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Using Close Reading to Deepen Student Understanding

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Dena Dillenseger

on 8 July 2015

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Transcript of Using Close Reading to Deepen Student Understanding

Using Close Reading
to Deepen
Student Understanding
Dena Dillenseger Slanda
Doctoral Student
University of Central Florida
Participants will be able to understand the steps necessary to successfully implement a close reading in their classrooms.

Examine the benefits of a close reading on student achievement in all subject areas.


"A close reading is a careful and purposeful reading. Well actually, it’s rereading. It’s a careful and purposeful
of a text. It’s an encounter with the text where students really focus on what the author had to say, what the author’s purpose was, what the words mean, and what the structure of the text tells us. "
(Fisher, 2013)
What is a Close Reading?
Thoughtful, critical, and careful analysis of text in which great attention is paid to fine details in addition to the BIG picture.
An uncovering of the layers of meaning that make up a text.
A means to achieve a deep comprehension of a particular text.
Construction of text dependent questions.
DELIBERATE focusing on the text itself
Noticing of patterns and drawing comparisons

"A significant body of research links the close reading of complex text - whether the student is a struggling reader or advanced - to significant gains in reading proficiency and finds close reading to be a key component of college and career readiness."
(Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, 2011, pg. 7)
First Read
Read straight through - Don't stop!!
This read is just to familiarize yourself with the passage.
Can be read aloud to students first, or they can read it silently.
Select short passages
Look for unusual or repetitive themes
Pay attention to the details
Think about the characters or the keywords
Think about the language, mood, tone, and other literary elements in the text.
Is this text appropriate for my students and their reading levels?
Will this text offer my students information or ideas that will help them further their understanding of the topic?
What background knowledge do my students need, if any, before reading this text to ensure their comprehension?
Is it interesting?
What parts of this text will be difficult for my students?
The Process
Second Read:
- this time with highlighters, pencils, or sticky notes in hand!!
Pay Attention To:
- are there any unfamiliar words?
- how are the sentences structured? Is the subject clear? What is being said? Are the sentences straightforward, choppy, long or short?
- are there any shifts or changes in the structure?

What is your first impression??
What is the first thing you notice?
Small Group ~ Reciprocal Teaching ~ Think-Pair-Share
Graphic organizers, highlighters ~ Reciprocal Teaching ~ Heterogeneously mixed groups ~ Think-Pair-Share
Third Read:
Have the students read a particular piece of the text and this time find the

How does this compare to....
How does this part of the text fit in with the rest of the text?
What is the tone, or the mood?
Author's intent and delivery.
Look at ......., is there anything unusual about it?
Are there any contradictions?
What does this mean?
Connecting to themes/essential questions ~
Think Sheets ~ JIGSAW ~ Reciprocal Teaching ~ QAR ~
Literature Circles ~ Graphic Organizers

Text Dependent Questions:
Should require the students to *think* not just look and find
Should get progressively more difficult and be higher order thinking questions.
Should require students to synthesize information, analyze the text, and make inferences and evaluations
Should require EVIDENCE from the text to answer
Should focus on more difficult portions of the text to improve reading proficiency
Don't Ask:
What does the word

Do Ask:
What words or phrases in the text help you understand the meaning of the word

Don't Ask:
What is a marsupial?

Do Ask:
How do the characteristics of a marsupial distinguish it from a placental? What evidence in the text allows you to draw these conclusions?

(and non-example)
Instead of asking:
What gases retain heat on Earth?
What role do the gases in Earth's atmosphere play in the greenhouse effect? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

Instead of asking:
What are fossil fuels?
What role do fossil fuels have in the greenhouse effect and global warming?

Instead of asking:
How can scientists determine the amount of carbon dioxide on Earth?
**Turn to a person next to you and discuss how you could make this question higher order and text dependent**

Thank you for your time today!! Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Enjoy the rest of your day!
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