Saturday, July 2, 2016

Reading Text Code, Annotation Text Codes, Close Reading Text Code

Reading Text Code, Annotating Texts, Close Reading Text Annotation and Marking Text Treasure: Using text codes is a fast fun way of annotating a text, or a systematic analysis of a piece of text, that is a powerful close reading strategy. This close reading strategy is engaging and teaches students explicitly what to look for when reading. Students that need to develop reading comprehension strategies will benefit from having the support of a text code key when taking notes or using notes. When students actively stop and text code they are actively thinking and engaging with the text at a deeper level. 

"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
Jacob Bronowski

     Writing down your thoughts using letters or symbols also engages your hands (muscle memory) with your thinking, or what I call the wisdom of your hands. Connecting your learning and processing with your hands,
powers up your memory and the retention of content, when students close read and annotate a passage. Text codes are a simplified highlighted/annotated text, using a letter or symbol that is associated with a targeted reading concept. Students can highlight new information, quotes, relevant statements, questions about the text that are confusing and or need clarification, visually tracks thinking, connections to the text, cause and effect, and details that support a conclusion. Text codes can be targeted to a specific learning target or to a certain close reading strategy. Students are curious by nature and love to share what they found fascinating and surprising. Students can read independently and text code a passage and then come together to share their text treasures of the text they marked. When the teacher or students use picture books or chapter books student can use small strips of post-it notes or post-it notes arrow flags "sign here". 
   Text coding requires a "Text Code Key" that is explicit and limited to your close reading goals. Start with just a few text codes at the beginning and model how to use them with a read aloud. Text codes can be used for pictures and graphs. 
   Text codes can be used to help students uncover information, used as an integral part of a mini-Socratic seminar. Before reading anything in class start with an open-ended question, and share the text code key and learning objectives. Explain the text treasures they are seeking, and model, model, and model before reading and using the text codes. The students have the questions in their minds ready to explore and uncover new information (N) while reading , complex or confusing ideas (C), to get to the facts/truth (F), to open up issues conflict and problems (P), to uncover assumptions (A), to analyze concepts, to distinguish what we know (K/!) from what we don't know (D K/???), to follow out logical implications of thought Causes and Effect (CK />>) or to control the discussion.

Text Code ELA Learning Targets: 
  • Non-Fiction/Informational Text | Text Codes 
  • Dramatic Elements | Text Codes 
  • Poetic Devices | Text Codes
  • Figurative Language | Text Codes
  • Literary Elements | Text Codes
  • Nonfiction Text Features  | Text Codes
  • Literary Devices Imagery and Symbolism | Text Codes
Homer Simpson Text Codes: 
  1. D'oh!!!
  2. Woo Hoo!
  3. Why you little!
  4. Mmm... 
  5. Aaargh!
  6. Boring!
  7. Mmm Donuts!
Advanced College Level Analytical Reading and Text Coding! 

Socratic Seminar Using Text Codes! 

READ RSVP: Read, Summarize, Verify, Prediction | Compare and
Contrast: This engagement READING protocol is used to build and refine compare and contrast thinking skills. Students need to make new connections when they compare and evaluate new information. Students discover and describe the difference(s) between what was inferred and the newly revealed information. This reading strategy promotes active close reading, Socratic thinking, text ranking and text coding, making an inference and comparing and contrasting skill. That means students are really thinking about what they are reading.


1. The teacher selects a one-page reading passage that is challenging.

2. The teacher ranks and annotates the passage for key words, phrases, statements or questions. The teacher compiles the best clues and creates a clue sheet for students.

3. Give mini-lecture on inferring, comparing and contrasting:

4. Give each student group or pair the clue sheet with a list of 5-10 keywords, 3-5 statements or phrases, and one open-ended questions. The list of keywords and text clues are placed in the order in which they appear in the text.

5. Students work with partners or a group of four to analyze the clues. Students think about the limited text clues and compare them to their prior knowledge.

6. Students share connections they are making with their partners. They record their predictions and conclusions using Cornell notes or flash cards.

Extensions: List multiple conclusions, and orally share a potential summary or write a feasible summary.

Extensions: The students are given just a keyword outline of the reading passage and the must use all the keywords in a summary. Students’ use the keywords in the exact order in which they appear in the teacher provided keyword outline. The Keywords that are challenging can be placed in a Cornell notes format with contextual exemplars not related to the original text and the terms denotations.

7. Students buddy read the one-page passage and compare and contrast it to their conclusions and summaries. Students reread do a text ranking of their favorite statements or passages, and they text code the passage.  Students participate in a Mini-Socratic-Seminar to discuss and share their conclusions and predicted summaries.

8. Students verify their predictions and conclusions with their reading partner.

9. Students come together and have a group discussion about anything they had to modify, confirm, verify and or correct from their initial inferences, conclusions, and predictions.

Extensions: Write a new summary using what you learned.

Extensions: Split the class in half, have each group make a clue-sheet for the other half of the class. The students prepare a reading passage using a Cornell notes organizer. Student text rank, text code, and analyzes the text for themes and main ideas. This extended reading protocol helps students deeply understand the close reading strategy and gives them a hands-on inferencing, comparing and contrasting reading activity.  

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