Chapter 4 focuses on using text dependent questions to teach students strategies for understanding what the text means. I have to say this was an amazing chapter! The authors deepened my understanding of the ELA Common Core Standards and the purpose of close reading. Lots of A-HA moments! I’d like to thank Mrs. Wills’ Kindergarten for heading up this book study.
Using Text Dependent Questions to Teach “What Does the Text Mean?”
Skilled readers can look at all of the parts of a text, similar to working on a jigsaw puzzle. They understand how the parts and the whole work together and can arrive at a deep understanding of the text. This is not an easy, or automatic skill. Using close reading processes, teachers lead students into an understanding of how to infer and synthesize text, so they correctly interpret the meaning of the text.
The authors point out that easier texts have a higher cohesion (the way the parts of the text work). These texts make relationships and inferences explicit. Rigorous text requires students to make the jump to interpretation and synthesizing. The amazing thing is our students can make this jump, and they thrive when our expectations convey our faith in their abilities.
By leading our students into making connections between multiple sources and working across disciplines, their knowledge is further deepened. Close reading at its finest guides students into taking the time to comprehend text and provide evidence for their opinions.
We read some wonderful books about diversity, acceptance, and kindness last year. I know that most of these are familiar, but the lessons and cross-curricular topics are perfect for close reading.
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson, is fabulous for discussing issues of bullying, friendship, acceptance, and regret. It would be a perfect book if you were going to incorporate random acts of kindness in your curriculum. My second graders really had a hard time getting the deeper meaning of this text. They missed the author’s purpose and I basically explained the story to them. Of course, I know now, that is a big NO, NO!
Set in the deep south in 1964, just as at the height of the anti-segregation laws, two young boys, one white and one black, learn that friendship can be a catalyst for change. My kids LOVED this book.
The last book I will share, also by Jacqueline Woodson, was adored by my students! I can’t tell you how many times we read it, they read it, and we watched the YouTube production. If you haven’t read this book, then you are missing out on a treasure!
I can’t wait to read the next chapter and look forward to your comments!