Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading? Professional Books

Thank you Jen and Kellee for hosting this weekly!  To see what others are reading and recommending, or to participate, be sure to check out their blog Teach Mentor Texts :)

I loved reading Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work Grades 3-5 by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey and I highly recommend it! It is a fairly easy read and provides you with a deeper understanding of the CCSS in English language arts as well as practical ways to discuss and process the standards with your colleagues during PLC.  The text is structured in a reader-friendly format and each chapter hones in on a specific strand addressed in the CCSS.  I also loved the guiding questions  embedded throughout the text, that we can ask ourselves during PLC's, as we roll up our sleeves and deepen our understanding of the standards.  

Over the weekend, I also read Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst.  This week, we are starting our Short Text and Literary Essay unit in reading and writing workshop so was excited to see this newly published text on close reading that was just published this month.  Throughout the text, Kylene Beers and Robert Probst share six "signposts" they model and teach students to help them deepen their understanding and thinking while closely reading texts.  The six signposts are significant moments in the text that cause the reader to pause, notice, and reflect on thinking.  

The six signposts in the text are: 
  • Contrast and Contradictions - places where the character acts "out of character" or in a way we don't expect them to act.  
  • Aha moments - places where the character has a realization 
  • Tough Questions - places where the character asks tough questions about themselves/situation
  • Words of the Wiser - places where the character receives advice and/or words of wisdom 
  • Again and Again - places where something is repeated, whether it is an object, word, phrase
  • Memory Moment - places where the character has a flashback and remembers something or a time
Kylene Beers and Robert Probst share that the six signposts and anchor questions in the text can be reworded by the teacher and/or class.  In the text, they share sample lessons and strategies to teach students to help them internalize these signposts and strengthen their comprehension and close reading skills.  According to Beers and Probst, the more students noticed these signposts, the more they were using the comprehension skills: visualizing, predicting, summarizing, questioning, inferring, and making connections (p.69).  

During our upcoming unit on close reading, I am going to introduce, model, and teach these signposts but will most likely tweak the wording a little to make it our own in our classroom.  

Happy Reading! :)


  1. love hearing about new professional reading, Melanie, especially this 2nd one. We don't have to follow the common core at our school, so I know some about it, but am less interested. Have fun at the workshop.

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