Close Reading in 1st Grade & A Freebie

Close reading.

Ya heard of it?! My old district and new district have been all about it since adopting the Common Core. 

When I was first trained in close reading, I thought, HA! Nice try, in my most sarcastic voice. I didn't see how this could possibly apply to my little first graders. I was very skeptical, but the more trainings I went to, the more I started to pick it apart. I wanted to figure out a way to apply this to my first grade class. Especially since there was a huge emphasis on this skill in the upper grades.

I thought I would break the strategy down and see how I could explain it to my students. This is what I came up with:
Those three steps above are what we focus on in our first grade classroom and I have to say I am VERY pleased! I have been doing close reading in my classroom for about a year and it has been a challenge, but I am thrilled with the responses my students are giving me. 

We have a common phrase in my classroom: 
Prove it!

We use it all time and in every subject, but especially during a close reading. They must provide evidence for ALL their answers during a close read. They can highlight, underline, circle, write down the page number... I don't care, as long as they let me know how they came to their answer and what text support they have to back their answer.

Text choice in 1st grade can be very difficult when doing a close read. The text needs to be difficult enough to have meaning and yet easy enough for 1st graders to pick up that meaning with a little guidance. I complete most of my close readings whole group in first grade. I believe that these primary years are about building that foundation and I need to show my students exactly how to do that. I also have a small group of students who are able to use this strategy during guided reading groups. 
It goes a little something like this:

Day 1:
We receive our passage and read it through once. My students write down "tricky" words they don't understand in their reading journals. I then read the text aloud once as they follow along. We talk about the words they wrote down and see if we can figure out their meaning using context clues.

Day 2: 
We take out our passage and re-read it. I review the vocabulary terms we learned yesterday and students receive the vocabulary sheet to complete.  Students circle the words in the passage and we go over it together.

Day 3: 
We read the passage again and receive the comprehension page. We go through each question together and answer them while highlighting the evidence from the text to support each answer. I let my students in this group talk through these on their own and I only guide them when necessary. I keep re-directing them towards the text and remind them I need them to prove their answers.
*when completing these with the entire class, I will provide a lot more prompting and guidance and have my higher group work together on the other side of the room*

Here is a sneak peek of my students who have been working on this MLK Jr. close read for the past few school days:

Again, the text is difficult and the rest of my class wouldn't be able to read this on their own, but it has a lot of depth to it. We are able to infer and gather evidence for our inferences. There are also plenty of vocabulary words for students to learn.

I thought I would offer this close read for free below.
It is appropriate for 1st-2nd grade:

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If you are interested in trying close reading in your classroom, I created the following resource:

The bundled unit includes a more in-depth look at close reading in a 1st grade classroom as well as seasonal passages with a focus on vocabulary and evidence-based questioning.

There are 10 age-appropriate passages in each season: 5 fiction and 5 non-fiction.

You can click any image above to check it out, or just click [HERE!]

*Just as a final note.... I am in no way pretending to be an expert on close reading. I continue to make adjustments as I learn more about the subject. This is just how I have broken down the strategy to work for my younger students. It has been successful for me and I hope it works for you!*

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