Teaching and Technology

Techniques to Tackle our Building Goal

Norwalk High School Building Goal

At Norwalk High School

all students will be proficient in reading.

Have you ever asked yourself...???

"My students struggle with getting through the text I put in front of them. What strategies might support them?"

Teaching Tip: Close Reading

What is Close Reading?

Close reading is a method for:


  • Comprehending
  • Analyzing and
  • Appreciating the context of a given piece of writing



Tips for Close Readings:

1. Number the Paragraphs: Chunk the text so students can read a longer, more difficult text in sections. As the year goes on, extend the length of the section to build stamina. Numbering paragraphs also allows students to reference specific evidence in a specific paragraph during discussions. When a paragraph number is referenced by a student, all students can turn to that same paragraph to reread the text being referred to.

2. Read with your Pencil: Give directions to students about what to circle or underline as they read the text. It could be key words/phrases, figurative language, content vocabulary, main idea, author's purpose etc. What they underline and circle should tie back to your learning targets/standards for that reading!

3. Use the margins: Prior to reading a section of the text, identify how you would like the students to use the margins of the page. For example, the right side margine could be for questions they have as the read the text. The left side could be used for creating gist statements for each section or evidence to support their answer to a question you have posed. Use the columns to get the students thinking in a way that moves them closer to your student learning outcome and standard!


Want more about close reading? Check this out! GREAT ASCD Article

Works Cited

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Technology Tip: Close Reading

How can I use technology to support close readings?

Google Docs is a great App to use when students read complex texts. Below are two examples of how a teacher could integrate the close reading teaching tips while also utilizing technology:


In the first example shown below, there are four columns included in a table in Docs.


  • Each section of the text has been numbered, which can be seen in the first column.
  • The text itself has been separated into chunks, which is included in column two, so as to not overwhelm students. In this column, students can also highlight the text for key phrases or even color-code the highlighted text to differentiate between concepts, vocabulary, etc.
  • Column three allows students to summarize or create a gist statement regarding what the text is about.
  • In the final column, students can make connections back to the essential question, learning outcome, priority standard, etc.


Students could complete this document individually, with a partner or group, or even with the entire class. If the document is shared with the teacher through Google Classroom or a folder, the teacher will be able to assess whether the student is on the right track.

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This next example is a way to jigsaw the learning among students. Just like with the example above, the text would be chunked into sections. Additionally, the class could be divided into five groups (see example below), or individuals could create their own group of five and each group member is responsible for answering a different question for each section.


This example is effective in two ways:


  1. The questions in the first column help guide students in their reading; it provides them with a focus. Additionally, by incorporating a variety of questions, it requires students to do more with the text than comprehend; they must make connections, interpret, evaluate, etc. This leads to more engagement in higher order/deeper learning experiences.
  2. Groups/students will answer their question for each section directly on this document. Because this document will be shared among a group - or among the entire class - this is a way for students to work collaboratively to understand a complex text. Once all the boxes are filled-in, this completed document is an excellent resource for students; it also helps the teacher assess students.
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Tricia Kurtt

Gifted & Talented

10-12 Instructional Coach

x 3121

tkurtt@norwalk.k12.ia.us

@tkurtt77

DI Website

Jennifer O'Connor

NHS Teacher Librarian

Technology & Data Coach

x 3118

joconnor@norwalk.k12.ia.us

@JenAOConnor

1:1 Website