There are times when we need to get “up close and personal” with the text we are reading. To achieve this relationship with our text, we can do what is referred to as a “close read.”
A close read is a reading strategy used to help students gain a deeper understanding of the selected text. There are varied approaches to a close read. Most close reads include the following components:
*Number the paragraphs: CCRS (College and Career Ready Standard’s) asks students to be able to cite and refer to the text (give evidence from the text). One simple way to do this is by numbering each paragraph or section in the margin. When students refer to the text, they are required to state which paragraph they are referring to. This enables the rest of the class to quickly find what evidence their peer is referring to.
* Chunk the text:
A full-page of text can become overwhelming for students. Breaking up the text into small sections (or chunks) makes the page easier to “swallow” for students. The class concentrates only on a small portion of the text at one time.
* Underline and circle with a purpose:
Telling students to simply underline “the important stuff” is overwhelming and does not meet a meaningful purpose. Students need to be directed to underline and circle very specific things. In my class, we use a specific set of Close Read Codes (see picture). I will add new codes as needed (as content becomes more complex).
* Dig deeper into the text:
In the margins, I direct students to complete a specific task for each chunk or passage of text. This may include:
- Represent the text with a picture. Have students illustrate what they were visualizing while reading.
- Ask questions. Have students write down what questions the text made them have. (This made me wonder. . . )
- Make connections. How does this text / passage relate to you? What do you have in common with this character?
Small Group Close Read Samples from DES 5th Grade