Thursday, July 17, 2014

Text Evidence for New Readers, a Simple Game, and a Freebie

I've always been a big fan of requiring our students to find evidence in the text to support their thinking. I am new to close reading. This is NOT a post about close reading. BUT I have been quietly practicing and studying close reading because I really think it is so powerful! The reason I bring up close reading is because a big part of it is using text evidence. I think I've got that part down, but I still need to learn so much more! For today, I'm just going to focus on how we can help our beginning readers to refer back to the text.  

You can do this even with the simplest of texts. I love to empower my students to read something on their own, with some scaffolding. I want to give them opportunities to practice their reading skills and fluency, while working on comprehension skills. (Side note: These simple passages or stories do not work for true close reading because the text and vocabulary are not complex enough. However, you can always find ways to make your students go back to the text to "prove" an answer.)

Wait a minute! Is that kid shirtless? Yep, that's right. We did some crazy slip-n-sliding then took a break to do some "summer school". 

I've always felt like I was meant to be a teacher. Then I had kids and thought, "Man, this is even better." Well, let me tell you what is the best of the best. Teaching your own kid! I am LOVING it. I'm so spoiled with Shawn. He humors me and totally goes along with the summer school thing. Although, I think he thinks that every 5 year old has to do summer school with their mom. Shhh! 

On this morning, he woke up and wanted to do his "homework" right away. (I know, not. normal.) Isn't he adorable in those slippers with his tiny little legs. Hilarious. These pages I made are all very simple passages for beginning readers. They have a sight word search to begin each page. He loves that part! My goal with these pages is to get him ready for the rigor of close reading. These passages do not have the text difficulty or vocabulary required for true close reading, but I'm hoping to get him used to going back to the text to find answers. 

Here is our process:
1. Sight word search (and additional activities if we need to master those sight words)
2. Read through the text (using knowledge of sight words, picture clues, context, and phonics skills)
3. Questions: Each question requires students to go back and find the answer in the text. These are such basic texts and questions but it is so empowering for them to be able to read it independently (mostly) and go back and search for that answer. 
4. Throw in a game (see below Guess What I'm Thinking): I want to get my students used to thinking while they read. This is a learned skill for most! To teach them how to think while they read, I want to show them how I think while I read. 

All you need for this is a few sticky notes and a fun pointer. I did not have a fun pointer so I just took a popsicle stick and glued a triangle button to the top. Anything to make it special to point to a sticky note. If you want to get them moving more, you could put circles (or sit spots) on the ground and have them hop to the answer.

If you want to try this out, you can download this passage for free. Click on the picture to download!

If you want more like it, you might want to check out my 

Disclaimer: My blog is a place for me to "work things out" in my head. I'm always learning new things, trying out new ideas, and then I reflect on that process. So don't quote me on anything here! Ha! My goal is always to find ways to teach, inspire, and support my students. I'm so glad you are here to cheer me on along the way! I love how we are all here to support each other in our mission to touch the lives of our kids. Just thought I'd throw that out there! :)


  1. This is fantastic! Your summer student is about the best of both worlds! Thank you for sharing your process and pictures! Jodi

  2. I am with you Sarah on Close Reading! I think you and I both are on the same page. We've possibly been doing it, in a parallel fashion! Just pinned your ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Exactly Julie! I'm loving this new challenge to learn close reading. :)

  3. Great post!! Thanks for sharing!! I look forward to teaching my little guy in a year or two!!

  4. These look great!

    Down the Learning Road

  5. I'm moving from third grade to first this year and this looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing!

    Little In Betweens
    (formerly Teach on a Limb)

  6. My little guy is always shirtless too. Doesn't matter if it's snowing! I love how your ideas for getting these little ones to find the evidence. I can also use these ideas for my thirds who are mega struggling with this skill. Thank you for sharing!!

    Teaching with Hope

    1. Ha! Gotta love those little boys:) I'm glad you can use these ideas for your big kids too!