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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Modeling Close Reading for Future Teachers: ELA Videos and Webinars

Janice Dole

Director, Reading & Literacy Program, Educational Psych, University of Utah

In my previous post, I shared how I use freely available video in my reading and literacy methods course to help my preservice teachers (PTs) understand close reading instruction at a level that could not be attained through reading and discussion alone.

Below is my curated collection of videos for general Common Core info, as well as videos to teach the close reading, text complexity and informational texts standards.

General Information About the Common Core

1. Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy

This 15-minute video gives a general overview of the CCSS and explains why the U.S. has moved to the Common Core. It summarizes how the ELA Standards are structured and is appropriate for elementary, middle and high school teachers.

2. Explanation of the Common Core Standards

This is a set of cartoon drawings that explain the different organizations and institutions involved in developing the CCSS. The CCSS were not developed by the federal government. This video shows you who did.

3. Common Core State Standards: Principles of Development

This eight-minute video provides an opportunity for teacher educators to hear from the two individuals who are most responsible for the CCSS -- David Coleman and Sue Pimentel. The video does not provide a lot of help in understanding the CCSS, just some background about what the original authors intended to do with the standards.

Close Reading

4. Doug Fisher: Close Reading and the CCSS: Part I

In this three-minute video, Dr. Fisher explains what close reading is. The video does not show an example of close reading, but Dr. Fisher does an excellent job of explaining the approach and describing what it might look like in a classroom.

5. Doug Fisher: Close Reading and the CCSS: Part II

This is another three-minute video explaining what teachers and students do during a close read. When the teacher models close reading, she notices that students aren't understanding, and changes her approach by helping them search the text to provide support for their ideas.

6. Close Reading: Grade 4 May

In this 15-minute video of a fourth grade teacher doing a close read with her students, the teacher does an excellent job of leading a discussion of the difficult text. Her questions draw out important information about the text itself, as well as information that will lead students to write a compare/contrast essay about the two selections they read.

7. Close Reading, Grade 6 Social Studies

This is a ten-minute video of a teacher doing a close read of a text in a whole-classroom setting. She stresses the importance of annotating a text. Students work on their own, read and reread the text, work in small groups, etc. As the teacher goes around the room, she observes that the kids really don't understand the main idea of the selection. She then scaffolds a bit with the whole group and has students go back and reread.

8. Close Reading, Grade 10

This 16-minute video shows a tenth grade instructor teaching close reading of a section from Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning. She has a whole group of students who periodically break into groups of four to discuss questions.

9. Close Interactive Read-Aloud of "Bats at the Ballgame" (Second Grade)

This 17-minute video is an actual small-group lesson (seven students) by a second grade teacher. The teacher is reading aloud from Bats at the Ballgame and helps students understand the story. The lesson is nicely interactive and shows the students' prior knowledge and understanding of words in the story.

10. How to Do a Close Read

This is a four-minute close reading from Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You’ll Go, showing the kind of annotation strategies used to do a close read of the text, highlighting words, phrases and ideas worthy of further explanation/discussion.

11. How to Annotate a Text

This two-minute video shows students how to annotate -- highlighting, marking up the pages and putting notes in the margin. It's a good introductory video to give middle and high school students a heads-up on annotation skills.

Text Complexity

12. Text Complexity

This 14-minute video explains text complexity well. It would be an excellent instructional video for pre- and in-service teachers as they begin to understand issues related to text complexity. It provides the what but not so much the why.

13. Text Complexity and ELLs

Dr. Elfrieda (Freddy) Hiebert gave this 53-minute webinar on text complexity and vocabulary. She presents theory, research and practice about vocabulary and text complexity and shares how ideas about these issues relate to English-language learners. The lengthy video should be required viewing for pre- and in-service teachers.

14. Transitioning to the CCSS: Making Your Efforts Effective Through a Focus on Text Complexity Demands

This 45-minute webinar presents a thorough discussion of text complexity and text difficulty. David Liben discusses a study conducted to compare the different measures of text difficulty and the results of those studies -- vocabulary and syntax are the most important components of text complexity. He ends the webinar explaining the amount of complex texts on which students at the different grades should read and spend time. This is a good overview of issues related to text complexity and a reasonable way to approach it within classrooms.

Informational Texts

15. Nonfiction Text Features

This nine-minute video explains at a very basic level the difference between fiction and informational texts -- a good resource for beginning preservice teachers and upper elementary and secondary students who do not understand the difference between fiction and informational in terms of what students need to do.

16. Non-Fiction Fun: Identifying the Features of Non-Fiction Books

In this eight-minute video, a primary grade teacher presents a lesson showing students the differences between fiction and nonfiction texts. The video is useful for preservice teachers in that this lesson shows teachers how to teach the difference.

17. Informational Text and the CCSS: Pitfalls and Potential

This is a 46-minute PowerPoint webinar by Nell Duke about informational texts. Duke presents an excellent blend of theory, research and practice. Preservice and in-service teachers will learn how informational texts are embedded in the CCSS. Duke explains the potential uses and values of informational text for students, and also describes pitfalls that may occur. This webinar does not present practical applications for teachers.

Please share your favorite resources in the comments section below.

This is the second of three parts. In part one, I described how I use videos to reinforce the practice of close reading for preservice teachers. Part three will feature what I've found to be exceptional professional websites for reading teachers.

Janice Dole

Director, Reading & Literacy Program, Educational Psych, University of Utah
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Comments (4)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Jen Fine's picture

Thank you for the wonderful resource on CLOSE READING! :) Great job!

Lynn Smolen's picture
Lynn Smolen
I am a professor of literacy and teaching English as a second language

Thank you for this wonderful collection of resources on close reading and the CCSS. I will share it with my colleagues.

Deb Browers's picture

Hi Jan,
I was your student at Michigan State University many years ago. I was in the Multiple Perspectives program. Many times, when I teach reading I think about the classes I took from you. I look forward to following your blog. Thanks for your work.

Britni's picture

Wow! Thank you so much for compiling all of these wonderful resources on close reading. I recently read an article on the power of close reading, and I plan to begin implementing this strategy in my classroom this fall. I have been looking for information and videos on what this looks like in a kindergarten setting, and your blog has given me a good start. Thank you!

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