Improving literacy skills with close reading

Whether we are writing full sentences or using text messaging shorthand including abbreviations and icons, our ability to make meaning of the language around us is a critical aspect of our society.

The updated Maine Learning Results for English Language Arts and literacy reflect this shift in literacy practices.  Schools are encouraged to provide instruction of both literary and informational texts, to prioritize strong writing skills, and value learning through speaking and listening.  Close reading is an instructional process which has returned to the forefront of educational practices. Close reading is an effective practice which supports student learning of the literacy skills necessary to be an active and engage citizen and to be successful in both higher education and the workplace.

According to literacy experts Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, close reading is an instructional routine in which students critically evaluate a text or segment of a text. Students analyze the deep structures of the text, such as the organization, the precise vocabulary used to convey and explain concepts, and the key details, inferential meanings, and arguments. Teachers support the process by questioning, prompting, and facilitating conversations that promote examination of the text.

The current edition of Maine DOE Literacy Links provides more information about close reading including the components of close reading  and links to resources for educators to use during instruction.