We interviewed Heidi Morgan, a 5th and 6th grade teacher in New Lenox, Illinois on how she incorporates close reading in her classroom. She is always working on ways to integrate technology into her teaching and her students’ learning. Heidi is also an adjunct instructor at University of St. Francis, Edmodo Certified Trainer and Ambassador, a Midwest Spotlight Educator at METC 2014, Illinois Computing Educators Educator of the Year Nominee and Finalist, and a Golden Apple Nominee.
SNAP: How do you incorporate close reading into your instruction?
Heidi: Close reading is incorporated into instruction when we have a piece of text that is rich with the skill or literary element we are learning about.
SNAP: How do you choose texts for close reading?
Heidi: Texts are chosen based on length and quality or amount of the skill or literary element we are learning about at that time. Texts have to be rich and engaging to have children reread them
SNAP: Where do you find texts for close reading?
Heidi: I find texts in our reading text book, in novels we are reading, and from online sources such as Newsela and ReadWorks.
SNAP: What kinds of annotation marks do you have students use?
- √ When you read something that makes you say, “Yeah, I knew that” or “I predicted that” or “I saw that coming.”
- * When you read something that seems important, vital, key, memorable, or powerful.
- ? When you have a question, need clarification, or are unsure.
- ! When you have a question, need clarification, or are unsure.
- + When you have a connection between the text and your life, the world, or other things you’ve read.
SNAP: How do you assess students’ close reading skills?
Heidi: I assess the close reading skills based on comprehension of the piece.
SNAP: Do you follow up with a constructed response after a close reading activity? If so, how do you plan the question.
Heidi: I almost always follow up with a construction response after the close reading activity. The question usually asks students to support a claim based on the piece of text. Since students have already deeply analyzed the piece of text through close reading, so their texts are already annotated and ready to help them support their writing.
SNAP: How often do you close read?
Heidi: We usually do at least one close reading activity a week.
SNAP: What are the benefits of close reading?
Heidi: When students close read they comprehend at a deeper level than if they just read the text once. Close reading also helps support student’s writing in response to a claim. The real benefit of close reading is realized when students begin to close read, using annotations, and rereading as needed independent of teacher direction. When students begin to use the close reading strategy on their own they have truly benefited from close reading instruction.
You can follow Heidi on Twitter @heidiamorgan