Close reading gives the students an opportunity to dissect complex text. My goal as a 5th grade teacher is to have my students leave me able to read complex text at the higher end of their lexile level (see grade level lexile levels here) independently with fluency, prosody, and with understanding! That is a bit of pressure (for ME and the students!) Here is a doc I made to show my parents the different lexile levels. (Information received from the Lexile Framework for Reading)
Close reading gives students the tools that they need to attack these complex texts ALONE so that if they were stranded on a desert island (just like when taking a test) they would have a toolkit of strategies at their fingertips to use in order to comprehend and respond to what they are reading.
During a test, the teacher isn't there to front load information, give vocabulary help, or introduce any information SO students need practice with cold reads. Here is a poster I have posted in my classroom so that students have a visual reminder of what close reading is.
The next poster outlines how I incorporate close reading into my classroom and what the students are doing after each read.
After the first read, the students use annotation marks to signify that they had a reaction to the text. They use annotation marks to identify the main idea, supporting details, information they found surprising, information that raised a question in their mind, new vocabulary, information they agree and disagree with, and connections they see. After the 2nd read, students EXPLAIN their annotation marks. I have the students staple the following annotation charts to the passage they are reading so that they have a quick visual reference to use. Click on the picture below to be taken to the free download.
The following picture shows a sample of how I model Close Reading with the kids. I use passages from my Close Reading Units that can be found by clicking on the links below.
How have you used close reading in your classroom? Please share in the comments below.