Last week I got a text from a teacher asking for some help with Close Reading. The request got me excited. I explained to that teacher, that I really hadn't done much work in that area. I had an idea of what I thought it meant, but since I've been retired and just working in classes focusing on writing, I would need to read up on it. Yes, I knew that it was a focus in the CCSS. Yes, I had done some reading on the subject. Still, I didn't feel comfortable working at the expert level! So, I checked out Heinemann and found a new book. Yes, I know I'm retired and do NOT need more professional books. Still, I bought it!
After receiving the book today on my doorstep, I spent the rest of the afternoon reading! I am now about 1/3 into it. I am fascinated and can't put it down. The authors start out introducing Signposts to look for as reading is taking place. This is in order to find things that call out for close reading.
The three parts of the book are: The Questions We Pondered, The Signposts We Found, and The Lessons We Teach. So far, my favorite chapter is: What Do We Mean by Intellectual Communities? For so long, I have believed that students need to have discussions that are deep and ask the questions in discussion time, instead of teachers asking the questions. (When they already knew the answer they were looking for!)
"The purpose of schools ought to be to create intellectual communities where students are encouraged to be risk takers, to be curious, to be willing to try and fail, and to be more interested in asking questions than providing answers." pg. 24
I know teachers are going to love the part that is full of actual lessons for each of the signposts, including charts that they can lift out of the book and use in the classroom. To add to that, in the Appendix are the actual texts for teaching the signpost lessons!
I can't wait to meet with those teachers who are ready to take the next step and dive into close reading to help their kiddos have the tools they need to be productive readers. Did I mention that the authors understand that it is more important to have intellectual communities than to teach to the test?
"What might make a difference would be schools becoming the intellectual communities that they ought to be but can't be when the penalty for not teaching to the test is so high." pg 25