wondered if my reading block was broken at times, because my students definitely talked.  In my early years as a teacher I worried it was too much, but now I don't worry nearly as much when I see my kids leaning across the table to share funny parts of their books, or to ask a neighbor a question.  It's a part of the reading community to have talkers!

Tell me: do you have your students read through lens, or set a purpose for their reading before they begin?

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