Tag Archives : #closereadingstrategies

Close Reading Made Simple

Why Close Reading?

So what happens when students can’t access the grade-level text in your class? With the extreme diversity of students in any given classroom this is a given. If you have not jumped on the “Close Reading” Bandwagon it is not too late! Even though education goes through trends like the fashion industry, close reading is here to stay. It is not just for the English-Language Arts teacher either. Social studies, science, and math are using this technique too. With the increased rigor that is expected in the CCSS and the new science standards it is impossible for teachers not to utilize this valuable tool. So how do you do it? There are tons of resources available for all content areas and levels of educators; however, I like to keep it simple. Regardless of what grade level the students are at I like to tell them that if they are going to underline or highlight something that they must make an annotation in the margins.

Why are they highlighting it?

I model on a simple piece of text and give them examples that they can easily relate to. We all know that students love to highlight 3/4 of the text and then they get to the end and can’t tell you one thing that the text was about. That is because they are so busy highlighting everything in pretty colors that they fail to retain anything that they are reading. Another way to circumvent this is to chunk the text for them. I always have students number the paragraphs of the text so it is easy to reference back to when answering text-dependent questions. Close reading is not something that should be done with a really long piece of text. It fails to become effective after 3-4 pages. It becomes really effective when used with 1-2 pages of text. The next step I have students do is write a one-sentence summary after each paragraph. This helps develop their synthesizing and analysis skills. For students that are at the lower grade levels, or for students that need differentiation I give them sentence frames to summarize.

Emojis-Why not?

Teachers all have a different view on doodling and making pictures on packets. I say…”Why NOT?” Some students that are not going to be good at summarizing or analyzing the text might be successful by using Emojis to help them annotate the text. Students that struggle with reading might increase their comprehension if they highlighted or underlined the text and added an emoji in the margins to help them remember what is important. For example, using a lightbulb for a main idea in a paragraph will allow those students that love to draw and doodle a constructive outlet when they are closely reading a text. If it is a detail that excites them then have them put a smily emoji. Students love Emojis! Have them funnel their creative abilities into their close reading techniques. This will help those students remain engaged while allowing them to use their skills in a constructive way. It may also help decrease the amount of doodling that takes place on your tables and/or desks!

Keeping Gifted Students Engaged

To ensure that you are meeting all levels of learners in your classroom, including those at the highest level, have students create their own system of annotating text! This allows them to develop a system that make sense to them and keep them challenged and engaged. The bonus part of this strategy is that sometimes they come up with a system that can be used by other classmates. Students never cease to amaze me their ability to create concepts that never occur to me. It has to do with their developing minds! I have had students explain the most complex details to another students in a simple way that helps them understand. Their method of communicating the concept never occurred to me but it works more effectively than the method I was using. This is also the miracle of teaching!

In Summary

In my opinion, there is not a “right” or “wrong” way to do close reading. Don’t get caught up in the idea of right and wrong. I tell my students that it is a personalize experience that needs to make sense to them. As long as they are reading the text more than once, and reading it for a different purpose that forces them to dig deeper into the text it is fine. You might be surprise on the creative ways that the students come up with to deeply interact with the text. I often find myself taking away different bits of information that did not occur to me during the first read. Rereading is a gift that needs to be shared with your students. They deserve to understand text on a deeper level in order to enjoy it! Remember that the work that you do is priceless and you are appreciated! Don’t forgot to leave your comments! I enjoy reading them!

English/Language Arts Complete Curriculum Bundle- Grades 7-9; CCSS Aligned

This English/Language Arts Massive Curriculum Bundle includes 14 large teaching units. Many of these units are unit bundles themselves pushing the number of units up to 20 complete teaching units!


Every lesson is CCSS Aligned; these CCSS Standards are outlined within each of the individual units (links below).

All units are digital for applications in a 1:1 Google Drive classroom if you wish. PDF, Word, PowerPoint applications are also included for easy printing.

Each unit has detailed lesson plans to support your instruction, and a pacing guide/outline is provided as well. See the Preview for a sneak peek at a basic version of this pacing guide! Each unit is described below, and a link is provided to the original unit/lessons.

Save nearly $28.00 with this bundle!

1. Close Reading Strategies:
Teach your students how to use close reading strategies to improve reading comprehension and written analysis. This gradual release method will encourage your students to completely rethink how they view themselves as readers.
Close Reading Strategies (Text Annotation to Support Reading Comprehension)

2. Plot Elements Game!
The plot/literary elements game activity fosters a shared writing experience for students in the creation of a fun, creative, and often hilarious story.
Students then analyze this story for its flawed plot elements based on their understanding of literary elements.
Plot/Literary Elements GAME!

3. Summarizing Fiction
Teach your students how to create a concise and objective summary of a fiction text with this simple, easy, step-by-step method. Students will be able to effectively condense a complete summary into three sentences. Students will be able to identify the protagonist, the character motivation, the conflict, rising action, and the resolution in these three sentences! This step-by-step method will make this process easy for your students.
Summarizing Fiction Lesson, Guided and Collaborative Practice, and Assessment!



4. Summarizing Nonfiction
Teach your students how to create a concise summary of nonfiction texts that are free from personal judgements or opinions with this simple, easy, step-by-step method. Students will be able to effectively condense any nonfiction text into a few short sentences that fully encompass the main ideas of any nonfiction article/text. Students will also learn to how to effectively annotate the text and create marginal notes to manage the often challenging world of nonfiction reading.
Summarizing Nonfiction Lesson, Graphic Organizers, 12 Differentiated Texts, CCSS

5. In-Text Citation (Parenthetical Citation)
This unit includes a Google Slides/PowerPoint presentation to teach the MLA 8th Edition rules for in-text citation (parenthetical citation), an MLA trouble-shooting guide for students, a digital and printable interactive notebook, quality examples from real literature, Bell Ringer practice, and a unique summative assessment.
In-Text Citation Lesson, Practice, and Assessment


6. Suspense and “The Monkey’s Paw”
Introduce your students to suspense techniques and plot development within the ultra suspenseful story, “The Monkey’s Paw”! This iconic short story will leave your students on the edge of their seats as they read to discover what will happen with these three terrible wishes.
“The Monkey’s Paw” Complete Short Story Bundle with The Suspense Unit Bundle!

7. Literary Analysis:
Literary Analysis Made Easy!
Teach your students this easy step-by-step process for developing a rich, insightful, and well supported literary analysis. Breaking down this challenging process for students allows for further depth in each key area of a quality response!
Literary Analysis Made Easy


9. Tone and Mood:
This complete unit bundle will teach your students how to understand the complex topic of tone and mood in literature!
1. Lesson on Tone and Mood
2. Lesson on Connotation/Denotation
3. Tone and Mood Exploration through music, video games, film, art, literature, photography, and memes!
4. Tone and Mood Mini-Lesson
5. Tone and Mood Notes
6. Tone and Mood Project- over 8 choices for summative assessments!
7. Bell Ringer Activities- for each day of the unit!
Tone and Mood in Literature

10. “Cemetery Path” Short Story Unit Bundle
The ultimate short story bundle! “Cemetery Path” by Leonard Q. Ross is an excellent, scary, thrilling short story to engage your learners.
This complete pack meets 6 CCSS standards, and contains 9 specific lessons in reading, writing, and speaking.
Short Story Unit Bundle – “Cemetery Path” with Tone and Mood

11. Analyzing Rhetoric Unit Bundle:
Ethos, Pathos Logos Unit
Logical Fallacies Unit
Analyzing Rhetoric Unit
Rhetoric Bell Ringers
Rhetorical Analysis Unit Bundle

12. Writing the Argument Essay:
Teach your students how to write that argument essay with this complete unit bundle!
Writing the Argument Essay Complete Unit Bundle + Student Interactive Notebook

13. Grammar and Sentence Structure Complete Unit Bundle
This complete unit bundle includes everything you need to teach sentence structure and comma placement to your students. Each unit will support students in creating:
-compound sentences
-complex sentences
-a variety of introductory phrases to vary sentence beginnings
– appositives to vary sentence structure, create interest, create explanations, and a strong writer’s voice.
– bell ringer practice with all sentence structures to provide support all year long
– nine beautiful classroom posters with mentor sentences to support student understanding while creating a visual display.
– extensive mentor sentence examples pulled from quality literature sources!
Grammar- Complete Sentence Structure Unit Bundle – Understanding Commas!

14. 6 Word Memoir
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a NOVEL in 6 words.
His response?
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
6 incredibly powerful words that seem to tell an entire story. This is the challenge I pose to my students within the last few weeks of the school year. Write your own memoir in six incredibly powerful, carefully chosen words.
6 Word Memoir Lesson and Assessment

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