Saturday, July 19, 2014

Close Reading Strategies

Close Reading is such a buzz word in education right now! (No, it doesn't mean holding the book close to your face as this picture may imply! hee hee) Close reading is reading text carefully and with intense purpose and focus. I have been using parts of the close reading method, but this coming year I want to try for full implementation. I had several dilemmas though.
  1. I only see my RtI students for a small amount of reading instruction time per day. After we gather our groups and review phonics and sight words, we have about 25 minutes of true reading group time left. So, how do I maximize the time? Is this enough time to implement Close Reading?
  2. These are RtI kids! How should I make this method accessible to them? They generally don't implement strategies well. I also needed this to work for multiple genres, too.
  3. They need (and I need) for these strategies to transfer over to their general classroom instruction time and independent reading time. What could I possibly give them that will be functional in all settings?
I have been mulling this over ALL SUMMER! Finally, an idea hit me! I want my students to be great readers, right? Why not use GREAT as their reading strategy acronym?!? So, here is what I came up with! 

G = Grab a text on your level.

This will work in all settings because with me they are given appropriate text to read, in class they have leveled texts to read, and during their independent reading time or A.R. time they check out books according to their assigned Lexile level. We will also go over strategies for how to tell if an unlabeled text is on your level. I think I will do a lot of the next steps using my Daily Common Core Reading Passages. You can purchase them individually by nine weeks or in a $ saving bundle in my store {HERE}.

R = Read the entire text.

This part we had already been implementing. We read the entire text all the way through without stopping for questions. We just sound out unknown words, use context clues as best we can, and keep chugging along until we've read it all. For this first read, our goal is just a general overview or the big idea of the text. 

E = Enjoy the details when you reread. 
In general, my kiddos initially resist the rereading portion of close reading. However, they do start to realize that their rereading wasn't as choppy and they can make better sense of the story the 2nd time around. This part is CRITICAL for gaining fluency and improving comprehension! Again, this will work for any genre. They will pick up more details about characters, theme, setting, sequence of events, etc. once they have read it through at least one other time. 

A = Annotate or mark the text.

Annotate is a big word, but kids love big words! I think with practice they can handle the word and the method, too. I am planning to use colored pencils, highlighters, highlighting tape, wiki sticks, and more to give them different annotation tasks. We will circle unknown words, put questions marks by parts we don't understand, number to sequence the story, underline story elements in different colors, and more. I think that a little daily practice will go a long way. The goal of course is to train them to think critically about what they read. They can't mark up their library book, but they can train themselves to mentally note when they see a word they don't understand. 

T = Text proof is found for every answer. 

To me, this one is as critical as the rereading. Whenever there is question about a text (whether it is written or oral), I am going to require my students to back up their answer with text evidence. If it is a literal question (Who? Where? What?), they will have to point to, circle, or refer to their evidence directly from what they read. If the question is inferential (How? Why? What makes you think that..?) they will have to find evidence to support their answer from clues in the text. For example, How do you think Junie B. felt when Lucille left her to chase Ricardo? I think that she felt angry BECAUSE the text says "I crossed my arms, stomped my foot, and did a huffy breath at Lucille". That is how people act when they are angry.

I put these images together along with some cut out letters to create this bulletin board. I even ventured into the school building during summer to grab this picture for you! You are welcome! ;)

Now, if you think that this set will be helpful to you, feel free to grab this freebie {HERE}! Please let me know what you think! It is my hope that these 5 strategies (leveled text, read entire, reread, annotate, and prove answer in text) will help our students become GREAT readers!


  1. This is such a great idea! The posters are cute (which is really important :) ) and the acronym is perfect. The posters are great visuals for the students and me.

    My students also disliked having to reread the text, but it's such an important component for fluency and comprehension.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Second Grade Sweetie Pies

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Stacy! I am glad that you enjoyed this post. I am also glad to hear that my students aren't the only ones who dislike rereading. :) Have a great day!

  2. Awesome post!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the acronym you came up with, and the visual reminder! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much! I am delighted that you enjoyed this post!

  3. Hi! This is GREAT! Thank you, wow. I haven't actually done "Close Reading" with my students, but we do read, reread, and find text evidence. I was thinking of taking it further, and this will be my motivation. I do appreciate your hard work and wonderfully detailed descriptions and photos!

    1. I was reading, rereading, and finding text evidence, too. I just need to step up my game and get the students to annotate and see the strategy for themselves. I don't think they were reading, rereading, and finding text evidence independently. My hope is that next year's students will be more purposeful. Thanks for your sweet comment! I always appreciate your kind words!

  4. Awesome-sauce! I love this! I was just revisiting my notes from the last school year and remembered a close reading mini-PD my Dean did with my team and I. I will definitely put this to good use. Thanks!
    Windows Into My Classroom

    1. Thanks, Kate! I am glad that you found something useful in this post. Close reading really is wonderful. I hope that this makes it a little more user friendly for you. :)