Collaborative Classroom Blog

Common Core Tip 13—Close Reading in Making Meaning

Categories: Individualized Daily Reading, Making Meaning, Teaching Tips, Common Core Standards

We’re repeating this tip because it was a favorite with our readers. If you missed it, we hope you enjoy it. If you caught it the first time, we hope you’ll appreciate the opportunity to read closely.

A close reading is a careful and purposeful reading. Well actually, it’s rereading. It’s a careful and purposeful rereading of a text. It’s an encounter with the text where students really focus on what the author had to say, what the author’s purpose was, what the words mean, and what the structure of the text tells us.

Douglas Fisher

The weekly design of Making Meaning lessons provides students with opportunities to engage with texts using close reading strategies so that they learn to read closely when reading on their own. Across the week of lessons, students experience multiple readings of a text. At each rereading, they think and talk about text dependent questions. We expect them to dig deep into the author’s words to search for evidence to substantiate their responses. Discussion questions require students to go beyond recalling facts but, rather, encourage them to think deeply about the text, the author’s intent, and the structure of the text.

Making Meaning lessons support teachers in teaching students how to think about and understand complex texts and support them in applying what they have learned independently during Individualized Daily Reading time. For these reasons, we strongly encourage teachers using the program to teach the program as written. This means that teachers will teach the units in the order they are found in the Teacher’s Manual as well as teaching the lessons as written.

In each phase of the lesson and across the week of lessons, students grapple with the ideas on the page. Discussion is key because students are able to share in the experience of learning how to build meaning from a text. While students are busy making meaning, teachers are right there: listening, probing, supporting, and making informed decisions to help their students achieve the expected outcomes. Check out this video clip of Day 3 of a Making Meaning lesson in which the teacher helps students to continue to make inferences using evidence from the text to support their thinking. (Note that this clip starts at Day 3 of the lesson; you can watch the whole week of instruction as well by restarting the video using your cursor in the YouTube player.)