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Close Reading and Annotation Strategies

Find some new strategies to teach close reading and annotation to your middle and high school students from your #2ndaryELA friends! #teaching

Do you use close reading in your language arts classes?  It has recently become a district initiative where I teach so getting some new strategies for close reading and annotation was something I really needed this year!  Fortunately, the #2ndaryELA nation came together on Twitter to share some ideas and this is what they shared:

Q1: What is your definition of close reading? How do you explain it to students?
Replying to 
A1 To me close reading is looking closely at a section of a text for a specific purpose
A1: Close reading is... -Reading to learn -Taking notes -Reading multiple times -Having a specific purpose
A1: This is our district wide initiative and they say it is reading text multiple times for various kinds of meaning.
A1 con't: We read the first time for "gist", the second time to annotate for key words, key ideas, evidence, the third time for text dependent Qs.
A1: Close reading is a thoughtful interpretation and understanding of a brief passage of text. I explain close reading to my students as a step by step process to breaking down a text.
Q2: What is your process for teaching text annotation?
A2: I teach it step-by-step with a full on modeling lesson. Then I have Ss do one part on their own with a new text. Then Ss do 2 parts on their own with another new text. Then SS do all 3 parts on their own with yet another text.
A2 con't: I made bookmark that have the code we use for annotation that I contact papered to the desks too.
A2: I create a step by step process. 1. underline important terms 2. circle definitions/meanings 3. write key words/definitions in margins 4. Star important details+ add why in the margin. We use a lot of color and highlighter tools. I always model the first time.
A2: It really depends on what I want them to get out of the text. Sometimes we're reading a text that does not require close attention to vocabulary, but requires a lot of inferring about character traits. What never changes is clearly stating a purpose for the Ss.
A2 cont.: The beauty of Edji is I can state the purpose, model reading for a given purpose, then let them practice together, and finally have them practice individually quickly and without a lot of prep or transitions. It's also easy to backup when needed
Q3: How often and for what purposes do you use close reading and text annotation?
A3: As a ELA/SS teacher we read texts to determine main idea AND to determine how British and American viewpoints on the Boston Tea Party might be different. Ultimately, it needs to be a text worth reading and thinking about for an extended period of time.
A3: We use it just about every time we read a new text in class that we'll be studying.
A3: Anytime we read a new text! My SPED students need all the practice to break down a text together so they can then do independent work later. If they don’t understand the text they’ll simply shut down.
Q4: How do you select your text dependent questions?
A4: Our questions are based on whatever standard we are teaching through that text. For example we were studying POV so all the TDQ were on POV.
A4: Our questions are based on whatever standard we are teaching through the particular text. For example we were studying rhyme recently so all the questions were on rhyme.
A4: The text dependent Qs ensure Ss are focusing on the right things, be that a skill or a paragraph. We do almost all of our close reading in Edji. I often give Ss a question & they locate the piece of text that would serve as an answer; kinda like Jeopardy.
A4 cont.: Ex. at the top of the text I might write, "How do you know the Big Bad Wolf is bad?" The Ss know to look for a passage in the text to answer this Q. When they find it, they highlight "he huffed and puffed and blew the house down" and put the Q as a comment
Q5: Share your best resources for close reading and text annotation.
A5: Teachers frequently tell us Edji is the best close reading tool they've ever used. It's collaborative and updates in real-time like Google Docs, but like Notability, students can also work individually. Ts can quickly adjust instruction w/ Edji.
A5: All I have to share right now are my bookmarks as I just completed my formal obs. and will be blogging about that soon. They will be added to the Google Drive in the FB group. Join us! :)
A5: For annotating, my favorite tool is Google Docs and I have worked with showing my students tools in Word. For close reading, we use USA TestPrep a great deal.
I hope you found some new strategies for close reading and annotation here! I recently had my formal observation using close reading and you will able to read all about that on this blog soon! Until then, I hope you'll have a look around and stay a while. Maybe you'd even like to join the Teacher Troop!

Thanks for stopping by!