I am taking a small break from my family on this holiday weekend to write a quick blog post about how I used close reading this past week in my CCSS aligned reading mini lessons.
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I was teaching the standard RL.5.3: which involves comparing and contrasting story elements. I found this adorable book called I Love Saturdays y Domingas which was PERFECT for my current class because they are all native Spanish speakers. In the book, the little girl spends her weekends with her two different grandparents. One set of grandparents speaks English and is of Caucasian descent, and Abuelito and Abuelita speak Spanish. While with the different members of her family, she has distinct experiences that lend themselves to comparing and contrasting.
While reading we started this Venn Diagram. I got them started on it and they had to finish adding in the details. We only contrasted the setting and the events on this diagram. We had contrasted characters verbally and through another read aloud (The Sweetest Fig) the day before. Grab some freebies for The Sweetest Fig by clicking here.
The next day, we set up our close reading folders and were ready to dig into a story that was similar to our read aloud using our close reading steps. This sweet child was out that day and doesn’t have her name on hers, which was perfect for snapping an anonymous picture for my blog!
I had printed off copies of the RL.5.3 aligned story from my Close Reading Passages: Literature Set. This story was specifically written for this standard. It involves two boys who are invited to Chicago by their uncle, but at separate times. One boy chooses July and the other chooses January. Since the settings are different for each trip, the boys have different experiences that can be compared and contrasted.
Before we read the story, we talked about Close Reading and how readers read a story multiple times and pay close attention to the details while they are reading to fully understand and write about the story. We talked about how each time you read, you should have a focus or reason why you are reading. Then we read our focus questions for our 1st read from our Close Reading Steps which was also placed in folder (and can be found in my Close Reading Mega Kit). See the image below:
After making sure they understood the focus for our reading, we started reading the story together. While we were discussing it, I kept pulling them back to the focus questions so we made sure to cover those in addition to their predictions and connections. After reading and discussing, we wrote our notes from this read into our Close Reading Record form.
For independent reading that same day, the students had to read the text a second time with their new focus questions in mind, and jot down their notes. The next day they did the same, but with the 3rd read focus questions.
Finally, after reading the text three times and answering the focus questions each time in their close reading record printable, they were ready for their written response. Before they started their response, we re-visited our book from the first lesson (I Love Saturdays y Domingas) and turned the notes from the Venn diagram into paragraph responses comparing and contrasting those elements. (Sorry no picture on that one.)
After modeling and doing that response together, the students were ready to take on the response for their story. They had to use their notes from each read, and reread the story if needed to write the response. The response required them to write a three paragraph essay comparing and contrasting the story elements. This response aligned well with their close reading steps and the read aloud mini lesson.
Overall the lesson was a huge success! I plan to follow this same format for all of my standards based mini lessons. I love how the close reading directly aligns with the standard and everything ties in together nicely. You can find all of the close reading resources featured in this post in my store by clicking the pictures below.
Are you using close reading in your classroom? I would love to hear how you use it.
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