As schools shift to the Common Core, many English language arts teachers are left with questions about how their classrooms should look. Is fiction out? Can I still do strategy instruction? Does close reading mean deliberating on each word? Finally, there’s a resource with all of these answers and more. In Focus on Text, bestselling author Amy Benjamin provides practical guidance on how to realistically implement the Common Core reading standards. Part I of the book examines misconceptions about the standards and what’s really required. It also takes you inside classrooms to see how teachers are modifying their instruction. Part II tackles each reading standard for grades 4-8. You’ll learn how to teach the standards with literary and informational texts and how to use them as a springboard for instruction in writing, language, speaking, and listening.
• Defining close reading and how is it different from word-by-word reading. When and how do students need to go over a text meticulously?
• How to use scaffolding through background knowledge to help students with challenging texts
• The best instructional practices to help students increase their range of reading and level of text complexity
• Ideas for teaching key concepts such as text structure, point of view, theme, stated and implied meanings, and the progression of ideas and characters
• Tweaking your assessments to better align with the Common Core--how to create reading check quizzes, unit tests, and cold reading tests to see if students are growing as readers.
• And much, much more!
Throughout the book, you’ll find teaching tips and practical resources to use with students, such as question starters and sentence stems. You’ll also get a wide variety of classroom examples at different grade levels and with different texts. Whether you’re experienced with the Common Core or just getting started, this book will give you exciting new ideas for making them work in your own classroom so your students grow as readers!
"As schools and teachers begin the process of aligning to the Common Core, Amy Benjamin gives teachers a clear understanding of what close reading means. In her book, she gives help in developing both summative and formative assessments that they can use to help their students raise their level of competence with close reading of complex texts. This book emphasizes best teaching practices and suggestions for helping teachers scaffold lessons for all students in the age of the Common Core."
--Victor Jaccarino, Educational Consultant, Eastern Suffolk BOCES NTI Team, past president of the New York State English council, past president of the Long Island language arts council, and retired chair of English at Herricks Public Schools
"Focus on Text is an excellent resource for teachers and instructional leaders who are working to align instruction and assessment to the Common Core. The book provides learning activities that engage students in the proficiencies outlined in the Common Core, and assessments that measure the level of proficiency students have gained when working within a particular reading standard. Amy Benjamin helps teachers understand what kinds of practices and assessments are rigorous enough to help students truly master the standards."
--Mary O’Meara, English Department Chairperson, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools, NY
"Amy Benjamin has been gracious in regularly providing wise counsel responding to literacy and Common Core questions in my EdWeek teacher advice column. It's always a treat when you can get a whole book-full of it!"
--Larry Ferlazzo, award-winning teacher, blogger, and author of Helping Students Motivate Themselves
Part One: About the Reading Standards of the Common Core
Chapter 1: Inside Classrooms: How Exactly Has the Common Core Been Changing America’s Classrooms?
Chapter 2: Text Complexity and Readability Measurements
Chapter 3: On Babies and Bathwater: Correcting Misunderstandings about the Common Core
Chapter 4: Assessments for the Reading Standards
Part Two: The Reading Standards
Chapter 5: The Need for Phonics Instruction with Academic Reading
Chapter 6: Reading Standards 1-3: Key Ideas and Details
Chapter 7: Reading Standards 4-6: Craft and Structure
Chapter 8: Reading Standards 7-9: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Chapter 9: Reading Standard 10: Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
Appendix A: The Other Literacy Standards
Appendix B: The Reading Standards Grade-by-Grade