Close Reading and Analyzing Text

Close reading means reading for meaning and understanding. Follow these steps to perform your own close reading.

  1. To begin, read your passage slowly. You just want to get the general idea.
  2. Next, read the passage again; but this time you will be marking and writing on the page as you go. Look for the following things:
    • Vocabulary¬†– Circle any vocabulary you are unfamiliar with. Can you guess what the word means by using the context? Look up the definitions if necessary.
    • Language choice – Underline any language that attracts your attention for any reason. Why do you find it interesting? What emotion does it evoke in you? Jot down your reasons.
    • Repetitions or patterns – Look for any words, phrases, or ideas that are repeated. Do you see any patterns? Mark them. If you have any ideas on why the author chose that pattern or repetition, make a note of it.
    • Questions you have – note them down, and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. Try to list more open questions than closed questions.
  3. Now, go back and read the passage a third time. This time, you are looking for answers to your questions. If you find something that answers your question, write the answer down next to the question you had. Also, if you have any general comment to make, now is the time to write it down as well.
  4. The final step of close reading is reflecting on what you read and learned.
    • Do you still have any questions that are unanswered?
    • What are your overall thoughts and opinions? Do you agree/disagree with the author?
    • What is one idea from the author that stood out to you the most? Why?
    • Can you make any connections to your own life? Does the passage remind you about your own experiences? Other books or films? What are the similarities?
  5. Be prepared to discuss your reflections, insights, and questions with the class!