Close Reading Tips for Teachers
Close reading is a strategy that requires critical analysis of a short but complex text. A successful close reading lesson will scaffold student learning and focus on text-dependent questioning and interpretation. When participating in a close reading, students read the text three times. The first reading focuses on key ideas and details, the second reading centers on the craft and structure, and the last reading encourages students to synthesize and apply information learned from the text.
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1. Work with what you have.
If you want students to highlight something in the text, but you don’t have a highlighter for every student, have them draw a box around it, or underline with a colored pencil. When completing a close reading, students need to be able to mark up the page and make it their own. If the text passage you want to use for a close reading is located in a textbook, make a copy of it. If making a copy for each student isn’t an option, you can use these transparency pages or these transparent sticky notes.
2. Less is more.
Remember, short complex texts lend themselves well to the close reading process. You don’t have to use a whole chapter, article, or book to do a close reading. Cut it down and zero in on the most substantial and rigorous portions. Focus on the selection of text that will hit all of your objectives and provide students with opportunities to think critically.