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Close Reading and the CCSS, Part 2

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Do you have three minutes to learn more about close reading?

Watch part 2 of a brief interview with Dr. Douglas Fisher about close reading and the Common Core State Standards. Watch the video above and read the transcript below.


What does close reading look like in the classroom?


Dr. Douglas Fisher:

There are a variety of ways to teach students through close reading in a classroom. Most of the time that involves selecting a short passage of text; having students encounter the text first, without any kind of pre-teaching or any kind of frontloading… maybe pointing out a couple of really complex words… but really letting students encounter that text the first time, inviting them to read that text, asking them some text-dependent questions - which might be about the key details, the general understanding, the structure, the vocabulary, the author’s purpose - but inviting them back into that text several times.

One of the things we know with a close reading is that students read with a pencil. Well, not literally with a pencil, but with argumentation. The students are regularly taking notes as they read. They are extracting ideas and concepts that they want to remember from the text. And that reading with a pencil helps students go back into the text over and over again to really get a strong sense of what they author is trying to say.

In a close reading, students also talk about what they’re thinking about. They share their evidence with their peers, they use argumentation, they agree, they disagree, they ask for evidence, they provide evidence, they offer counter claims. It’s that give-and-take of discussion in which the text serves as a primary tool for forwarding that conversation. That’s what we’re looking for in a classroom that has close reading.


In addition, teachers can model during a close reading. Students notice things that are confusing for them. They notice things that they understand and they notice things that are difficult. When the teacher notices that a lot of the students have the same misunderstanding, the teacher can build that into some of the modeling and talk about how the teacher thinks the text is working, how the teacher is noticing vocabulary or structures, or general ideas. And then ask another text dependent question to drive the students back to the text to look for additional evidence. It’s an ongoing and recursive process where students go back to the text based on the questions they are asked – including up to inferencing questions - where students go back to the text to look for evidence and really grasp a deep level of understanding of that text.


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