Episode 29: Reading like Detectives – Using the Elements of Thought while Reading

Teaching students to pay attention to text is what I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on lately. It has been my experience that students have been over-taught how to decode words, and under-taught how to figure out what the author is doing with those words and with the text. As I am teaching students how to close read text, I try to employ the Elements of Thought, an approach to reading text created by The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

In order to promote close reading and using the elements of thought, I started using the Reading Detective Series with students. This series “uses highly-effective, literature-based critical thinking activities to develop the analysis, synthesis, and vocabulary skills students need for exceptional reading comprehension. The activities are especially effective at helping students understand challenging critical reading concepts such as making inferences, drawing conclusions, determining cause and effect, using context clues to define vocabulary, and making predictions and generalizations“.

As students are learning to read closely, they are also learning how to set a purpose for reading, figuring out the question that the author is attempting to answer, gleaning important information from the text, making inferences, learning new concepts, thinking about the assumptions that the author is making, and deciphering the author’s point of view.

In this episode, you will hear students doing a close reading of a passage in order to determine the important elements from the text. Listen at how students are learning to pay attention to “everything” that the author is doing.

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