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Brainy Apples: Close Read Linky Party #5: Integrating Reading with Content Areas
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Close Read Linky Party #5: Integrating Reading with Content Areas

I know some of you are getting out on summer break and teaching is the last thing on your mind, but I wanted to post the fifth installment of my Close Read linky party in case you want to start thinking about next year a little early :)
**Be sure to visit the other blogs in the link-up below for additional tips and strategies on Close Reads. And if you have a blog post on Close Reads, feel free to link up yourself! The more the merrier!**

Last time I focused on student led discourse. This time I want to focus on one reason why I absolutely love Close Reads- it makes integration of reading and the content areas so stinkin' easy!

Why Integrate
There are only so many hours in the school day. By the time we throw in transition times, unplanned interruptions (whether its from an unannounced visitor or the office), hallway chats with students, we don't have as much time as we want, need, like to teach ALL the stuff we are responsible for teaching our students. I spend at least 3 hours every single day on literacy instruction. Between small reading groups, whole group guided reading, phonics/spelling, and grammar/writing, those 3 hours fly by. Then I spend another 75 minutes on math, and that leaves me with about 45 minutes for science and social studies. Problem is, I need another 45 minutes in the school day to accomplish this, and I just don't have it. So, either guided reading or science/social students would have to go. And I don't want to throw out either. However, if I integrate my guided reading with science/social studies, I have magically created more minutes in the school day. Viola! Nothing gets left out, and I get to spend as much time as I want on the aforementioned subjects. Woo hoo! Plus, integrating seamlessly connects the different blocks of the day, so the students see a natural transition between reading and science/social studies. What they are learning during reading time is reflected during the science/social studies block, and vice versa.

How do I reflect this integration on my schedule? For the 45 minutes that I intentionally integrate guided reading and science/social studies, I display it as "Science/Social Studies with Guided Reading." Pretty easy :) Then, to ensure my administration knows I am really integrating and not just saying that I am, I include both reading AND science or social studies standards I am focusing on during the block of time. I also include essential questions (EQ) that incorporate both reading skills and science/social studies concepts.

Example of Integration
So here is an example (and I am going to use a 4th grade example and Georgia science standards):
*CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3- Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
*S4E2c- Students will demonstrate the revolution of the earth around the sun and the earth's tilt to explain the seasonal changes.

I chose just 2 standards because you don't want to focus on too many at a time. These standards are a perfect match because the ELA standard references a cause and effect relationship, and the science concept is a cause and effect relationship.

*How does the relationship between the earth's tilt and its position around the sun influence seasonal changes? (Use specific evidence from the text to support your answer)

One EQ. That's it. This EQ is a pretty meaty one, so one is plenty. It addresses both ELA and science standards. It clearly shows the integration of reading and science. As students answer the EQ, it will be necessary for them to refer explicitly to the text.

I didn't include an EQ of "How can information in a text help explain events in a scientific text?" because when would a student ever answer this question in the real world? Never…except in school. If students can answer the EQ I chose, by providing specific evidence from the text, then they also will know how a text helps explain events. An EQ should be the driving force of the lesson. If you have an undying urge to ask students the 2nd question, you can, it just doesn't qualify as an EQ for the lesson (IMO).

There is SO much more I could include about integration, but I know many of you are in summer mode already, or unfortunately test-prep/testing mode, so I will save the further details for another linky party in the fall :)

I am working on a line of products that will help you integrate reading with science/social studies. I have one set completed right now, but I will be adding more over the summer months and into next school year. The sets will focus on specific science or social content, and I will also provide various grade levels. Perfect for differentiating for the varying reading levels in your classroom. This first set is bundled and is about American Revolutionary war heroes. It is available specifically for grades 34, and 5, and each grade level edition includes passages in that grade level band as well as questions focusing on that grade level's standards. I like the bundled pack, though, because you can give students a reading passage on their own level because we know students are on different levels :) Oh, and there are answer keys included for easy grading! You could easily have students glue the pages into an existing Interactive Notebook, or have student begin a new one specifically for integration.

**The bundle has 33 passages and 66 pages of Close Read questions**
I also have 3 FREE sampler packs you can download and try out in your classroom first (complete with answer keys, because who doesn't love answer keys?!) The 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade sampler packs include the lessons on Abigail Adams. Or you can download the bundle preview that includes the Abigail Adams lessons from all three grade levels so you can see how you could use the different grade level packs to differentiate for your students.

Taken from the 3rd grade version

Taken from the 4th grade version. This one has the CCSS listed, but there is also an option without the CCSS listed.

Taken from the 5th grade version. This one does not have the CCSS listed, but there is also an option with the CCSS listed.

Are there specific concepts (along with grade level) you would like to see me offer a pack for? Put in your requests now, and I will try my best to create them! :)

Now I want to hear from you: Do you integrate reading with the content areas? How? With Close Reads? If you have a great Close Read integration tip (or any Close Read tip), please link up below!

Until next time!

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I do have some EXCITING news! I am going to be offering a free LIVE webinar next week! I will offer one training on Wednesday, July 27, and one more on Thursday, July 28. Both will be at 8pm EST. You can sign up {here} or the image below to save your seat. I hope to see you there!
**Please excuse any typos as I don't have the super power of being perfect :)

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