“Close reading” is all the buzz these days, and there are so many important skills and strategies that can be addressed doing a “close read” of a text. That being said, I do think we need to be very careful that we don’t “kill” reading by over-analyzing everything we read!
I do want to share an activity we did the other day that I feel was JUST the right amount of close reading! We are just finishing our read aloud, “Eight Keys”–and the kids are just loving it! We have been getting to know the main character, Elise, very well and have been paying attention to how Elise acts, feels, and what she says.
As we finished reading a chapter today, I made a copy of a page that I thought was particularly interesting (a page I had already read TO them) and I partnered the students up to go “hunting”. I asked them to use their highlighter to highlight all words that were spoken aloud. We have been talking on and off all year about dialogue and that authors use dialogue to give the reader insight as to character feelings. I have recently been noticing some deeper thinking about what characters have been DOING so I wanted to see if the students could think deeply about what they are SAYING. They highlighted the dialogue (I circulated to make sure all partners understood how the quotation marks showed this, etc) and then I asked them to “star” any words spoken that they felt helped further the story. I then asked them to write their thinking in the margins.