Monday, July 15, 2013

Notice and Note (With CHICKENHARE)

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst
Heinemann, 2013

In my post last Thursday, I shared my plan to search for the signposts in everything I read/viewed for the rest of the summer. What's that quote about roads that are paved with good intentions? What a ridiculous goal that was!! And what a good reminder: EVERY text does not need a close reading! Note to self and others: don't overdo the signposts, or they will kill a love of reading as surely as any packet of worksheets.

I had success last week using the Notice and Note signposts with DON'T FEED THE BOY, a middle grade realistic fiction novel by Irene Latham. I've been on a graphic novel-reading binge for a couple of days, so I got to wondering if I could find the signposts in a graphic novel. After all, many (if not most) of my students will choose a graphic novel over any other genre or format any day.

Lo and behold, they were there. I had to think differently about them at times, finding them in characters' facial expressions or in the illustrations. But they were there. And I didn't try finding them in a straight-forward, traditional-narrative sort of graphic novel. The next one up on my pile was fantasy with oddball random characters and a storyline that makes you feel like you've been dropped into the middle of the story. (Just checked online. Although this book is not identified as a part of a series, it might be the third book. That would explain a lot about the dropped-in feeling.)

by Chris Grine
Scholastic/GRAPHIX (February 1, 2013)

In this story, a chicken-legged rabbit and a bearded box turtle team up with the ghost of a goat to defeat the evil guy who keeps killing his pets and stuffing them so that they can't run away from him. (Think "willing suspension of disbelief...")

p. 9 What the butler says and how the evil guy answers don't match. CONTRAST AND CONTRADICTION (with a bit of irony and sarcasm thrown in)
p. 11 The other evil guy who kidnapped Chickenhare and Abe (the turtle) unwittingly gives the duo information that will help them to escape. AHA MOMENT (for characters and the reader, who should be predicting like mad when this happens!)
p. 66 The ghost of the goat shows up again. AGAIN AND AGAIN
p. 79 " 'Forty years ago...' " MEMORY MOMENT
p. 97 Interchange of questions between Chickenhare and the ghost of the goat. TOUGH QUESTIONS
p. 98 The ghost of the goat comes as close as it gets to giving WORDS OF THE WISER
p. 139 The visual clue in the picture gives the reader an AHA MOMENT when they realize how Chickenhare and the goat are going to trick the evil guy.
p. 157 The faces of Chickenhare and Abe are happy that they are continuing their journey. The faces of their two companions are not happy. CONTRAST AND CONTRADICTION


  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    I have been blogging too about Notice and Note and I completely concur with your statement....every text does not need close reading and that the signposts can be overdone like worksheets (kinda reminds me of literacy circle roles). I think that is why it is so important for teachers to work on finding the signposts themselves before using with a classroom. That feeling and importance would not be understand until you "walk in their shoes." I am finding that the signposts are great lessons to show students about what is important to notice and note, but should begin to lead us down new roads untraveled by using the signposts as a bridge to deeper thinking and questions. I am trying it with Eye of the Storm by Messner. :)

    1. Totally agree! And you'll love Eye of the Storm!

  2. Both Bob and I so agree with your insights and comments. First, we concur that close reading is what should be done when it is called for and that isn't all the time! I am currently reading Contagious (NF about marketing) and I find I am reading parts of it very closely with a lot of rereading and other parts am skimming along. Second, we also agree that awareness--noticing--signposts should never become a hunt and never should become the point of reading. Our readers who read at a surface level often need help in understanding how characters develop or how the internal conflict is revealed. For those kids, knowing to look for contrasts/contradictions or recognizing that a tough question shows the internal conflict or that an aha moment will probably change a character's actions is extremely helpful. But, it's not a hunt; it is an awareness. So, many many thanks for recognizing that. And Bob and I had to laugh at your goal of looking for signposts in everything! We went through the same stage. My husband threatened to gag me at a movie when I kept pointing out again and agains and aha's! "Enough!" he finally said. Knowing the signposts, I'll say again!, is a scaffold to be used when needed. Finally, we had only looked at a few graphic novels so thanks for adding to our list!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kylene! Most of all, thanks for writing this book! Can't wait for the NF edition!!

  3. I hope to use Notice and Note when I start Book Clubs this fall. I was happy to see your posts. I, too, hesitated wondering if students would fall into a "Find the Signpost" trap. But I really like how the authors emphasize the follow-up: the question the sign post makes you ask and try to figure out. That is where the real thinking comes about. I am excited to try because the sign posts are concrete enough for my struggling students. In the past, their discussions have been shallow and painful to listen to. So far, I have had success "searching" with both Rump and One Came Home.

  4. Would love some examples of picture books to use for each signpost. Someone is trying to sell them on TPT for almost $4 which I think is outrageous. So, if someone knows of a list out there, I'd love the link. Thanks for commenting on this great book.

    1. There are some picture book titles and links in this post on the Notice and Note FB page:


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