Table of Contents

2.1 What is Close Reading?

image2-1Close reading practices enable teachers to help students meet the reading standards of the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy. Close reading requires students to be actively involved in the text that they read, drawing understanding, inferences, and meaning directly from the text. Close reading supports the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy’s focus on students engaging in evidence-based discussion and writing about a text. Finally, close reading helps students find textual evidence to answer questions and to support inferences that they draw from the text.

While there are many ways to conduct a close reading of a document, Dr. Timothy Shanahan of the University of Illinois at Chicago finds these following commonalities in most close reading practices:

  • Focus on text meaning
  • Minimize background preparation/explanation
  • Students must do the reading/interpretation
  • Teacher asks text-dependent questions to guide analysis
  • Extend time commitments to both short and long texts with purposeful rereading

This unit will help teachers implement instruction for students to apply discipline-specific close reading practices to read and analyze sources so that the students are able to meet the literacy demands and content standards of history/social studies.

Time to Extend

To learn more about close reading in general, see Unit 3 of the CCSS ELA: Reading Informational Text professional learning module.