Close Reading Review

Most of us have some experience with close reading in Humanities. Close reading is reading strategy we can use when we are reading particularly challenging text, or when we are reading for a specific purpose. In the week leading up to MAP testing, we’ve been reviewing a simplified version of this routine:


…for the flow and the big idea.


….What do you need to know?

….What is your purpose for reading?

If you are taking a test, the purpose is to answer as many questions correctly as you can! The purpose is in the questions!


…. and think again!

We’ve talked about this one-on-one and we’ll be practicing in class with real text.

What have you been reading?

This week on days 5 and 6 (Friday and Monday), we’ll be thinking about independent reading. Not only is independent reading fun, it’s also good for you! Today, you’ll update your old reading log (if you have one) and turn it in via Google Classroom. Then you’ll down load a Semester 2 reading log, fill in what you read over the break, and add a comment to this blog about the most interesting thing you read.

I’ll get you started with an example. Over the break, I read several books. Since I don’t have a reading log, I’ll share them below; I’ve listed the authors first, and then the name of the books.

  • Adil Jussawalla, I Dreamt a Horse Fell From the Sky
  • John Ashbery, Where Shall I Wander
  • Keki N. Daruwalla, Under Orion
  • Kenneth Koch, Sun Out
  • R. Parthasarthy, Ten Twentieth Century Indian Poets

All but one were collections of poetry. My favorite was I Dreamt a Horse Fell From the Sky by Adil Jussawalla, in part because it was a mix of poetry, fiction and non-fiction essays. It is rare to see that kind of variety in a book. It was a just right book for me, which means it wasn’t written for middle schoolers. Although I chose the book for the poetry and fiction, which were great, what I loved most were the essays. They made me think about many things that I’ve never thought about before.

What about you? What was the most interesting book you read over the break–and why? Please write a couple of sentences in the comments below.

Reading Goals

This Monday and Tuesday (days 5 and 6), we’ll update our reading logs, look at our reading goals and set a goal for next time. Think about what you feel good about and what you’d like to change in your independent reading.



Reading: Thinking about characters and change

On days 3 and 4 (Tuesday and Wednesday) we reviewed reading strategies with a read aloud mini-lesson. In middle school, text gets more complex in many ways. For one thing, the internal lives of characters is often just as important as the action going on in the plot. We need to pay attention to these things, which often requires us to infer and to pay close attention to detail. We are expected to be able to analyze the way characters change over time, and we need to be able to trace the development of the big ideas in text.  Wow! That’s a lot, and when you remember we have to support our ideas with evidence from the text, it can seem like an even bigger job. In order to manage all this, we’ve got to use the strategies we have learned in a consistent way!

This week on Days 5 and 6, when we confer about independent reading, I’ll ask you to talk about the strategies you’ve been using in your reading, and I’ll ask you to pay special attention to the characters in the book you’re reading: how they may be changing and what evidence you can use to support your thinking.