Shared Reading/ Close Reading/ ???

Sunday, September 8, 2013

     This week, at 4 different grade level planning meetings, a question arose about shared reading.  While the conversations were slightly different, they all came down to this- What are we supposed to do during shared reading time?

     On our SIP plan, it is written that we have 15 minutes of shared reading time.  It is described here:
This definition of shared reading also incorporates close reading, which is a much more complex type of reading.  Marilyn sent me a blog post about it today, and I thought it was a pretty good read.
Here is the link:

     Why am I sharing this with you?  Because he is right!  Whenever there is a new trend in education, we try to fit the term into our day, assigning a new term to things that we already do.  Shared reading might be something that we already do.  Close reading, however, is not.  I would imagine that close reading will be a new type of reading in most classrooms, and it is a type of reading that our students probably can't do right now.  Before they can tackle that, they need to "run the marathon" a bit more.  They need to get more scaffolding, more guidance, more experience, and more practice.  They need more time.  If we know that, then we can call the 15 minutes that we are doing right now shared reading, and eventually within that time we might get to close read some pieces of the text.

     How can we get our kids into the race?

  • I have been making the suggestion of practicing close reading on photographs or images.  Getting the kids to make observations (use the text details) to infer new ideas (gather meaning from the text) prepares them for the type of thinking that close reading requires.  
  • Use the shared reading time of your day to perhaps unpack the common core standards.  The type of learning that is required in the standards will lead to the possibility of close reading in the future.
  • Model, model, model.  I do, We do, You do.  Remember that if you model some deeper thought now, we might be able to see deeper thoughts from the kids later.  
  • Even though the kids can't really close read just yet, they can do shared reading.  Have it in your schedule now, and as the year progresses so too will the type of lessons you will do during that time.  If we don't reserve the time in our schedule now, we won't have anywhere to put it later.
  • Perhaps use the current shared reading time to build science/ social studies schema using grade level texts.  We have a large ELL population, and giving them shared experiences with background knowledge and vocabulary might be just what they need right now. 
     Remember, don't panic!  We will all get there.  In the meantime, let's keep planning as grade levels on the best way to get to the finish line.  One step at a time...

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