Close Reading: A New Tool for a Younger Student

Close reading is a teaching technique that has been used extensively in higher education, but is now finding its way into the classrooms of younger children.  Close reading focuses on reading a piece of text and picking out information from that text. In the typical didactic college classroom, college students will turn to their textbooks to find out more information. In fact, close reading is what most average college tests are based on, in addition to close listening to lectures. Close reading is another way for students to gain information, and through this process, students learn how to read and remember important information, while disregarding what isn’t important. To truly understand the implications of close reading in the classroom, it is important to know a few important details of what it exactly is.

- Creates goals: Close reading focuses on using reading as a tool to reach a goal, and it helps students learn to take away information from what they read.

- It is adaptable: Close reading can be used in every topic and can be used as an aid to learning for any of those topics.

- The teacher must be thorough: In order for close reading to be effective, the teacher must know the assigned text very well. Close reading focuses on taking information away from reading, and if the assigning teacher is unfamiliar with the text, using close reading as a teaching tool will not be very effective.

- A very constructive tool:  Like its listening counterpart with very young students, close reading helps develop vital reading and discernment skills that will aid in the future success of students. Close reading is a great tool that teaches discipline as well as information discernment. It is an invaluable skill for students to be able to read a passage and know what is important and what is not. This skill is also acquired by close listening, which is used with younger students who are not capable of reading on their own. Learning how to differentiate what information is important, and what is not is vital to a student’s success.

- Know when to use it: Close reading is not something that needs to be used with every reading assignment. There are many situations where close reading is not necessary, and, would even be silly to use. Knowing when to use close reading is invaluable to both students and teachers.

- Short is effective: When using close reads in younger classrooms, shorter passages are more effective than longer passages because it makes the information easier to find and does not overwhelm the student with too much reading. Short passages also are great for specific purposes and can guide students to specific and pertinent information.

Implementing close reading might seem difficult in the younger classrooms, but it is actually easier than one might think. There are many online resources that offer free printables, resources, and lesson outlines that are invaluable to both teacher and student. Close reading is a vital teaching tool that, when implemented early, can change a child’s life through learning.

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