Sunday, March 1, 2015

Just the Facts: Close Reading and Comprehension of Informational Text by Lori Oczkus Book Club

In March-April, we’ll be blogging about Ch. 3-4!

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Lynn Gurnee, Interim ILA Coordinator for California Reading Assn.


  1. In Ch. 3, Motivating Students to Read Informational Texts: Practical Classroom Routines- Using Informational Text All Day Long, what was your favorite routine?
    Did you love the 1st graders anticipating how the author organized text by studying cover before the read aloud? My favorite was the rereading with various lenses looking for tone, syntax, word choice, gist, purpose, evidence, comparisons, etc.
    Lynn Gurnee, Interim ILA (formerly IRA) Coord. for California Reading Assn. (CRA)

  2. Also loved sentence starters for Fab 4 reciprocal teaching strategies on p. 65!

    Close reading lesson plans on p. 78 and guided reading plan on p. 86 are also gold!

    Any ideas for selecting texts for close reading? Check out the Eureka Award winners on CRA’s web site: What do you think?

    Lynn Gurnee, Interim ILA Coordinator for CRA

  3. This is Lori Oczkus, the author of the book you are reading. Thanks so much for joining me in helping students understand and love informational text.

    Lynn, you brought up a question, "Any ideas for selecting texts for close reading?"
    I have several ideas we've been using in the schools I consult in around the country.
    1. Select one page from a classroom core text.. i.e. basal or content area reading.
    Make a copy for each student to write on and one to display or display digitally through your smart board. This is extremely important that you have a copy to mark up and underline.
    2. Ask students to choose the page from the core text rather than you doing it. Have them vote on a page they thought was the most challenging to understand.
    3. Use your Weekly Reader or Time for Kids or Scholastic News. Select one of the articles maybe a longer one to use as your close reading for the day. Allow students to mark up their copies.
    4. Use articles from a variety of sources. Or try Newsela a new free online resource that features articles fresh off the AP wire and rewritten daily for grades 3-8. Pick and choose which articles suit your students' interests and needs.

  4. I am glad Lori mentioned Newsela. I have started utilizing it in my classroom. The students find it engaging. I have also used passages from The passages are by lexile level, or if you want they can select by grade level. I have used the Comprehension Toolkit by Heinemann and it offers printable text and a good foundation for teaching nonfiction text features.
    I was encouraged to read about the gains ELL and struggling readers can make when they are able to utilize critical reading strategies. I am going to make bookmarks for my students. I do, we do, you do, closure, assess, reassess.....I do, we do, closure, assess, reassess..... When we carefully scaffold the lesson the students are empowered. They love to teach their neighbor some "wow facts!" Thank you for all the resources found on page 82. The interest inventory and informational text reading log found on page 89 are great. I like headings for author's purpose and my purpose! Now, I hope to work together with my grade alike teachers to arrange some text sets.
    In chapter 4 there is a plethora of ideas to engage the readers in non- fiction text features. There can never be enough sticky notes!! I have my students use stickies sometimes to respond to things they wonder about, questions they have , and to record amazing facts as they read. The games in the book will make it fun as students get to know the text features. I will have the students write their own nonfiction books and include the text features they have learned.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Margaret! Really love that your including your grade alike teachers with the text set work! Your idea for the kids writing books and including text features is gold!