Saturday, January 16, 2016

Close Reading Tip: Connect Images to Text Evidence

    I just love this quick routine for building student skill with finding text evidence. Yesterday, as we were reading the classic "The Land of Counterpane" by Robert Louis Stevenson, I showed students classic illustrations of the poem. Here is one of my favorites, a 1907 illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

   Not only does the illustration help to give students crucial context for the poem, but it gives us a quick, engaging task for finding text evidence. "Can anyone find a line in the poem that connects to this image?"

   Suddenly students had a real reason to go back into the text, and they loved scanning the illustration for tiny details. They eagerly plunged back into the text to find the lines that connect directly to the image.

    A quick image search yielded other illustrations, as this poem has been heavily anthologized. We looked at the similarities and differences, always going back to the text--how does this connect to specific lines in the poem? Because we were also working with a companion expository text (found in my Comparing Texts 2 bundle), our next step was to broaden our comparison to see if sentences from the expository text could be connected to the poem. And they could!

   Matching images to texts is highly motivating for readers, and it's fun to do. Even better, though, it builds connections for learners. What are your favorites for this kind of activity?

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