Common Core Video Series: Preparing for Close Reading with Students


Preparing for Close Reading with Students Letter from Birmingham Jail

This is a 30 minute video which features a discussion between NYS Commissioner of Education John B. King Jr., David Coleman (contributing author to the Common Core) and Kate Gerson (a Sr. Fellow with the Regents Research Fund) on the first 20 paragraphs of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” This conversation represents one of the ways a group of educators might prepare for close reading of text with students. This behind-the-scenes discourse represents the kind of dialogue teachers can have as they build their own fluency and familiarity with a text before diving into it with students. After watching this video, educators might ask themselves: Why are conversations like these important? What role can adult discussions of text play in teacher prep? Participants might also continue the conversation King, Coleman, and Gerson are having by picking up where they left off and engaging deeply around paragraphs 21-30. What happens next in the text? What is King “up to” for those paragraphs?

This is just one way of conducting professional development around this video. We encourage you to use this opportunity to share your ideas and experiences. Please contribute to the discussion by telling us how YOU have used these videos! Which discussion questions did you find sparked the most collaboration amongst educators? What professional learning experiences did you design around the viewing? We want to hear from you so that educators across the state can benefit from your experience!