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How to incorporate high-quality text-dependent questions into instruction to support the key shifts called for by the Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards. Presented by Josie Stratton, M. Ed., NBCT for Darlington County School District.
How to incorporate high-quality text-dependent questions into instruction to support the key shifts called for by the Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards Presented by Josie Stratton, M. Ed., NBCT for Darlington County School District
There is no purpose in "reading" The Great Gatsby unless you actually read it. Fitzgerald's novel is not about a story. It is about how the story is told. Its poetry, its message, its evocation of Gatsby's lost American dream, is expressed in Fitzgerald's style--in the precise words he chose to write what some consider the great American novel. Unless you have read them, you have not read the book at all. You have been imprisoned in an educational system that cheats and insults you by inflicting a barbaric dumbing-down process. You are left with the impression of having read a book, and may never feel you need return for a closer look. -Roger Ebert
What Common Core Says The clearest differentiation among students who meet standards is the ability to answer questions associated with complex text. While the reading demands of college and the workforce have remained steady or risen over the past 50 years, demands in K-12 have become less demanding. Evidence supports current standards, curriculum, and instructional practices have not done enough to foster independent reading of complex texts.
Consequences 14% of adults read prose at a below-basic level Lack of reading is not only getting worse, but is doing so at an accelerating rate.
Readers and Task Students’ ability to read complex text does not always develop in a linear fashion. Students interested in a topic may engage with text on that subject across a range of complexities.
Rosenblatt Efferent reading: "the reader's attention is primarily focused on what will remain as a residue after the reading -- the information to be acquired, the logical solution to a problem, the actions to be carried out." Aesthetic reading: Readers are engaged in the experience of reading, itself.
Shifts with Common Core Building knowledge through content-richnonfiction Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
Text-Dependent Questions Building knowledge through content-richnonfiction Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
Text-Dependent Questions are not . . . • Why did the North fight the Civil War? • Have you ever been to a funeral or grave site? • Lincoln says that the nation is dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Why is equality an important value to promote? • Low-level, literal, or recall questions • Focused on comprehension strategies • Just questions…
What Are Text-Dependent Questions? • Can only be answered with evidence from the text. • Can be literal (checking for understanding) but must also involve analysis, synthesis, evaluation. • Focus on word, sentence, and paragraph, as well as larger ideas, themes, or events. • Focus on difficult portions of text in order to enhance reading proficiency. • Can also include prompts for writing and discussion questions.
Text-Dependent Questions Ask Students to • Analyze each sentence and each word to determine the role played by individual paragraphs, sentences, phrases, or words • Investigate how meaning can be altered by changing key words and why an author may have chosen one word over another • Probe each argument in persuasive text, each idea in informational text, each key detail in literary text, and observe how these build to a whole • Examine how shifts in the direction of an argument or explanation are achieved and the impact of those shifts • Question why authors begin and end when they do • Note and assess patterns of writing and what they achieve • Consider what the text leaves uncertain or unstated
Types of Text-Dependent Questions When you're writing or reviewing a set of questions, consider the following three categories: • Questions that assess themes and central ideas • Questions that assess knowledge of vocabulary • Questions that assess syntax and structure
Non-Examples and Examples Not Text-Dependent In “Casey at the Bat,” Casey strikes out. Describe a time when you failed at something. In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King discusses nonviolent protest. Discuss, in writing, a time when you wanted to fight against something that you felt was unfair. In “The Gettysburg Address” Lincoln says the nation is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Why is equality an important value to promote? Text Dependent What makes Casey’s experiences at bat humorous? What can you infer from King’sletter about the letter that he received? “The Gettysburg Address” mentions the year 1776. According to Lincoln’s speech, why is this year significant to the events described in the speech?
Syntax and Text Dependent Questions • Syntax can predict student performance as much as vocabulary does. • Questions and tasks addressing syntax are powerful.
Structure and Text-Dependent Questions Text-dependent questions can be crafted to point students’ attention to features of text that enhance understanding (such as how section headers and captions lead to greater clarity or provide hints regarding what is most important in informational text, or how illustrations add to a narrative).
Reading Strategies and Text-Dependent Questions • Text-dependent questions generally call on students to employ reading strategies. • Strategies are no longer taught in isolation. • The text and readers’ need to comprehend it should determine what strategies are activated - not the other way around.
Culminating Tasks • Should relate to core understanding and key ideas. • A coherent sequence of textdependent questions will scaffold students toward successfully completing the culminating task. • Involve writing • Independent assessment
Final Thoughts • There is no one right way to have students work with text dependent questions. • Providing for the differing needs of students means providing and scaffolding supports differentially - not asking easier questions or substituting simpler text. • Listening and speaking should be built into any sequence of activities along with reading and writing: • “Re-read it, think it, talk it, write it” • The CCSS require ALL students to read and engage with grade appropriate complex text regularly. This requires new ways of working in our classrooms.