This story starts all the way back in 2011. At that time I had been teaching for a few years and was working in the 5th grade, after having previously taught in 1st and 3rd. I had always strived to bring authentic content and instruction into my classroom in the hopes that I was creating life-long learners, but I knew there had to be a better way.
A colleague of mine had attended a summer training on something called ‘close reading.’ I missed the training, but after talking with her realized that this idea of close reading sounded a bit complex but rather intriguing. In fact, it seemed, like the solution to replacing the outdated basal system I had no interest in using, and hadn’t actually used for years. At that point, I went ahead and began my research. I googled for hours, watched videos on youtube, downloaded ebooks, and examples and basically tried to wrap my head around this ‘new’ method of instruction, this new ‘buzz word.’
This was a great time for me. Here I was jumping off a cliff and taking strides towards doing more with my students. I was pushing them further than I had in the past and taking their learning to new plateaus. Life was pretty good, but by the time mid-September of that year rolled around I realized there were a few issues with the standard implementation of close reading that I had been attempting to utilize in my classroom.
These ‘issues’ started to really get under my skin. As I researched each lesson and gathered resources and outlines I was exposed to a lot of close reading practices that made me feel less than great about close reading overall. At this time I was also the 5th-grade team leader and was not only trying to implement close reading in my classroom but to spearhead close reading across my grade level, and even more-so my school.
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