This is part two in a two-part series.
In part one of this blog post, I shared some of my thoughts about close reading and core literacy instruction within K-1 classrooms. In part two, I promised to go a step further and address the role of close reading from my perspective as a primary intervention teacher. So going back to my original question…
What then is the role of close reading within the intervention setting?
After our Professional Learning Community (PLC) learning experience, I believe that aspects of a close read can be incorporated into intervention lessons. For instance, I have worked hard to evaluate the comprehension questions that accompany each SIPPS story. In doing so, I evaluate whether the question is a quality, text-dependent question that requires students to provide textual evidence. I have found that the questions are indeed text-dependent questions. My thinking, however, has shifted significantly on the use of the complete close-reading model within my intervention instruction. I now maintain that this practice belongs in the classroom literacy block, whereas my focus needs to remain grounded in my students’ specific needs related to the development of strong foundational reading skills. Having said this, I now also believe that I must take an active role in supporting close reading in the classroom. I feel it is imperative for me to periodically observe my students engaged in classroom literacy instruction and working alongside classroom peers.
During my three days in Mrs. Snode’s class, I gained a new perspective on my intervention students’ strengths as well as their needs based on their participation with the close-reading lesson. Mrs. Snode and I have engaged in collaborative conversations all year, but this experience brought a shared experience to our conversation. We now both agree that next school year we must make time for me to observe my students during her core reading instruction, and that she needs the opportunity to occasionally observe her students engaging in my intervention instruction. While this may slow the pace of lessons during intervention, what we learn may catapult us towards better teaching and, ultimately, better learning for our students.
Last fall I never imagined that my thoughts on close reading would evolve in this way. But isn’t that a mark of true learning? I am so grateful to my first grade PLC for helping me to come to these new understandings. I am already excited about what I will be writing about next school year! Thank you for joining me as I shared my Common Core wonderings and learning this school year!