Thinking about Theme

Mar 3, 2013 by

This past week I spent a morning in a second grade reading workshop. These second graders had been working on taking their comprehension of text to deeper levels. On this day they were learning more about theme. Earlier in the morning the teacher had read Eve Bunting’s Fly Away Home, so during the lesson they worked together to identify what the theme could be.  As I listened in while students turned and talked to their reading partners, I heard responses such as homelessness, perseverance, courage. Some big ideas for young readers, to be sure! The teacher worked with them to elaborate on their single-word answers by finding evidence in the text. Then she sent them off to do this work with their own independent  texts. As I watched the teacher circulate among her students...

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How Do We Teach Close Reading?

Jan 28, 2013 by

I’m reading a book that is changing the way I read and the way I talk to kids about their reading.  This happened to me once before–back in 1997 when I first read Mosaic of Thought by Zimmerman and Keene.  If you have read this book, you know what I mean.  In Mosaic of Thought the authors explained that proficient readers use a variety of comprehension strategies to make sense of text and that we can actually teach children to use these strategies as they read.  After I read that book, every time I picked up a text, I found myself being metacognitive about my own thinking/reading strategies.  I began teaching my students to use these strategies and watched them become more interactive with texts, too. But something has always bugged me.  Sometimes I...

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