Close Reading in Science

Everyone is a reading teacher. This is an idea that I don’t think I understood in my early days as a teacher. Before I taught science, I majored in ELA and never thought about hos the strategies that I used in ELA were actually valuable tools for my colleagues in other content areas.

However, now that I’m in my eighth year of teaching, I realize that we are all reading teachers in some way, shape or form. Reading is the key to our content and we cannot teach without it.

A few years back I realized that my students needed a way to comprehend text. They would read an article and get to the end of it without knowing what they read. After a lot of research I found the close reading strategy, and it is a strategy that now frequents my classroom.

What is close reading? 

Close reading is a way of breaking down the text into bite sized chunks and then adding annotations to the side. The steps to close reading differ from person to person. Here are the steps that I teach my students.

  1. Circle the Title and make a prediction about what the article will be about.
  2. Chunk the Text and number your Chunks.
  3. Underline or Highlight key words (could be words you don’t know or vocabulary words)
  4. In the Right Margin – write the main idea of each chunk
  5. In the Left Margin – make connections (what does this remind you of, do you have a question about this chunk, etc)
  6. Central Idea – at the end of the article tell what the article was about in 1-2 sentences.

Now, I don’t just give my students the steps and let them loose. Usually I model this process several times before allowing them to do it on their own. Check out these pictures of what articles look like after close reading:

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When I finally let my students try this on their own we read the article once as a whole class and then they go through the article with annotation task cards. The more students interact with a text – the more they comprehend!!

Want more help with close reading? 

FREEBIE – this is my quick guide to help you launch close reading in your classroom. Includes an example, the steps mentioned above and a foldable to use with any article!

Close Reading in Science Quickstart

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Thanks so much for visiting my blog! What are some strategies that you use in your classroom to aid in comprehension? Leave your ideas below!

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Why I Teach ELA

Stories have permeated my life. When I was a little girl my granny told me the story of the three little pigs whenever I was at her house. My mom also read me a story every night. At family gatherings I would listen from the sidelines to my uncle’s recount the glory days of high school football. At that time I could not wait to learn to read and join the world of stories that swirled around me.

I believe in the power of stories. Stories both read and told; both written and unwritten. Stories give us the power to learn and the power to have our own voice.

I remember distinctly the day my granny gave me my first chapter book. Excitement pulsed through my veins as I dove into the first chapter. This chapter book was different from all the others books I had read. It didn’t have any pictures. My granny explained to me that this book was better, because my mind and imagination would paint the pictures.

As I continued to develop as a reader, I read everything I could get my hands on (shampoo bottles, encyclopedias, can food labels). And in those moments I realized that I did not want to be just a consumer of stories, but a producer of stories. Since then I have read, written, and told stories. I have also began to teach. I have met new and inspiring people and lost those who inspired me most as a child.1931312_1080739099979_5999_n

My granny is gone, but she left me with her passion for stories. A passion for reading, writing and telling stories. A passion that I hope to pass on to my students. And that is why I teach!!

Reading, Reading and more Reading!!

So I have been reading A LOT! One of the perks of owning an iPad and a Nook in China is being able to download e-books. It is one of the many ways that I feel I can stay connected to the world. Anywho – as a Hunger Games fan, I find myself drawn to dystopian and science fiction novels.

The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a DynastyUnder the Never SkyShades of Earth (Across the Universe Series #3)

Here are the books that I have read so far:

  1. Partials and Fragments: This is what I am currently reading (while watching the TV series – Revolution). It is about the human race after a race of partial-humans wipe out almost all of humanity. The people who survived all live in NYC and are trying to find a cure for a deadly virus. I have enjoyed it so far, but the first book held my interest more. I am finding the second book a little hard, but I want to know what will happen so I power through.
  2. The Chaos Walking Series (The Knife of Letting Go, Monsters of Men, and The Ask and the Answer): All in all I thought it was a good story line. The first book, to me, was the best. I will not spoil it, but know that I cried near the end.  One thing that I did not enjoy was the use of foul language. I do not use bad language in my daily life, so reading a book with it is a little strange (The author used it to show the decline of language). I would recommend it for the story line, but be aware it has some language.
  3. Shades of Earth (third book in Across the Universe Trilogy): Loved it!! I started reading this series last year and this was a great finale to the series. The trilogy follows a girl in her journey from Earth to a new planet. She is frozen and then wakes up too early. The final book is about landing on the new planet and what they find there. Great read for any fan of space traveling…
  4. Sever (third book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy): I have now read this whole series. Honestly, I could take it or leave it. It had an interesting premise, but the story fell flat in some places. It is about a future world where everyone dies before they reach 21.
  5. Requiem (third book in the Delirium Trilogy): Interesting, but I found myself skipping some parts to find out what was going to happen. The ending was a letdown, because it doesn’t have closure. I like closure J
  6. Under a Never Sky and Through the Ever Night: I was impressed with these books. People are left in bio-domes after a huge war has destroyed the Earth outside. I honestly did not know if I would like this series, but the more I read the more I had to read. These books have action, adventure and a good love story thrown in. Definitely recommend these books for Sci Fi fans.
  7. The Duck Commander Family: Taking a departure from my SciFi/Dystopian books – I decided to read this book about the family from Duck Dynasty. My husband and I love the show and we both found the book equally enjoyable. It was a great read after living in China. It definitely reminded me of where I come from and my southern roots (Georgia Girl all the Way!!).

What’s Next on My Reading List?

  • The Elite – Second in The Selection Series by: Kierra Cass (Release April 23rd, 2013)
  • Happy, Happy, Happy by: Phil Robertson (Released May 7th, 2013)
  • Divergent Book #3 (Release October 22nd, 2013)
  • And other books that strike my fancy J