Adventures in Literacy Land: text evidence

Showing posts with label text evidence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label text evidence. Show all posts

Close Reading ~ What is it?

Hello everyone!

This  is Laura from Where the Magic Happens  and this is my first time blogging with this great crew! I have  been crazy busy at school and have had a million things going on!
Anyhow, I have been reading and reflecting A LOT about how to transform my literacy teaching  in this era of higher standards.  For about a year I have been a close reading groupie enthusiast.  There is so much literature out there and so many materials that, I did not know what to read or where to begin. I am so lucky to have my BFF Marie from The Literacy Spot… she always recommends the best reads.   My Amazon wish-list is about to pop!


So really what in the world is close reading?

According to Fisher and Frey, close reading is:

“an instructional routine in which students are guided in their understanding of complex texts.”  Basically, close reading is a component of dynamic reading instruction where students:
  • Read strategically
  • Interact with the text
  • Reread to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deeper understanding
  • Analyze multiple component of the text and illustrations
  • Focus on the author’s message
These are some of the most important things that I have learned about close reading:
  • Not all texts deserve a close reading
  • Close reading is also not necessary when the text is fairly accessible. In other words,  when choosing texts for close reading… you want to pick a text that do not give up their meaning easily or quickly.
  • Close reading is MORE than a worksheet!!! Our students need to interact with their peers and their teachers using academic language and  argumentation skills as they discuss the text.
  • Close reading is not one-and-done reading! Rather, it is purposeful, careful, and thoughtful.
And honestly, I could go on and on…


I really could give you a million reasons.

Close reading is not to be confused with guided reading. They are two extremely important instructional approaches that must be part of your balanced literacy.  Close reading  is not exclusively about eyes on print or reading accurately. In close reading we seek to explore the comprehension of ideas and structures more deeply. In other words, there will be times (especially during the first read) that my students will read, but some texts demand to be heard  and read aloud – poems are a good example.
These are some of the benefits of close reading:
  • It leads students on a cognitive path that begins with discovering the literal meaning of a text and ends with the exploration of deeper meaning and  a plan of what should occur as a result of the reading.
  • Close reading will help our students understand the mechanics of a text, especially vocabulary, text structure, and the author’s craft.
  • Close reading will require that all students cite textual evidence in their products. 
These are some of the differences between close reading in the primary and upper elementary grades:




If you are thinking that a close read is an easy task for the teacher… then you might be like Santa Claus in the month of August.
Close reads are divided into four different phases:
  • What does the text say? (general understanding and key details)
  • How does the text work? (vocabulary, structure, author’s craft)
  • What does the text mean? (author’s purpose)
  • What does the text inspire you to do? (extended thinking)
These four phases provide our students to explore, practice, review, and navigate through literary and informational text-dependent questions. {Hello again mCLASS!} Text-dependent questions drive close reading!

You go right ahead and download this evidence based terminology poster to use during your close reading time! {click on picture!!}

And just in case you are wondering, this is what Fisher & Frey recommend as the best think marks for close reading based on their research.


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Until next time!


The Importance of Text Evidence with Guest Blogger Colleen

We, at Literacy Land, are excited to announce our first guest blogger, Colleen from Literacy Loving Gals.  She brings you some awesome ideas for getting students to use text evidence.  So, sit back, drink your coffee, and enjoy!

Hello Adventures in Literacy Land friends!  This is Colleen from Literacy Loving Gals.  I'm a reading specialist in a K-5 building, but mostly work with 2nd and 3rd graders.  I am excited to be here to share a few activities I do to get my students using textual evidence when responding to their reading.

As we all know, the Common Core State Standards declare students should be able to *read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it* as well as *cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text*.  That may be very difficult for students to do.  The majority of struggling readers and writers in my RtI groups often respond to their reading with brief, fragmented statements without text evidence supporting their thoughts.  Getting them to support an analysis of their reading with textual evidence takes much EXPLICIT guidance before they are able to be successful on an independent level.  

Students are not able to answer questions purely based off of their prior knowledge or personal experience.  Making personal connections to the text is still important, however, text-to-self connections are no longer a focus when responding to reading.  Students need to stay within the four corners of the text.  They need to carefully read and answer questions only referring explicitly to the text.  When discussing texts with my students, I pre-plan the direction I'd like to take them.  Under the proverbial umbrella of text-dependent evidence falls questions that can 1.) get to the general understanding or gist of the text 2.) be literal, but must also involve evaluation, synthesis and analysis and 3.) focus on particular vocabulary words, sentences, paragraphs, events and themes.  

When planning lessons to get my students to think more concretely about their reading, I often turn to K-2 Chart Sense: Common Sense Charts to Teach K-2 Informational Text and Literature and Chart Sense: Common Sense Charts to Teach 3-8 Informational Text and Literature.  I purchased these books at the tail end of last year and have not regretted it!  These books are fabulous and can really help guide teachers in implementing anchor chart visuals for students that encompass every reading standard.  Yes, anchor chart ideas for every Common Core reading standard, both informational text and literature, is addressed in these books!  Wow, right?
Below are some of the tools my students use, a text-evidence chart example taken directly from Chart Sense, pictures of my students using the chart and a brief description of the procedures I use with them. 
Behold the power of "Text-Evidence Detective Tools"! 
After much discussion, the students were asked to become *Text-Evidence Detectives*.  "Prove it with text evidence!" was a phrase they heard me say over and over again.   I gave them eye-lighters and magnifying glasses to locate the evidence for the first few go-arounds to get them excited for the hunt. ;)

For this particular activity, the students orally explained their thoughts and located text evidence to support them.  Because they were busy with the eye-lighters and magnifying glasses during this activity, I wrote their responses onto Post-It notes for the students to place on the chart.  Each day, we'd recap the previous day's notes as a review.  We'd then continue with our next text, using the previous day's notes as a reminder.  The various colored Post-It notes represent three texts read and discussed throughout the week. 

Since I work primarily with the texts in Fountas & Pinnell's Leveled Literacy Intervention kits which contain series of books, I also created anchor charts dedicated to the series' characters we often read about.  Some of the series within the F&P LLI kits include Moosling, Froggy, Fox Family and the Fix-It Family.  For this post, I chose to use our Moosling anchor chart as an example.
Since I can't claim to be an artist, I photocopied the cover of a Moosling book to place in the center of blank chart paper.  I then put "Moosling is..." and "Prove it with text-evidence!" at the top of the chart.   Easy enough, right? :)  Then, using a character trait poster, the students discussed possible traits Moosling possesses in the texts we've read thus far.  The students were given a few pre-read titles in the series to locate text evidence to support Moosling's traits.  They were responsible for writing down their evidence on the Post-It notes for this activity, so no "eye-lighters" or magnifying glasses were used during this part.  The students had a great time with this.  They took their job as "Text-Evidence Detectives" very seriously and were quite successful with it! :)  
After much guided practice my students were ready to test their skills independently!  For independent practice of citing textual evidence, I created a simple graphic organizer for my students to use, as well as a prompt poster for them to reference when responding to their reading.  You can see them in action below!
Student using the Textual Evidence Sentence Starters poster below
for her written response...

I created the organizer to mimic what we were doing together in a small group on the large chart paper, so it correlated with what they had been practicing.  My graphic organizer and prompt poster are FREEBIES, if you'd like to download them from my TPT store.  
My product includes black & white as well as color versions of both the graphic organizer and prompt poster.  I know teachers aren't always able to print in color. :)  

So, there you have it...a few simple and easy-to-implement ideas for your classroom to get students thinking inside the four corners of the text.  What are some ways you get students thinking about and citing from the text? 

Thanks for stopping by Adventures in Literacy Land!  We'd love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. 

Enjoy your day,