We interviewed awesome educator Tara West from Little Minds at Work about her experience in close reading and interacting with young readers. Read on and you’ll learn why this interview makes me want to be one of the kids in her classroom!
How do you incorporate close reading into your instruction?
I use close reads daily as part of my daily instruction in reading, content, and writing. For reader’s workshop we work on a close read each week. I then incorporate that close read during our writing lessons for the week- making writing relevant for the students. If it’s a nonfiction close read week we also study that animal, topic, etc during our content studies.
How do you choose texts for close reading?
I first and foremost choose texts that I know my students will connect to. I choose my teaching themes; friendship, penguins, sharing, etc and then I go find texts that connect to those themes.
Where do you find texts for close reading?
When I first started writing close read plans I went straight to my bookshelves and choose from there. Now that I have been writing my own close reads for awhile I am getting more comfortable in choosing texts that are not only fun and engaging, but also texts that are complex and align well to other texts I can compare to.
What kinds of annotation marks do you have students use?
In kindergarten we do not do a lot of annotation marks, but as the teacher I do lead the students in searching for unknown words and we circle those on our projected books.
How do you assess students’ close reading skills?
I check for student’s comprehension of the close read book consistently each day of the week. It might be a paper/pencil task or it might be me taking observations when students turning and talking to their partners to address a text-dependent question I asked.
Do you follow up with a constructed response after a close reading activity? If so, how do you plan the question?
I do a cumulative writing task at the end of the week for the close read. I also ask several questions throughout the week that the students answer orally.
How often do you close read?
We have a 25 minute close read lesson each week. During that week we will read two texts…with a close read on one of those texts, then spend one day comparing those two texts. This is usually a combination of one fiction and one nonfiction texts.
What are the benefits of close reading?
The benefits of close reading are out of this world…it blows me away each and everyday as I hear my students answer higher-order questions about a picture book or nonfiction text. I went from reading to just be reading, but now each day we are reading, we are reading with a purpose!
Thank you Tara!
Little Minds At Work
Don’t forget to check out Tara’s fabulous collection of reading products here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Tara-West