The idea of a close read isn’t new. It’s been around for a while, but yet there are so many different interpretations of what it actually entails. CCSS came out about 10 years ago, and the idea of close reads blew up! At the end of my post I have a FREE downloadable bundle of close reading passages and questions!
We realized that we needed to be teaching our students to read deeply and think analytically about a piece of text, and that we couldn’t wait until middle school to begin this.
The overall goal of CCSS is for students to be able to read a grade-level piece of text, independently. As we’ve seen through easy formative assessments, we are able to see that close reading is not something that we can afford to stop doing. However, that doesn’t happen instantly. As with anything else you teach, close reads need to be modeled and done together so students can learn expectations.
What is a close read?
Typically a close read is done in 3 phases, each phase serving a different purpose. In order for a close read to be successful, you need to find a high-quality piece of text to use. You can’t just randomly grab a book off the shelf and go. You need to preview the text to ensure there is enough quality writing in there that will lend itself to some deep thinking.
I’ve put together this poster that helps explains the three different phases of a close read. Click on the image to download your own FREE copy of it! After facilitating close reads for years now, I’ve noticed just how good students are at phase 1: the general understandings of the text. However, moving along to phases 2 and 3, students struggle and tend to have a harder time. The more we expose our students to this type of questioning, the easy and more natural it becomes for them.
Over the years, I’ve written a lot of close reads and I’ve finally gotten around to bundling them all together. Most of the text, I’ve pulled straight from the CCSS appendix and others are just text that I personally love.
Each text comes with three phases of questions for you to engage in with your students. I would recommend taking three days to get through one passage: one phase per day. For some of the passages, there are also extension activities to help continue to conversations. Below is one of the close reads from the bundle. You will receive the text passage, and then a separate document with all three phases of questions. All of these passages would be best for 3rd-6th grade. Click here to download the whole bundle FOR FREE with all 9 passages!!