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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Close Reading in Social Studies

I've been reading a great book called Building Literacy in Social Studies: Strategies for Improving Comprehension and Critical Thinking by Donna Ogle, Ron Klemp, and Bill McBride.

In a section of the book called "Supporting Struggling Readers", the authors write that "The more students read on the same topic, the more likely they are to move from novice to expert ways of thinking.  Therefore, students need to be surrounded by more rather than less material on the topics being taught."  They go on to say that you need texts of three different levels: simple, instructional, and advanced.

This led me to think of a reading strategy called Close Reading.  If you're familiar with text complexity and Close Reading, you know it is a method for increasing reading comprehension.  Many teachers use it in the core subjects in addition to reading class.  The following graphic is a summary of the steps of Close Reading by Tracy Watanabe at her wwwatanabe blog.

On a recent trip to the Library of Congress (LOC) with my friend from One Teacher's Take, I picked up some great kid-friendly texts to support my Social Studies curriculum.  While reading the books together, we thought they would be perfect for some Close Reading!

Two books that would support students during our "5 Documents of Freedom" unit:

These two books would be an example of the "simple" level of texts.  It introduces and explains the concepts in simple text with many pictures to support all levels of readers.

What about the instructional and advanced levels?  Do you have any examples of texts that would work for a Close Reading for these levels?


Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Heather,

I love the idea of bringing in more text on a topic. If the text if nonfiction, such as social studies text, then I like bringing in historical fiction or literary nonfiction which follows the story arc but with nonfictional text.

If the text is long, then perhaps only close read a small excerpt from it. Close reading is suppose to take place at frustration level. With this said, tiering the reading is important for independent reading.

Thanks for sharing these resources and for mentioning my graphics in your post.

Kind regards,
Tracy Watanabe

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing, Tracy! I'm just getting into text complexity and Close Reading, but I'm loving the ideas. Keep 'em coming! I'm also one of your newest followers :)