Let's Fall in Love (with Close Reading)!

Welcome to our book study with Dianna at Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching. Close Reading is certainly a "buzz phrase" going around the teaching world. There are a couple of book studies taking place about close reading, but when Dianna put a call out, I knew I wanted to participate in this one. 

We've chosen to study this book, Falling in Love with Close Reading, by Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts. Christopher Lehman also authored the book Pathways to the Common Core. My old principal had us read that book two years ago. She didn't require us to do a study of the book but she always said during her observations that she could tell the teachers who had read it. 

I also was fortunate enough this past school year to attend a professional development in my county called Vision. It met one Saturday a month from September to December. A book we delved into closely during that time was Notice and Note. So alas, close reading is not new to me. I attempted it midway through the school year this past year with some higher level reading groups. Time did not permit us to get very far. What I know from that experience is that I have more to learn. I also know that if I begin this process from the beginning of the school year both my students and myself can only get better with it. That's a good thing because I head back to school is just 23 days (yikes)! So without further ado:

Chapter 1 is really just an overview of what exactly close reading is and what it should be in a classroom. Before I go into the questions, I have to tell you that the very first paragraph was a brilliant analogy. Without having read anything in this book I was already aware that part of good close reading is reading a text or passage over and over again. Think about the things and people we love. We know them so well because we study them, and spend time with them, over and over again. It's as though we study the things and people we love. Think about it - how do you come to know a friend so well? You listen and listen over and over again when you have conversations. Close reading resembles a similar type of studying. 

1. Close reading is 1. involves rereading; 2. an interaction between the reader and the text; 3. making careful observations about a text and then interpreting them (or digging deeper); 4. It is something we should teach students to do, rather than just show them, do for them, or do to them. 
*It's important to note that the views of what close reading is has changed over time and adapted as common core became part of the everyday. 

2.  Powerful close reading instruction has several 'musts'. It must: 
- raise engagement
- lead to student independence
- be just one piece of your reading instruction, not all of it
- allow students to read for extended periods
- be repeated, allowing time for practice and refinement
- be designed to meet the needs of your students, not just 'work' with a book you are reading

3. Currently in my close reading, I always introduce new vocabulary. We read, and we read again. Maybe the third time we underline/highlight what we think is important. We have discussions. I know I am not perfect in this and what I am most excited to uncover in this book is methods and differentiation (especially for getting students to actually want to read something over and over again. 

Be sure to come back next Sunday for chapter 2, as I begin to uncover some of the aforementioned methods. 

In the meantime, make sure you enter our giveaway. 
And, make sure you go visit these other blogs participating in this book study, there are some great blogs and teachers to learn from.

1 comment

  1. Hi Sydney! Great review of the chapter. This is a fabulous book! Also, I love your blog design. So bright and colorful! :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners


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