Tried It Tuesday - Close Reading

A few weeks ago, the fifth grade teachers received some training on close reading. Like many of you, I thought that people were always saying "cloze" reading, which I already did.

Turns out, it's quite different. Close reading comes from the Common Core, which states in the Corresponding College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard - "Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text."

HMH Journeys does use the close reading strategy, but it's not quite the same unless you can interact with the text. I made copies of the story to distribute to the students, two pages of the story on one side of the paper.

We listened to the story with a recording for the first read. Students made marks on the story when they had some sort of reaction to it. These are some of the symbols that we used:

Then I had the students share their thoughts at their tables. I overheard some really great conversations about why they chose to mark things a certain way.

Then I asked the questions that Journeys provided throughout the story. We worked on them one-by-one and highlighted the text that we used as evidence.

We took another color of highlighter, and marked words that were used for sequencing, since that was a skill that Journeys wanted us to focus on in the story and would be tested.

Finally, we worked on main ideas and supporting details. When we were finished, our stories looked a little like this:

Overall, I really liked how the students were much more involved in the text when I gave them a copy to annotate and highlight. They seemed to have a much deeper understanding because they were more engaged in the multiple readings, rather than moaning and groaning that they had to read it AGAIN.

I decided to take a stab at creating some monthly-themed close reading passages and activities. I decided to also include some elements so that they could be used in interactive notebooks. Since I know that many of you probably know more about close reading than I do, I would be interested in your opinion. I have the first text and activities ready, but the rest is still a work in progress. If you are interested in checking it out, I will have it available {here} until I finish and get it uploaded to TpT. Like I said, it's a work in progress, so let me know your thoughts!


  1. Hey Diane! Opening Day looks great so far- I love that you included three levels. One thing I would suggest would be a quick page or half page of background facts or baseball vocabulary, (like no-hitter and pitcher) for students who don't have prior knowledge about the content. Looking forward to seeing the final product!


  2. I am new to the close reading process too! I also thought people were talking about cloze reading and was lost for bit : ). Your Opening Day sample looks great. I LOVE when things are set up for me and my students in a consistent way - makes it easier for all of us!

  3. Diane - It looks great :) I'd love to use the Opening Day passage because my students are from Ohio! Just an editing note, Cincinnati is spelled incorrectly in all the documents. Just thought I'd help you with an editing eye! Can't wait to see the final product!

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  4. If you have a subscription to Reading A-Z you should check out their close reading sets for grades 2-6. They are really great. If you don't have a subscription it is worth checking into to see if your district or Donors Choose might be an option.

  5. I really LOVE this new pack you're working on! The Opening Day passage is perfect for my kiddos! Being in Ohio, they will love this! :) Thanks for sharing!


  6. Great post Diane! We've been working on close reading in our county since last year, but lack materials (rigorous enough text). Slowly building my collection. :) My students love annotating too-I agree, it definitely eliminates moans and groans!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  7. I always thought they were talking about cloze reading too! I'm SO glad you cleared things up for me! So do you check for the same things each time you do a close reading or vary what you're focusing on? I will need to know these things when I head back to Texas to teach next year!
    Southern Fried Teachin’

    1. It depends on the text and the structure etc. It doesn't have to be the same, and it probably shouldn't so you hit all of the CCSS.

  8. Close reading has been a great experience for both me and my students. I can see my students really interacting and understanding the text! I also like that my students can cite the text as evidence in their answers...and it really does help that they can write on the text. The improvement of my students writing from Close Reading is amazing! Love the packet!

  9. This is a great idea. I love Close Reading and the reading experience it gives the students. It gives them a chance to really think about what they know or don't know and cite from the text. I have seen a lot of improvement in my students writing since applying Close Reading in the classroom.

  10. Love the little annotating symbols you made! Your "work in progress" looks closed to finished. It appears to be a great resource in the making!

  11. I started doing Close Reading with my kiddos last year, and I've had them note out loud or highlight before, but I never had them annotate with symbols. I love that idea!

    I have to say the biggest struggle I've had with close reading is finding good materials to do it with. I think your Opening Day pack looks A-mazing...

    As for the idea of making a set for each month...yes, please!

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason
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  12. I too, have started trying more Close Reading in my room the past couple of years and have really seen an increase in students depth of understanding. Keep up the great work!
    the {Art} of learning

  13. This looks great! I really like the idea of different levels not he same topic. I also like the variety of formats that you offer…differentiation for teachers as well as students!

  14. Your Opening Day close read pack is look amazing! I love that you included various Lexile levels (curious about why it is "unofficial"?). The half pages are also great for using in interactive notebooks! I have only tried close reads a few times in my class but want to try it more. I just need to get more comfortable with it. Thanks for linking up! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  15. This looks so great! Thank you for sharing! I have only gotten into close reading this past year. My district is a little slow in getting on the common core bandwagon. I love your annotating symbols and will definitely be using those in the future. Say, tomorrow? ;). I will be interested in your monthly packet when you get those done.


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