Dr. P. David Pearson: Implementing the CCSS: Comprehension, Close Reading, and the Common Core

Although Pearson acknowledges he’s had reservations about the implementation of the CCSS, he takes the time to outline specifically what he likes about the standards. You can see the list in the image below and by viewing the video presentation beginning at minute 5:54. He notes that part of the value of teaching with complex texts is that all students will end up with skills and strategies to navigate “Waterloo” texts.

At minute 10:29, Pearson demonstrates what it means to comprehend. He pauses on how words in a text “compel” us to access background knowledge; that unfamiliarity with ideas and words in a text make links to prior knowledge more challenging; and that we make “plausible” links to things we associate with a word or idea.

At minute 27:51, Pearson outlines his concerns about how close reading is being misused and misinterpreted—specifically that text-dependent questions will be reduced to literal recall questions. He also adds his concern that literal recall questions will be seen as a “prerequisite” for inferential and critical comprehension. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of readers attaching text to schema.

Pearson does an historical overview of close reading at minute 34:40 and at minute 40:00 maps elements of close reading onto the standards themselves. At minute 40:30 Pearson shares his definition of close reading and explains the two questions we should be routinely asking of text: What do you think you know and what in the text makes you think so?

You can view the presentation here.


About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
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