I have a question regarding close reading and struggling adolescent readers. What I’ve read about close reading suggests that students should first read the text independently. I’m wondering if this still applies when students are reading significantly below grade level (2-5 years). Is reading the text aloud and modeling thinking (around Key Ideas and Details) during the first read ever appropriate?
Thanks in advance for your response!
Deb Gardner's insight:
Close reading: an outcome not a teaching strategy.
The goal is for students to be able to closely read complex texts independently and proficiently.
It’s an unwieldy mouthful, but it carries essential information to which all school administrators should pay close attention: The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies and Science, and Technical Subjects.
Why is the title so important? Because it states explicitly that the ELA curriculum is not entirely the province of the English department.
Recently, I participated in a webinar for McGraw-Hill about teaching with the common core standards. Participants sent in some questions and I have provided answers to those questions. Thought you might be interested in the wide-ranging conversation.
Deb Gardner's insight:
The link to Tim Shanahan's webinar can be found here.
While I get that “graphic novels” come from the comic book, they tend to be more extensive, sophisticated than past comics, and they have their own “visual literacy” demands that can be worth mastering. No, the modern graphic novel cannot be as easily dismissed from the curriculum or classroom as Archie and Jughead.Maus won a Pulitzer Prize for good reason. Finding a role for the graphic novel makes sense.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Takeaway: Graphic novels have a place in the curriculum but not for the purpose of providing an easier read of a difficult text.
This afternoon, we had a great practical discussion with International Reading Association President-elect Maureen McLaughlin and University of Chicago literacy and curriculum specialist Timothy Shanahan. The conversation touched on everything from text complexity and English-language learners to comprehension for the youngest students. For those interested in all things common core, check out the archived transcript.
Helpful post here not only for frontloading information for ELLs prior to reading complex texts, but also why multiple reads are important for all students.
In the past, we tended to read a text once in classrooms, so the reading had to be maximally productive. We had to make sure the kids got the information. It wouldn’t be fair otherwise. The premium was on the information and teachers were just making sure that students at least heard the information.
In contrast, the idea being stressed these days is that students SHOULD read the text more than once. What you don’t get the first time, you might get the second. Instead of front-loading the first reading, you could try front-loading the second or third—after the kids had a chance to pedal the bike themselves. If they ask a question about what they don’t understand, by all means answer. But don’t always assume that they won’t get it… give them a chance to fall… who knows they might just surprise you.
As teachers begin working and planning with Common Core in mind, there are legitimate questions being raised on how to balance whole group, explicit direct instruction with flexible grouping in the literacy block. This is particularly important when thinking about students working with more difficult texts and the amount and type of scaffolding that might be needed.
Tim Shanahan offers practical advice based on research and experience. The research show us two things:
1. The amount of explicit instruction is very important in student learning and that 2. Instruction requires lots of interaction between teachers and students.
Tim Shanahan's new post weighs in on what research states is the best mix of text to foster optimal student learning and the claims may surprise you.
He includes practical guidance teachers can use in choosing texts for their own subjects and encourages teachers to co-plan in order to offer a balanced and challenging reading menu that includes just the right "slice".
Salami, yes, but you can hold the bologna! Let's just get down to serving up a hearty meal of challenging reading, rich with informational (not necessarily non-fictional) texts. That is what most students will be expected to read and understand at the next level.
Question: I have taught elementary and currently teach middle school language arts. One thing that has been bothersome since I began teaching middle school is a lack of differentiating instruction to students’ needs. I am trying to research best practices and lead an action plan for my school as I work towards my masters. I understand that students are now expected to read at a more difficult and complex text level with CCSS. I can’t imagine handing out a text of the same difficulty level to 30 students and expecting the same results. There still needs to be varying levels of text in a classroom. How would you suggest meeting the varying levels of students in your classroom? How should the lesson delivery look?
"Urban legends are plausible stories—told as truths—that revolve around the complexities and challenges of modern life. Such legends are usually told as though they happened to someone the teller knows (a friend of a friend), such as the story about the friend's grandmother who dried her poodle in the microwave. (If these tales are meant to be cautionary tales, I've never been sure whether that one was supposed to warn us of the dangers of technology or of grandmothers.) Sociologists haven't managed to pin down exactly how and why these stories get started, but they're clearly spread by word of mouth and there's usually a grain of truth in them (and sometimes, as it turns out in the case of "the dingo ate my baby" story, more than a grain of truth).
It's not surprising, then, that the recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by 46 states and the District of Columbia has given rise to anxieties among educators that have fueled the flames of misperception, confusion, and rumor. I explore some of those legends here in the hope of slowing their spread."
The Common Core State Standards crystallize new ways of looking at how students read in the digital age. The standards draw on research about the different ways students read narrative and informational text, different types of writing in different disciplines, and the importance of working with texts of varied complexity and difficulty.
However, the common core deliberately leaves out specific instructional strategies to help students meet those standards, and researchers say they will have to hustle to develop best practices for teachers.
Our guests—one a researcher on the committee that helped develop the literacy standards, the other leading a group to help teachers implement them—will talk about the research behind the standards, and how to make sense of the changing literacy landscape.
"Recently, I received a note from an educator trying to develop “power standards” for the common core. Power standards is a concept developed by Doug Reeves and Larry Ainsworth. Their idea was that school districts needed to identify the most important curriculum standards – the ones students really needed to learn—and then to prioritize those standards to ensure maximum learning."
However, that was then.... and this is now... Read on for our new relationship with the Common Core. It's not that the old one was poor, it's that the Commore Core are different!
Tim Shanahan provides this helpful post in understanding Do's and Don'ts when you're just beginning to "date" the standards. Work confidently that it will be a mutually beneficial and enduring relationship!
Tim Shanahan defines "close reading" and digs into the Common Core Reading Standards (both literature and informational text). Further, he defines the rationale for re-reading and offers examples in his hyperlinked Google doc slides.
Highly recommend taking a look - it's worth the "close" read.
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