Teacher Modeling for Close Reading

Teacher Modeling for Close Reading

Have you ever skied?  Do you play tennis or golf?  Do you swim or play a musical instrument? All of these skills/tasks are taught through modeling and demonstration.

Did you know that modeling can be equally effective in cognitive tasks?  That is why it is very important to use teacher modeling when planning lessons involving close reading. Researchers have found that most teaching is done in the second person (“First,  you add the digits in the digits in the ones column.” or “When you look at this caterpillar, what do you see?”  ).

However, many experts recommend teaching close reading in the first person.  You can do this easily by modeling your own thinking. In order to model a close reading, experts Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher recommend the following steps:

1.  Naming the strategy or skill (visualizing, using context clues, etc.).

2.  Stating the purpose of the specific strategy or skill.

3.  Using “I” statements as you model the strategy with an anchor text (“I can just imagine the amazed look on Harry’s face when he finds out he’s a wizard!”).

4. Demonstrating the strategy or skill with a “think aloud” in the first person.

5.  Alerting students about common errors; and

6.  Assessing the usefulness of that particular strategy or skill.

Teacher modeling of close reading can easily be done with Big Books and/or document cameras.  Start with a lesson that includes a short, interactive reading and try modeling your own thinking during the lesson.  Then, let me know how the lesson went by posting a comment below!

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