Friday, December 19, 2014

Welcome to the New Book Club!

We’re reading & discussing Just the Facts: Close Reading and Comprehension of Informational Text by Lori Oczkus published January 2014 by Shell.  Why? This dynamic resource provides: 

                clear explanations on using informational text in classrooms
                 practical tips, suggestions, lesson ideas to use with students
                 digital resources and ideas aligned to the Common Core 
                 solid tools to enhance comprehension of informational text

January-February we’ll be blogging about Ch. 1-2!

Need more convincing? Here’s my top 3 reasons to join us!

1.             Implement proven ideas to use the next day requiring little prep.
2.             Find helpful K-8 lessons with options for struggling readers & EL
3.             Network with professionals from all over California

Click on Amazon on CRA’s home web page to buy it now!

Here’s how to get started:

                 Click on the blog or post you would like to view.
                 Underneath this post or blog, you’ll see Comments or No Comments (if no one has posted a reply).
                Under Post a Comment, you’ll see a box saying "Enter your comment…"
                Click inside the box and type your comments.
                Then hit publish. That's all there is to it!

Blogging is having an engaging two-way conversation. Have fun!

Please join us!

Lynn Gurnee,

Interim IRA Coordinator for the California Reading Association


  1. On p. 20-22, LOVED Lori's description of the 3 shifts in CCSS and what it means for the classroom, how about you? Especially liked the "Big Because" pic. on p. 22. It truly is worth a thousand words! Lynn Gurnee

  2. Hey, check out Lori's Thinking Deeply Template & Digging Deeper Thinking Bookmark on p. 29 to make critical thinking part of EVERY lesson! Like Kramer said on Seinfeld, "It's gold, Jerry!" Lynn Gurnee

  3. Lori asks, "Did you know readers look different when reading informational text?" Fascinating, eh? Lori's ideas on modeling nonfiction reading behaviors on p. 11 & 47-49 to help students fully engage also got my attention! Don't you think the kids are going to LOVE the Interview and Pillowcase Lessons on p. 38-39?! And the text feature activities are "more gold, Jerry!" Having so much fun reading this book! Hope you are too or soon will be! Lynn Gurnee

  4. Always liked using mentor texts to teach. We have some good ones listed on the CRA web site under Awards/ Eureka nonfiction book award recipients. We also have some good CCSS connections with some of these nonfiction mentor books listed in 2013/2014 PDI resources by Lynn Gurnee. Happy Holidays…Lynn

  5. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 Comments
    These chapters are so full of gems; it was hard for me to single out just a few to comment on. However, I have selected the ones that I want plan to employ in my SDC classroom. I have already started the close reading model found in chapter 3. I found a book that was full of 3 to 4 paragraph news stories and who, what, where, when questions. I am having my students follow the model by reading silently, then aloud, then in pairs, and then again to answer text dependent questions. I think it has made a huge difference in their reading comprehension. In the past, my students have read through text one time and expect that that is enough. Through this method of close reading, I think they are finding that reading the same passage more than once is not only okay, but reading a text more than one time really helps them to understand and remember what they have read. My next step will be to ask them to take what they have learned from the text and draw similarities to their own lives.
    I plan to use many of the lessons from chapters 4 and 5. The ones that I will try first from chapter 4 are the “Guess My Prediction,” “Photo Awards,” and “Thumbs up, Thumbs On: Using the Glossary to Understand Words” and “Index Hunt: Using the Index to Locate Information.” Drawing attention to and teaching how to use the table of contents, photos, the glossary, and the index are important for my students, because they need tools and strategies to locate and figure out what they don’t know. Too many times they just exempt themselves from answering hard questions because they just don’t know where to look or how to use their resources. These lessons are full of engaging activities and games that make it fun to use what is already at their fingertips. The corner with the photo activity will get them up and moving which is especially helpful for my ADD students. The game of racing to find words in the index hunt will also be fun for my students who struggle. I like the caution to have them race against the clock and not each other. Also, built into both this chapter and chapter 5 are the sentence frames that are so crucial for my group. Often they just don’t know what words to use to put their thoughts together. This structure gets their thoughts rolling.
    The lessons from chapter 5 that I plan to incorporate in my class are: “Purpose, Purpose, What’s My Purpose,” “Text Walk This Way!” “Wonder Walk, Wonder Wall,” and “Presto Change-o: Say IT in Your Own Words.” All of my students are struggling readers, and typically read two to three grade levels below their own grade level. One of my major goals as a teacher is to build confidence in my students to work hard and not give up even though the text that they are required to read may seem beyond their grasp. The lessons in this chapter speak to how I can help my students succeed at reading informational text through teaching them skills which make accessing difficult text easier. Some of my favorite activities from the lessons listed above are text walking in a small group, students questioning why they are reading a certain text, students using post-it notes to note what they are wondering about the text, and students using the Presto Change-o form to write summaries. Many of my students struggle to find, restate, and summarize main ideas of the text that they read. Through the use of the sentence frames, activities, and the many tips for struggling readers I will be able to engage and motivate my students to greater success.
    Thank you, Lori for your inspiration and gift to present these ideas and lessons on close reading.