Friday, August 8, 2014

Close Reading: Dragonflies

I am so excited about my first close reading pack. This pack includes detailed instructions and several activities to help your kids really dig deep into the text.  I'm loving close reading! I made this pack for teachers who are trying to wrap their brains around close reading. I made it pretty detailed and included enough for 3-5 days of teaching (depending on grade level). This would work well for students in kindergarten-2nd.   

Here is what's included: 

It's still summer vacation for me for another month. (Woo-hoo!) I plan on using this with my students when I get back, but in the meantime, I did it with Shawn. Luckily, he was all about it. Show that boy   some highlighter tape and a few insect pictures and he's good to go.

First, we read through the two page text. I laminated it front to back. 
If I were in the classroom, I would either use my document camera and project it for the whole class to see or I would make copies front to back for more proficient readers who could do this independently. I'll be using it during my reading groups when I go back to school, so I probably will end up laminating 6 copies. 

After the read-through, we went over vocabulary. I used these vocabulary cards and did several different activities. We acted out some of the words. For example, the word hover is the perfect word to act out. I had a plastic dragonfly and had that dragonfly hover over different objects. We also looked back at the text and reread the sentences with some of the vocabulary words to get the context.  I had him guess the meaning of some of the words, based on the context.

Before the 2nd read, I told him we were going to pay close attention to how the author wrote this text. I asked him to think about why there were different chunks or sections. After reading each section, we labeled what we thought the big idea or topic or that section was. We also talked about how the pictures help us understand the text.

I also printed out those different sections onto separate pages, so we could look more closely at them.  I thought this would be helpful if you were doing this whole class with kindergarteners. We gave each a label and talked about how the author helps us understand what we are reading by chunking up the text like this. 

As a extra little activity, (if you decide to use the pages that chunk up the text by sections), you could give a topic and they can swat the page that has that topic (using the pictures to help them decide). Put these up on your white board and have kids come up to swat the page to show the topic or where they might for information about something.

For our third read, we used investigation cards. Together, we read the investigation questions and went back to the text to find evidence to support our answers. This was his favorite part because he got to use highlighter tape and wikki sticks to show his evidence. 

He is swatting the paragraph where he thinks he will find his answer. 

He also used this high lighter strip to show his answers:

Last, we did a little writing assignment. The writing pages are the same as the investigation cards. The only difference is that they have to write their answer instead of just discussing it and showing the answer in the text. Here, he used little sticky notes to show me where his answers were in the text. Then he got to use that highlighter tape again. 

As a little extra, we did this "Create a Scene" activity. He had to draw a place where he'd find a dragonfly and include its prey. Again, he had to take info from his text to complete this. 

I can't wait to use this in my classroom with my small groups. I plan on making two more insect packs and then bundling them together. Maybe ants and grasshoppers? Then I want to dive into ocean animals because that's the newest things with my son. :) 

I have it on sale today for $2.50!


  1. Looks great! Let me know if you need any of your others proofed :)

  2. This is so perfect for getting kids to look at nonfiction in a more purposeful way!!

    Teaching with Hope

  3. I love the investigation cards! And really - the whole thing! You gave such great ideas for how to make close reading fun for little readers.

    First Grade Smiles