Close Reading is a central focus of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It requires students to get truly involved with the text they are reading. The purpose is to teach them to notice features and language used by the author.
Steps for Doing a Close Read:
1. Select the portion of the text you wish to use. It should be meaningful, no longer than one page, and have interesting language/word choice for students to analyze.
2. Copy the page for students. This allows them to annotate the text. I often choose to retype the page to make it easier to read/photocopy.
3. Write questions to go along with the text. Your questions should address three main questions:
a. What does the text SAY? (direct comprehension questions)
b. What does the text DO? (looks at language/word choice/style)
c. What does the text MEAN? (What does it reveal about characters? Looks at deeper meaning)
4. Distribute questions and text to students. Give them time to read the passage and answer questions.
5. Go over the questions together, calling on students and having them back up their answers with evidence from the text. Encourage them to add details/correct wrong answers as the class discusses them.
Tips for Close Reading Success:
1. Close Read questions should be challenging! Students will need to learn to struggle through them. It's important to encourage them to come up with reasonable, evidence-based answers. Don't grade their responses initially; it's more important for them to try to figure out the meaning than it is for them to regurgitate a correct answer.
2. Have students number each paragraph immediately so that referencing the text can be done quickly and clearly.
|Note the numbered paragraphs and retyped section of the text.|
3. Encourage students to share and explain their answers to a table partner before taking answers from the group. Since Close Read questions require critical thinking, discussion can help students figure out meaning.
4. Students should annotate the passage with a fine tip pen (not a highlighter) to note where they found their answers and explain meaning.
Most of all, don't be afraid to try it! It can be intimidating at first, but it can lead to great class discussions as well as deeper understanding of text.
There are two Close Reads in my Any Small Goodness Novel Study, and I am working on creating more in the weeks to come! Please check my store for updates!