Conquer Close Reading
In case you're not familiar with Common Core State Standards jargon, close reading is..."thoughtful, critical analysis of a text that focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text's form, craft, meanings, etc." Another online definition says, "reading to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deep comprehension." Well, that's all well and good, but how do you integrate this into your reading program? First, let me say that I believe most homeschoolers ALREADY are fostering close reading habits naturally, without doing anything different or special. Like most CCSS, these standards aren't really new - students were always supposed to understand what they were reading. Apparently, public schools got a wee bit off track before the CCSS were implemented, focusing more on what a student thought about the text and what impressions the text left them with rather than what the text was actually saying. While these are important and interesting ways to study text (especially fiction), the more obvious information was often getting lost in the musings. So, enter close reading. Back to the first question - how you can implement this? If you want to see how it works (methodology) and have your student practice it, Conquer Close Reading is a good way to achieve this. The Introduction fills you in on the process and purpose as well as how to use the book. Each grade provides two model texts - one fiction, one non-fiction - along with twelve mini-lessons (one focusing on each close reading skill) using the model texts. Each mini-lesson has instructions for teaching the skill to your student. Part of these mini-lessons is practice in pairs. However, these are not collaborative activities. I'm guessing the "paired" activity is meant to fulfill another CCSS since these can easily (and more efficiently) be completed by a single student. Once these "building block" mini-lessons are completed, students move to the fourteen main lessons. Each of these presents a passage (lessons 1-7 have a literary text, lessons 8-17 an informational) for students to practice and apply the skills learned in the mini-lessons. The worktext is very self-instructional. Each lesson has a worksheet for each of the four reading "passes" (Read for Story Elements, Build Vocabulary, Identify Text Structure Examples, and Build Deeper Understanding) with clear instructions and prompts for appropriate responses. Again, instructions often reference working with a partner, but this seems unnecessary. A fifth worksheet leads students to Apply Knowledge Through Writing. These are as varied as the texts themselves, requiring anything from a poem to a short, polished essay. Helpful checklists / rubrics at the end of the volume help students to edit, evaluate, and revise their writing. I would probably teach the mini-lessons one per day then have my student do a lesson once a week instead of their "normal" language arts assignments. 128 pages, softcover.