Close reading is such a hot topic in upper grades, I loved seeing how the thinking was made transparent and accessible for kids at a younger age. (You can read a super article here from reading guru Timothy Shanahan about what close reading is, why it’s important, and how to guide students through the process.)
So, what’s the difference between teaching close listening and modeling close reading for our older students? Not much except for our mindset. When I model a concept for students, I anticipate that there is some foundation ready for me to “show” my thinking to, and then they’re ready to take it over. When I teach students a concept, there’s a bigger commitment on my part to build that foundation.
One of the beliefs of Words Their Way is a step backward can be a step forward. Removing the layer of reading allows us to build a firmer foundation by only asking students to focus only on the thinking this deeper level of comprehension requires. So, take a step backward with close listening.
Hearing how in depth these teachers were going to develop their students' understanding of text and how it works made me realize that my older students need this just as much and that I need to sssslllooooowwww down the process of getting them there.
The reality is our students may not have many close listening experiences. I sure wasn’t doing what these amazing ladies were talking about when I taught first and second grade. Close reading is such a valuable strategy for readers to use, it deserves the laying of a very firm foundation.
Want to learn more about Close Reading? Here are some great posts for you from other bloggers: