Close Reading

ELA: Close Reading with Emergent Readers

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This year our elementary and middle school students have focused on close reading strategies to build perseverance and grit with complex text. However, it is a strategy even beginning readers can use!Close Reading with Emergent Readers

This morning I was afforded the opportunity to visit with the staff at Fredrick Post Kindergarten and share ideas for supporting emergent readers in the close reading of text. This seemed like a perfect fit for their current caterpillar and butterfly unit!

The resources from this morning are available in the shared Google Drive folder and are accessible to anyone. Also included are two example lessons using The Very Hungry Caterpillar and From Caterpillar to Butterfly.  Readworks.Org is also an excellent resource for informational text passages that can be used in the classroom.

Teacher Amanda Hartman on Vimeo:



ELA: Overview of the Six Shifts in the Idaho Core Standards

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Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 8.45.23 AMReading teachers and paraprofessionals from all five elementary schools spent Monday morning in a workshop session at Post Falls High School. Paraprofessionals were introduced to the basic format of the Idaho Core Standards in ELA as well as the new Smarter Balanced Assessment before diving into the six instructional shifts in ELA associated with the Common Core Standards.

If you’d like a refresher (or introduction) to the ELA Idaho Core Standards feel free to click through the Prezi used during the workshop. The Prezi contains valuable videos, links, and resources for each shift. They are also downloadable below.

Teachers and paraprofessionals walked away from the training with new tools for close reading and writing text-dependent questions as well as strategies for supporting at-risk readers in vocabulary development and writing from texts. Teachers also revisited the foundational skills that need to be taught at each grade level for students to meet the rigorous demands of informational text. Be sure to ask them to share some of their new knowledge!

Foundational Skills

Text Complexity

Text-Dependent Questions

Academic Vocabulary

Writing from Sources

Check out the Prezi for videos and online links!jennifer-signature

ELA: Spring into Reading

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Spring is finally here! Check out these three resources  for a little something extra to celebrate this week . All resources are aligned to the Idaho Core Standards.

springTry this March Madness Vocabulary Bracket from Vocab Girl at Sadlier Publishing. Students can use the brackets to set up matches between vocabulary words. Winners can be determined by the strongest definitions and corresponding sentences until each student determines their own “Ultimate Vocabulary Word.” This is perfect for reinforcing Tier 2 vocabulary in the intermediate and secondary classroom.  The download is free after registering on the site.

One of my favorite sites for informational text, Readworks, released 12 new K-1 reading passages for the first day of spring. These are perfect short texts for introducing close reading at the primary level. Lexile ranges on these passages range from 110L to 520L. By registering your email address you will  be given free access to all of Readworks passages, lessons, and question sets. 

It’s also the 45th anniversary of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar today! Check out the videos below of a kindergarten teacher closely reading the book with a group of students for some springtime inspiration.

ELA: Even More Idaho Core Workshop Resources

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At last night’s ELA Idaho Core Workshop, Post Falls K-5 teachers were introduced to Text-Dependent Questions and Close Reading. If you couldn’t make it grab the handouts and view the resources below!

Text-Dependent Questioning

Join us for our last ELA Workshop Series session on March 20 at Seltice Elementary. We will be looking into Argumentative Writing and Constructed Responses. The Secondary session begins at 3:00pm. The Elementary session begins at 3:45pm.

Looking for more resources from the ELA Workshop Series? Check out the archived posts: ELA Workshop Series Resources.jennifer-signature


ELA: Close Reading — What it Looks Like

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In this video from EngageNY,  fifth grade students in Andrew Hossack’s class use close reading strategies to determine the main idea and key details from an informational newspaper article.

Want more strategies for close reading in your classroom? Check out these other Curriculum & Technology posts about close reading.

Still not sure? I’d be happy to demonstrate close reading strategies in your classroom. jennifer-signature

ELA: Idaho Core Workshop Resources

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Missed our first three ELA Workshop sessions? Grab the take-aways here!

icsLogoMore than twenty-five Post Falls teachers have been meeting on Thursday afternoons to tackle the ELA Idaho Core Standards.  The sessions will continue at Seltice Elementary until Spring Break. If you’d like to join us it isn’t too late. Just head on over!


Idaho Core Basics

Digging into Informational Text

Scaffolding Complex Text


Using Academic Vocabulary — February 20 & 27

Text-Dependent Questioning — March 6 & 13

Writing in the Idaho Core — March 20

Want more information about the ELA Workshop Series? Looking for something specific? Email me at

ELA: Close Reading in Action

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We caught a fifth grader reading his science assignment very closely! Can you guess where?

Post Falls teachers at both the elementary and middle school level have recently been using this Close Reading graphic organizer with students. (Available from Scholastic  free of charge.) This and other reading tools are also available during our grade level S-BAC Sessions on Thursday afternoons at Ponderosa Elementary. For more information email Jennifer OlsenJennifer Signature