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March 25, 2016

Close Reading Using The Sneetches

By Rhonda Stewart
Grades 3–5, 6–8

     

    There have been a few occasions this year where I truly embraced the Dr. Seuss theme in my classroom. The classroom door screams Dr. Seuss with a collection of his books on daily display; for Halloween I dressed like the Cat in the Hat; and during December we had a reading of, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The theme definitely had presence in the classroom!

    Or so I thought.

     

     

    I grew to realize that the Dr. Seuss lens was officially MIA in our studies. It was not until planning our current unit that I found a way to bring him into the mix. In reading workshop, we have begun to study fantasy. I polled my students to find out what they already knew about this genre, including asking them to list the fantasy books that they have read. The responses were not surprising and included some of the typical hot titles: The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies and the Bone graphic novel series.

    For our close reading study of fantasy, I decided to use a rhyming book. And specifically, a Dr. Seuss rhyming book. With April around the corner it would be a nice segue into poetry month.

     

    Close Reading Using Dr. Seuss

    This is not the first time that I have used a Dr. Seuss text for close reading. In my previous posts, "Using Close Reading Using How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Close Reading Using The Lorax,"  my students had the opportunity to close read for content. It seemed only natural to create my own close reading trilogy; thus came the story: The Sneetches. And besides, his text is a fun and engaging way to get readers of all levels involved in close reading. Who doesn’t love to read a silly Dr. Seuss story?

    After I presented the terms and samples of the terms of literary devices to the class, it was time to close read the text, The Sneetches. One of my colleagues, Michelle Murray, recommended this story. She knows that I am on a Dr. Seuss kick and mentioned it in passing. I am so thankful. Anyway, as with any text, my students first annotated for meaning and accepted the challenge to reread with the literary devices as their focus. They had to do two things: identify and analyze the literary device. 

     

    Close Reading for Meaning

     

     

    Literary Devices

    Archetype

     

     Authorial Intrusion

     

    Foreshadowing

     

    Personification

     

    Symbolism

    I am very proud of my students for accepting the challenge with not only the story of The Sneetches, but looking at their fantasy book selections as well. 

      Pearls of Wisdom — When selecting a class theme, think about the long-term picture. Are you truly committed to this theme? How can you make it work for you and your students? Use these questions to help prompt you with your theme for the new school year.

    What tips do you have that make close reading a success in your classroom? Please share — I love sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

     

    There have been a few occasions this year where I truly embraced the Dr. Seuss theme in my classroom. The classroom door screams Dr. Seuss with a collection of his books on daily display; for Halloween I dressed like the Cat in the Hat; and during December we had a reading of, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The theme definitely had presence in the classroom!

    Or so I thought.

     

     

    I grew to realize that the Dr. Seuss lens was officially MIA in our studies. It was not until planning our current unit that I found a way to bring him into the mix. In reading workshop, we have begun to study fantasy. I polled my students to find out what they already knew about this genre, including asking them to list the fantasy books that they have read. The responses were not surprising and included some of the typical hot titles: The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies and the Bone graphic novel series.

    For our close reading study of fantasy, I decided to use a rhyming book. And specifically, a Dr. Seuss rhyming book. With April around the corner it would be a nice segue into poetry month.

     

    Close Reading Using Dr. Seuss

    This is not the first time that I have used a Dr. Seuss text for close reading. In my previous posts, "Using Close Reading Using How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Close Reading Using The Lorax,"  my students had the opportunity to close read for content. It seemed only natural to create my own close reading trilogy; thus came the story: The Sneetches. And besides, his text is a fun and engaging way to get readers of all levels involved in close reading. Who doesn’t love to read a silly Dr. Seuss story?

    After I presented the terms and samples of the terms of literary devices to the class, it was time to close read the text, The Sneetches. One of my colleagues, Michelle Murray, recommended this story. She knows that I am on a Dr. Seuss kick and mentioned it in passing. I am so thankful. Anyway, as with any text, my students first annotated for meaning and accepted the challenge to reread with the literary devices as their focus. They had to do two things: identify and analyze the literary device. 

     

    Close Reading for Meaning

     

     

    Literary Devices

    Archetype

     

     Authorial Intrusion

     

    Foreshadowing

     

    Personification

     

    Symbolism

    I am very proud of my students for accepting the challenge with not only the story of The Sneetches, but looking at their fantasy book selections as well. 

      Pearls of Wisdom — When selecting a class theme, think about the long-term picture. Are you truly committed to this theme? How can you make it work for you and your students? Use these questions to help prompt you with your theme for the new school year.

    What tips do you have that make close reading a success in your classroom? Please share — I love sharing ideas that make all of our lives easier!

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Susan Cheyney

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