Saturday, October 5, 2013

Close Reading Blog-a-thon Post

Falling in Love with Close Reading... 
You had me at hello.   

Joy, love, passion, getting at the heart of the matter, like Chris and Kate,  I believe that reading and writing workshops are all about this “heart” work. Regie Routman once said, “Unless we reach into our students’ hearts, we have no entry into their minds.”   

 Joy, passion, love…all  lead to learning.   Falling in Love with Close Reading,  Awakening the Heart, Book Love, The Joy of Planning, such powerful  themes resonate throughout these texts.  These are just to name a few professional resources by those educators who have left heartprints*  on our work… and the work we do with students.

The term heartprint was derived from an Eleanor Roosevelt quote:

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”


I have no doubt that Chris and Kate's upcoming book will do just that.  Inspired by their blogs and their ability to push our thinking,  they also remind us to find joy in what we do and to remember the "heart work" in reaching all learners.
As Chris says, "Close reading is not something to be done to students. " It is not meant to be the way in which we read everything.  It is also not just about the texts.  It is about the thinking.  Like Chris mentioned, “looking closely at nonfiction can lead you to love the subject, the writing, heck perhaps even the entire text-type more.”  Read more from that post here:
There it is again: L-O-V-E. Whether it be a professional text, a life altering book like Wonder or The One and Only Ivan, it will be that which sticks with you because the author has left a mark (or in the case of Wonder and Ivan is able to tug at your heart strings). 
Heartprint books, heartprint authors.  When thinking about "close reading", I think it is important to reflect on those texts worthy of examination.  This is why we read "closely".  We read to examine. We read to admire. We read to make sense . We study. We reread.  We question. We  wonder.  We fall in love.
We all have mentor authors, both professional author educators that impact our teaching, and authors of children's literature that enter our classrooms and become our co-teachers.
“With a room full of authors to help us teach, teaching writing
(or close reading)  doesn’t have to be so lonely."--Katie Wood Kay
Mentor authors, like, Katie Wood Ray and Jeff Anderson, have inspired me to be more attentive.  The invitation to notice creates opportunities for close reading.  I choose texts with my students that we want to emulate.  We use noticing charts to name what the author is doing, think about why, and then we try it. 
So go ahead read closely. Find those powerful reading and writing connections.  Read like writers and write like readers.  How else do we come to know?  We study.  We wonder. We ask questions. We seek answers.  We look within and beyond the text.  We investigate. And finally we experiment.  Isn’t that a path for those career and college ready? 
Chris and Kate remind us to reflect on purpose, passion,  and process.  What can we study closely that will help us teach the readers and the writers in our room?  What might stick with them tomorrow? Re-read, re-visit and re-interpret those texts. Find the passion, joy and love for learning.  Fall in love.

Chris “nudged” me to write a post.  He also asked me to share some of the mentor authors for nonfiction that I love.  I tried to include all in a pic collage, but found out you can only hold 30 pictures.  Being nerdy, that is not nearly enough.  The list continues to grow and I feel lucky to have nerdy friends that introduce me to new titles often.  Would love to hear from you too.
Experiment with note making vs. note taking.   Students will be fascinated to "see" the notebook of Leonardo Davinci and inspired to keep their own inquiry notebook.


Illustration Study: 

Explore Patterns in this book by Diane De Groot
What Dogs Do... What Dogs Don't Do
Great parallel text for illustration study- explore again and again.

April Pulley Sayre

Stars Beneath Your Bed is all about Dust.  The interesting facts about dust are explained through beautiful language and make learning fun. April Pulley Sayres has many titles  for  young researchers: chants, alphabet books and more. 


You can explore text structure with students, but the real treat is sharing this for its scary but true humor. 
Click to see how to "operate" moms and find tips and rules.  Great model of voice for nonfiction writing. 

All Abouts:

Unique look at a different kind of "all about" book. Wonderful collection of short text that explores ways animals use bubbles:

Fiona Bayrock's website for more info
Fiona Bayrock's website

Alphabet Books:

                 Short text arranged in alphabetical order that celebrates 26 women and 26 men who made a difference in our world.
 Front Cover

Photo Essays:

"Spark an interest..."


Backyard Detective: Critters Up Close


Check out the Nic Bishop interview on his experience as researcher and how  his "childhood sense of wonder about the world..." as well as his passion and the process impact his work. 


 Poetry favorites:


J. Patrick Lewis

Visit: to connect with more authors.
 Which nonfiction mentor authors and texts do you love?



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