I'm going to try "close reading" (of the Common Core Learning Standards infamy) of literature this week, using a book that has intrigued me ever since I read it last year, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I will attempt a read-aloud, mainly because I don't have extra copies of the book (yet), but also because students enjoy read-alouds. This book is a good choice because the dominant question in my mind when I was reading (and enjoying) the book was - "How would my students make sense of this novel, with alternating time/narratives, unfamiliar setting (1980s New York City, which were my own stomping grounds), and surprise ***SPOILER ALERT*** fantasy element?"
By the way, recently I read Rebecca Stead's new novel, Liar and Spy. It packed quite a punch, but I wasn't really interested in the story until halfway through. AGAIN - how would my students ever get to the GOOD part on their own? Readers like my daughter, who would read a book just because her teacher (or mom) assigned it, would have no trouble with it, but my "too cool for reading" students? Guided reading may be a good way to go.