Reflection: Close Reading: Superman and Me - Section 2: Opening Question


This reflection is a "big picture" reflection that connects to the work of this lesson.  One of my biggest problems as an English teacher is that I firmly believe that, too often, schools and teachers ruin reading for kids.  I despise reading logs (though I do understand their usefulness as an administrative tool), I loathe book journals that are just proof that students read, and I am very suspicious of activities connected to reading that are labor intensive with very little payoff.

I have always enjoyed close reading.  I think of it like solving a puzzle or doing an autopsy on a piece of writing.  I like to pull it apart and analyze the pieces to see how they work.  When I taught AP English, I had a lot of fun with the students while really probing and questioning the text.

 With our Common Core-inspired focus on close reading, I think we need to be extra careful to remember our purpose.  I see no value in having a page of text covered in student underlining and notes that really make no astute observations or valuable contributions.  Students shouldn't work for the sake of working or mark text just to reflect time on task.  Reading should be pleasurable, and when it can't be pleasurable, it should be purposeful.

So, that's how I teach close reading.  We identify some focus areas.  We make connections and note techniques.  No silly notes in the margins, such as "Wow!"  "Huh?"  Or "Yes!"  

Close reading means going deeper.  It doesn' t mean drowning in the shallow end.


  Close reading shouldn't ruin the fun
  Close reading shouldn't ruin the fun
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Close Reading: Superman and Me

Unit 12: Close Reading
Lesson 1 of 3

Objective: SWBAT use close reading techniques to unpack this powerful first person memoir.

Big Idea: Close reading = super strategy to unpack "Superman and Me."

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English / Language Arts, close reading
  55 minutes
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