Close Reading is an instructional routine requiring students to look critically at a short, complex text, reading the same text multiple times, and answering text dependent questions to deepen understanding.

It is included among the Common Core Literacy Anchor Reading standards (R.CCR.1) which states:

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.

One major goal is to give all students the opportunity to engage in close reading of complex text. The spotlight is on close reading because it has been discovered that overall, the complexity level of middle and high school texts has decreased, while college level text complexity has increased. Given this, students need instruction and experimentation with close reading techniques using a model of gradual release in order to build skills incrementally with each year in school. These strong foundational skills reduce the burden of transitioning to higher education.

Key Components of Close Reading

How Does it Help My Child with Reading?

A sign of true learning is the ease with which the learner demonstrates knowledge. When close reading is performed well, the learner feels like an expert on what he has read and is more willing to share knowledge enthusiastically.

Through the process of close reading, simple recall of key facts does not suffice. Close reading results in the reader being able to critically analyze information, synthesize meaning, draw conclusions, and form inferences based on text details. This careful investigation of the text enables the reader to speak and write effectively about what he has read.

Ways You Can Help Your Child Read Closely
  • Read a variety of text with your child
  • Reread the text
  • Circle or discuss interesting words
  • Discuss the author’s purpose
  • Look for specific words that tell you about something in particular, such as the setting of the text, the season, the weather, or the main topic
  • Ask them questions that require the child to look back at the text
  • Spend time having a discussion about the text

Learn More About Exemplar Text

Explore the Close Reading Term Glossary


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