To lay a foundation for “close reading” in the primary grades, we can begin modeling what that process looks like with our read alouds. Poetry is a great source, because it is short, but filled with imagery and ideas that can challenge and stretch our thinking. With National Poetry Month on our doorstep, I am busily prepping classroom lessons.
Our K students can’t often verbally analyze a poem the way older students can. They may lack the language and experience to appreciate the layers of meaning, word choice, and structure, more seasoned readers can. But they can experience a poem on a deeper level if we guide them into it.
One way young students often explore and express their thinking is through drawing. Through drawing they often visualize the ideas of the writer, focus on certain details or aspects that are important to them, discuss their thinking as they draw; often revising or adding ideas as they sketch and doodle. When they share their drawings with peers it is often accompanied with rich language for describing and explaining that might not have occurred without the supporting artwork.
This exemplifies the transactional nature of reading Louise Rosenblatt talks about when she says, “The text is simply ink on paper until a reader comes along. The poem on the other hand, is what happens when the text is brought into the reader’s mind and the words begin to function symbolically, evoking, in the transaction, images, emotions, and concepts. ” (Rosenblatt cited in Probst, 1987) I love watching this happen in kinder classes! Our youngest readers and writers bringing that ink on the page to life.
Here’s the lesson I do. Quick. Easy. POWERFUL when done with intention!
…and then these readers came along!
Thank you, Louise Rosenblatt!