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5 Simple Steps for Teaching Close Reading

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How to Teach a Close Reading Routine

Close reading is such a great way to teach specific reading skills, while also giving your students plenty of text exposure. And, to make it even better, close reading is an easy routine to establish in your classroom! I want to share with you all today the way that I recommend approaching teaching close reading with your students!

What is Close Reading?

Close Reading is a teaching routine that requires your students to read a text more than once, but you set a specific goal for each read-through. So, if you’re studying main idea, you may find the perfect read aloud to share with your students. But, the first time you read the story, everything your students hear will be new to them. They may have clarifying questions about vocabulary or interesting facts. They will have reactions to the text that they may want to discuss. Also, they likely will need to just have an initial read to take it all in. It can overload their brains a little bit to then ask them to also look for evidence of the main idea while they are making sure that they understand all of the vocabulary. 

So, with a close reading routine, you do a first read of a text with only one goal: enjoy and comprehend the story.

Then, you can go in a do a second read with clear minds and the ability to search for evidence that supports the main idea! 

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How Do I Teach Close Reading?

I teach Close Reading with 5 simple steps: 

1.) Introduce the text and preview it. Discuss the title and make predictions. Do a ‘picture walk’ through the pages and notice illustrations or photographs, and any other text features the author chose to include. 

2.) Set the goal of doing a first read of the story just to listen, enjoy, and make sure that everyone understands it. Complete the first read with your students, discussing key points or main themes along the way. 

3.) Present the goal for the second read. Maybe you need to pause and make an anchor chart for a specific skills, or give students specific pieces of evidence to look for. Make sure your students understand the goal!

4.) Complete a close read. Depending on how advanced your students are, you may need to pause frequently to guided them into noticing whatever skill you’re practicing, or you may be able to read large chunks and then let them go through the text and find the evidence themselves! 

During this step, this is when I have kids ‘code’ the text with really simple annotations. I guide them through circling and underlining key words related to the skill, or to comprehension questions!

5.) From here, you could complete an additional read of the same text and look for a different skill, or repeat this process entirely with a new text to find evidence of the same skill! 

These steps can be spread out over multiple small group or whole group lessons, or done all in one day, if your text is simple enough. There is a lot of flexibility in close reading. However, introducing a routine that follows steps like this one will help your students grow more accustomed to noticing the text as they read. We know this benefits them so much in the long run!

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Where Can I Find Texts to Use?

I have a series of Close Reading passages with lesson plans in my TPT store! These sets make it so easy to grab and start teaching, because the planning, guided questions, texts, and graphic organizers are all done for you! 

Here are some more blog posts, and videos, all about Close Reading you may want to check out!

Throughout the Year

Kindergarten and First Grade

Close Reading



Close Reading with Any Book

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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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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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