WELCOME to Chapter 1 of Text Dependent Questions! This book was written by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey. I hope you agree after reading chapter 1, is it a gem!
I always love the launch of a book study. I am filled with excitement and quite honestly… I am a wee-bit nervous. These are the things that I wonder:
- Will I notice the same things as the other book-study-ers do?
- Will I miss something that really resonates with another book-study-er?
I am human, so chime in if I skim over that big WOW moment you might have had!
What is Close Reading?
Great question! The book reminds us that close and critical reading is not new and that it has been around for decades. However, dissecting the process in this way, perhaps is.
Here are my two cents… If you have been in education very long, you will see practices cycle. We used to approach instruction one way, then someone comes up with another practice and we might throw out the old and try something new. Then… four years later, we return to a practice we previously did. One thing for certain, given enough time, “best practices” will shift.
Here is my wish for me and for you. When we return to the “old days,” we keep our eyes and ears open. It has been my experience that the “old days” are not exactly the same. There will be subtle twists and changes. In my opinion, a wise teacher takes what they know of the “good old days” and then attaches their new learning to emerge with the latest, greatest version!
Flashback to my high school days:
Monday ~ Teacher hands out a passage for us to read on our own and then answer the questions. It was due Tuesday.
Tuesday ~Maybe I get them right, maybe I get them wrong… the red pen will tell all. I really did not grow as a reader because of this activity.
Fisher and Frey state:
Close reading is an instructional routine in which students are guided in their understanding of complex texts… When students read hard texts individually and independently and then answer questions, we do not define that as close reading. Students have to be interacting with others.”p.2
I think I underlined the phrase collaborative conversation about a zillion times.
Phases of Close Reading
The authors tell us that the path to deeper comprehension begins on the literal level. (Thank goodness because we are all VERY literal over here in kindergarten… right?) Over the course of this book, we will dig deeper into each of these four close reading phases.
- What does the text say?
- How does the text work?
- What does the text mean?
- What does the text inspire you to do?
When we created our Guiding Readers Units, we used similar thinking. Let me show you how they line up. We constructed our questions for Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse this way:
- What does the text say? (Key Ideas & Details)
- How does the text work? (Craft & Structure)
- What does the text mean? (Integration of Knowledge and Ideas)
- What does the text inspire you to do? (Other)
Click on the image to grab this unit for FREE.
You can see there are a ton of questions that could be asked about Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse during our week-long book discussion… honestly, we won’t ask them all. On page 21, the authors remind us that sometimes our carefully crafted questions won’t be used. The students will have insightful observations and conversations that will amaze you and you won’t need all of these questions.
How do you go about selecting books for your close introspection? Is this done as a district, grade level, individually?
Close Reading is Messy
It is clear that close reading does not offer a clear path from Point A to Point B. How does that make you feel? How comfortable are you with trying new things in your classroom? Are you given the instructional freedom to try new things?
Embrace the Struggle
Oh… this might be hard for some teachers. It was for me originally. I agree that kindergarten is more than academics. Students need social interaction and play… BUT they can do SO much more! I noticed in my classroom, sometimes my MOST insightful thinkers, were not necessarily my most successful kids on paper. They seem to be the fearless ones. The other side of this are the students who are used to being right, so when they encounter a bit of a struggle, they want to wait it out until the teacher rescues them.
SIDE NOTE: 6-12 teachers, besides silently judging my grammar ;), I am wondering how closely the 6-12 text matched the K-5 text?
Now the discussion part… you have a few options:
- Comment below! Easy, breezy!
- Join our Facebook Group… we are a kindergarten crowd, but we promise to let you in for our book chat 🙂
- If you have a blog, you can link up!