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Close Reading and the Common Core

A presentation to the faculty of Wade Hampton High School, Greenville, SC August 16, 2013

Janet Atkins

on 16 August 2013

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Transcript of Close Reading and the Common Core

Close Reading:
Getting to the [Common] Core

How does one access and utilize literacy strategies?
Teaching is about transfer. The goal is for students to take what they learn from the study of one text and apply it to the next text they read.
The explicit teaching of reading strategies helps students to become increasingly skillful at interpreting, understanding, and analyzing text. As with any new skill, these reading strategies should be taught through a scaffolding method, which includes modeling the strategy, providing students with opportunities for guided practice with the strategy, and then having students independently apply the strategy.
Lev Vygotsky
Zone of Proximal Development
Literacy across the Curriculum
The Common Core State Standards “insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening and language be a shared responsibility in a school. This interdisciplinary approach to literacy is supported by extensive research establishing the need for college and career ready students to be proficient in reading complex informational text independently in a variety of content areas.” As this statement makes clear, it is the job of every teacher—no matter the grade level or subject area—to teach all students the reading and writing skills needed for success at the next level and beyond.
Essential Question 1
A Riddle?
Einstein, Newton and Pascal are playing Hide-and-Go-Seek. It’s Einstein’s turn to count so he covers his eyes and starts counting to ten. Pascal runs off and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square on the ground in front of Einstein then stands in the middle of it. Einstein reaches ten and uncovers his eyes. He sees Newton immediately and exclaims “Newton! I found you! You’re it!” Newton smiles and says “You didn’t find me; you found a Newton over a square meter.

You found Pascal
An Interesting Concept
A Metaphor
Engage the Text
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) supplies clarification useful for teaching with Common Core standards in mind:

Close, analytic reading stresses engaging with a text of sufficient complexity directly and examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, encouraging students to read and reread deliberately. Directing student attention on the text itself empowers students to understand the central ideas and key supporting details. It also enables students to reflect on the meanings of individual words and sentences; the order in which sentences unfold; and the development of ideas over the course of the text, which ultimately leads students to arrive at an understanding of the text as a whole. (PARCC, 2011, p. 7)
What do we teach?
"A meta-analysis of the literature on teaching effectiveness in [higher] education noted concerns from [higher] education, politicians and business people that [higher] education is failing to meet society's requirements for well-educated citizens. The study concluded that although faculty may aspire to develop students' thinking skills, in practice they tend to aim at facts and concepts in the disciplines, at the lowest cognitive levels, rather than development of intellect or values."
Definitions of Close Reading
You will hear it called
reading, or a host of other terms. All these labels refer to the same general process.
Close Reading of text involves an investigation of a short piece of text, with multiple readings done over multiple instructional lessons. Through text-based questions and discussion, students are guided to deeply analyze and appreciate various aspects of the text, such as
key vocabulary
and how its meaning is shaped by context; attention to form, tone, imagery and/or rhetorical devices; the significance of word choice and syntax; and the discovery of
different levels of meaning
as passages are read multiple times.
Today we’re going to attempt to define more clearly what close reading is, and to outline a a school-wide strategy that will encourage students to engage in it.
The Common Core Standards call for close reading of texts, and we ALL will need to teach our students literacy skills in our subject area.
Close strategic reading is one of the most powerful and enjoyable ways to develop the ability to think critically and evaluate information—to literally become smarter. Students should therefore have abundant daily opportunities to carefully read and reread texts for intellectual purposes—and with a pen in hand.
The on-ramp to success at every grade level and beyond is reading.

Strategic readers monitor their reading and know what to do if they wander off the reading road while attempting to read difficult text.
Thinking Notes
Questions to Consider
Jigsaw Method
Questions to Consider
How does focusing on one element of the text encourage close reading?
Notice how the groups share their findings with the class. How does this deepen understanding for both the sharers and the listeners?
In what ways is the jigsaw a time-saving strategy?
Post Its
Essential Question 3
What is the nature of skilled reading and how does it look in the minds of skilled readers?
The teacher’s goal in the use of
Close Reading
is to gradually release responsibility to students—moving from an environment where the teacher models for students the strategies to one where students employ the strategies on their own when they read independently.
Creating Independent Learners
Freire's Praxis
Freire (1970-1998) advocated for a critical pedagogy that was grounded in the “present, existential, concrete situation." He envisioned a teaching praxis that began with the lived experiences of students, accessing their emotional and ethical ties to the situations in which they struggled for voice and equity.
Metacognitive Practice
Teachers must teach students how to read. As classroom teachers, we cannot assume a student will use the literacy skills we use. We have to show them what can work and why.
Why the need for critical literacy?
While it may seem like common sense that anybody, any time, can engage in and apply critical literacy, nothing could be further from the case. Consider the scores of people who go out to engage in the latest fad – the miracle diet, the easy way to become a millionaire, the effortless approach to a great body. Or consider the cases where voters re-elect politicians despite corruption or even criminal convictions. Or think about all of the issues where a critical eye is essential – caring for the environment, preparing for the future, educating children. It is no understatement to argue that critical literacy is an important foundation for the well-being of a culture and society. In many ways, critical literacy is about becoming a thoughtful, responsible and contributing member of society.
Don't Laugh!
I was going to jump off the deep end at this point, and teach you a lesson on angles. After taking the practice test yesterday, I changed my mind. I thought it was the one thing I ever understood in high school math, but now I'm not so sure, so I totally get the student's expression in the photo!
Essential Question 2
What does the role of teachers’ modeling play in the students’ acquisition of content literacy?
In what ways do 'thinking notes' require students to track their response to a text and engage in more thoughtful reading?
What other reactions might you have students track when reading?
How do 'thinking notes' help students prepare for and structure discussions?
Taking the route to literacy: by-passing "B.S." (basic skills) on the hi-way to critical thinking.
Questions to Consider
How does this strategy enrich discussion?
What is the difference between the Post-it strategy and traditional note-taking?
How could you use this strategy to encourage reluctant students to participate?
Number the Paragraphs
Chunk the Text
Underline and circle...with a purpose
Left Margin: What is the author saying?
Right Margin: Dig deeper into the text.
Strategies Suitable for
Close Reading in Any Discipline
Turn and talk to a neighbor about a text you read in college or later in life that required you to read closely and made you smarter.
Lion Gardiner, Redesigning Higher Education: Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning. ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, 1995.
Can you read this?
Educated adults exist in a delusional state, thinking we can read. In the most basic sense, we can. After all, we've made it up to this point in the sentence and understand it all, right? And what about all those hundreds of books we read before now? These statements are only partly true; I am here to tell you the opposite. Odds are, some of us can't read, at least not as well as we would like. Too many of our students are capable of only some types of reading, and that painful lack reveals itself when they read a difficult text and must talk critically about it.

…speaks of an experience while teaching an honors course that illustrates the problem perfectly:

What I am going to report happened in a class in which we were reading Thomas Aquinas's treatise on the passions, but the same thing has happened in countless other classes with many different sorts of material. I asked a student what St. Thomas had to say about the order of the passions. He quite correctly told me that love, according to St. Thomas, is the first of all passions and that the other emotions, which he named accurately, follow in a certain order.

Mortimer Adler
Then I asked him what that meant [and how St. Thomas arrived at that sequence]. The student looked startled. Had he not answered the question correctly? I told him he had, but repeated my request for an explanation. He had told me what St. Thomas said. Now I wanted to know what St. Thomas meant. The student tried, but all he could do was to repeat, in slightly altered order, his original answer. It soon became obvious that he did not know what he was talking about, even though he would have made a good score of any examination that went no further than my original question or questions of a similar sort.
Adler Continued...
Please write a one to two paragraph journal entry on the quote by Toffler. At my signal, turn and share your thoughts with a partner.
"If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even more."
- Eric Shinseki

Close reading
involves asking the following kinds of questions:
•How are the meanings assigned to a certain facts, characters or events in a text?
•How does the text attempt to get readers to accept its information?
•What is the purpose of the text?
•Whose interests are served by the writing of this text? Whose interests are not served?
•What view of the world is put forth by the ideas in this text? What views are not?
• What are other possible perspectives on the information in the text?

Critical Literacy
Questions, Questions...
In mathematics, these questions produce insights that mathematical ideas are shaped by ways that numbers and data are represented – graphs, charts, in formulas. Mathematical texts impart human perspectives rather than just cold, objective data (Cobb, 2004).
Literacy in Mathematics
In history, critical literacy produces the idea that expert reading in history involves exploring the motivations of historical writers, examining evidence for conclusions and developing a healthy skepticism for historical claims (Vansledright, 2004).
In science, critical literacy is responsible for the realization that scientific theories are the products of scientific inquiry, conducted by communities of scientists who reason that there is a preponderance of evidence to support the theories (Yore et al., 2004).
Fine Arts
Critical literacy in arts underlies the notion that participation in the arts and artistic “texts” is an important part of how adolescents build their identities (Heath, 2004).
Core Shifts
Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction
Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational
Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
English Language Arts
Focus strongly where the Standards focus
Coherence: Think across grades, and link to major topics within grades
Rigor: In major topics, pursue conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application
Consider your own knowledge and practice of critical literacy. Describe a time when you felt you used critical literacy effectively. Describe another time when you wish you could have been more critically literate. How can you use your own experiences with critical literacy to help your students?
Free Write
1.Explore the messages about teachers, schools and adolescents that are communicated in the media. Make a list of the media images and messages that are reflected in television ads, newspapers and magazines.
2.Select a topic in your content area or a set of Big Ideas. Describe ways that you would personalize this topic and develop critical literacy with a group of students.
3.Select a controversial topic in your content area. Next, select a relevant teaching activity using close reading . Describe how you would use this topic and method of teaching to teach your students how to evaluate perspectives and/or consider evidence.

Model the chunking of text before asking the students to do this independently.
Instruct students using the following sequence:
•Examples and justification for when, why, and how to use this strategy
•Model using a text similar to the class reading assignments
•Guide students through an initial practice and evaluate the degree of mastery
before moving to an independent application of the strategy
•Allow students to use the strategy, scaffolding the instruction, until they gain proficiency

When to Chunk
Speaking of Complex Text...
Attributes of a Close Reading Lesson
1. Selection of a brief, high-quality, complex text. Limiting the length of the passage allows students the opportunity to apply new skills and
strategies through multiple readings of the text.
2. Individual reading of the text. Students unable to read the text independently might engage
in a partner read or a group read in lieu of an independent attempt.
3. Group reading aloud. A group read aloud might be teacher- or student-led. This practice supports the engagement of all students, especially those who struggle with reading the text independently, and reinforces the primacy of the text throughout Close Reading lessons.

4. Text-based questions and discussion that focus on discrete elements of the text. Questions and discussion may focus on the author’s word choices and repetition, specific sentences, literary devices, academic vocabulary, or
particular passages containing information that is key to the curricular objective.
5. Discussion among students. These discussions, either in small groups or across the whole class, will ensure that the text—as opposed to personal reflections—remains the focus as the
reader explores the author’s choices.
6. Writing about the text. Students may be asked to reflect on the knowledge gained through
Close Reading in short or long written passages.
Spend a few minutes working together on this infographic. Make a list of specific information that you learn from this visual, and then label it according to curriculum area.
Speaking of Complex Text...
"An airline estimates that 92% of people booked on their flights actually show up. If the airline books 75 people on a flight for which the maximum number is 73, what is the probability that the number of people who show up will exceed the capacity of the plane?"
At your table, use these words/phrases to write a sentence that summarizes today’s learning, or find an illustration (and label it) that represents the way these ideas relate to each other:

“three shifts in the Common Core State Standards”
“text complexity”
“close reading”
“instructional model for literacy”

Look back at the journals and questions from the various activities. How has your understanding grown? How will we foster this growth with our students? Write a final journal entry that summarizes your own learning from this afternoon. Please post your thoughts to Edmodo!

To Conclude
What was the role of women in Chinese society? Select specific instances from the text to support your statements
Read through "The villagers are watchful."
Have participants pull up selection from Kingston.
Work together on the text, using any skills/strategies you already have in your tool box or any that you've learned today.
Sticking with the text, decide what unspoken story is revealed in this segment? Write a brief reflection on your insights.
The ultimate goal of all reading events is to make meaning of what we have read. Comprehending text
involves a complex process of intertwining skills as visually demonstrated through Scarborough’s
“Reading Rope” (2001).
Full transcript