Guest post by Hannah — thank you!
“You may not always realize that you are doing these things, but that is just the point – we already know how to study what we love closely, it is a process, a method of falling in love.” (p. 8)
In Falling in Love with Close Reading, Lehman and Roberts describe a simple process and method to teach close reading to upper-elementary, middle school and high school students. They do so by inspiring the reader to study texts deeply, as if they were the people and places they love the most. For a teacher like me, with a limited background in English Literature, the book provides an extremely helpful review of the literary elements and structures that we need to teach our students.
Lehman and Roberts suggest following a ‘ritual’ when close reading texts.
- Read through lenses (ex: relationships, setting descriptions or time period)
- Use lenses to find patterns
- Use patterns to develop a new understanding of the text
Throughout the book, the authors return to this ritual each time they embark on close reading, regardless of the focus of the reading. This ritual is very user-friendly for both teachers and students because it outlines a path of specific and consistent steps to follow.
Along with providing a general framework for close reading instruction, the authors provide lesson plans and practical tips to use with students. For example, they offer ideas for tangible scaffolds such as sentence stems and anchor charts to help students with abstract concepts. The authors also make suggestions for ways to increase student engagement such as by incorporating pop culture, students’ interests and video clips into close reading instruction. Connections to the Common Core State Standards are present throughout the text and are very helpful. This is an exceptionally practical and clearly written text. It’s a must for all upper-elementary, middle school and high school ELA teachers.