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Literacy Highlights: Notice and Note

We are all working to help our students get better at close reading and actually think about what they are reading. I highly recommend Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst book Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading to give you a clearly spelled out way to do just that. And it works!!

The idea is simple: when good readers read, they notice things the author does, and stop to....(you got it!) take NOTE of these author techniques. This book provides actual scripts of lessons on introducing each of the "signposts," as they are called in the book. When students see these signposts, they are taught to ask themselves specific questions.

Here are the signposts and anchor questions in a nutshell, according to Beers and Probst (2012).

1. Contrast and Contradiction: A character does or says something that is a contradiction to their normal behavior or what you'd expect.

Ask yourself: Why would the character do that?

2. Tough Questions: A character asks a difficult question that makes him/her think.

Ask yourself: What does this make me wonder about?

3. Aha Moments: A character suddenly realizes or understands something important.

Ask yourself: Why might this realization be important?

4. Words of the Wiser: A wiser, often older, character give advice about life.

Ask yourself: What is the life lesson? How might this affect the character?

5. Again and Again: Images, events, or words recur in the novel.

Ask yourself: Why might the author this bring this up again and again?

6. Memory Moment: A character takes a moment to recollect a memory which interrupts the story.

Ask yourself: Why might this memory be important?

This seems so simple, but this concept really takes your students' reading to the next level. I have been using these close reading signposts with my sixth graders this year, and I have seen such an improvement in the depth of their conversations and the level of comprehension. The best part about it is that the steps are really so simple to follow.

This book is an engaging, straightforward read that can easily be applied to any classroom. All the resources you need to get started are right in the book.

Check it out today...and engage your students tomorrow!

Beers, G. K., & Probst, R. E. (2012). Notice & note: Strategies for close reading. Heinemann.

Who dares to teach

must never cease to learn.

~John Cotton Dana

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