Maggie Kay Hall-Librarian, Mother, Life-Long-Learner and Literacy Advocate
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From the moment that I was introduced to Notice and Note close reading strategies developed by Kylene Beers and Rovert Probst two summers ago, I was instantly hooked and have been implementing these ‘signposts’ in my classroom throughout the school year. I think of Notice and Note strategies to be your typical reading comprehension strategies (making connections, asking questions, determine importance, synthesize, and inference) updated and repackaged. “We didn’t develop these Notice and Note lessons to support the Common Core State Standards. We were trying to give students a scaffold so that they could read more closely, so that they could develop habits, dispositions, and skills we want them to have as lifelong learners (p 94).”
What is Notice and Note?
Notice and Note is a reading routine which provides students with “search fors” as they are reading and encourages them to reread a portion of a text to answer a question about the meaning of the text.
Notice and Note signposts are most often located as students read a text for class or for independent reading.
Educators have found Notice and Note signposts and strategies to be effective because they promote student engagement in a text and helps students determine meaning and theme in literary texts, which contribute to student comprehension of complex texts.mThe Notice and Note strategy helps students refine their understanding of texts to meet reading expectations in preparation of writing about texts.
“We think that these signposts show up in novels and informational texts because they show up in the world (p 74).”
“We hope that learning and saying alert for the signposts will inculcate a habit of paying close attention, a readiness to slow down and reflect , and a willingness to hear and explore other responses to a text (p 111).”
Description of Signposts across genres:
●Contrasts & Contradictions: When the author shows you how things/people/ideas contrast and contradict one another, or shows you something that contrasts or contradicts what you already know, you need to stop & ask yourself... What is the difference and why does it matter?
● Extreme or Absolute Language: When the author uses language that is extreme or absolute, you need to stop and ask yourself... Why did the author use this language?
● Number and Stats: When the author uses specific numbers or provides statistical information, you need to stop and ask yourself… Why did the author use these numbers or amounts?
● Quoted Words: When the author chooses to quote someone, you need to ask yourself… Why was this person quoted or cited and what did this add?
● Word Gaps: When the author chooses to use a word or phrase that you don’t know, you need to ask yourself… Do I know this word from someplace else? Does it seem like technical talk for this topic? Can I find clues in the sentence to help me understand the word?
“Noticing the signposts is necessary but insufficient; the readers also have to question it and make note of what they learn from it (p 78).”
Questions Pondered for Study:
Is reading still reading? What is the role of fiction? Where does rigor fit? What is the role of talk? What is close reading? Do text-dependent questions foster engagement? Must everyone read the same book? How do we judge the complexity of a text? Are we creating life-long learners? Is the nature of reading changing because of 21st technologies, or is reading still reading?
Food for thought-direct quotes and notes from the author(s):
“We want students inside the text, noticing everything, questioning everything, weighing everything they are reading against their lives, the lives of others, and the world around them (p 2).”
“We believe it is the interaction, the transaction, between the reader and the text that not only creates meaning but creates the reason to read (p 3).”
“Now more than ever, reading seems to be a social act (p 12).”
“Rigor is not an attribute of a text, but rather a characteristic of our behavior with that text. Put another way, rigor resides in the energy and attention given to the text, not in the text itself (p 21).”
“When the text is too tough, the task is simply hard, not rigorous. The essence of rigor is engagement and commitment (p 21).”
“Whether sitting outside on a college campus or inside your own school, intellectual communities are rooted in talk (p 24).”
A Hall’s Fave: “What happens in your school after the state test is given? Is it harder to motivate students to work? Do you see an attitude that says, this doesn’t count because the test is over? Those are signs that students have decided that the point of school is only to take one test. New standards, without addressing old problems won’t change anything (p 25).”
“Meaning is created not purely and simply from the words on the page, but from the transaction with those words that takes place in the reader’s mind (p 35).”
“Close reading should suggest close attention to the text; close attention to the relevant experience, thought, and memory of the reader; close attention to the responses and interpretations of other readers and close attention to the interaction among those elements. Close reading occurs when the reader is deeply engaged with the text (p 37).”
“New critics maintained that meaning resided within the text, not in the interaction with the text. The most rigorous reading is to find what the words on the page mean in our own lives (p 40).”
“We worry that a focus on text-dependent questions may create a nation of teacher-dependent kids (p 43).”
“The problem isn’t that we ask all students read the same book. It’s that we expect them to read it in the same way (p 50).”
“The background knowledge that each reader bring to the text shapes his interaction with it. One reader may find that some features have made the text impenetrable, while another may find that they make it a joy to explore. It’s who reads the text that matters (p 55).”
“Literature enables us to see our world and ourselves more clearly, to understand our lives more fully (p 191).”
Beers, K. & Probst, R. (2013). Notice & note: Strategies for close reading. Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH. pp 2-193.