I love doing close reading with my students. It gives them the opportunity to look at the same text multiple times, and focus on the skill you’re trying to teach. Close readings are great, because they allow students to work together with reading. Students don’t have to feel nervous if they are weaker readers, because they know they will have the opportunity to revisit the text with stronger readers. The trick is to make your students excited about the close reading passage.
How do you get your students excited about Close Reading?
The easiest way to get your class engaged with close reading, is to pick selections that will interest them. You want to pick topics with literature, and informational text, which your students will want to read again and again. When it comes to picking literature for close reading, my students always enjoy tall tales. Paul Bunyan is always one of their favorites.
Close reading Strategies
As a second grade teacher, I try to break the close reading passage down for my students. If it’s a longer passage, we may begin by focusing on the first paragraph. I like to give my students plenty of time to read the text independently. Then I encourage them to make markings throughout the text. The symbols we use are pretty straight forward: Students underline (or highlight) words that they don’t know. They put a question mark over sections that they have questions about, and a heart by sections they like. During the year, I add new symbols as my students become stronger readers, and practice various reading skills. For example, later in the year they can add a picture of a lightbulb if they have a prediction. If you’re looking for a great close reading anchor chart, please check out this post.
Once my students have had time to mark their close reading passage, I like to have them discuss what they marked on their papers with the students at their tables. This allows for discussion, and allows for students to clarify what they’ve read. As a class we then come together and discuss what the tables have found. The trick to close reading is to revisit the passage several times. During the course of a week, my class may re-read the same passage each day. The best part is, each time students re-read the passage it becomes easier for them.
What makes a good close reading passage?
There are so many great close reading passages out there. I created this free close reading lesson centered around Paul Bunyan. The lesson introduces students to hyperbole, and gives them ample opportunities to find examples of hyperbole throughout the close reading passage.
My students have a lot of fun with the close passages. They really have a lot of fun though, at the very end of this project when they make their own Paul Bunyan pop up books. Here is an example of one below.
You can download this freebie here. Enjoy!