Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Close Reading Summer Read

As soon as the school year is over, I start thinking about the next school year - new group of students, reconfiguring the classroom, how I will make changes in my daily schedule, new centers, cleaning out files, etc. It's quite a long list, and part of the planning for next year is summer reading.

I'm especially interested in learning more about using close reading with first graders. I thought a great way to do this would be to follow along with the Close Reading Book Study with Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts and Tara at Little Minds at Work.

The book is Close Reading in Elementary School  by Diana Sisson and Betsy Sisson.

Chapter 3 is an overview of close reading strategies. The authors suggest that the best way to learn about and get started with close reading instruction is to learn the framework for conducting a lesson. They give ten steps to creating a close reading lesson. 

A framework is just what I needed to get started. As I read, I was particularly focused on how to do close reading with younger children. Here are a few key points that I especially found helpful:

Since most of my first graders are just beginning to read and are at different levels of reading ability, I wondered how they would all be able to access the text. The authors talk about using a progression of read alouds, shared reading, and then transitioning to small groups with primary students.

They also talk about ways to scaffold the text - start with video productions, next oral text {read aloud or audio tape}, and then move to picture books {which we use all the time in first grade}. 

Close reading can also be scaffolded with hands-on strategies. These strategies can be used as intermediate steps. One suggestion is to mark up the text. We use Wikki Stix all the time in our classroom, so the suggestion to use Wikki Stix to "circle" important words, main events, etc. caught my eye. I always mark up text as I read. It really is helpful when I go back to reread. I can see how this would be helpful for children. 

Another suggestion is to have children annotate - write down thoughts, questions, understandings, etc. in the margins. Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies has a great idea for doing this. She places articles in plastic sleeves so students can mark on text - an idea I plan on using. 

I'm organizing as I'm learning and gathering information about close reading. 

In need of a binder cover? I created a few before deciding on this one. Click on the picture to get a Close Reading binder cover. 

If you are just beginning to learn about close reading or have even been instructing close reading lessons, I definitely recommend Close Reading in Elementary School. Read the book and join the book study here.

Hope you're enjoying your summer reading.