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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading... a book study!

Hello Everyone!  I hope you are having a fabulous summer so far! I am excited to be participating in the Notice and Note book study that is being hosted by Melissa at Dilly-Dabbles.  To catch up on all the chapter reviews/posts you can click on the above link to see all the hosted chapters.

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
By: Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

With that being said... onto my chosen chapters: 

Lesson 3: Tough Questions and Lesson 4: Words of the Wiser (pgs. 140-162)


There is probably little to say in terms of how great this book is that hasn't been already shared in the previous book chapter reviews.  At the beginning of summer I took a district literacy workshop.  Part of the morning they focused on close reading.  I had heard of close reading but hadn't learned or practiced it in my own classroom, so being in this book study and my district workshop has been fantastic.  I am taking away so many ideas and practices that I actually think I can successfully utilize in my own classroom this upcoming school year.

What I loved about my two chapters is that they are step by step directions of how you can introduce both the tough questions and words of the wiser signposts to your students.  They give a script of how this signpost was taught in a classroom, what the teacher said and also student reactions.

Let's start with Tough Questions...  Here are the highlights or jist of what you need to know about Tough Questions.

1.  This signpost helps students identify and recognize the importance of the major problem the character is facing.  Think deeper questions here, not just "What is the characters sister's name?"

2.  Share with your students examples of tough questions and non-tough questions so they understand what the difference is.

3.  For this modeled lesson in the book they use the chapter book, A Long Walk to Water... which by the way I haven't read but heard at my last workshop that this is an EXCELLENT book.  Now that I see it in this book and heard from other teachers I have to read it!!

4. As you read the chapter they will give you excerpts of the book, so you get an idea of what they are talking about with the class and how they can identify the tough questions.

5.  Troubleshooting... what do you do if you have a student that just can come up with an answer to the tough questions.  Some students might just respond by saying, "I wonder what the answer is."  Thankfully the book gives examples of different types of wondering such as "How would I feel if I were in these circumstances?" or "What would happen if the character made this choice, instead of that one?"

6.  As a fourth grade teacher, I am thinking what chapter book would I use to introduce this signpost?  I'm thinking it can't be too hard of a book, something just right or a little below.  I think I'm going to give it a shot with Fourth Grade Rats.  I think there is a lot of character dilemma where Suds is questioning who he is and what he should do.  I also think fourth graders can identify with him and come up with the answers to the tough questions for Suds.

And now onto Words of the Wiser... if you are still with me!  :)  I hope!  I know there is a lot of information within these two chapters that I don't want to leave out!

1.  I was originally excited about this chapter because they use the book Ride to Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan.  I KNOW THAT BOOK!  I use it for a guided-reading or lit circle book time to time.  So when I read this chapter I can see how Words of the Wiser works and how to model it to my students!

2.  Words of the Wiser... students are taught to identify the scene in which a wiser, and generally older, character offers the main character some critical advice.

3.  Usually this lesson is taught fourth, after Contrasts and Contradictions, Aha Moments, and Tough Questions.  Also note that these lessons are not mini-lessons.  You need a good chunk of time, say 30-40 mins to fully teach and model the concept.

4.  As with Tough Questions you are going to begin by explaining what wise words are... how your parents or older siblings give you advice.

5. Using scenes from the book, you show how someone was giving Charlotte advice.  Example, when Vern was telling Charlotte "You gotta do what your heart tells you."  You ask questions to the students such as, "How could this advice affect the character?"

6.  The authors do state that most of the chapter books they have read do have Words of the Wiser moments, not all but as long as the main character is a child or young adult, then a wiser and older character often gives advice.

7.  Other recommended books for additional practice:  Walk Two Moons, Tuck Everlasting, Thank You, Ma'am.  These are geared towards older grades though.

Phew!!  I really am excited to dive into Close Reading next school year.  If you have any doubts or questions on how to do close reading, especially using fiction text, this is the book to get! 

I hope you enjoyed this whole book study!  Make sure to check out the other posts.  A lot of bloggers have included some amazing template that are free for you to use!  I know I will be!

Enjoy and Good Luck!


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  1. I think there is likely little to say as far as how extraordinary this book is that hasn't been now imparted in the past book section surveys. At the start of summer I took a locale education workshop. Some piece of the morning they concentrated on close perusing. I had become aware of close perusing yet hadn't learned or drilled it in my own particular classroom, so being in this book study and my area workshop has been incredible.
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  2. I think this type of book should be read by a lot of us so we can impart a lot of good knowledge to our students in research paper writer help academic.