So today’s section of Notice and Note is about using text-dependent questions. The question the authors pose is “Do text-dependent questions foster engagement?”
Well, I would think so. I guess it would be how you define engagement. Engagement with the text? Engagement with other students reading the same text? Engagement with your thoughts? The answer, in my humble opinion, is all of the above.
Ok… Good. Now what is a text-dependent question? Text-dependent questions require the use of text OR deduced from evidence found in the text according to CCSS. The authors take a stance and have a mild difference of opinion in that using too many text-dependent questions will train students to be answer “hunters” seeking the text for answers rather than engaging in a text in a thinking manner. (YAY!)
I feel a little pang of guilt after reading this. I spent A LOT of time writing text-dependent questions this year. I was TRAINED to TRAIN my students to justify their answers and PROVE them with EVIDENCE from the text. All good and necessary in light of the new PARCC assessment that many states are facing, but I fear that we might have dampened a few burning lights. I deeply feel that students need the opportunity to make connections to how they feel about the text, or how they may have experienced something similar to a character in a story. What do they imagine is happening in a text, or why it is happening? These are the things that are going to make them readers for life. I think this needs to be a package deal.
Beers and Probst offer some advice to avoid ‘teacher-dependent’ students, mostly by having the students create their own text-dependent questions, and reminds teachers to have students reread a passage 3 to 5 times.
Question number 8 in the book is, “Must everyone read the same book?” The short answer is yes. In order to create the dialogue between students for all practical reasons, they need to all read the same short passages as they are developing the skill of close reading. The authors do ‘give permission’ for students to self-select some of their own material for pleasure and enjoyment, and to apply their close reading strategies. (I wonder what the Daily 5 peeps think of that?)
So… Tune in next Tuesday as we talk about text-complexity. I am excited for this. This is another thing we discussed a lot at my PLC’s this year. Thanks for stopping by!!