Your Core Companion: Just What IS “Close Reading”?

By Jim Burke

This marks the first of what will be a series of periodic posts about specific Common Core standards and resources intended to help you better understand and implement them.  The links and lessons I provide here allow me to further support those using my Common Core Companion books, so please do not mistake this free online content for the detailed and carefully designed information found in the Companion books themselves. You should be able to search the site by entering the anchor standard (e.g., R1 for Reading Standard 1).

People speak of several key shifts in the Common Core standards. Of these major shifts, “close reading” is one we are all trying to understand and do in our classes whether our students are reading fiction or nonfiction, images or information. David Mikics published a book recently titled Slow Reading in a Hurried Age. It is a very thoughtful book about reading in general and how to do it well within the bustling marketplace inside our heads.

In this article “How to Become a Better Reader,” Mikics outlines 14 ways we–and our students–can become better, more attentive and sensitive readers as we “read closely to determine what the text really says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it, [citing] inferences…and specific textual evidence [from the text] when writing or speaking to support [those] conclusions [we draw] from the text” (Common Core State Standards, Reading 1).

It may or may not be worth sharing with your students, but it will be a tonic to your own reading, and that, my friends, is one of the real benefits of the Common Core: all that we stand to learn ourselves along the way.

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