Close and Critical Reading

Supporting Secondary Students Across the Content Areas

What is Close Reading?

“Close Reading of text involves an investigation of a short piece of text, with multiple readings done over multiple instructional lessons. Through text-based questions and discussion, students are guided to deeply analyze and appreciate various aspects of the text, such as key vocabulary and how its meaning is shaped by context; attention to form, tone, imagery and/or rhetorical devices; the significance of word choice and syntax; and the discovery of different levels of meaning as passages are read multiple times.”

(Brown and Kappes, 2012)

Implementing the Common Core State Standards: A primer on “close reading of text”

Scaffolds of Close Reading

•Short, complex passage

•Repeated readings


•Collaborative conversations

•Text-dependent questions

What Does This Mean for Teaching & Learning?

  • Students will need to build "reading stamina."
  • Address fluency for those students who need it.
  • Students need many opportunities to practice close reading of complex text across the content areas
  • Students need support in developing academic language proficiency through speaking, listening, and close reading.
  • Students need opportunities to use evidence to inform, argue and analyze (write and speak with support from sources)
  • Staff should collaborate on reading strategies and academic vocabulary across the curriculum.
  • Departments should discuss what content-area reading students are experiencing and what they are doing to support students in navigating complex text.
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