Close Reading: An Instructional Strategy for Conquering Complex Text

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Videos

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Students from Kerry Meehan's third-grade class at World of Inquiry School #58 in Rochester, NY, experience a close reading lesson from EL Education's grades 3-8 ELA curriculum (G3:M2A:U1:L2). The teacher guides students through the close reading process, checks for understanding, and leverages the power of student talk and collaboration to help them make meaning of a complex text.

In this video, students and teachers are engaged with EL Education's grades 3-8 ELA curriculum. This video accompanies the book Transformational Literacy: Making the Common Core Shift with Work That Matters.


Type

Videos

Grade Level

Discipline

Students from Kerry Meehan's third-grade class at World of Inquiry School #58 in Rochester, NY, experience a close reading lesson from EL Education's grades 3-8 ELA curriculum (G3:M2A:U1:L2). The teacher guides students through the close reading process, checks for understanding, and leverages the power of student talk and collaboration to help them make meaning of a complex text.

In this video, students and teachers are engaged with EL Education's grades 3-8 ELA curriculum. This video accompanies the book Transformational Literacy: Making the Common Core Shift with Work That Matters.


Transcript

- When you read more than once, you can find something different each time.

- Okay third graders, we’re gonna work today on another close reading lesson. Close reading is considered an instructional strategy that helps student conquer complex texts. Kayla will you turn for the two of you? Today’s lesson starts with engaging the students in the text the Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle. Page turners you with me? When read out loud to the students, it has to be read fluently so they can get the flow of the text. Over the bayou waters that slowly wind their way behind the white wooden house. I choose to read without interruptions, the students just become acquainted and familiar with the text. I don’t want to feed the students my meaning of the text, I want to give them a chance to construct their own. So those are chunks or excerpts we’re looking at out of the book today. The next part of the lesson includes unpacking the learning targets. Today’s targets, you’re going to read like you’re a researcher. Kinda like a scientist right? Because you’re going to work towards being an expert on frogs. I can list key details in the text that support the main idea. In the second target of the lesson I made sure to clarify with the students that we had an agreed upon understanding of the term key details, and that would be really crucial to moving forward in the lesson. Jalen what were you able to share at with your group?

- About the text, what the story’s about.

- So we’re gonna hold that key details open up the story and key details are the very important details that go with what the story’s really about. You ready? I can define the scientific concept of adaptation. On the third target I gave the students a chance to discuss if they had ever heard or were familiar with the word adaptation. Kamyiah’s table could you say what you decided what the word adaptation meant?

- I think adaptation means like, frogs and owls have good techniques and eyesight to stay away from the predators.

- And then we were able to lay the foundation for establishing a deeper meaning of that word throughout the lesson. They think the eyes on a frog or an owl are an adaptation, can we look for that today in the reading? Before I get into this next piece of work time, I wanted to make sure I went over with the students what good readers or close readers do. Sean what do good readers or close readers do, that we don’t have up there yet?

- Look in the text more than one time.

- Nice job. Kayla, why do we read over and over and over again?

- So we won’t forget the details back inside the text.

- So in our class we agree that close readers read the text multiple times so they gain a deeper understanding or find other layers to the text. Close readers return to the text to get text evidence when they’re answering comprehension questions. Close readers physically engage with the text, so they come over their work. Pencil active, and engaged the entire time. In this work time the students underline key details, circle vocabulary or unfamiliar words, and jot down the jist in the margin. Previously in module one those were scaffolded separate tasks. Now since they feel more comfortable with the instructional strategy of close reading they’re able to combine and do those pieces as one job in this work time. I address student anxiety working through complex texts by framing for them to expect to encounter unfamiliar words, and to apply strategies they’re familiar with to get through those words. So we’ve decided as a class that when we’re working to find the meaning of the word that we use the context clues around that word. They continue reading on to the bottom of the page, it may support them and really understanding the meaning of that word. So find your partner... After the students annotate the text it’s an important point to stop and check for understanding. I’m gonna ask you a question, you’re gonna think about the answer, So I use a protocol back to back, and face to face. I start back to back so students have some think time to prepare their thoughts, and then go face to face to check in, and then go through that cycle several times, so then they can always return to their own thought before they share out.

- It talked about how bullfrogs hybernate cause.

- [Teacher] They can first check in with each other about the marks that they made and why.

- I circled bayou because.

- And also question each other if they needed support on anything they underlined, circled, of if they were not able to yet complete the jist. They’d at least be able to share it orally.

- Bullfrogs go through the duckweed and they go to the edge...

- [Teacher] In the next section of the work time they were looking for key details related to their main idea and recording those on their close reading recording form and note catcher. I needed to do another check for understanding, so I offered them the protocol the whip-around. I want you to do a whip-around of your table. In the whip-around I want you to discuss the key details you wrote down.

- Bullfrogs can swim a long long time.

- [Teacher] Also have an opportunity whip-around a second time to possibly change their thinking or justify keeping their main idea.

- I chose to change my main idea because, well it really wasn’t in the text that much.

- [Teach] er Some students were able to have an ah-ha moment that their key details did not match their main idea and then were able to make revisions.

- I think you should change it a little bit, something like what the story actually like talks about. Bullfrogs and different things about them.

- [Teacher] That to me shows the value behind student talk and the conversations led to change and also the deeper understanding of what the text was really about.

- So they can swim while in the water.

- Remember in the beginning learning target, they asked us to think about that word adaptation, what would you say adaptations means now?

- I just think it’s talking about the body parts...

- [Teacher] At this point in the lesson, I was able to give them a second to think, pair-share around that scientific concept of adaptation.

- The frogs turn different colors, like they camouflage.

- Work to synthesize their learning around adaptations using a sentence frame. I think a frog has blank to help it survive by blank. Or I think a frog does blank to help it survive.

- I think a frog has his long webbed feet to help it to swim.

- [Teacher] Great. So I closed out today’s lesson by asking students to use a fist to five protocol to recheck the targets that we started with in today’s lesson. Things we’d worked on they’d showed that they felt stronger in, and things that were to come are definitely need to be followed up on. At first the students didn’t understand the value behind close read.

- The whole entire class was like frustrated with it, and we were like struggling with the work, and now that we got better with it it’s like easier for us to answer questions.

- Like if you read more and more you’ll get better at it every single time we read.

- [Teacher] I have really had to grapple with this new type of work in close reading, but the value has been tremendous. So I’m not seeing confusion and frustration any longer but just this huge engagement and participation in the text.

- The main idea of this passage is about bull frogs in the summer.

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