Close Reading

Reading for evidence in content, not for fluency

What is close reading?

Close reading is a central focus of the Common Core State Standards.
Close reading teaches kids to read for and determine evidence in a text in order to justify their reasoning. Students who read closely can answer text-dependent questions.

K-1 Struggles with Close Reading

For grades K-1, much of the reading focus is on decoding and learning how to read. Many texts are basic and phonics based, lacking the depth needed for close reading.

"The context usually just isn't deep enough to bear such closer study (and, frankly, if you look at the comprehension standards themselves, specifically standards #4-9 for those grades, it should be evident that CCSS doesn't envision particularly close reading at these levels.) - Timothy Shanahan, Close Reading for Beginners? Probably Not.

Shanahan, T. (2013, July 16). Close Reading for Beginners? Probably Not. [Blog]. Retrieved from

It's Not Impossible!

Close reading in K-1 is possible! It is important to remember that at this level, teachers are introducing the skill and activities are completed with scaffolding and support. It's important that students are exposed to the skill at a basic level at a young age. Non-fiction texts are easy to use at this level. ReadWorks has thousands of grade-level appropriate texts with comprehension questions that can be used for close reading. Vocabulary readers can also be used. (see examples in photos below.)
K RW Close Reading with Visual Text
Once Upon a Teacher (2013, October 10). K RW Close Reading with Visual Text. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Do You Read Closely?

I encourage you to use any of my strategies and share your stories with me. Additionally, if you have other strategies, please share them by emailing me or posting to my blog at


Kate Kranzush is a full day, title kindergarten teacher in Bend, Oregon. She believes in early intervention and literacy skills as well as promoting social/emotional skills in young learners.