professornana (professornana) wrote,

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T and A

Got your attention, yes? Sorry for the teaser. I have been following links down rabbit holes of late, reading about text complexity a la CCSS. One of the rabbit holes took me to a protocol for group reading of an article that asked each member of the group to name one thing they AGREE with and ending with one thing each person ASPIRES to from the text. This is apparently a tool for educators to use when reading professional literature closely. Another rabbit hole asked me to view an article through six separate lenses, reading through that lens separately. Hence, I am reading the article 6 times, each time with a different lens. After 6 readings, I am asked to provide 3 main ideas about the text.

While this might be close reading from someone's definition, it is not CRITICAL reading. It also presents a false concept of how we read. I do not isolate lenses as I read, searching for personal connections in one reading then metacognitively a second time, etc. This artificiality ignores what we do as readers. As I read, there are so many things occurring. Depending on the text, I might be making connections between the current text or simply reading critically for some specific information.

For instance, I took a GN with me to the car dealer this week. I know that their estimate of 45 minutes will always be incorrect (2 hours was the correct wait time). As I read, I made connections between this book and the author's two previous books, both GNs. I moved on to some personal connections as the book was about siblings, rivalry and all. Been there. Done that. STILL doing it to some extent. Simultaneously, I was thinking of other texts I loved that talked about the pains and joys of siblings from Nancy Drew (an only child I wanted to emulate in my tween years) to Beverly Cleary to dozens of other books. I was mentally creating a reading ladder. I was thinking about the use of color, of line, of perspective (artistic decisions that influence my reading). And I was thinking this might make a great book to require for my YA lit class. All these things were pinging and yet I was able to follow the story from start to finish without too much trouble.

When I see convoluted approaches to text such as the ones I saw today, I fervently hope that if a teacher decides to do this with a text, he or she will use a text kids already will hate. Perhaps a classic? Or something that has no connection to kids' lives? I really do not want this lovely GN spoiled with the lenses and As approach. Hey, teachers, leave those books alone! All in all, you're just another reason why more kids graduate vowing never to read again.
Tags: ccss, close reading, crap, repeated readings, strategies
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