Is Conversation a Critical Component of Close Reading?

Is it possible?  Or is increased conversation (and or writing) a wonderful, unexpected result of close reading?

“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.” (Lehman, Sept. 2, 2013)

As week six of the “Close Reading Blog-a-thon” winds down, I spent some time re-reading some of the earlier posts.  What was I searching for?  Was it deeper knowledge about specific blog content or was it the search for new understanding?

Patterns became evident as I found a variety of texts and life situations that included:  books, chapters, articles, paragraphs, pictures, artwork, maps, schedules, interview results and community signs. Within these, point of view is readily apparent by what bloggers choose to include (thank you, Kate) and the structures used (thank you, Chris). My initial rereading goal was to study the myriad of informational text styles and structures present in the excellent blogs.

But the biggest aha for me, was the fact that close reading conversations ensued and both conversations and writing increased!  I commented on posts as I nodded my head in agreement while reading.  I mentally composed posts on my drive to work. I found myself writing posts to respond to Kate, Chris and of course Vicki Vinton.  Ideas that had been “mulling around in my brain” seemed to crystalize and flow from my keyboard.  And I even had internal conversations with myself during close reading!

In my personal journey over the last eight months to understand “close reading” and CCR Anchor Standard #1, it has been a combination of reading, writing, and conversations that has increased my understanding.  The conversations in my head as well as those in  person, or comments on blogs, and even as whole posts to respond to blogs have been helpful to me. Conversations have extended my learning and deepened my understanding.

Were the conversations necessary as part of close reading or were they what happened after the close reading?  This question made my head spin as I compared it to the inevitable “Which comes first?  The chicken or The Egg?  Or does it really even matter in the bigger scheme of life?

Are conversations a “Critical Component” or an “End Result” of close reading?  What do you think?   ALL conversations welcome!

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  1. […] Is Conversation a Critical Component of Close Reading? […]

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