We are learning to Notice and Note things authors are doing in the texts we read. Authors put things in their writing ON PURPOSE, it is our job to notice them.
The lessons we have been practicing in class come from Kylene Beers and Robert Probst's book, Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading.

DOWNLOAD FILE with all the Graphic Organizers used in my class for the signposts. It has all the signposts included. Print only the one you need. .

Here are the signposts and some information about them:

Contrasts and Contradictions:

Practicing Learning Goals: RL 7.1, RL 7.3 and RL 7.6
When you are reading and a character says or does something that's opposite (contradicts) what he has been saying or doing all along, you should stop and ask yourself:
"Why is the character doing that?"
The answers could help you make a prediction or make an inference about the plot and conflict.

Aha Moment:

Practicing Learning Goals: RL 7.1, RL 7.2, RL 7.3 and RL 7.6
When you are reading and a character realizes, understands, or finally figures something out,
you should stop and ask yourself:
"How might this change things?" or "Why might this realization be important?"
-If the character figured out a problem, you probably just learned about the conflict.
-If the character understood a life lesson, you probably just learned the theme.

Possible Aha Moment Text Clues (it would be impossible to list all the ways that an author clues readers to this)
“ Suddenly, I realized”
“ Now I understand”
“It came to me in a flash”
“I now knew”
“I finally understood that”
“All of sudden I knew what I had to do”
“The thought came to me”
“Suddenly, I saw something”
“I knew”
“For the first time in my life, I didn’t know”

Three Kinds of Aha Moments

  • That moment in which the character finally realizes what his problem is: “I suddenly realized that they were never going to accept me into their circle.”

  • That moment in which the character sees the pathway to the resolution of the conflict or the solution of the problem: “I finally saw that I would have to find a way to be happy living my own life apart from the ‘in group’.”

  • That moment when the character comes to a broader understanding that might be seen as a lesson for life and possibly the theme of the book: “At last I understood that real happiness came from living up to your own principles and not simply following the crowd.”

Tough Questions:

Practicing Learning Goals: RL 7.1, RL 7.3 and RL 7.6

When you are reading and the character asks himself a really difficult question, you should stop and ask yourself:

"What does this question make me wonder about?"

The answers will tell you about the conflict and might give you ideas about what will happen later in the story.

You might see a character saying to herself something like:
...I couldn't imagine what I ought to do about....
...I realized that I was finally going to have to figure out....
...I just didn't know which choice to make.
...How could I possibly decide between....

Or a friend might say or ask:
...No matter how tough it will be, you'll have to choose between....
...Before you do anything you're going to have to ask yourself....

Words of the Wiser:

Practicing Learning Goals: RL 7.1, RL 7.2 (Theme), RL 7.3- Character Development, Conflict, Plot and Theme

When you are reading and a wiser, often older, character offers the main character advice that is helpful at this moment in the story but could also be helpful throughout life.
After we notice it, we want to ask ourselves, "What's the life lesson and how might this affect the character?"
-- As you answer this question, you'll learn more about the character, the conflict he or she faces, the plot, and perhaps the message or theme the author wants you to consider.

Few examples:

"You gotta do what your heart tells you."
"You can't be the rock and the river."
"You are what you are."
"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
"Given the choice between right and kind, choose kind."
"Haste makes waste."
"Always tell the truth."

Again and Again:

A word, phrase, or idea is repeated, making us wonder about its significance.

Look for anything that keeps happening again and again.

You might see:
...a single word that is repeated more often than you would expect, as if the author is calling special attention to it
...a situation that a character finds him-or-herself in over and over
...an idea that keeps coming up

Ask: "Why might the author bring this up again and again?"
"What does this Again and Again signpost lead you to think is going to happen later in the story?"

Memory Moment:

A memory interrupts the flow of the story, but reveals something important about the character or the plot.

Look for times when:
...the character suddenly starts remembering something, even right in the middle of some important event
...a quiet moment when the character thinks back on something from his or her past

Ask: "Why might this memory be important?"
and "What was happening when the character recalled the memory?"