As summer approaches, I know that for many of us there will come a time when we will turn once again to a favorite book for our annual re-reading of it. Beyond that, though, I often re-read when I encounter a text in a different form or format. Within the last several months I have listened to two different audio versions of the novel and read Hope Larson's GN version, too. Each re-reading came with some trepidation but resulted in an appreciation not just for L'Engle's incredible work but for the power of the different versions to touch different chords within me as a reader. This is the power of RE.
I think this is a different from much of what I have seen about close reading in CCSS. I like some tome to pass between readings. Each semester, I REvisit WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. And generally, I see some new bit, detail, color. It does not happen with a long stint of close scrutiny. Instead, it happens when I come back fresh to the book. One of the biggest AHA moments happened once when I was reading the book aloud to a class and had it turned to face them. My perspective (glancing at the text from the side) had shifted enough for me to see something new. I had a similar experience once when flipping pages quickly through a book and noticing something happening in the illustrations I had not seen. Those moments of self-discovery were rewarding. Rediscovering the story or the art was personal and exciting.
Kylene Beers tells a terrific story of her daughter reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD three years in a row for school assignments (shifting schools, new teachers, etc.) and commenting on how better the novel was the third time around. Her take was that the novel had changed. We know, of course, that the reader had changed. There was more in the book because there was more in the reader. I think too much of close reading happens on a horizontal plane. Maybe some of it needs to happen on the diagonal or vertical plane?