Dr. Nancy Boyles’ Close Reading Links for Small Group Instruction
has been an incredible resource for my teachers to use during small group instruction. It is a compilation of the best components of Nancy’s work over the course of her career, combined into one teacher-friendly AND student-friendly program. The teacher resource guide explicitly walks teachers through how to deliver high-quality, rigorous small group instruction using one engaging text for all learners. The structure of the text is broken in short chunks, with built-in Pause and Think boxes, which make reading rigorous text manageable for all learners. The text-dependent questions provide lots of opportunities for teacher and student discourse and give students opportunities to explain their thinking. Our students have said they really like the interesting topics in the books. They also commented that the way the text is organized into small sections makes them feel successful when they are reading the text. The books also have a skill target connected to the CCSS that breaks down how to understand and complete the skill over the course of three lessons using a gradual release model. Close reading, text-dependent questions, small-group student-led discourse, and written response to text — this program has it all!
“Reading like this makes us have Bubble Gum brain — we answer challenging and harder questions and when you think, your brain grows bigger and bigger.”
Grade 3 student
“When we talked about it, we learned more and we got more into the story because we come up with different ideas and share with each other — they were ideas that other people didn’t have.”
Grade 3 student
According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we have a declared 66.8% high needs population, 50.8 % first language not English, and 44.2% economically disadvantaged population.
I specifically liked the poetry unit of Dr. Boyles’ Capstone Series. The exposure to figurative language worked well for me to explain and my students enjoyed the study of poetry very much. Many of them are using more figurative language now in their writing as a result.
Grade 4 Teacher
Clifford H. Marshall Elementary School
The Close Reading Program developed by Dr. Nancy Boyles has been a great addition to our third-grade reading classes. The texts have exposed students to interesting and engaging topics, such as, Extraordinary Animals. The organization of the texts have also been beneficial to the development of the students in our small group instruction during reading centers. I feel that these texts are great for even struggling readers because the information is set up in small sections, which seems manageable for them. Also, the, Pause and Think, feature within the texts encourages myself and the students to reflect on what we are reading as we are engaged in it. It allows students to have time to ask questions and make connections to the text. Because of this, we have had some wonderful conversations about the topics. In one particular instance, I had a student so interested in the Komodo Dragon that they spent their computer block doing additional research on the animal. It is wonderful to be using a program that keeps my students engaged in what they are reading!
Grade 3 Teacher
Lincoln Hancock Community School
The Nancy Boyles Close Reading Trainings have been informative and useful to help us integrate more close reading into the classroom. It has been especially beneficial when using the small group books during literacy centers. The Close Reading Links books for small group instruction have brought up amazing questions and conversations about what we are reading. My group has been reading "Oceans Around the Globe" and they are loving it! It gives information about the oceans using rich vocabulary and provides the children with information they might not have known before. We have many students who come from low-income families so their background knowledge and exposure is not always the highest. We also have many EL students who are learning English as their second or third language. The photographs really engage the students and get them excited about what they're learning. I personally love pause and think tabs because they help my students manage and chunk the text so it's not too overwhelming. When we pause and think, we are able to dissect what we just read and clarify any questions before moving forward. Thank you for these wonderful books!
Grade 3 Teacher
Quincy Public Schools