Close Reading: Visible Learning for Literacy

Written by Lindsay Brooks, Instructional Coach
Douglas Fisher: Visible Learning for Literacy on August 16, 2017
“Literacy fluency is the key to success not just in school but in life” (Douglas Fisher – August, 2017)
Literacy is the #1 thing we can do to change kids’ lives. Regardless of the grade we teach giving kids choice within literacy really matters. Choice raises the volume of literacy. When kids read things on their own they are more likely to understand it.
Close Reading is an instructional routine in which students critically examine a text, especially through repeated readings.
Close Reading allows the students to look for deep structures within the book. Things like:· The way the text is organized· The vocabulary used· The key details

The primary role of close reading is to allow students the opportunity to integrate new text information with their existing background knowledge and prior experiences. An opportunity to critically examine a text.
A second purpose of close reading is to build the necessary habits of readers when they engage with a complex piece of text.
Paul and Elder (2003) recommended that students regularly engage in four such habits:
The way close reading is implemented in an elementary classroom can look different. In elementary school classrooms there are situations in which the teacher does the reading. Often the case in kindergarten and first grade. Close reading in the primary grades often begin with the teacher reading the text aloud as a shared reading. The teacher can then ask questions initially focused on general understanding, followed by vocabulary and text structure questions, author’s purpose questions – (text dependent questions) and then personal opinions. As they talk about these questions, the students will be able to recall specific details from the text. The teacher will have read the text prior to be able to create the text dependent questions.
Close reading is almost always the first encounter with the text. The students can then “re-read” to find further information. The teacher can re-read aloud in the elementary classroom and use the student’s questions/observations to guide them back specific areas within the text.It is the readers purpose for reading that determines whether close reading is required.“Read like a detective, write like a reporter”

Close Reading encourages students to put the “content under investigation” and talk more deeply about the content in the text.
A Close Reading strategy is “Repeated Reading”
We need to encourage repeated readings as it is both valuable and necessary.Encourage kids to read things that they have already read. Too often we say “pick something else you have already read that”. However, re-reading a text allows readers to put the content under investigation and get a “closer” look. Students should provide evidence from the text in their responses after re-reading. They can be guided by questions about what bigger ideas exist within the text and what interesting information did they find.Not just recall questions about the text.With each successive reading a great deal of discussion can follow. Students can interact with their peers and evaluate the perspectives and understandings of others.

Close reading is encouraging students to examine in detail what the text had to say. Understanding the text itself is necessary for comprehension and is key to making evaluative judgments that mark a competent reader.
The intent of Close reading is to foster critical thinking skills to deepen comprehension.

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