Close Reading Catchall

The big word in my room as of late is "evidence."  I literally say it every other sentence.

"What evidence is there that the theme is friendship?"
"Why do you think this evidence proves your point?"
"Where is the evidence in the passage?"
"How does this evidence match your answer?"

So I thought I would give the students a chance to show me how they apply the concepts we are learning through something I called a "Close Reading Catchall."  Basically, this is a piece of paper, divided into four parts, where they get to show me what they have learned about the reading strategies we are learning in class.

We have been focusing our efforts in fiction on character development and theme, so I made those two ideas the focus of this Catchall.   The students divided up a piece of paper into four sections.  Each section was to have evidence of the reading strategies and skills that we were learning.  Here is what the students were asked to do in each section.
Click here to print out a copy of this, in case you want to do something like this in your room.  It is my intention to change out the reading strategy focus each time we do this.

Once they knew what they were looking for, they broke up into groups of 3 or 4 students.  They read a picture book aloud with each other (to work on fluency), with sticky notes in hand.   As they were reading, if they came across a section where the character showed a contrast or contradiction or unknown vocabulary, the students placed a sticky note there, with their ideas of why the character was acting this way (or a definition of a word.)

After the first read through, with the sticky notes firmly in place, they read the story a second time.  Now, as the students came to the sticky notes, they wrote their thoughts on the paper, this time including the evidence from the story.

I then had them write about the theme of the story, with evidence as to why they thought this was the theme.  They also had to write a summary with specific points pulled from the story and unknown vocabulary words with context clues and a definition.

This took two days of instruction to complete.  I really wanted the students to get into the story and prove their thoughts with textual evidence.  For the most part, I think they did ok.  This was the first time I asked them to really put their ideas on the reading strategies into independent practice (without me modeling) so it wasn't perfect.  But we are on our way.  They are getting it and slowing making their way to the expectation that I have set for them.  Baby steps :)


  1. I love this activity!!! I use the word "evidence" all day! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Seems to be the "Word of the Day" lately for us teachers, eh? :)

  2. This is an excellent introduction to the skills. I like the idea of the small groups. What picture books did you use? I'm just curious. I saw One Green Apple and Basket Moon. Others?

    1. I used Stellaluna, The Year My Father Was Ten, Chrysanthemum, Pink and Say, and The Stranger (I can get the authors...can't remember them off the top of my head at the moment) All of the books had some character change and development in them so that is why I chose them.

  3. This is really a great way to promote collaborative learning and get the close reading in too!!!
    Thank you

  4. Evidence, prove it, proof, etc... Definitely my word of the year...LOL! Such a great idea you have:)

    Kimberlee @ 2 Fulbright Hugs

  5. Wow! This is great. I teach in Missouri and I am constantly saying, "You live in the Show-Me State! SHOW ME the evidence!" Thanks for sharing!

  6. LOOOOVEEEEE THIS....I am borrowing this.



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