Designing presentations–PowerPoint, Prezi, Capzles, Easel.ly–is practice for close reading, isn’t it?
As students design presentations for an audience of their peers, they are motivated to pay attention to all of the details. Each choice they make–fonts, colors, words, images, and placement of everything–is intentional.
What will look the best? What matches my purpose? What has the most emotional impact?
I present students with principles of effective design, and after viewing a few examples of “good” and “bad” design, they begin applying the principles to their work. There’s no convincing them that these principles matter; they see the evidence in the examples, and they see the positive change in their presentations when they begin designing like a designer.
This is the same intention I want students to notice when close reading. Students are reluctant to acknowledge the impact an author’s craft has on our comprehension and reaction to literature.
Words, punctuation, structure, and the way these work together to create images, convey attitudes, and ultimately transmit purposes are less easily seen then the clash of a font color with a background color, or the ill-placement of an image.
However, if students can orchestrate words and images with intention, then noticing it in the books they read should be a little easier.