Monday, February 03, 2014

Close Reading Strategies

'Reading With a Pencil,' or annotating, is a new buzz phrase for the Common Core State Standards, which have emphasized that students need to be able to read COMPLEX TEXTS independently in order to be college and career ready when they graduate from high school.

There is not just one way to correctly annotate a passage but I have come up with an acronym that can help students annotate any text. The acronym is “TPQ Dr. ACES.” Each letter in the acronym will help students to become independent readers. This strategy will help students to think about “Key Ideas and Details” during the first quick read. Then they will slow down to think about the passages Craft & Structure. Finally, if done correctly, students will have more than one source of text on the same subject in order to Integrate their knowledge and Ideas. 

The difficult part of this is how do we know students are going through the process of doing a “Close Analytic Read?” Try this strategy because students have to show proof after completing each step. In the margin of a selected passage have students write “TPQ Dr. ACES” vertically. (See example above)

T - Read and Underline the TITLE. This focuses the reader in 
      anticipation of what they will be reading. There is a lot to 
      be said about titles.

P - What is the PURPOSE of this text? (This is where you 
      can use PIE, PEaCH, or PIN or some other way that you 
      have in your bag of trick so that students remember the   
      three main types of writing. There will be more notes on 
      those acronyms in another post.)

Q - Do a QUICK read for the Key Ideas or the "Whole 
      Enchilada." Have students think about the Central Idea 
      and come up with an alternate title. This makes them 
      synthesize their ideas into a few short words. 

DR. - This means DO READ carefully two more times while 
       annotating the text. They will read once for Craft & 
       Structure and once for Integrating Knowledge and 

A - Now students are ready to ANSWER the Text 
      Dependent Questions (TDQs). Hopefully students will  
      have had a chance to have some Post Reading 
      Discussion in a group or with peers.

C - As students answer, they will need to CITE evidence. I 
      used a different color highlighter in the example above.

E - At this point, students are prepared to EVALUATE the 
      text for Credibility, Reliability, Bias, and the Author's 

S - I put the 'S' here but students can figure this out 
     whenever they get enough clues about the STRUCTURE 
     of the text. In this example, Compare and Contrast was    
     used in every paragraph.

Remember doing a Close Read takes a long time. It cannot be done in a single sitting usually. Make sure to pick out high interest passages worthy of multiple readings. For younger students, I have a modified version that I will be posting soon. Let me know if this post was helpful and if you can see yourself using in your classroom. Updates will be coming soon.  

by Charlie Chaffin

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