Sunday, July 20, 2014

Falling In Love with Close Reading: Chapter Three

Hi friends!  I'm back with a quick discussion of Chapter 3 from Falling in Love with Close Reading by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts.  This chapter was "A Way with Words: A Study of Word Choice." 

Working with my students this year, I found that my struggling writers had a very difficult time discussing word choice in a text.  Makes sense right?  Students that really couldn't write a narrative without using words such as "good" or "nice" really had a tough time discussing why an author might use a word such as "meandering."  My big ah-ha moment from this chapter was the suggestion to use sentence frames to help students discuss word choice.  For primary teachers this might seem obvious, but for this fifth grade teacher, I don't often use sentence frames.

I think these sentence frames (and the authors offered additional frames on page 42) would work very well on a binder ring for students to use as reference during their small group discussions.  

 I've used similar cards for small group roles.
And for student led discussion prompts.

In my practice last year, I'm not sure I demanded enough of my students when it came to discussing author's choice and word choice.  It felt like all of our discussions ended with the author chose certain words because they would be most interesting to the reader.  While this isn't necessarily incorrect, it's clear to me now that it's not nearly as precise .  Better discussions might have revolved around words that felt hopeful or conveyed a sense of anxiety.

Be sure to check out the other blogs discussing close reading every Sunday!  {Links below!}

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