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Teaching Tips & Tricks   |   Aug 12, 2014

15 terrific resources for close reading

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

15 terrific resources for close reading

By Angela Watson

Snap Learning is a longtime partner and supporter of The Cornerstone, and they have sponsored this post. Though their products are not included in the roundup below as these resources are free, I encourage you to check out their Close Reading Portfolio or request a demo of the product here. They’re a fantastic company and I believe their interactive close reading exercises are among the best on the market.

Close reading is an important part of Common Core because it helps students think and reflect deeply on the text. However, it think it’s a great strategy for ALL teachers to use, regardless of whether your state has adopted Common Core. It’s just plain good teaching!

I remember teaching my third graders to use “think marks” like stars, question marks, and exclamation marks as far back as 2001. I attended a Junior Great Books training in 2004 and often used the Socratic method for teaching reading—that’s a perfect fit for close reading. Starting in 2008, our district adopted a curriculum in which students would read and re-read the same text repeatedly throughout the week so they could delve more deeply into it. So in my opinion, close reading isn’t something brand new that requires us to throw out everything we know about reading instruction–it’s a natural evolution of the way teachers have taught for decades.

There is no one set way or “right” way for teaching kids to do close reading. It will look different in different classrooms and with different grade levels. In this post, I’ve collected some of my favorite examples of close reading in action, as well as tools and resources to help you teach close reading in a way that’s attainable and meaningful for your students.

Hopefully your students aren’t doing THAT kind of close reading.
Hopefully your students aren’t doing THAT kind of close reading.

All of the resources below contain FREE info and valuable ideas in the post. A few of the sites that show what close reading looks like in real classrooms include links to paid products, but the products are not the focus of the post.



I’d love to hear how your reading instruction has changed over the years, and how close reading fits into what you’re doing now. Any other great resources for helping you do close reads with your students? 

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. Thank you Angela! I especially like the anchor chart showing interesting vs. important (I love YoungTeacherLove!). The hardest part of implementing Close Reading is training students to recognize what is important. I always give my students something specific to look for that matches the standard we’re working on. I actually did a blog post about one such lesson a few days ago!


  2. LearnZillion just released a series of Close reading lessons for grades 3-12 that were developed by their team of Dream Team teachers over the summer. A great resource.

  3. Thanks, Angela. What a great resource! I love how you discuss that Close Reading is nothing new; it’s just good teaching. Thank you for all the links! I just created a new freebie in my TPT store about how to teach Close Reading, so it’s ever-present in my mind.

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