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Close Reading


Close reading is the practice of reading and re-reading a text thoroughly and methodically, and piecing together layers of meaning to arrive at a sophisticated interpretation of the text as a whole.


Through close reading, students gain facility in analyzing the many features of a complex text’s form and content that interact to create meaning. Students can use this ability to systematically analyze and ultimately comprehend texts of increasing complexity, as well as to analyze and understand other types of art.

Content Area Adaptations 

Close reading should be used when students are reading any complex text in any course, and students will most benefit when teachers across the content areas deliberately make use of the same close reading strategies.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Metacognition
  • Predicting
  • Questioning
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.4
  • CCRA.L.5
  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.10
  • CCRA.R.2
  • CCRA.R.3
  • CCRA.R.4
  • CCRA.R.5
  • CCRA.R.6
  • CCRA.R.7
  • CCRA.R.8
  • CCRA.R.9
  • CCRA.W.1
  • CCRA.W.7
  • CCRA.W.9

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Reading
  • Writing


In this activity students will create frozen scenes from significant events in their reading. The purpose of the activity is to identify important scenes from the reading and analyze character behavior. This activity works best with fiction, but can also work with historical readings or scientific biographies that may have many different scenes...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection
  • Synthesis

The Woody Allen

In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will conduct an imaginary interview with the friends and family of a character in which they try to help the reader understand the character. The purpose of this activity is to analyze the character and synthesize what was learned during that analysis. This...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Evaluate: Is It Plagiarism?

Through this activity students will learn how to evaluate a piece of writing to determine whether or not it is plagiarized. This important skill will help them to avoid the ethical violations and disciplinary repercussions associated with turning in plagiarized writing, and will help them to determine whether text that they read is authentic...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation