“Close reading can’t wait until seventh grade or junior year in high school. It needs to find its niche in kindergarten and the years just beyond if we mean to build the habits of mind that will lead all students to deep understanding of text.” - (Boyles, 2013)
Close reading requires students to think like investigators and use purposeful rereading and self-questioning strategies that will help them understand the complex texts that we encounter every day. When reading a wide range of subjects and text types, students can expand their academic and domain-specific vocabulary and deepen their comprehension and analytical skills.
As seen on Scholastic.com, third-grade teacher Genia Connell tells you "everything you always wanted to know about close reading but were afraid to ask" and offers lesson plans. Connell tells her third graders that close reading is like digging a hole in their yards: “The first time you dig your shovel in (read), you just scrape the surface off the ground. The second time you dig in (read the text again), you get a little more dirt (meaning). And every time you dig in (read) after that, your hole gets bigger and bigger until it’s just right and you get the full meaning.
And this article from Scholastic Instructor gives tips on how to make "text detectives" of students in elementary and middle school.
As educators continue to search for more texts to use around close reading instruction, Scholastic Education recently created Guided Reading Short Reads to provide students with the opportunity to develop their ability to read and understand challenging informational texts.
For those interested in trying out Guided Reading Short Reads, Scholastic Education is hosting a sweepstakes from now through December 1, 2014. To enter, head on over to the site, where you will need to tell us how you would use Guided Reading Short Reads in your classroom, and share some creative ideas on incorporating Short Reads into your small group instruction time. First prize winner will receive two grade level sets of his or her choice, second prize winner will receive one grade level set of his or her choice, and third prize winner will receive one A-Z level set of his or her choice. Good luck!