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Reading Complex Texts Closely, in Ways that Allow Readers to Answer Text Dependant Questions, to Write about Their Reading, and to be at Home with Complex Texts

Dec 12, 2024
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Date: Thursday, December 12, 2024

Time: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM ET

Location: Online, via Zoom

Who Should Attend: Grades 3-8 teachers and coaches

Cost: $150 per person

Research is clear that kids need experience delving into complex texts– texts that ask a lot of them as readers. Every one of us needs to be stretched in order to grow, and that is absolutely true for students as well. When kids encounter challenging text, those texts can nudge them to reread strategically, to navigate complex syntax, to problem-solve unfamiliar vocabulary, and to go to great lengths to extract meaning. The challenge is that simply holding a difficult text doesn’t do readers any good–it is the actual work of reading, rereading, pausing to summarize, synthesizing related bits, noticing, asking questions, discussing, and writing about the text that helps a reader to grow. 

This workshop will help you work with your read-alouds, as well as a diverse set of short texts, in order to help your students dig into complex texts. You’ll help rally your students to pore over these texts in order to make meaning from them, to write about them–and yes–to answer text-based questions about them.

You’ll hear about syntax surgery as a way to help kids to excavate complex texts, about ways to promote rereading, about the power of debate as a tool for close reading, and about using AI to unpack complex texts. You’ll leave with strategies to teach about print conventions, including text structures, patterns, and purposes, as well as ideas for protocols and routines that promote collaborative and independent study of texts.

This day is important for supporting a full range of readers. Scaffolded practice with short bursts of sufficiently complex texts provides enormous value to all our children: those reading below, at, and above benchmark. Don’t wait until you prepare for state assessments before you teach close reading—make it joyful, intense, and collaborative right from the start so that it supports your students’ growth all year long! 

Across this day, expect to:

  • Be introduced to some engaging, complex texts and ways to draw students into close reading and meaning making with those texts and with text-dependent based questions related to them. 

  • Discuss what research suggests about supporting readers in tackling text complexity, and learn a variety of approaches, routines, and protocols for this.

  • Practice analyzing a few texts with different aspects of text complexity in mind, considering what makes these complex–especially in terms of structure, patterns, and purpose–and what your teaching might look like in response.

  • Identify the specific grammar patterns and language and vocabulary challenges that English poses to multilingual learners, and see specific ways to teach students to recognize and tackle these.

  • Familiarize yourself with the latest research on fluency instruction, and see practical ways to help children use internal punctuation and subordinate phrases as they read aloud, in ways that bolster comprehension.

  • Consider how you can support transference, so that the close reading work you do informs and lifts the level of students’ ongoing independent reading.

  • Consider the role of partnership and collaborative work when reading complex texts, and learn ways partners can support each other to navigate especially tricky parts of texts.

  • Discuss what you can do when a text places knowledge demands on kids and kids have not yet built up that knowledge, including reading far easier texts on the topic and researching to gain necessary background knowledge.

  • Tap the power of shared reading and shared writing to help students work with complex text passages.