Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading. Part 1

There is probably little to say in terms of how great this book is that hasn’t been already shared in the previous book chapter reviews.  At the beginning of summer I took a district literacy workshop.  Part of the morning they focused on close reading. 

I had heard of close reading but hadn’t learned or practiced it in my own classroom, so being in this book study and my district workshop has been fantastic.  I am taking away so many ideas and practices that I actually think I can successfully utilize in my own classroom this upcoming school year.

What I loved about my two chapters is that they are step by step directions of how you can introduce both the tough questions and words of the wiser signposts to your students.  They give a script of how this signpost was taught in a classroom, what the teacher said and also student reactions.

Let’s start with Tough Questions…  Here are the highlights or jist of what you need to know about Tough Questions.

1.  This signpost helps students identify and recognize the importance of the major problem the character is facing.  Think deeper questions here, not just “What is the characters sister’s name?”

2.  Share with your students examples of tough questions and non-tough questions so they understand what the difference is.

3.  For this modeled lesson in the book they use the chapter book, A Long Walk to Water… which by the way I haven’t read but heard at my last workshop that this is an EXCELLENT book.  Now that I see it in this book and heard from other teachers I have to read it!!

4. As you read the chapter they will give you excerpts of the book, so you get an idea of what they are talking about with the class and how they can identify the tough questions.

5.  Troubleshooting… what do you do if you have a student that just can come up with an answer to the tough questions.  Some students might just respond by saying, “I wonder what the answer is.”  Thankfully the book gives examples of different types of wondering such as “How would I feel if I were in these circumstances?” or “What would happen if the character made this choice, instead of that one?”

6.  As a fourth grade teacher, I am thinking what chapter book would I use to introduce this signpost?  I’m thinking it can’t be too hard of a book, something just right or a little below.  I think I’m going to give it a shot with Fourth Grade Rats.  I think there is a lot of character dilemma where Suds is questioning who he is and what he should do.  I also think fourth graders can identify with him and come up with the answers to the tough questions for Suds.