Reading Teacher Resources
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ELA11-12: Reading Literature - Romeo and Juliet
“What is the theme of this story?” Now there’s a question all pupils dread. Rather than encountering a sea of faces that look like they were painted by Edward Munch, face a classroom filled with smiles and confidence. Show your readers how to determine the theme of a work. After modeling and discussing the differences between motifs and themes, groups engage in a series of activities that ask them to identify the motifs and the authors’ messages about these motifs in works they have read. Rich in detail, the packet deserves a place in your curriculum library.
Reading Poetry: "love is a place" by E. E. Cummings
Show your class how to read, and analyze poetry through the rules of grammar as you explore “love is a place” by E.E. Cummings. Some might consider this plan overbearing and beating poetry to death, which might be true, if you do all of the activities. However, the plan offers a unique way to show young learners how to read closely and deeply. The guided worksheet moves readers through the poem and has them analyze the literary devices, syntax, and grammar of the poem in search of meaning. A little part of this resource would go a long way.
A Close Reading of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
An incredibly detailed and focused resource, this cross-curricular unit uses text dependent questions, primary sources, and close reading to help readers interpret and analyze the content and structure of Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." The unit is composed of three sections, each of which covers a different aspect of the speech. For teachers, there are detailed descriptions of the purpose of each activity, guiding questions and responses, and appendices with additional activities.
Close Reading of Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle: Text Dependent Questions and Vivid Words and Phrases
As 3rd graders continue reading Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle, they focus on the concepts of predator and prey in the fifth instructional activity of this unit. Scholars further develop their ability to answer questions using evidence from the text as they look at the relationship between the bullfrog and other animals in its habitat. To better understand their reading, young scholars focus on identifying vivid language used in the book and the author's reason for choosing these unique words and phrases. Children practice using context clues to find meaning in unfamiliar vocabulary from their reading, and work in groups to act out the new words for the class. A great differentiated instructional activity that supports all learners as they continue to read and form understanding of this informational text.
Mid-Unit Assessment: Close Reading of Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle: Bullfrog Life Cycle
The sixth instructional activity in this Bullfrog at Magnolia Circle unit assesses your third graders' ability to read and understand informational text. The included assessment asks students to take notes about the main idea and supporting details of the text, while also focusing on information they can find in the illustrations. Using their notes, learners then answer one multiple choice and two free-response questions to demonstrate their understanding of the content and key vocabulary. Following the short test, pupils complete a self-assessment requiring them to reflect on how well they are meeting the specific learning goals of the unit. This instructional activity serves as an excellent resource for a teacher looking to determine their class's ability to read and comprehend this story about bullfrogs.
Close Reading in the Classroom
Close reading is key to the analysis and interpretation of literature. A close reading of the title and the epigraph of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” offers readers an opportunity to examine how even single words or names can contribute to the development of a motif or theme. To begin the examination, individuals respond to several questions that ask them to consider Prufrock’s name. After sharing their responses, groups use the provided questions and focus on the poem’s epigraph. The resource contains everything you need to promote close reading and deserves a place in your curriculum library.
Introducing Close Reading: Finding the Main Message and Taking Notes About Rain School
This second lesson in a larger unit is perfect for the beginning of the year because it explicitly teaches 3rd graders how to use close reading skills by identifying unfamiliar words, figuring out the gist, and defining important vocabulary words. Learners work to use key details from the story Rain School to identify the main message, describe the characters and their actions in a story, and participate in an academic conversation with their peers through the use of repeated reading and sticky notes on pages to highlight information key terms. The detailed and specific teacher guide, materials list, vocabulary list, and supporting materials make this plan ready to use and an exemplary resource for 3rd grade classrooms.
Close Reading of Thank You, Mr. Falker: Identifying the Superpowers of Reading
Third graders read excepts from the story, Thank You, Mr. Falker in order to gain practice in understanding an unfamiliar story by focusing on the details. They use a worksheet, embedded in the plan, which directs them to certain passages in the book. They go back and re-read them, then complete two worksheets for homework. The first one has them describe the character, setting, motivation, problem, and resolution of the story. The second has them write an essay in which they compose a paragraph that describes what the lesson of the story is - in their minds. An interesting, and thought-provoking language arts lesson!
Close Reading of That Book Woman: How Did People Access Books in Rural Areas of the United States?
In this ninth lesson in a larger beginning-of-the-year unit, close reading skills are used independently to find the gist of the story That Book Woman. Rereading for important details is the targeted skill to unlock a deeper understanding of the story and create a richer learning experience. Learners end the activity with the a collaborative discussion of the insightful question, "NOW what do think the lesson of the story is?" Third grade classes will enjoy the diversity of the Appalachian dialect written into the story. Teachers will enjoy the explicit language of the lesson plan that is designed to bring out engaging classroom learning.
Reading Closely to Expand Understanding of Adaptations
Third graders work to determine the main idea, recall key details, and answer questions using an informational text on the topic of animal adaptations. Using the non-fiction text "Staying Alive: Animal Adaptations" (provided) the teacher will read the story aloud modeling fluent reading while the class follows along. Next, independently learners will re-read the story on their own using the close reading routine they worked on in a previous unit. During this process, learners will write down notes and vocabulary from the text to capture the gist of the text and compare their notes with a partner. To help capture the main idea and details from the text, readers will be guided to fill out a recording form (given). This lesson and the corresponding unit provide an organized & structured format to teach the concept of reading for information, comprehending what is read, and answering questions about a text providing supporting details. With the text and recording sheet included, it makes this lesson very easy to implement.
Continued Close Reading of Rain School: Text -Dependent Questions and Vocabulary
The engaging story Rain School is further explored in the third lesson of a larger unit that explicitly teaches close reading skills by answering questions whose answers can only be found inside the text. Through teacher modeling and guided instruction, third graders use sticky notes to cite evidence from the text and record important details to use later on their worksheets. The lesson plan has great detailed information about how to effectively model citing evidence, as well as how to develop vocabulary with the class. Learners play a fun and fast-paced learning game, quiz-quiz-trade, with their vocabulary words before they debrief as a whole class. This lesson is complete with great resources and is implementation-ready.
Informative Paragraph Pre-Assessment: What Is One Reason You Want the Power of Reading?
This writing pre-assessment has minimal instruction but maximum support and encouragement. It begins with a review of the book, Rain School, through a think-pair-share and small group discussion. The discussion focuses on the idea that reading is powerful, and learners explore why they want to have that power. Class members take the knowledge gained in the discussion and compose an authentic writing sample. This is a great way to create a baseline writing sample that can be used as a snapshot of ability at the beginning of the year, as well as to assess progress when shown alongside later writing samples.
Continued Close Reading of That Book Woman: Text-Dependent Questions and Vocabulary
Explicitly explained and delightfully detailed are two ways to describe this tenth lesson in a larger unit designed for the first few weeks of third grade. Learners continue to use and develop previously learned close reading skills, answering text-dependent questions and expanding vocabulary, with the current heart-warming story That Book Woman. This plan is complete and ready for teachers to implement.
Close Reading and Charting, Part II: The Iroquois People in Modern Times
Close reading skills are celebrated when fourth graders demonstrate their learning of the Iroquois people in modern times on T-charts, timelines, vote with their feet, and thumbs up/thumbs down. The informational text, The Iroquois: The Six Nations Confederacy, is not provided in these materials, but the book is available through other sources. Don't be deterred, the strategies and teaching techniques are great information and can be generalized to other informational text. Note:This plan is part of a larger ELA unit that also supplements social studies curriculum in the state of New York.
Reading and Taking Notes on Colonial Trades
In the tenth lesson of this unit, young scholars learn to categorize information as they continue researching their colonial trade. During guided practice, the teacher models how to read informational text slowly while sorting the information into short bulleted notes. Young researchers are then given the opportunity to practice these skills as they reread text on their specific colonial trade. Finally, learners return to their expert groups to share the notes they have taken with their peers. A great resource for teaching note-taking skills to your class. Note that this lesson builds on the previous two lessons in the unit, though it can be adapted for other content areas as well.
Shared Reading Activities
Shared reading is a way to bond together as a family and learn key literature concepts. Great for parents or teachers who want to bring the shared reading experience into the home or classroom. The article offers several tips on what you can do to make shared reading a real experience. Includes five lesson links.
New! Guidance for Creating Reading Lessons for Dyslexic Students
Here are a few practical tips and sound strategies you can use in writing effective reading lessons for your pupil with dyslexia. The resource provides simple guidelines and accommodations that can be incorporated into any lesson that stresses reading fluency or comprehension.
New! Simple Preparation Can Improve Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is key to success in nearly every subject in school, but how do you improve comprehension in a pupil with dyslexia? Here are several tips that define ways in which educators can provide strategies to improve overall comprehension. An instructor can introduce these tips, or older learners can seek them out and do their own research.
Close Reading: Unpacking Specific Articles of the UDHR
Lesson 6 of this extensive unit finally has your class begin to work their way through specific articles from the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Before examining the rights actually detailed in the document, have your class guess what rights might be included with a "give one, get one" activity. Individuals brainstorm a list of rights they imagine might be in the UDHR, and then walk around, sharing and recording the ideas of their classmates. Afterward, delve into Article 2 with your class, modeling close reading strategies and completing corresponding sections of the note-catcher. Individuals will do Article 3 independently. Note: See additional materials for an index of the unit's lessons.
Close Reading: Becoming Experts on Specific Articles of the UDHR
A continuation of the previous lesson, which is part of a larger group of lessons on human rights (see additional materials). Here, in Lesson 7, your class will explore more articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After a quick review of vocabulary from earlier lessons, split the class into groups for a jigsaw activity. Each group will be assigned 2-3 specific articles form the UDHR to read and independently complete close-reading projects. After everyone in the group becomes an expert on their given articles, groups will break-up and form new mixed-article groups, which will mean that the kids are teaching each other about their articles! Also included are worksheets to help focus young scholars' thinking about each article.