'Jessie Reads (Close)' photo (c) 2010, Peter Alfred Hess - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Ideas for “Close Reading” with ELL Students is an excerpt from our new book, Navigating The Common Core With English Language Learners. It appears in Middleweb, and even has a “bonus” excerpt on “ELL Students & Reading for Pleasure.”

The concept of “close reading” has been getting more and more attention lately as the Common Core Standards are being implement.

As Dr. Douglas Fisher explains:

Close reading isn’t in the Common Core State Standards. However, an analysis of the Common Core State Standards really says you’ve got to learn the text well. The Common Core State Standards require that students provide evidence and justification for their answers. The only way we know how students can do this – that they really learn to provide evidence and justification – is if they closely read.

You’ll find a number of related resources in other posts, but I thought it would be useful to start a compilation specifically related to this “close reading” concept. And I hope you’ll contribute more.

You might also want to check out The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos.

Here are some previously published posts that might be useful:

My Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them

The Best Posts & Articles About Why Book “Leveling” Is A Bad Idea

The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading

How Reading Strategies Can Increase Student Engagement

Quote Of The Day: “Reading Is About More Than ‘Evidence’”

Here are my choices for The Best Resources On “Close Reading”:

Closing in on Close Reading is from Educational Leadership.

Close Reading and the CCSS, Part 1 is a video and transcript of Dr. Douglas Fisher. Here’s Part Two.

How Do We Teach Close Reading? is from Teacher 2 Teacher Help.

Common Core – Close Reading is a Pinterest Board from Chelsea Higgins.

What, exactly, is close reading of the text? is by Grant Wiggins.

Tools for Teaching: Developing Active Readers is from Edutopia.

Here’s a sample chapter from Notice and Note, the great book by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst.

Grant Wiggins has written a very thorough and helpful post on the topic.

Does Background Knowledge Matter to Reading Comprehension? by Russ Walsh.

Here are some Close Reading sample lessons from Achieve The Core. Thanks to Rita Platt for the tip.

Turning Down the Volume on Assumptions: Lessons about Close Reading is from Burkins & Yaris.

Skills Practice | Using Storyboards to Inspire Close Reading is from The New York Times Learning Network, and shares a reading strategy that I think would be particularly useful to ELLs.

Quote Of The Day: “Close Reading and Far-Reaching Classroom Discussion”

Teach Kids to Build Their Own Prior Knowledge is by Laura Robb and appears in Middleweb.

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Common Core: A critical reading of “close reading” is from Rethinking Schools.

Close Reading Blog-a-thon Contributing Educators

Here’s a sample chapter from Falling in Love with Close Reading.

Just used Piktochart to make an Infographic about the Close R... on Twitpic

Has Close Reading Gone Amok? (Part 2) is from is from Burkins & Yaris.

Common Core Reading: ‘The New Colossus’ is from NPR.

Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle is from NPR, and I think it’s very good.

Close Reading Can Be ‘Fun or Awful’ is my Ed Week series of posts on the topic.

A Critical Look at the Close Reading Standard is from Middleweb.

Ten rules for teaching reading with prior knowledge is from The Fordham Institute.

Five Tips for Engaging Students in a Close Reading of Text is from The Marzano Center.

We Are Teachers has designed two separate infographics on close reading — one for teachers and one for students.

How to Close Read the Language of Film is from Middleweb.

Maybe we don’t understand what readers really do – and why it matters is by Grant Wiggins.

Here is what I think is a very useful form that students could use when reading — A Guide To Critical Reading. It was shared by Eric Clark on Twitter.

10 Intriguing Photographs to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills is an excellent post from The New York Times Learning Network.

A Good Reading Lesson Doesn’t ‘Put Standards Before Students’ is the title of one of my Education Week Teacher columns. In it, educators Cheryl B. Dobbertin, Ilse O’Brien, Katherine S. McKnight and Regie Routman share their thoughts on reading lessons connected to Common Core Standards.

Short Analysis Of Obamacare Ruling Is Great Tool For Showing Students What Reading Is All About

You’re not going to find anything better on close reading visuals than this four part series by Frank Baker over at Middleweb.

Here’s an interactive tutorial for AP History teachers on using close reading with primary sources. It seems pretty useful.

The power of comparison is by Andy Tharby.

Before, During and After: Strategies From Our News Q’s Feature for Reading Nonfiction
is from The New York Times Learning Network.

A Reading Reconsidered Excerpt: Layered Reading is from Doug Lemov.

Five Things I Know About Close Reading is by Jen Roberts.

The Secret to Close Reading Success is by Brian Sztabnik.

Questioning That Deepens Comprehension is a great post by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey.


Jim Bentley share an excellent hand-out on context clues.

Building Autonomy via the ‘Literary Analysis Protocol’ is by Doug Lemov.

Remember To Model is by by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher

Getting Student Feedback is from Anthony Teacher. It talks about an interesting Say/Does reading strategy.

Close reading…our initial steps is from anewhofford.

Q & A Collections: Reading Instruction is the headline of my latest Education Week Teacher column. In it, you can find links to all my Ed Week posts on reading instruction from the past five years – in one place!

This first tweet shares what looks like an exceptional series of close reading questions, and the second tweet has a link where you can download it for free:

Eight Ways to Help Kids to Read Complex Text is by Timothy Shanahan.


The School Leaders’ Guide to Visible Learning for Literacy is by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey and appeared in Scholastic.

English teacher and author extraordinaire Jim Burke shared this video on Twitter.

The clip shows (minus the peer insults) how close reading might work in a perfect world.

Strategies for Teaching Complex Texts is from ASCD.

Comprehending Non-Fiction: Setting Kids Up for Success is by Russ Walsh.

10 Ways to Teach With The New York Times Today is from The New York Times.

5 Apps to Support Close Reading

Teaching Close Reading and Compelling Writing With the ‘New Sentences’ Column is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Repeated Reading is by Timothy Shanahan.


Research Spotlight: Dr. Douglas Fisher on Close Reading is from McGraw Hill.

Rigorous Reading is by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.

Planning Lessons with Complex Text is from Timothy Shanahan.


Don’t Confuse Reading Comprehension and Learning to Read — Rereading is by Timothy Shanahan. Though he only talks about it at the end, it’s not possible to over-emphasize the need to have different clear purposes laid-out for rereadings (for example, in my History class, it’s to develop questions that might be on the test).

Close Reading Rounds is from TESOL Planner.

If you found this post useful, you might want to consider subscribing to this blog for free.

You might also want to explore the 1100 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.