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CLOSE READING JANUARY 22, 2013 Betsy.firstname.lastname@example.org Betsymadison.com
“I have discovered that too many adolescent readers know how to “fake read”. They have become so good at playing the “game of school,” they have figured out how to get the grade without “getting the comprehension.” (Chris Tovani) How would you define “Fake Reading”?
A Close Reading does not… Retell the plot or summarize the passage Profile the characters List reactions that popped into your head while reading or the reasons you like it Compare the society depicted in the story to your own Compare the choices and values of the narrator to your own Use a literary work as an example to support general claims about the outside world
A Close Reading might… Examine the words the author chose, what do they mean and what function do they serve? Describe the ways the word order and grammatical structure of a dialogue are significant Look closely at a scene, analyzing the subtle foreshadowing
Before Reading Concerns Pre-reading takes too much time away from reading. Is the preview focused on the background knowledge students really need to read the text? Is the preview purposeful? The preview can ruin the reading experience. We don’t want to unlock all of the secrets of the text for them.
Using the text to prepare students for the text… Silent Tea Party Silent Tea Party How do the quotes and questionnaire help students prepare for a challenging text? What evidence must students provide to support their questionnaire answers?
Students stop and write their own thinking in words Annotating text works in all content areas and is especially useful when text gets more difficult Small Sticky Notes Two-Column Notes “Margin” Paper Read with a pencil & a purpose
Text Codes – When you read something that makes you say…. “I knew that” or “ I predicted that” or “I saw that coming.” X – When you run across something that contradicts what you know or expect. ? – When you have a question, need clarification, or are unsure. – When you read something that seems important, vital, key, memorable, or powerful. – When the reading really makes you see or visualize something. _ When the student can make connections between the text, their life, the world, or others things they’ve read. ZZZ – This is boring, I’m falling asleep.
Read for First Impressions What is the first thing you notice about the text? What is the second thing? Do these two things you noticed complement each other or contradict each other? What mood does the text create in you? What about the text made you feel that way?
Read for Vocabulary Which words stand out to you first? Why? How do the important words relate to each other? Do any words seem to be used oddly? Why? Do any words have double meanings? What are both possible meanings? Does the context indicate which meaning is accurate? Look up any unfamiliar words.
Read for Discerning Patterns Does any image in this text remind you of images in other text? What is the sentence rhythm like? Short and choppy? Long and flowing? Do sentences build on themselves or stay at an even pace? What effect does the author achieve by using that style? Look at the punctuation. Is there anything unusual about it? What effect does the author achieve by punctuating that way?
Discerning Patterns continued… Is there any repetition within the text? What effect does the author achieve by using repetition? Does the text contain more than one mode of writing (narrative, opinion/argument, informational)? What effect does the author achieve by using more than one mode? Can you identify any paradoxes in the author’s thoughts?
Discerning Patterns continued… What is left out? What would you expect the author to talk about that the author avoided? Are there colors, sounds, physical descriptions that appeal to your senses? Why effect does the author achieve by choosing that color, sound, or physical description? Who speaks in the text? To whom does he/she speak? Or is the narrator omniscient and know things the characters can’t know? What effect is achieved?
“Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Everything was mute and calm; everything gray. The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter’s mould. The sky seemed a gray surtout. Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come. Melville, Herman. “Benito Cereno.” Nation of Letter: A Concise Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Stephen Cushman and Paul Newlin. Vol. 1. St. James: Brandywine P, 1998. 278-315.
Sentence 1 The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Morning - ideas of a new day or beginning, light, sunrise Peculiar - means distinct, characterizes a person place or thing, also the idea of different Coast - near the sea, establishes setting
Sentence 2 Everything was mute and calm; everything gray. Mute - silent Calm - tranquil, peaceful, quiet, everything is quiet and gray Gray - color between black and white, dull, the cold of light at twilight, not bright or hopeful, dismal, gloomy, sad, depressing, cold and sunless
Sentence 3 The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter’s mould. Undulated - wavy markings, forming a waved surface Roods - one meaning is a cross or a representation of a cross, another is a unit of linear measurement, Swells - rising or heaving of the sea/water in succession of long rolling waves, as after a wind causing it has dropped, or due to a distant disturbance Fixed - fastened securely, firmly resolved, stationary Lead - gray, heavy metal Smelter - one who fuses metal— Here there is a Paradox - the sea is moving, has swells and undulated waves, yet it seems fixed, sleeked at the surface, and like lead There is also a simile - the water is like lead
Sentence 4 The sky seemed a gray surtout. The color GRAY has become a dominant theme by this point. ◦ May be important in the work—take note of the color, perhaps; Surtout - a man’s great-coat or overcoat; a hood worn by women; outer covering ◦ (We know from the OED that the word is obsolete now.)
Sentence 5 Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Kith and Kin - country and kinsfolk, relatives, family Vapors - matter in the form of a steamy or imperceptible exhalation, exhalation of nature of steam, usually due to the effect of heat on moisture; used figuratively to mean something insubstantial or worthless, sometimes to mean a fantastic idea, foolish brag or boast Skim - to deal with, treat, or study very lightly without close attention, move over something with very slight contact, glance over without reading closely, pass over lightly without dwelling on or treating fully
Sentence 5 (cont.) Flights of troubled gray fowl, kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Storm - violent disturbance of affairs, whether civil, political, social, or domestic, commotion, sedition, tumult So the birds—Fowl—are relatives in some way to the vapors—what does this mean? Why are they troubled? Note that there is more gray—These fowl are like “swallows over meadows before storms”—does this mean these “fowl” are foreshadowing a storm, as well (commonly believed that animals have some weather predicting capabilities)? Is this a literal storm, or also some sort of storm in the story itself?
Sentence 6 Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come. Shadow - comparative darkness, gloom, unhappiness, darkness of night or growing darkness after sunset; image cast by a body intercepting light; type of what is fleeting or ephemeral; delusive semblance or image; vain/unsubstantial object of pursuit; obscure indication, symbol, foreshadowing; imitation, copy; slight or faint appearance, small portion, trace ◦ (Note how many meanings for one simple word that we all think we know) Deeper - extension downward; profound, hard to get to the bottom of; grave, heinous; intense, profound, great in measure/degree; intense (color); penetrating; much immersed, involved, implicated, far advanced, far on
Sentence 6 (cont.) Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come. These shadows are also gray. Shadows foreshadowing deeper shadows might be all signs on the water of a coming storm—the waves, the quiet, the birds, the vapors—how does this relate to the story? Are their “deeper shadows” to come yet in the story itself? The story itself starts gray, in shadow-like environment on the sea—also the word “foreshadowing” is in the passage.
Putting it Together There is a lot of gray which signifies an in between state, not light or dark. ◦ Not black or white (an association we use to mean right/wrong or good/bad). Could these concepts be brought in simply by the color gray? Also there is a storm, an idea of shadow, ideas of illusion versus reality are present. ◦ The passage discusses ideas about things not being what they seem. To fully analyze the work, we would need the rest of the story, but this brief passage in the introduction already sets up quite a few ideas for what might be coming.
Thinking Critically About the Text Critically Analyzing Text Critically Analyzing Text Graphic Organizers (Standards 1 & 3 Graphic Organizers from The Common Core Lesson Book K-5 by Gretchen Owocki, Heinemann, 2012) Text Dependent Questions
Text Dependent Questions 80 to 90% of the ELA Reading Standards in each grade level require text dependent analysis One of the first and most important steps to implementing the ELA Common Core Standards is to focus on identifying, evaluating, and creating text- dependent questions Deep Reading, the kind encouraged by the common core standards, asks students to “read like a detective”, looking closely for details Rather than asking students questions about their prior knowledge or experiences, the standards expect students to struggle with text-dependent questions www.achievethecore.org/steal-these-tools/text-dependent-questions
Text Dependent Questions What Are they? Specifically asks a question that can only be answered by referring explicitly back to the text Does not rely on a student’s background knowledge Does not rely on a student’s own experiences Forces students to dig further into the text by asking them to re-read, re-visit, and search for meaning
Types of Text Dependent Questions General Understandings Why would the author title the chapter “Go Away”? Key Details Find two places in the text where something could have been done to prevent this tragedy? Vocabulary and Text Structure How does the chronological structure help you understand the events? 31
A Night to Remember Ch. 10 Author’s Purpose Whose story is most represented and whose story is under-represented? Inferences Why would Mrs. Brown run lifeboat number 6 with a revolver? Opinions, arguments, intertextual conections Compare this book with Ken Marschall’s Inside the Titanic. Give two similarities and two differences. 32
CLOSE READING IS ALWAYS RE-READING! “Close Reading is a re-reading aimed towards producing commentary in either spoken or written form.” (“Close Reading as Genre” by Andrew Goldstone 07-25-11, arcade.stanford.edu)
“I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” Norman Mailer “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Joan Didion
Everybody Writes Set your students up for rigorous engagement by giving them the opportunity to reflect first in writing before discussing. This allows for more effective responses. Gives students time to prepare answers for discussion. Allows every student the chance to be part of the conversation even if not called upon. Processing thoughts in writing refines them, a process that challenges students intellectually, engages them, and improves the quality of their ideas and their writing.
Writing to Learn 1. Students read what others have written then mimic the author’s style and methods. 2. Reflectivity--Students reflect on their learning—what was learned, not learned, how it was learned and why. 3. Reflexivity– Students reflect and then determine what effect they have on the thinking. How do their own character and beliefs affect their understanding of what they have read?
Writing to Demonstrate Learning A culminating project In response to a prompt Students show what they’ve learned by synthesizing information and explaining their understanding Students write for an authentic audience with a specific purpose Argument, Informational/Explanatory, or Narrative Short or sustained REQUIRES TEXTUAL EVIDENCE
What can Writing to Demonstrate Learning look like? An On Demand Prompt A thesis statement supported with quotations A constructed response A piece that will go through the whole Writing Process What else? LDC
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