If you are looking for a way to take your student’s comprehension to a whole new level in any subject area, Close Reading is just the strategy for you! It is a very simple and easy way to take students through multiple readings to increase comprehension and encourage metacognition. This is something I do in my sixth grade ELA classroom weekly.
This is a sponsored guest post by SNAP Learning @SNAPLearning and authored by Heidi Morgan @heidiamorgan, 6th grade ELA teacher in New Lenox, Illinois. As Heidi and I talked, I wanted her to share her classroom experience with using the Close Reading technique she uses. (You can get a free demo of Snap Learning here.) They also made a very cool, pinnable infographic explaining close reading strategies that you can pin and use as you teach close reading. — Vicki Davis
What is close reading?
Close Reading is a way of reading text that encourages students to read and reread with a purpose each time in order to help students achieve deep comprehension. According to PARCC,
“Close, analytic reading stresses engaging with a text of sufficient complexity directly and examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, encouraging students to read and reread deliberately. Directing student attention on the text itself empowers students to understand the central ideas and key supporting details. It also enables students to reflect on the meanings of individual words and sentences; the order in which sentences unfold; and the development of ideas over the course of the text, which ultimately leads students to arrive at an understanding of the text as a whole.”(PARCC, 2011, p. 7)
The goal of Close Reading is to teach readers how to read and reread with a purpose. As time goes on, and students become more familiar with the close reading strategy they will begin to read and reread independently. Thus, mastering the strategy and having a deeper understanding of the content of the text they are reading.
10 Tips for Close Reading Activities
Close Reading Tip #1: Select Short Passages
These short passages of high interest text should be long enough to be meaningful, but not too long for students to lose focus or get lost in the reading.
Close Reading Tip #2: Make Your Focus Intense
Pick a skill or literary element, like cause and effect or figurative language, you want to focus on and make sure that the text has an adequate amount of this skill or element in it.
Close Reading Tip #3: Extend Focus Through the Text
The focus should extend from the passage itself to other parts of the text. Once students begin to notice or see the focus skill or element, they should be able to find it throughout the text.
Close Reading Tip #4: Students Markup the Text as They Read
As students read they should mark up the text with symbols that help them think through what they are reading. (Use this Sample Mark It Up Poster with students.
Close Reading Tip #5: Encourage Exploratory Discussions
Encourage exploratory discussions between students between reads. Students talk about what they read, what things they marked up, and about the focus skill or literary element. The Think, Pair, Share strategy works well with close reading discussions.
Close Reading Tip #6: Encourage Rereading
Students read the text at least three times with a different focus each time. (See below for more info on how this works in my classroom.)
Close Reading Tip #7: Read in Every Subject Area
Use the close reading strategy in all subject areas.
Close Reading Tip #8: Annotate the Text
If you can not physically mark-up the text (like in traditional textbooks) use sticky notes.
Close Reading Tip #9: Use Close Reading Marks Independently
Encourage students to use close reading marks in their independent reading to help them focus and comprehend. Once students see the value in close reading they will begin to use the strategy on their own.
Closed Reading Tip #10: Use Close Reading Strategically in Small Bites
Don’t over do Close Reading. Use articles, short passages and short texts, don’t close read a whole novel.
An Excellent Close Reading Resource
I think SNAP Learning’s Close Reading Portfolio can guide any teacher through the Close Reading process with amazing success. It is a well planned and constructed portfolio of short, high interest, nonfiction text that kids want to read. It is perfect for any day, but really great to take the stress out of those three-day weeks when you can’t get a whole week’s unit in.
Here’s an example of how I use SNAP Learning’s Close Reading in my classroom.
First Reading: Get the Gist
As students review and explore the text in the first few minutes of the lesson, they are drawn into the text and want to read it because of the nonfiction topics and images associated with the text. During the first read students read through the text to get the gist of what the text is about.
Second Reading: Digging Deeper and Marking It Up
During the second read students dig into the text and focus on analyzing the meaning of a passage of text at the word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, and passage level. Thus exploring the author’s craft and how specific words and phrases make meaning.
Third Reading: Looking for Evidence
During the third read students use evidence in the text to determine and support an answer to a question. This skill is so important in a world of CCSS and in light of the upcoming PARCC test.
Following the third read, the student is given the opportunity to respond in writing to the text. What SNAP Learning’s Close Reading Portfolio does that is unique is that it gives the students fluency practice. It is a fact that fluency is an indicator of comprehension and this added piece is very valuable to all teachers. The last piece of the Close Reading Portfolio is a culminating activity to show how well students are able to answer text dependent questions and demonstrate proficiency.
Snap Learning Resources (Have a free demo)
- Want a free demo of SNAP Learning’s Close Reading Portfolio? You can request one here http://www.snaplearning.co/request_demo.
- SNAP Learning also has an impressive guided reading program. You can learn more about it here http://www.snaplearning.co/guided_reading.
- If you are an Edmodo user SNAP Learning has apps in the Edmodo App Store https://www.edmodo.com/home#/store too!
If you want to know more about the Close Strategies I use in my classroom, you can take a look at the presentation I did at the Raising Student Achievement Conference in December 2013.
9 Essential Close Reading Resources to Learn More Strategies
- Teacher’s Guide to SNAP Close Reading Portfolio
- Closing in on Close Reading [ASCD]
- Pinterest Close Reading Board
- Snap Learning Teacher Resource Page (Placement Test, Beginner’s Tutorial)
- Fisher and Frey YouTube Channel
- Close Reading of Literary Texts [Read-Write-Think Strategy Guide]
- Notice and Note Strategies for Close Reading
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. (2011). PARCC model content frameworks: English language arts/literacy grades 3–11. Retrieved from www.parcconline.org/sites/parcc/files/PARCCMCFELALiteracyAugust2012_FINAL.pdf
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to edit and post it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)