Take your Close Reading Out of the Box

Our Graded students in Integrated Science I and II (grades 9 / 10) have to work through very difficult text, which is an important feature of the Educhange curriculum that we have adopted.  So in my coaching role I went to the classroom to model close reading strategies. My modelling was mainly based on the Points of Entry article from Educational Leadership, as well as my personal experience as a reader of scientific text.

To help teachers, I first digested the Points of Entry article and created a light summary  in the form of a slideshow about close reading strategies. That gave them quick tips and resources to look at, including videos of different aspects of close reading.

One of the suggestions from Points of Entry was to video record the think aloud modelling of close reading. That was so easy to do. It just involved me asking the teacher in the room to hold my cellphone and record ( it could have been a student, or I could have used a cellphone stand … but mine was broken, so I have to buy another one).

Here is a snapshot of my text annotation for the close reading. I used the Notability App for the iPad. But students can use paper and pencil, Google Docs, or anything they can feel organised with. When I asked questions to the text, I wrote notes in red. When I came to some understanding / conclusion, I wrote notes in black. Words highlighted in red mean “I have no clue”. Words highlighted in yellow mean “I think I may know what it means”. Any underlined text indicates important ideas and details.

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The think aloud in itself , when you model for the students,  is a powerful way to give them access to how that close reading works. You are making your thinking visible. The video recording captures that visible thinking and allows easy access anytime. So students can play back and you can play back anytime, anywhere.  This simple video recording / sharing approach already promotes an amplification of teh learning.

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Any student can also easily think aloud through their close reading and share for peer learning, feedback or self-assessment as well. That would amplify this piece of learning even more.

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