“The CCSS are too hard.”
“The CCSS are not developmentally appropriate.”
“The CCSS have pushed many skills down into the primary grades before students are ready to tackle such difficult texts.”
“Close reading is when a reader independently stops at moments in a text (or media or life) to reread and observe the choices an author has made. He or she reflects on those observations to reach for new understandings that can color the way the rest of the book is read (or song heard or life lived) and thought about.”
Check out that link above the definition for the original blog post with foundational understandings of close reading built upon the work of Patricia Kain, Doug Fisher, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. More information will also be available in Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts soon to be released text, Falling in Love with Close Reading. Some of those beliefs about the ultimate goal of close reading from a Teachers College presentation by Kate Roberts are also found in an earlier blog post of my own found here.
Thinking about misconceptions . . .
Is close reading appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students?
It would appear that #CCSS expert Tim Shanahan believes that close reading is not appropriate in the primary grades. In his blog post from Tuesday, July 16, 2013, Shanahan responds to a reader’s request as follows:
“I am a first grade teacher. My principal has mandated that all classes K-5 do Close Reading. Is it appropriate for all ages? It seems to me that the texts at K/1 are not likely to be complex enough and that the students at this age are too concrete in their thinking.”
“Good question. I share your concerns. There are very few articles or stories appropriate for K/1 that would make any sense for close reading. The content usually just isn’t deep enough to bear such close study (and, frankly, if you look at the comprehension standards themselves, specifically standards #4-9 for those grades, it should be evident that CCSS doesn’t envision particularly close reading at these levels).”
But if we base our work on the definition above and in Chris’s post, I believe that “close reading” is possible for kindergarten and first grade students. Will it be easy? No! Will all students get it? Not, YET!
Teachers will have to carefully craft their instruction in order to allow students to “independently” have the opportunity to look for patterns. After reading Dorothy Barnhouse and Vickie Vinton’s What Readers Really Do, I continue to believe that beginning students can engage in the thinking necessary for “close reading.”
Common Core Grade Level Reference
|RL.K.(7-9) Integration of Knowledge and Ideas|
|RL.K.7 - With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).(Goal – Students will complete this goal without prompting and support after appropriate instruction and opportunities to practice tracing patterns.)|