← Conversations

The Closer Citizen: Linking Close Reading to a Careful Analysis Of Media and Our Lives

Session 1
Chris Lehman, Kate Roberts — Teachers College, Columbia University

With 24-hour news cycles and the constant presence of screens in our lives, information rushes past all of us at an astonishing rate. It feels urgent to slow down, read closely, and uncover subtle messages in texts. It is all too easy to read fiction and nonfiction texts for just “the gist.” Unfortunately, it is just as easy to only grab the overt points in media, games, even our daily interactions, only to catch the broadest points and miss the important nuances. To be a 21st Century Citizen is, in part, to be a careful consumer, in the pursuit of becoming more powerful creators.

In this conversation, Chris and Kate will demonstrate some of the strategies they have used to help students see how reading a text closely can help uncover the messages, biases, and points of view that can remain hidden in texts and in life. They will lead participants in a conversation which raises opportunities for class inquiries such as: “How does a close analysis of the characterization in a video games help us to understand the forces behind marketing to youth?” “How does the dialogue in a television show reveal the point of view of the creators and that of our culture?” And “How can paying close attention to our own choice of words and messages alter the way we think and talk about ourselves and others?”

Through discussion, this session will develop a shared list of strategies and ideas to take directly back into our classrooms.

Conversational Practice

During the first main section of the conversation we will introduce a close-reading framework, similar to a protocol, giving participants live and online opportunities to interact with texts and experiment with strategies presented. During the second main section of the conversation we will ask both live and online participants to arrange into small collaborative groups around “life genres” on googledocs (such as “video games” and “news media” and “school life”), they will co-create ideas and strategies to bring back to their classrooms. Chris and Kate will interact live and online during this process.

Conversation Links

Log in to bookmark this meetup.

Presenter Profiles

Christopher Lehman
Christopher Lehman
Teachers College, Columbia University
Kate Roberts
Kate Roberts
Teachers College Reading and Writing Project


JSON feed