Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Hop, Stop 16

Welcome to the Blog Hop!

You've come to the right place for literacy tips, freebies, and a great giveaway.  If you are just joining in, you may wish to start at the beginning.  Click the link below to visit the first blog.

Read Like a Detective!

I had the opportunity to attend a reading conference this past week. Douglas Fisher, author of Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading, was a keynote speaker.  He spoke about the practice of close reading. With the adoption of the Common Core Standards, many teachers have turned their attention to close reading.

What is close reading?  It is the instructional practice of having students critically examine a text in order to gain a deeper understanding of its meaning.  Rereading and interacting with the text are key elements.  Students learn to become detectives as the read, looking for clues as they uncover the meaning of the text.

Things to consider:
  • Use short passages that are more complex. 
  • Build in opportunities for rereading to develop a depth of understanding. 
  • Provide a new purpose for each reading. 
  • Ask students to read with a pencil and leave thinking tracks as they read. 
  • Encourage students to note new words, important ideas, questions, and text connections. 
  • Provide opportunities for students to interact with peers in discussion to gain a deeper meaning of the text. 

First Reading 

Focus: What does the text say?

In the primary grades, the first reading may be a shared reading by the teacher, while in the intermediate grades, the student reads the passage independently.

Students read the passage to figure out what the text is about, or get the gist.  They answer literal questions:
  • What is the main idea? 
  • What are the key details?
  • What is the sequence of events? 
  • Who, what when, where? 
Be careful not to do too much front loading before the first reading. Instead, provide the scaffolding between readings.  Allow students to get uncomfortable and struggle through the first reading. It’s healthy for them to problem solve and work through a difficult text.

Second Reading 

Focus: How does the text work? 

Students read with a pencil so that they can interact with the text. They look closer at vocabulary and figure out how the text works.

Questions for digging deeper:
  • How did the author organize the text? 
  • How do the words influence the book's meaning?
  • What is the author’s purpose? 

Later Readings 

Focus:  What does the text mean?

Students dig even deeper into the meaning of the text, forming opinions and arguments about the text:
  • What inferences can I make? 
  • What was the author’s point? Do I agree or disagree? 
  • How does this text compare or connect to other texts? 

A Reading Detective Lap Book

This little detective activity is great for exploring the practice of close reading with your students.  Students construct a *case file* with information from a fiction book of your choice.   

Reading Detectives:  Close Reading Lap Book

Pick and choose from twelve different tasks that give students a purpose rereading and digging deeper into the text.  Attach the sheets to a file folder to make a lap book or bind the pages together as a mini-book. 

Students can use the "Thinking Tracks" bookmark as they 'read with a pencil'.  

Are you ready for my clue?  On your form, you can record the letter...

Thanks for visiting today!  I hope you'll enjoy using my activity with your students.  If you'd like to keep informed of future posts and group events, please click the Bloglovin' link below to follow my blog.

I appreciate your interest in reading instruction and wish you a wonderful school year.  Now, on to the...

A special thanks to I'm Lovin' Lit, Melonheadz, and Scrappin' Doodles for the graphics used in this post. :) 


  1. Wendy- I LOVE how you've teamed up close reading strategies with the use of the lapbook and bookmarks. Super ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll have to share my close reading question cards with you sometime. They tie in with the structure of close reading which you described in your post well.

    1. Emily,
      I would love for you to share your close reading cards! I love your blog and literacy activities...I'm sure your question cards are fabulous. Close reading has been a big focus for me this year with my students, so I'm always on the lookout for great resources.


  2. I love this! It will be so useful with a variety of books. Thanks so much for sharing it. I feel like a kid at Christmas! So glad you joined in.
    Carla at Comprehension Connection

    1. I'm honored to participate.

      I've been 'hopping" all morning. I took a fifteen minute time-out for lunch and now I'm back at it. So many fabulous ideas!


  3. Thanks for the freebie. I'm not a teacher; I'm a mom that wants to support my son in reading. His teacher suggests reading the same books every day for a week. I was stuck figuring out how to make rereading these books over and over interesting. Now that I've seen your post, I feel pretty motivated and know how to handle it! Thank you so much!

    1. Your comment made my day! I love that you are researching ways to help your son learn to read at home...and that you found our literacy hop! Hope our ideas will be useful. Best of luck!

      :) Wendy

  4. Great resource! So nice that the parent above will use this at home! Love it!
    Sandi at Literacy Minute

  5. I love the Big Orange Splot, too. I actually left a message for Daniel Pinkwater on his site. I wonder if he'll ever answer. Also, I'm thoroughly enjoying this magical mystery tour you're a part of - what a great idea!

  6. Wow! Wendy, this is awesome!!! I downloaded it, and I can't wait to use it!
    That First Grade Blog

  7. Thanks for sharing this great strategy packet. This blog hop is full of so many wonderful ideas!!

  8. Thanks, Wendy! This is a great resource to get kids thinking more deeply when they read.
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  9. I am blown away by what a GREAT resource this is! I think these could work well in a lapbook (which I love doing with my kids) or in the interactive notebooks that are so popular right now. Either way, I love how they break down all aspects of close reading in a way that even my struggling readers will understand. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad