Close reading is an essential skill for students, but it can be hard for young readers. Fortunately, there are strategies that teachers can use to make close reading less overwhelming and more enjoyable for their students. One such strategy is to use close reading questions as they read. This means a set of questions students can use as they read. It sets the purpose for them. Using these questions, students will become active readers who think critically about their reading. Let’s take a closer look at how this strategy works and why it’s so effective.
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How Do Close Reading Questions Work?
Questioning texts is exactly what it sounds like—it involves having your students ask themselves questions while they read. This helps them engage with the text on a deeper level and think critically about what they are reading instead of simply skimming through it without understanding or comprehending the content.
Provide Close Reading Questions
When teaching your students how to question texts, providing them with some questions they might find helpful can make a big difference. Depending on the type of text you are studying and what reading standards your students need to learn, here are some sample questions you might suggest:
- What does this passage tell us about the characters?
- What is the problem in the story?
- What do the characters say and do?
- Whose point of view is the story told from?
- What message is the author trying to convey?
- What is the text structure?
- What is the author’s point of view?
- What is the main idea?
- What is one important detail in each paragraph?
Give Students Opportunities to Answer Those Close Reading Questions
After you’ve provided your students with guiding questions, allow them to answer those questions while reading. This will allow them to engage with the text on a deeper level and ponder its meaning and implications. As they read, encourage them to write down their answers in the margins of the text if possible or provide a notes organizer.
For young readers, stopping to jot notes or answer guiding questions helps them comprehend the text and engage more effectively in the process.
Encourage and Plan for Student Response to the Text
It’s important to provide your students with plenty of chances to reflect on, discuss, and respond to the text they have read. Most teachers have comprehension questions they want students to answer. It’s important to make these questions open-ended – not multiple choice. Give students the opportunity to respond in their own words and use text evidence to support their answers.
Questioning texts is an effective strategy for helping your students become better readers and thinkers who understand what they are reading on a deeper level. It encourages them to actively engage with a text by asking themselves meaningful questions before, during, and after their readings. By providing your students with examples of thought-provoking questions that they can ask while reading various types of passages, you will help them draw conclusions and form opinions about what they are reading. This helps them go beyond simply skimming through it without really thinking about its nuances.
These close reading packets include fun and interesting passages and close reading questions that will engage your students in the reading process:
The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.Robert John Meehan
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