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Come a Little Closer- Close Reading Ideas for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

For the last few weeks I’ve been incorporating Close Reading into my weekly lessons.  I’ve done a combination of using passages I’ve created, as well as using books from my classroom library.  You can check out my previous post here all about what close reading is and what it looks like in the primary grades. I have to say, I am really loving doing these Close Reading lessons- each time we do one of the lessons, I am so impressed with just how much my little friends show me that they can learn from really paying attention to our texts! It definitely takes a little more prompting, but my little friends are catching on very well…I know it will take us a very long time to get them to do this totally on their own, but right now as read alouds, they are doing a super job responding!

Now, there are a variety of ways to do Close Reading, but I follow the same basic set up for each of my close reading lessons and they always revolve around making sure we are rereading the text, addressing a specific focus (aligned to the Common Core Standards) and citing evidence directly from the text. These are three very important parts of Close Reading. By having a specific focus for each rereading, aligned directly to a Common Core Standard, I find that I feel most successful with our Close Reading and the students are engaged and learning!

I set up my Close Reading lessons the same for each week, regardless of if I am using a book or a passage. I set aside about 15-20 minutes for each day- the first day usually goes the quickest since I do not have my students responding via a graphic organizer, rather it is just a discussion to check for overall understanding.

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This Close Reading structure makes it easier for both the teacher to set up each lesson and for the students to follow because you have a specific focus addressing a Common Core Standard for each read. The only thing I need to change each week is the book/passage and the CCSS I am addressing with the graphic organizers.

I have a video explanation of how to do Close Reading with any book in your classroom that you can check out below!

Here’s examples of two books I have used from my classroom library to address different standards via Close Reading. These are actually two books I had been somewhat reluctant to use with my little friends because I thought they were too difficult for my them to analyze, but both books were just perfect for a Close Read! I read the whole story for the 1st reads with each story and then focused in on specific pages of the story for the 2nd and 3rd reads. As you’ll see, I also used Wikki Stix with my little friends to code the text since I didn’t have a copy for each student. My little friends sure did love adding those sticky little stix to the page to show their evidence for their responses!

Six Crows by Leo Lionni
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The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster- this is an adorable, sweet story! 
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One last thing…click here for a great resource built right into the Common Core Standards- it has different book recommendations and the specific parts of the those texts that are great for Close Reading- for all grade levels all the way from Kindergarten-High School!

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If you are interested in doing Close Reading in your primary classroom (as shown above), check out this pack here! {All you’ll need to add is the actual books.}

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If you are looking for specific lessons with passages and graphic organizers, please check out my other packs as well!
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Have a great day!


Picture of Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

6 Responses

  1. Love this post! I am going to try some of the close reading concepts with my Pre-K students! We usually have a focus/essential question that I ask before the book, but I love the activities that come along with close reading and going back to the book each day. I'd love some input about how I could start this with my 4-5year olds.

    I is for Inspire

  2. Hi Jacqueline!
    I think you can definitely start at a very basic level of close reading with your PreK friends. I love that you have an essential question already- maybe you can expand it to reading a specific part of the text two or three times with your students with a different focus each time? I'm sure they could also do some really great drawings (and maybe some labels) in response to your questions? The main thing is to get a discussion going specifically about the text you are reading.
    Have fun with it!
    Aylin 🙂

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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