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A Close Look at Close Reading: Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Texts, Grades K–5


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The Common Core State Standards have put close reading in the spotlight as never before. While elementary school teachers are certainly willing to teach students to closely read both literary and informational text, many are wondering what, exactly, this involves. Is there a process to follow? How is close reading different from guided reading or other common literacy practices? How do you prepare students to have their ability to analyze complex texts measured by Common Core assessments? Is it even possible for students in grades K–5 to "read to learn" when they're only just learning to read?

Table of contents

Understanding the Role of the Close Reader

Planning, Teaching, and Managing Close Reading

Reading Closely Across the Disciplines

Supporting Academic Communication about Closely Read Texts

About the authors

Diane Lapp is distinguished professor of education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University, where she teaches both preservice and graduate courses in literacy education. She is also an instructional coach at Health Science Middle School and Health Sciences High and Middle College and chairs a literacy research panel for the International Literacy Association.

Lapp has taught in elementary, middle, and high schools. Her major areas of research and instruction relate to planning and assessing intentional instruction and learning. She has conducted many professional training sessions that address topics related to differentiated learning, purposeful instruction and assessment, the gradual release of instructional responsibility, close reading, classroom collaboration and conversation, balanced literacy, and writing across the curriculum.

She has received numerous educational awards throughout her career and is a member of both the California and the International Reading Halls of Fame. Lapp has authored, coauthored, and edited numerous articles, columns, texts, handbooks and children's materials on instruction, assessment, and literacy related issues.

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