Tag Archives: Interactive Foldables

What do you see? Close Reading Interactive Foldable

When we read for school and academic purposes we have to read differently than when we are reading for pleasure. When we read for school we know there is going to be an assessment of our reading during and after reading. That assessment can be a reading comprehension quiz, an essay or short response, even a project to show your understanding.

We tell our students to read closely? But what does that really mean for middle school students to close read?

I tell my students to think of an onion. There are many layers to an onion and similarly, there layers to the text we must uncover.

What does the text say?

How does the text work?

What does the text mean?

I created an interactive foldable to help reiterate close reading and the layers of reading or “ways of seeing” a text. This foldable offers students a visual and guiding questions reminding them of what is expected of them when reading in middle and high school.

The layers of close reading on the foldable are based on Fisher and Frey’s TDQs: Text Dependent Questions (2016) which I describe more in this post and connect with state assessments and the Common Core Standards in this post.



The foldable and directions are below.

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Interactive Reading Foldables for Dystopian Fiction

This past month I have been working to put together the interactive reading foldables I created this spring for my students when teaching a unit on dystopian fiction. My students self selected one of three dystopian texts: Neil Shusterman’s Unwind, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Animal Farm by George Orwell. The students then broke into literature circles based on their literature choices and met twice a week to address specific aspects in their text. The other days of week we all met together to address larger concepts within the dystopian genre.

I have bundled together five lessons and interactive reading foldables specific to dystopian fiction and they are available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. The five lessons include:

1. Definitions of Dystopia

2. Characteristics of a Dystopian Society

3. Types of Dystopian Control

4. Characteristics of a Dystopian Protagonist

5. Rebellion, Revolt, and Revolution within Dystopias

As an added bonus, I am posting an additional lesson on Rebellion, Revolt, and Revolution within Dystopian Fiction below. This lesson plan with all the materials will be available ONLY for the next five days.  The lesson includes an interactive foldable, an activity utilizing QR Codes to access images and movies connecting the concepts of rebellion and revolution to history, current events, and popular culture and requires students to apply what they know about their dystopian fiction to their understanding of rebellion and revolution.

To print out a copy of the lesson plan and materials CLICK HERE.

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Helping Students Read Closely: When to Notice & Note

Close reading is one of the buzz words that is being emphasized with the Common Core Learning Standards. By close reading I am interpreting as the reading, rereading, and analysis of text for the purpose to understand it more deeply.  Close reading doesn’t happen on every page of a text nor is it something that students should be doing with every text they read for school. Rather, close reading happens with particular passages to help students look more closely at specific elements of the text like theme, characterization, and word choice in order to gain an understanding of the complexities of a text. One of my goals with my eighth graders is to get them to read closely and thoughtfully on their own.

I recently read Kylene Beers and Robert Probst’s Notice & Note: Strategies for Close Reading (2013) along with Christopher Lehman & Kate Rober’s Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts and Life (2014).  These are two wonderful books that offer lots of insight into close reading habits for any classroom.

Close Reading Texts

I have created an interactive foldable for my students with the six “notice and note signposts” described in Beers & Probst’s book.

Notice & Note Foldable 2Notice & Note Foldable 3

The six signposts are:

1. Contrasts and Contradictions – Why would the character act (feel) this way?

When authors show the reader a character acting in a way that contrasts with how one might expect someone to act or contradicts how that character has been acting, the author is showing the reader something important.

2. Aha Moments – How might this change things?

When a character realizes or finally understands something, then the reader wants to pause because the realization means something. It could be related to character development or a new direction in the plot.

3. Tough Questions – What does this question make me wonder about?

When a character pauses to ask him or herself or a friend some really tough questions, then the reader is getting a glimpse of what’s bothering him or her. This might be something the character is struggling with throughout the story.

4. Words of the Wiser – What’s the life lesson and how might it affect the character?

When a wise character shares his or her understanding, insight, or advise on an issue or topic, stop and think about that. These insights could reveal something important about the theme.

5. Again and Again – Why might the author bring this up again and again?

Repetition is important. It gives insight into the setting or character or could even be a symbol of some sort.

6. Memory Moment – Why might this memory be important?

Memories of the past help to explain the present moment. A memory can give insight into what bothers or motivates the character, it can help to understand something happening in the plot, or give information about the theme.

I could teach these signposts one at a time, but I felt it necessary to give my students all the signposts together to help them label and identify them as we begin to read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Throughout our class discussions of the text I will point out examples of the sign posts to help guide students’ close reading so they might have a new understanding about.

Lehman and Roberts write in their book, “Authors thoughtfully select details, hoping that we, the readers, are listening. When we take the time to do so, as carefully as we listen to the people we love, we see the complexity of ideas that reach beyond the page and impact our lives.” (p. 9)  I want my students to be good listeners as they are reading a text. When listening to a text students are gathering evidence and reflecting on what new information the evidence reveals about the text. Close reading habits help students to develop a clearer understanding of a text they read in school but a clearer understanding of the world they inhabit.

Below is the Notice & Note foldable to use with your students:

Notice and Note Foldable

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Who’s Who? A Detective’s Interactive File & Close Reading



My students have just started reading Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None.  In the first chapter the reader is introduced to eleven different and central characters. This can be confusion for some. So, in order to help my students to learn and understand each of the characters I created an interactive detective’s file foldable for their English Journal.  Students created the detective’s file and then received a small file card on each of the characters to fill out while reading of the text.  Like a detective seen on television and in movies, students are required to keep a file on each of the characters based on their reading and understanding of the text. The detective’s files needed to contain the following information:

Front Side (To be completed during after reading Chapters 1 & 2) :

Physical Traits

Character Traits

Reason for going to Solider Island

Mode of Transportation to the Island

Inferences that can be made about the character

Back Side (To be completed during reading chapters 3-15):

Crime Accused of


Cause of Death

Time & Place of Death


After students made the detective file foldable and glued it into their notebooks they were assigned a specific character to study and examine closely.  Working in small groups, students reread specific sections about their character gathering evidence, then developing ideas and making inferences about the character. Using the information from the selected text students were to uncover the following: (1) the character’s physical appearance and age; (2) the mode of transportation the character used to arrive on Solider Island; (3) a direct quote about the character describing the character’s personality; (4) an inference about the character’s personality based on the quote; and (5) how the character was invited to the island and what he/she expects to do on Solider Island. Students created posters to communicate all the above information. 

This activity directly links to the CCLS and close reading for text evidence: “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it” (CCLS R.1). 



Students presented their finished posters and their classmates filled in their detective files on each of the characters of the text.

Christopher Lehman & Kate Roberts’ book Falling in Love with Close Reading (2014) describes close reading as “following the unfolding of an idea, to hear a text, to attend to language, to question, to visualize scenes, to mentally construct characters can only come from closely paying attention” [to the text] (p.10).  This year I am slowing down my students reading so they practice the skill of reading closely, paying attention to the details, and see the complexity of ideas that are presented in texts and in our own lives. 

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