Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Close Reading Program In A Snap.... Snap! Learning That Is!

One of the hot topics we, as educators of young people, hear a lot about is that of Close Reading. Close Reading is defined as a series of interactive exercises that guides you in reflecting on the meaning of words and sentences, the sequence in which these sentences are arranged, and how ideas are developed over the course of the text. Close reading is being used and implemented in schools around the country.

And like anything we want to successfully implement within our classrooms and schools, it takes a lot of time and preparation developing, creating, and sharing all of the materials and resources that are needed to have it be a success.

I recently became connected to a company and product that could make Close Reading easier and a lot of fun for everyone!
It is called Snap! Learning, a sister company of Sullivan Learning Systems based in California.
When I spoke to one of their representatives last week, she told me that the owner Mark Sullivan created the Close Reading program to make implementation very easy for teachers in grades 2-8 and to provide them with everything they would need to make it a success with their students.
There are a lot of different elements that really make Snap! Learning's Close Reading program stand out.  The program is built around 3 big ideas that are put into a single product which you can see from above are so important in the growth of our students.
The Snap! Learning website has a CRP (Close Reading Program) tab which is where you want to start.

From there it takes you to 80 wonderful books or "Portfolios" as they call them.  These Portfolios are more than a book....they are larger and so much more is included, which is why they are referred to as a Portfolio.
First, the teacher will set up their students in "Groups" within Snap! Learning by giving each a username and password, along with an unique Group name. These can be easily uploaded to set up the individual accounts too.
Once you have a Group set up, then you can create a "Collection".

A Collection is a group of Portfolios that can be filtered through different categories including Lexile Level, Fountas and Pinnell, Grade Level and Type, either Fiction or Non-Fiction.
For my Winter Books Collection, I picked the a Lexile Level and grades 2-3, which gave me eight Portfolios.  I wanted these to be a good fit for My 2nd Grade Readers Group.
From this collection, I picked the Portfolio titled Francois, The Casting Croaker written by Megan Conner and illustrated by J.R. Craig.  You can see below each Portfolio the Lexile Level, Grade, Fountas and Pinnell, Type, and
the Standards associated with the title.
By clicking on the round LP button it takes you to the detailed "Lesson Plan" for each Portfolio.

Just like the print resources from Snap! Learning, each Portfolio is accompanied by this rich Lesson Plan.
The lesson plan follows the students through each Portfolio giving instructions, tips, standards, and more that guides the teacher successfully through the close reading experience.
The next thing I'd love to share is how children work through the Portfolios.  

From the chart above, you can see all of the steps each contain, objectives of these steps, and the approximate time each take. 
Once into the Portfolio the reader will have "Four Reads" or steps.   The program will automatically remember where each student left off in his or her Portfolio in between the reads.  
The First Read is where they explore, listen to the story, and make predictions. 
The Second Read is the Close Reading piece.  
There is a highlighting tool that lets them highlight difficult and challenging words.  The highlighted words are then added to flash cards for practice. 
The flash cards are also added to the teachers wall with all of the words the students in the class have added.  I think this is such a great feature and will be helpful to the entire class to learn these words together.  
In the Second Read, students also summarize the key idea of the passage in 25 words or less.  
In the Third Read, students write responses to text dependent questions to the right of the page and underline the evidence that lead them to the answer.  
In Grade Level 2, the students answer one question.  In Grade Levels 3-up, the students answer two questions.  
They take the "Red Pen" which lets the reader highlight and underline the answer to the question.  
The reader can then deselect the red pen, highlight again, and drag that text to the TDQ1 box.  The teacher can see each students underlining and highlighting within their Portfolios too.  
In the Fourth Read, the students are asked to do a Quick Write of their understanding upon reflecting on the pages they read.  
Once all of the lessons are completed, the students will answer 10 questions about each book.

They have now completed everything within the Portfolio.  They will receive a point for everything they did including the highlighting, answers, and other tasks.
Under the "Reports" tab at the top of the site, teachers can see the "Student Log" and "Book Check" for each student and their work through the Portfolios.

You can filter by each "Read".  By clicking on the "Score" it will give the correct and incorrect answers for each Quiz.  And by clicking on the "+", you can see the exact time that it took them to complete the each read.
You can have the students work through all of these reads online or print out the Portfolio pages.

They are also projectable to use as a group in the classroom as well.
These can be ordered from Snap! Learning in print too.  All of the 80 titles are available and within the catalog or online you can see the categories each fit into and the price.

As you can see, teaching Close Reading with Snap! Learning's CRP really is a snap and one that our students will enjoy and grow from.

And just think how your teachers will feel with all of the support and resources that they need.

You can request for a FREE demo of the SNAP Close Reading Portfolio here.

You can also connect with Snap! Learning on their website and on Twitter at @snaplearning.

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