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Planning & Facilitating a Close Reading


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Define Close Reading

Introduce reader voices

Progress through the standards

Download the Reading Standards in the ladder format that depicts how the standards fit into the close-reading framework.

Common Core Reading Standards Foldout 
This resource identifies the anchor standards and grade level standards for literature and informational texts.

Access the K-12 Common Core Literacy Standards or the Indiana Academic Standards (11×17) for specific literacy skills to teach.

Experience a close reading

Repeat the close-reading experience you participated in.

Integrate Close Reading

Introduce the framework to students

Compare each phase of close reading to a different “lens.”

  1. GLASSES: Initially, readers comprehend on a surface level. They read to paraphrase/retell specific details, summarize the important concepts, and determine the main ideas.
  2. MICROSCOPE: During a closer look, readers zoom in to analyze the text and evaluate author decisions about word choice, organization, and purpose.
  3. TELESCOPE: With a deeper comprehension of the text, readers zoom out and integrate new understanding from the text with other texts and bigger ideas.
Close Reading Eyeglasses
Close Reading Microscope
Close Reading Telescope
Close Reading Triggers

Click image to purchase.

Readers persevere through difficult text

Click image to download PPT | Google Slide

Who's Who and Who's New

Teacher Lindsay Flood developed a fabulous close-reading activity using Oreo cookies to demonstrate the value in “reading” something more than once. For a description of the lesson, check out second grade teacher Allison Stuckey’s blog Who’s Who and Who’s New. For the digital download, see Lindsay’s TpT store.

Plan frequent close-reading experiences

Provide frequent opportunities for students to participate in close-reading experiences within your whole-class reading curriculum.

Shift focus from novels to standards

When reading a novel, apply the close-reading framework to the most significant excerpts of plot and craft.

Read closely within the content areas

Plan a Close Reading

STEP #1: Select a complex text

The text is just a tool to teach the standards.

STEP #2: Draft text-dependent questions

Text can include photographs, infographics, sophisticated illustrations, political cartoons, movie clips, and videos. Apply the same 3-phase close-reading framework when analyzing these visual and multimodal texts, too.

Access resources used in the mini-lesson. | Connect to the “Fidget Cube” blog post used within the lesson. (Blog no longer available.) | Download the close-reading questions asked during the lesson. | Access dozens of additional close-reading questions appropriate for viewing videos and visuals (printable at 8 x 14).

Facilitate a Close Reading

STEP #3: Establish reading purposes

Practice additional why-lighting experiences using

STEP #4: Support discussion

Equalize small-group participation with Talking Sticks.

Stephanie Kimmerly provides her Roosevelt Elementary School (Elkhart, IN) students with Talk-Move bookmarks. This allows them to learn the various sentence starters for each one. 

Bridget Longmeier introduces Talk Moves to third graders. “This is going to be game changing for our school with a 60% EL population! We need to get them talking and listening and this is a great strategy to get them started.”

FISHBOWL: Small group (i.e., fish) is encircled by remaining students (i.e., bowl)

Fishbowl Procedure | PPT PDF

Don’t “give it away” if they are right or wrong. Rather, use a line from the Justification Cheat Sheet to ask them to support their thinking.

Observe close reading in action

Leading experts on close reading, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey, have dozens of classroom videos posted on YouTube. There are numerous close-reading lessons recorded in a variety of grade levels and content areas.

webPD: Achieving a Close Reading in 5 Steps