Doug Fisher on Close Reading
Different understandings of close reading exist. For example, how many times should you read and/or reread a text? Fisher clarified some of these misconceptions. After learning from Fisher (the “close reading guru”), we couldn’t wait to share this with our teacher friends and even teach a close reading lesson!
Most important close reading take-aways from the most awesome Doug Fisher:
1) Close reading involves the following:
2) The number of times you read a text depends on student understanding. This is often accomplished in 3-5 readings, although it may demand more or less.
3) Don’t introduce books/text by making personal connections and sharing personal experiences. WHAT?! Yep, research says this will actually cause students to add details that are not in the text.
4) Fisher suggests the following close reading phases:
SUCCESS TIP: Linger longer at the 2nd phase (what authors do and why they do it). Why? Students will actually start writing more like the author. WOW! Right?
5) ANNOTATIONS – use minimal annotation symbols. Fisher suggests using ONLY THREE at first. These include:
Be sure to let students update their annotations after several readings.
6) More about annotations….
Annotations are EXCELLENT formative assessment data. Keep them daily and review them. Teachers can easily determine while students are still reading the text (as opposed to an assessment at the end) what still needs to be taught.
7) Text Dependent Questions (TDQs) MUST-HAVES:
8) More About TDQs:
TDQs should go in an order that is scaffolded for kids. The following types of TDQs increase in complexity from simplest (key ideas and details) to most complex (integration of knowledge and ideas).
9) When developing text dependent questions, use these as a guide.
Do the questions require the reader to return to the text?
Do the questions require the reader to use evidence to support his or her ideas or claims?
Do the questions move from text-explicit to text-implicit knowledge?
Are there questions that require the reader to analyze, evaluate, and create?
10) Close reading should be scaffolded for student success! This is perhaps the best visual on the gradual release model we have seen. It also corresponds to the process for using the close reading strategy.
Susan Dewees, Ed.D. is an administrator at a large middle school. She also served as a Turnaround Team Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has 20 years of experience in public school education, and special education is one of her specialties.
Erin Stokes, Ed.D. is a Title I Instructional Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has over 10 years of experience as a teacher and instructional coach. She is also an adjuct professor at Louisiana College. She loves students, teachers, and most of all--learning.
Becky Pippen, Ed.D. is currently serving as principal of a large middle school in Louisiana. She has over 20 years experience in educational leadership. She is passionate about improving the teacher workforce so that all students have the quality of instruction they deserve.