Close reading for all students at the elementary level
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Close Reading for ALL Students at the Elementary Level. Stephanie Olivieri Reading Specialist Congers Elementary. What is Close Reading?. The very first Common Core Anchor Standard states that students will,

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Close Reading for ALL Students at the Elementary Level

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Close reading for all students at the elementary level

Close Reading for

ALL Students at the

Elementary Level

Stephanie Olivieri

Reading Specialist

Congers Elementary


What is close reading

What is Close Reading?

The very first Common Core Anchor Standard states that students will,

“Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.”

The term close reading can be described as reading like a detective. In order for the students to be able to read in this manner they must be able to:

  • Attend to the specific words or phrases an author uses to make a point (vocabulary)

  • Attend to the way words and ideas are put together to build ideas

  • Analyze the patterns of ideas that form the text’s structure

  • Attend to ideas that are implied

  • Attend to the message or intent of the author

  • Attend to the perspective of the author and clues to the reason for that perspective


What does it look like

What does it look like?

“When a student engages in “close reading,” she analyzes the text at the word or phrase level and the sentence and paragraph level with a particular purpose like synthesizing the author’s central ideas in a nonfiction text. By considering the weight of meaning of particular phrases or sentences in a section of text, the student can begin to see how important details fit together to reveal and support the author’s central idea(s). As a result of effective close reading, she can identify the author’s central ideas and describe why a particular idea is central. She can also extract supporting details from the text and explain how these details serve as evidence to support the central ideas. This creates a pathway for critiquing the author’s central ideas and moving into deeper thinking about the text as a whole.” - Sunday Cummins

Close Reading Video


Four major roles

Four Major Roles

According to Fisher, Frey, and Lapp (2012), every close reader must assume four roles:

1. Code Breaker: Understanding the text at the surface level (alphabetic, structural).

2. Meaning Maker: Comprehending the text at the level intended by the author.

3. Text User: Analyzing the factors that influenced the author and the text, including a historical grounding of the context within which it was written.

4. Text Critic: Understanding that the text is not neutral and that existing biases inform calls to action.


How do we teach close reading strategies

How Do We Teach Close

Reading Strategies?

Introducing Synthesis Explicitly

Teaching Systematic Previewing to Set a Purpose for Reading

Teaching Self- Monitoring for Meaning

Teaching Determining What is Important

Teaching Synthesis Across Texts


Pre reading

Pre-Reading


During reading developing a literal understanding

During Reading:

Developing a Literal Understanding

1. Read #1-On my own

  • Read the entire text or section of the text

    2. Read #2-

  • Listen to a slow fluent read of the text

    3. Teacher Questioning (extend understanding of topic)

Teacher Preparation

  • Prepare for fluent reading

  • Prepare 2-3 questions that will help students understand the basic ideas

  • Choose 1 or 2 examples of language that students will encounter and are key to understanding for discussion and follow-up activity:

    • repeated

    • key to lesson or theme

    • key to the central idea

    • key to the author’s intent/perspective

    • key to understanding an important relationship


During reading developing an inferential understanding

During Reading:

Developing an Inferential Understanding

  • Reread a chunk silently with a partner

  • Listen to a chunk, reread fluently

  • Find/box key words or phrases

    • discuss clues to meaning

    • how it is used, why it is used

    • annotate meaning

  • Answer questions with text-based evidence

    • why I chose this evidence

    • what it means

    • what it implies/shows

  • Discuss evidence and thinking with others

  • Write evidence and answers

Teacher Preparation

1. Think about the organization of the text and where it should be logically chunked to support understanding of ideas, organization, and relationship between ideas.

2. Find 3-5 words to focus on and clues to use from the text; choose two for further study outside of the text.

3. Find a long complex sentence to chunk into parts and discuss meaning of each part.

4. Prepare 2-3 higher level questions asking students to find and analyze specific text based-evidence and make inferences.

  • Ask higher level questions that REQUIRE students to use evidence to explain what the words say and show and why the author uses these words.

  • Questions should lead students to evidence that is key understanding the author’s purpose, point-of-view, message or central idea, and/or text organization.

  • Turn and talk, stop and jot on sticky notes, and written responses to questions in reader’s notebooks are all key to increase understanding.


During reading developing an understanding about the text

During Reading:

Developing an Understanding About the Text

  • Read/ listen to the entire story

  • Go back to sticky notes/writing about each chunk

  • Answer questions about the author’s purpose, intent, message, central idea, relationship between ideas

    • Using evidence in previous lessons

  • Write longer responses that show relationships between evidence.

    • Support an opinion about the theme or central idea with evidence from different chunks.

    • Explain how the author’s language use changes and how this supports understanding.

    • Explain how the author helps the reader learn more about the topic across the text.

Teacher Preparation

  • Think about the central ideas, message, author’s purpose, connections to larger themes/essential questions.

  • Prepare 1-2 higher level questions asking students to analyze the author’s use of specific language or ideas and how it supports understanding of theme, central idea, perspective, and/or purpose.

  • Prepare an extended response prompt.


Determining importance

Determining Importance

Pasta and Water Analogy


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