5 Reasons to ACT Now!

Alyssa Heeneke

Here are three educational buzzwords that may be keeping you up at night:

  1. Close Reading
  2. Accessing Complex Text
  3. Collaborative Conversations

Let’s analyze your buzzword nightmares a little deeper.

  • Close Reading – You know what it is. You’ve read about it. You can’t stop hearing about it. But how do you teach it? Where are the resources and routines that you can access?
  • Accessing Complex Text (ACT) – Again, you know the what. But where’s the how? How do I teach my students to unlock the complexity of the text, dig deeper, and truly make meaning from it?
  • Collaborative Conversations How do I let my students engage in productive conversations with each other without the risk of losing control of the classroom?

We reached out to two of the nation’s literacy experts to develop a resource that will help you sleep a little better at night. ACT Now! is a new resource developed by Dr. Douglas Fisher and Dr. Nancy Frey. Published by Benchmark Education Company, ACT Now! will give you the hows of close reading, accessing complex text, and collaborative conversations in an easy-to-use resource that will supplement your literacy instruction.

Here are 5 reasons to ACT Now!

  1. Dr. Douglas Fisher and Dr. Nancy Frey

A dynamic authorship duo that needs no introduction. Two of the nation’s literacy experts developed this resource for students at Grades 3-8 to help them meet the literacy expectations of the new standards.

  1. Short, complex texts

Providing students access to short complex texts is the key. Students can use these short texts to practice close reading techniques. According to Fisher and Frey, “Short texts are easier to manage. Students can go back into the text to read and reread in a manageable time frame.”

  1. Organization by Topic

ACT Now! is organized into topic-based units, offering authentic texts, primary sources, and Common Core Exemplars, giving students a variety of genres to learn from. This allows students to build rich, deep knowledge about each topic.

  1. Annotation Techniques

Instead of discouraging students from writing in books, teach them proper annotation techniques! It allows students to literally put their own mark on the page! As teachers, it allows us to see a visual representation of our students’ opinions, connections, confusion, and comprehension. Guess what– annotating text is explicitly taught, modeled and practiced in ACT Now!

  1. Collaborative Conversation

Now we’re really talking! ACT Now! promotes productive, meaningful student collaboration by guiding students while they consider and discuss passages in groups. Conversations naturally develop between and among students, helping them clarify their thinking.

When students collaborate, they:

  • Articulate
  • Support a viewpoint
  • Challenge ideas
  • Gain new perspectives
  • Extend knowledge
  • Develop use of academic and domain-specific language and concepts

There’s no need for the new standards, expectations, and buzzwords to keep you up at night- there is a resource out there for you. ACT Now! and see what students from all over the country are reading, re-reading, writing, and talking about!

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