Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Shanahan on Literacy: Planning for Close Reading

Shanahan on Literacy: Planning for Close Reading

Close Reading

Yesterday, I attended a session with Timothy Shanahan, author of the first draft of the CCSS Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. He was awesome, and I learned a great deal. I'll limit my sharing to small chunks to avoid overwhelming you! 

I thought I knew the standards (We've torn them apart enough times!), but he pointed out something crucial I had missed and perhaps you have too.

The CATEGORIES are important. 

There are ten standards in reading and ten in writing. They are broken into four categories:
  1. Key Ideas and Details 
  2. Craft and Structure
  3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  4. Range and Complexity of Texts
Why is this important? 

Shanahan noted most people "don't know how to read the standards" because they are arranged differently than our previous standards. 
  • We can't read each standard as a single skill/concept students are to know. Rather, we must read the standard in the context of the category (and in the progression across grade levels) to really understand what learning goal it is asking of students.
  • Also, the categories show how to approach close reading, in what order and manner we should lead students to read and reread:
    • Category 1--What did the text say? 
    • Category 2--How did text say it? 
    • Category 3--What does text mean? What is its value? How does this text connect to other texts? 
    • Category 4--Do this over and over with students on lots of different kinds of challenging texts.
 Read Shanahan's blog post, "Planning for Close Reading" to hear his own explanation and view his slides below (republished with his permission):

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teaching PREfixes

One of our SMART goals at BHS this year involves teaching students strategies for deciphering the meaning of words. An easy strategy is to teach students to look at the parts of a word--prefix, root, suffix.

Video Resource

Teaching students the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes can help them unpack meaning when they encounter a word they don't know. Here's a great [2:45] video you might use to introduce this strategy to students:

Common Prefixes

Which prefixes should students learn? Start by having students notice prefixes they encounter in your class. Consider creating an anchor chart or word wall to display prefixes and their meanings. Add to it has students encounter new prefixes. Periodically, engage students in quick activities that have them "play with" these prefixes:  work with a partner to make a list of words that start with a prefix; draw a pic to illustrate the meaning; stand with a partner and in 10 seconds see how many words you can name with a given prefix. The more students work with these prefixes, the more likely they are to really learn them and retain in long-term memory.

As students encounter words in your class with prefixes they've been learning, have them try to figure out the meaning of the words.

Here are more resources you might find helpful:

If you find other helpful resources, please share via comments.