Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Close Reading

A close reading is a careful and purposeful reading. Well actually, it’s rereading. It’s a careful and purposeful rereading of a text. It’s an encounter with the text where students really focus on what the author had to say, what the author’s purpose was, what the words mean, and what the structure of the text tells us.

Students notice features and language used by the author. Students are required to think thoroughly and methodically about the details in a text.

Students determine how a text is organized, and understand the effect of the author’s word choice in a certain passage. Close reading goes “deeper than the text”. It mines what is under the surface of the words. Students eventually evaluate or critique what is written.

When students are taught to read a text closely they become more skilled at locating evidence within a sentence or a paragraph or a page of a text or story. Then orally or in writing, they can justify answers to text-dependent questions based on evidence.

 Things Close Readers Do:
   “Get the gist of what a text is about” 
   “Use the text to answer questions” 
             CITE passages from the text(s).

   “Reread the text” and “Gather evidence (quotes) from the text”  
             CITE passages from the text(s).

Close Reading Questions

First Reading: Determine what the text says.

  • What is the text about?
  • What is the theme of the story?
  • What was _____ (character) like, and what did he/she do in the story?
Second Reading: Figure out how the text works

  • What does _____ (a word from the text) mean in this context?
  • Who is telling this part of the story?
  • What is the author’s purpose for this section?
  • What choices did the author make as he or she wrote this?
Third Reading: Analyze and compare the textWhat information do these illustrations add to the text? Or, how does this picture differ from what the author wrote?

  • Compare _____ (an aspect of the text, such as character or main idea) with the same aspect in another text by the same author. (Readers can also examine texts on the same topic or from the same genre.)
  • What reasons does the author give to support _____ (one of the ideas)?
    • What evidence can I gather from this text?