Close Reading - Oh the Places You'll Go!

I have been doing Close Reading in my kindergarten class for about two years now!
In kindergarten it begins as “close listening” and has become such an important part of my instruction!
I am still amazed by how many standards can be integrated into one close read!
The RI and  RL standards are the obvious ones, but I LOVE using the conversations that take place during close reading as building blocks for my little learners to become expert
conversationalists using academic language and vocabulary in context (integrating the speaking and listening standards).  It is during these content rich conversations that the students learn to participate in natural and authentic
dialogues and practice speaking behaviors that carry over into every other part of our day.
It takes a LOT of persistence to get to the point where five year olds can turn to their partner and ask a question, listen for an answer, reply in return, and then report to the group. It may not be one of  the overt benefits of Close Reading, but it is one of the priceless intangibles, that promises great return on investment of time and effort!
All of this conversation about the text, answering and asking questions to
stimulate conversation, inferences and the showing of evidence also leads to writing!
We as teachers know that facilitating writing begins with verbal conversations,
pictorial representations, and then words. Annotating text is another AMAZING way to extend close reading. After being exposed to an interesting, vocabulary rich, worthy piece of text, beginning readers and writers can turn those authentic conversations into annotations about the text. Even the most timid of writers can make meaning for themselves about the text using pictorial representations, which with time and more practice develop into increasingly sophisticated embodiments of the level of their understanding. Annotating a close read is an activity that differentiates naturally
to the ability and understanding of the learner based on his or her own level of comprehension. It is during these writing activities that I see the most growth with regards to demonstrating evidence of what we read in the text. Evidence becomes concrete for little learners when they can write it down, however rudimentary it may be!
I began writing my own close reading passages two years ago when I could not find any to fit my search for interesting topics, appropriateness, engagement, and intentional use of vocabulary. If it’s new to you, try it out! I bet you’ll love it!  All of my close reading resources have complete instructions for close reading,  partner talk, writing and more!

Here are some annotations from our Owls Close Read this week. Check out the 
owl who was "Awake when the sun is shining because he is nocturnal"! Nice way to inference based on evidence from the text you amazing little five year old smarty pants!


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