Falling in Love with Close Reading: A Book Study- Chapter 2

So, on to Chapter 2- The Essence of Understanding: A Study of Text Evidence.

 The author starts off this chapter explaining that in reading we often would tell students take an idea from your book and then find the evidence or the detail to support your thinking.  The problem was, not that kids couldn't find the evidence, but that their ideas were too simple- too removed from the text. They needed help constructing the ideas in the first place!  Usually kids have an idea, then go find evidence.  But, we need to flip it around and teach them to gather evidence, then develop an idea.  A HA MOMENT people- Yes!  That's so true.

They break reading closely for text evidence down into 3 steps:
1.  Read through a lens.
Choose specific details to gather as evidence/data.  Examples: what characters say/do/think, relationships, setting descriptions, time period, etc.
2.  Use lenses to find patterns.
Which details fit together?  How do they fit together?
3.  Use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text.
Look at patterns to think about: character's/people's- feelings, traits, or relationships. On a whole text level use patterns to think about themes or lessons.

So, what might this look like in the classroom?

Well, the author gives specific clear examples on what this process looks like in the classroom using examples from middle/high school age text.  Obviously this can be done with our elementary kiddos too- it’s all about differentiation.  He also suggests doing this process using popular songs to get things started. (Reminds me a bit of Comprehension Connections.) This is just a quick run down of the process:

 #1- Choose the text.  You’ll want to make sure it provides a rich opportunity to do close reading work towards your instructional goal.  When it comes time for your lesson, make sure you spend a little time introducing the ritual of close reading to your class and why you’re doing this.  

#2- Make a clear instructional goal. Then communicate it to your students.  This is your lens. (Ex: “One reason to read a text closely is to help us think more powerfully about our characters, purposefully gathering details about them and then reflecting on what the evidence reveals…Today we are going to focus specifically on what close reading for text evidence might reveal about the characters in the book. ”) 

#3- Read through your lenses and gather/write evidence and details about it.  Choose one lens to focus on as this will help you decide what evidence and details to pull out of the story.  Make a list of the evidence.

#4- Analyze the details by looking for patterns.  Look at your list of evidence and details and ask yourself, “Which details fit together?” and “How do they fit together?”  You can use color coding or circling, underlining, etc.  to help you group together like details to find patterns.

#5- Use the patterns to develop new ideas about the text.  The author states, “It’s essential that students develop new ideas about the text, not just collect details.”  This is the hard part!  It’s where the deep thinking is happening.  This is truly SYNTHESIZING in every aspect. You can use prompts to help get your kids started on revising their ideas.  (Click here for an awesome text evidence prompts freebie from Lessons Learned!)

#6- Let students practice these close reading skills independently in their own books.  After all, we only get good at the things we do.

Basically, the process is the same when reading non-fiction text only here we need to teach students to make sense of any confusing parts.  Non-fiction can be more difficult.  Make sure you keep your focus on teaching kids the steps and skills of close reading, not just on having them get things correct on the first try.  In non-fiction especially, even if students aren’t developing a totally correct idea, the work they do reading with lenses and finding patterns will usually lead them to a “more closely aligned idea than their first reading did.”  These skills also work in real life- don’t give up when it’s confusing, do more with it!

The chapter ends with the author giving more ideas on what to do to provide extra support for students that aren’t quite getting it and extensions for those high flyers.  He also gives some specific ways in which close reading can relate to our own lives by looking at specific details in our lives and developing ideas.

So, here’s my questions for you all- What fiction/non-fiction texts or articles have you used effectively when teaching close reading?

Enter to win your own copy of Falling in Love with Close Reading using the Giveaway Tools below!
Then, check out what the other bloggers thought of Chapter 2.  I know there's some freebies to go along with what we learned that you can use in your classroom from some of them! :) 

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