Close Reading

Learning Strategy
Tier I,II
  • Close Reading Planning Guide
  • appropriate text 
Target Student

Students who struggle with understanding the text after reading a text only once.  


Close Reading is a strategy for complex texts that develops the students’ understanding through multiple opportunities to read the same text. It is based on the thinking that each time the student reads the text, something new is discovered.  Each time a student reads through the short, complex text, the level of thinking becomes more in depth allowing the student to grasp the reading better and better each time. Teachers must scaffold this strategy to engage the students in a deep dive of the text and influential discussion.   


Learning strategies aid students in understanding information and are to be used by students independently.  Use explicit instruction (explanation, modeling, guided practice, independent practice) to teach learning strategies to students.
Explain the strategy. Provide students with an explanation of the strategy: what it is and when it should be used.
Model the strategy.  Model how to use the strategy.  Using a think aloud procedure, voice out the thought process behind each stage of the strategy. This may need to occur over the course of several days based on the needs of the students.
Guided practice.  Guide students in performing the strategy in small groups or in pairs.  During this time, scaffold the learning and support students who need assistance in using the strategy.  They can also model the think aloud strategy (when in pairs) to strengthen comprehension and learning of the steps involved.
Independent practice. After guided practice, students should only use the strategy independently, once they have shown they have mastered the strategy. Students can also be given the opportunity to reflect on the strategy.

How To

1. Choose a short, complex text that is appropriate for the student or class.
2. Identify the standard that correlates with the focus and purpose of the lesson.
3. Identify the areas of complexity and potential problem areas for your students.
4. Determine how the text with be chunked and how the students with number the lines of the text.
5. Create text-dependent questions.
6.First reading. The first reading should be based upon your complexity analysis. Explain the purpose of the lesson to the students and utilized text-dependent questions that surround what the text says. This first look at the reading gives the students a chance to annotate and/or share their answers with partners or groups. The first reading is about letting the students get familiar naturally with the text.
7.Second reading.The second reading should be planned based on the answers and responses from students over the course of the first reading. Text-dependent questions should now be asked with the purpose of bringing the students back to the text to answer how the text worksand deepen their understanding. The use of a graphic organizer, paired discussion, and/or annotation Is encouraged.
8.Third reading. The third reading is all about critical thinking, inference, and intertextual connections to discover what the text means and answer text-based questions. Again, shared responses and answers among peers and partners is encouraged.
9.Assessments. Allow the students to demonstrate their understanding of the text and what they have learned from their Close Reading by completing a writing assignment or multimedia project.

Adapted from 40 Strategies for Guiding Readers through Informational Texts
(Moss, B., & Loh-Hagan, V. (2016). 40 strategies for guiding readers through informational texts. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.)


CommonLit. Retrieved May 10, 2015, from
Kurland, D. (n.d.) Dan Kurland's Reading and writing ideas as well as words. Retrieved July 10, 2015 from

ReadWorks. Retrieved May 10, 2015, from
Scott, W. (1838). An address to the Cherokee nation. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from thenation/history/trailoftears/majorgeneralscottsultimatum.aspx.

Sign Up For
Website Updates