Falling in Love with Close Reading-Chapter 3

After reading through chapter three, my initial reaction was how can I make this work with my 2nd graders?  Then I went back in and put on my 2nd grade lens and came up with some ideas.  Chapter three was all about how to use close reading to focus in on word choice.  As the author states,  

"Looking closely at word choice allows us to get to the heart of what people are saying and thinking; it helps us see their motivations more clearly and decide how we wish to understand them."   

Looking back at the three steps of reading closely, step one is:  Read through lenses-choose specific words to gather.  Before reading the story, I might tell my students that today we are looking for words that the author chooses to use instead of the word SAID.  At this point, we would compile a list on an anchor chart like the image below. 
 When my students go through their story, I may have them write down the alternative words from their story onto a recording sheet.  Of course, I would make sure that the book that I have chosen for this particular lesson includes several examples of this.  If you click on the image below, you can receive a FREE COPY of this to use with your students!  Enjoy!

Moving forward, step two of close reading for word choice would be to use lenses to find patterns.  So, going back to the example that I provided above, we would go through and share our word lists.  I would then ask them questions such as, "Which words fit together? and "How do they fit together?"

The third (and final) step to reading closely for word choice is to use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text.  For example, if the students' word lists include words such as screamed, shouted, yelled, demanded, and snapped then our new understanding of the author's purpose might be that the main character is angry or frustrated about an event that is happening or about to happen in the story.  Walking our students through these three steps will help them to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the story.  

When I reflect upon my teaching, I admit that I have been guilty of correcting a student who has an incorrect assumption about a story.  I do this because I feel as though I am doing them a favor so as to not let them go down an incorrect path of misconception.  This quote stuck with me from chapter three...


  1. Love your posts each week friend! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Angie, is there a specific order that you are supposed to follow when using the close reading approach or is it more flexible - based upon student need, for example?


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