Using Technology to Support Close Reading

Common Core State Standards: 
Foundational Skills
Instructional Strategies: 
Visualizing
Summarizing
Self-Questioning

“Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text." (Common Core State Standards: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading)

Are your students engaging in close reading? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you require your students to re-read short passages and search for answers to text-dependent questions (e.g., embedded in the text)? 
  • Are your students able to demonstrate an understanding of what they are reading?
  • Are they able to annotate the text by, for example, marking (e.g., circling, underlining, highlighting) text to identify key vocabulary and content, using self-questioning (making notes in margins or inserted in the text), clarifying a sequence (e.g., using numbers) and making interpretations?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are building your students’ skills for close reading. If you feel unsure, or you feel you might benefit from a clear introduction to close reading, then check out this introductory video in which Dr. Douglas Fisher describes close reading. 

In her blog, 5 Tips for Teaching Close Reading (and 5 Things to Watch Out For!), Lauren Davis (Eye On Education's Senior Editor) makes the following suggestions:

  1. Broaden your definition of “text” to include short historical documents, news articles, mathematical and scientific texts, photos and paintings.
  2. Ask text-based questions that build in a logical sequence, building from part to whole.
  3. Consider what standards you can cover in your close-reading lessons; for example, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4 has students “analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text.”
  4. Teach text structures so students understand how the words, sentences, and content are organized and what features are included.
  5. Don’t forget the fun of reading by using engaging students in motivating activities—and ones that continue to build their love of reading. 

A range of technology tools can support and enhance your close reading instructional strategies, and are especially beneficial to struggling readers. The following articles and blogs provide good suggestions for technology tools—and many are free.

On PowerUp What Works, you will find many resources to support close reading. Check out the Self-Questioning, Visualizing, and Summarizing Instructional Strategy Guides. Watch two particularly relevant short videos: (1) Using Multimedia to Support Reading Instruction and (2) Embedded Supports to Differentiate Reading Instruction.  

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