Close Reading

Are you always trying to find new ways to build reading comprehension with your students? I’m sure you are! Teachers work so hard to ensure that students understand what they read. While looking at new strategies is great, a buzzword in education for the past few years can actually be what you’re looking for! This is close reading! Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of close reading before, but maybe it hasn’t been impactful as you’ve hoped. Or, you’re unsure how to implement it in the classroom. Well, you’ve come to the right place! I have three incredible tips to ensure close reading success in the classroom. 

close reading


#1: Understanding and Purpose 

The first tip is for students AND teachers! The first thing teachers need to do is to understand what the three reads are for and the purpose of each read. Essentially, this means you are not just re-reading to read. So, let’s dive in together and see what this means. 

Close reading consists of three reads of the same passage with each focusing on the pillars of literacy. This includes key details and ideas, craft and structure, and integration of our knowledge and ideas. So, each one of the reads focuses on one of these pillars. As teachers, we must understand what it means to focus on key details and ideas in the first read. The same goes for the second read on craft and structure and the third on integrating knowledge. 

Ultimately, it is vital to ensure the purpose of each read. Students also need to know this purpose since it will guide what they are specifically looking for while reading. For instance, this may be how certain paragraphs contribute to the overall meaning or making connections to life. Essentially, all three reads come together to improve reading comprehension and deepen thinking! 

close reading


#2: Model Annotating 

Teachers know the importance of modeling! This includes modeling how to write individual letters to solving complex math problems. Modeling is just so beneficial and vital for students! 


When you read a professional development book, do you spend time highlighting essential concepts and jotting down quick notes? Many people do because this helps the important information stand out in our minds. Students need to do the same thing when reading a passage. To get started, this close reading tip actually begins with the second read. I call this Reading with a Pencil. While reading, students are now marking up the text in some way. This may be circling unknown words, writing a question mark next to something confusing, or highlighting an important detail. Really, there is no wrong or right way to annotate a text. Students all understand text in different ways. So, as long as students annotate to understand the text better, they are doing it correctly! Now, you can give them suggestions to start with but then let them go and annotate as they please. It is vital NOT to tell them they need to star this many things or why down this many questions. They need to annotate how it makes sense for their mind to absorb the material. 


Get A Close Reading Clouds Everywhere Freebie!


close reading

I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking about how complex annotating can be. You’re right! It is not natural and just something students know how to do. It is often a new concept, and they need a lot of modeling, practice, and patience. So, don’t think you can just tell students to annotate a text after one or two lessons on it. They need A LOT of modeling to know how to do it and how there is no one set way. The Close Reading MEGA Bundle is an incredible way to provide consistency and ample annotation practice. There are engaging nonfiction passages over tons of topics. 


#3: Not Everything Needs “Close Reading” 

Your thinking may be bursting with ways to use close reading when school starts. It truly is remarkable to see students engage with the text. However, it is SO important to remember that not everything needs to be close read. When students work on close reading, it needs to be texts that are complex for them. Yes, this is technically different for every student. So, some students may close read a text while others do not. If the text isn’t complex, there is no reason to reread it. 


When deciding which texts to close read, it is vital to get to know your students first. You need to know what kind of text will be complex for students. This means that you may have multiple versions of the same text if it is one that you really want students to close read. Make sure to be explicit about choosing text that you know will be challenging. Then, help them utilize the close reading process. Students who are not challenged will be bored and not understand how helpful annotating is.


Close reading is a fantastic way to break down complex texts while building comprehension. The three tips above will help students see how capable they are and how good it feels to never give up. Check out the Close Reading Video to learn more about how these tips can bring reading complex texts to the next level in your room! Luckily, the same process can happen with math. Since math can be overwhelming for students, explore how Close Reading in Math can excite and support your students. 



I hope you found some new and unique ideas to help teach close reading to your students.  If you want to save this post for later, make sure to pin the image below!

close reading


Text Evidence

text evidence

Are you always trying to encourage students to actually use text evidence? Does it become exhausting going over the importance of doing so every day only for students not to do it? Honestly, these are concerns that all teachers have! While teachers understand the importance of text evidence, students do not always see the need. Luckily, there are tips and tricks to get students actually to use text evidence! 

text evidence

#1: Create the Question

Many times, students do not see the connection between questions being asked and using text evidence to answer. So, teachers need to adjust their planning to reflect the needs of students. To do this, we will actually reverse the question-and-answer format. Instead of giving students a question to answer, we will start with the answer and create a question! This will greatly help students see the relationship between questions and text evidence! 

For more incredible teaching techniques, check out Text Evidence Lessons. There are many engaging ways to help students understand what it means when you tell them to use text evidence. 

 #2: Match the Word 

Students struggle to follow complex directions! They get confused just reading what to do and want to give up. Luckily, Match the Word is so simple! I tell students to pick out the most important word in the question. It is helpful to remind them to steer clear of repetitive words, such as names. Since those words are all over, they can’t be the most important word! Students will circle the word and then find the word in the text. Since this word may be in the text a few times, students need to decide if each time is important or if one stands out more. This is a concrete way to ensure students know what to go back and look for. 

close reading passages

For the perfect way to squeeze in daily practice of finding text evidence, try out these Close Reading Passages. The bundle contains engaging and interesting passages to ensure students become confident in applying text evidence to their answers. 

#3: Pre-Underline Text Evidence 

Teachers will become blue in the face explaining the importance of text evidence without it sinking into students. This is often because students do not know how to use text evidence to help improve their comprehension. So, you must show them what text evidence looks like and how to use it.

A great way to do this involves highlighting the text you feel will be necessary to answer questions before making copies. It is helpful to have at least five questions. Students will then go and read the passage with the underlined sentences. After reading the passage, they will go back and work on the questions. They will start to answer the question and then go back and read the underlined sentences to see which one provides support.

Now, are you thinking this strategy basically gives them the answer? I can see where the question comes from, but this is not the case. While I am narrowing down the evidence and guiding them on where to look, they still have to analyze all of the sentences! Then, they have to find out which sentence best supports the question. Students are processing evidence and seeing the importance of using the text to answer questions. As a challenge, underline an extra piece of evidence that students will not use to answer questions! Students can even write a question where this extra piece could be the text evidence. 

As they gain confidence, reverse this format! Instead of the teacher highlighting evidence before making copies, students receive a copy with no underlining. Then, they read the text and highlight what they feel is important. After this, they create their own questions where their highlighted sentences would be the answers. Students can even write out their questions and answers to practice writing responses. 

#4: Two Word Summary 

This is such a fun strategy! Students will receive a multi-paragraph text. Then, they will summarize what each paragraph was about to the left or right of the page. However, the summary can only be two words! Now, this will clearly not be a complete summary since there can’t be many words, but students will work hard to pick out two words. After doing this for each paragraph, students will use these summaries when answering questions. If one of the summaries has the word backpack and a question has this word, students know where to look! This strategy is a great way to help students know exactly where to look to bring in text evidence.

text evidence