Do your high school ELA students struggle with close reading? Perhaps they have a difficult time with making smooth transitions when crafting essays. When the concepts get tough, TpT Teacher-Authors have the resources to make teaching and learning these concepts approachable and fun. You and your students have got this!

Mastering Close Reading

CLOSE READING: Presentation, Student Guide & Annotation Assignment (Common Core)Presto Plans explains, “One skill that most of my high school students struggle with is going beyond the basic comprehension of a reading to show deeper analysis and interpretation. My goal is to show my students how to interact with a text and examine all the interesting details of a story with a critical eye. This isn’t something that comes naturally to all students, so I tackled the issue by creating a how-to guide for close reading. The presentation and instruction sheet breaks the process down step-by-step to make the idea of literary analysis less daunting for students.”


Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

Paraphrasing, Quoting, and Summarizing: A Common Core Writing Mini Unit“I always find that students have a difficult time grasping quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing,” says The Daring English Teacher. “While most students understand that they need to cite their sources when quoting something, most don’t know that they still need to cite their sources if they summarize or paraphrase information. This mini-unit is an ideal addition to any informational, argument, or research writing unit.”

Ramen Noodle Summarizing and Cow Cud ParaphrasingAngie Kratzer agrees: “I spend a LOT of time teaching students to paraphrase and summarize when teaching research steps, literary analysis, and rhetorical analysis. My Ramen Noodle Summarizing and Cow Cud Paraphrasing lesson plans use analogies to help students grasp the difference between the two skill sets.”


Increasing Speed and Fluency of Writing

Writing Fluency: 15 Minute Quickwrites“My Fifteen Minute Quickwrites Unit arms teachers with a writing tool that will increase how much students can write during a timed writing assessment. It also gives students a lifetime skill of improved writing fluency that will help them meet future writing goals,” explains Writer’s Corner. “Students should write in an active voice and show, not tell, what is happening in the quickwrites. Dialogue can also add much to the voice in the story. Description is an important part of the activity.

No rubrics are included as this is writing for fun! Students will receive points for writing, but this is not a conventions lesson. Students will keep writing files of individual writings with the idea that they might expand the quickwrite into a portfolio piece at a later time.”


Crafting Effective Literary Essays

Writing the Literary Essay“My students struggle to write an effective literary essay,” says Room 213. “They can get the job done, but the final result is often just a surface brushing of the topic. In order to get them to dig deep and really explore their ideas, I spend a lot of time focusing on the fact that they need to see the exercise as a thinking process first and a writing process second. Regardless, process is the key word! This product uses a process-based approach that encourages students to slow down, think, and follow steps that will lead them to better written essays. Take a look: Writing the Literary Essay.”


Disputing and Disagreeing in Essays

What's your Counterpoint? - Secrets of Robust DisagreementEllen Weber – Brain based tasks for upper grades says, “Students often struggle to disagree well in essays, speeches, and debates. Yet what teen doesn’t love robust disputes that question cutting edge topics?

Whenever ELA students find tools to offer opposing views with punch, they tend to embed their finest insights into kind tone, rigorous disagreements, and probing interests that cotton to their readers. They often tell me it’s so much more ‘fun’ than merely supporting preconceived opinions in ‘boring’ essays!

In What’s your Counterpoint? – Secrets of Robust Disagreement, students are encouraged to navigate opposing view communications as a way to expand their own understanding of topics in order to engage a wider audience beyond their class. I’ve seen dynamo results as students create outlines that enable vivid points and counterpoints to weave wonder together in ways that build curiosity for both sides of former untouchable topics. It’s especially refreshing to discover valid facts they learn on each side of issues tackled, as they fashion an outline to show evidence of opposite realities.

Whenever I think of readers who hold views on each side of any topic, I am reminded of how my own students enjoy hot topics more when opposing views reshape their understanding.”


Using Transitions Correctly

Transition TicketsELA Seminar Gal explains, “One of the most common complaints from college and university professors is that their students’ papers are choppy and disorganized. Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix by giving students tasks that require them to use transitions in their daily writing assignments. One of my favorite ways to help students commit transitions to muscle memory is by using event tickets.

Here’s how they work:
1. Students receive transition tickets as they enter class.
2. The teacher displays the question of the day.
3. At the end of class, students respond to the question using the transitions and transition phrases on their tickets.”


Taking Ownership of Learning

Discussion Tools for Any Text: Readers' RoundtableOCBeachTeacher says, “In high school, English teachers are preparing students to become more independent readers and learners for college. This can be challenging for both teachers and students because students are often accustomed to the teacher as the ‘sage’ of the class.

In order to get students to take ownership for their learning, I’ve created a Readers’ Roundtable procedure with discussion tools for any text. Students create their own meaningful discussions of texts through a scaffolded process.”