Teaching Strategies

Close and Critical Reading

Encourage close reading with strategies that ask students to analyze, interpret, critique and make connections to texts, and to discover the relevance of their reading within a larger context.

15 TEACHING STRATEGIES

Agree/Disagree Statements

Agree/disagree statements challenge students to think critically about their knowledge of a topic, theme or text. The strategy exposes students to the major ideas in a text before reading—engaging their thinking and motivating them to learn more. It also requires them to reconsider their original thinking after reading the text and to use textual evidence to support and explain their thinking.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RF.3-5.4, RL.3-5.1, RI.3-5.1, RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2

Annolighting

“Annolighting” (annotating and highlighting) shows students how to identify critical information in a text during close reading. Students learn to annotate text, highlight important facts and summarize what they have read to capture main ideas, concepts and details.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2, RL.3-5.4, RI.3-5.4, RL.3.5, RI.3.5, L.3-5.4

Challenge the Text

Challenge the Text helps students ask and answer their own text-dependent questions by taking multiple perspectives and uncovering assumptions and biases within the text.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RL.6-12.2, RL.6-12.3, RL.6-12.6, RI.6-12.1, RI.6-12.2, RI.6-12.3, RI.6-12.6

Directed Reading - Thinking Activity (DR-TA)

While engaging in DR-TA, students interrupt their reading periodically to predict what developments might logically follow. This strategy works well with texts in which the outcome of the narrative is uncertain (e.g., “cliffhangers”).
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RL.3-5.1, RI.3-5.1, RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2, RL.3-5.3, RI.3-5.3, RL.3-5.7, RI.3-5.7

GIST

Generating Interactions between Schemata and Texts (GIST) is a summarization procedure that helps students digest complex texts by requiring contextual word learning. GIST explicitly combines the most important words with reading and writing to comprehend complex texts.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2, RL.3-5.4, RI.3-5.4, RF.3-5.4, L.3-5.4

Question-Answer Relationships (QAR)

QAR gives students practice questioning the text and identifying literal and inferential questions. Students learn to find different types of evidence and to rely on their own interpretation when doing close reading.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RL.3-5.1, RI.3-5.1, RF.3-5.4

Reading Against the Grain

In reading against the grain students analyze the dominant reading of a text and engage in alternative or "resistant" readings. Resistant readings scrutinize the beliefs and attitudes that typically go unexamined in a text, drawing attention to the gaps, silences and contradictions.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RL.6-12.2, RL.6-12.6, RI.6-12.1, RI.6-12.2, RI.6-12.6

Shared Reading

Shared reading combines aspects of guided reading and read-aloud strategies. During shared reading, a teacher or proficient student reads the text aloud, pausing at pre-selected moments to discuss content and analyze the text. This strategy facilitates close reading of a complex text in small or whole group settings.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RI.6-12.1

Shared Reading

In shared reading, learners observe experts reading with fluency and expression while following along or otherwise engaging with the text. This strategy should focus on a specific instructional element (or mini-lesson) that improves targeted reading comprehension skills and promotes Common Core readiness.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RF.3-5.4, RL.3-5.1, RI.3-5.1, RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2, RL.3-5.4, RI.3-5.4, RL.3-5.5, RI.3-5.5, RL.3-5.7, RI.3-5.7

SQP2RS

SQP2RS stands for survey, question, predict, read, respond and summarize. SQP2RS (or “Squeepers”) ensures students recognize the steps to reading and understanding informational texts.
Grade Level
3-5
CCSS
RL.3-5.1, RI.3-5.1, RL.3-5.2, RI.3-5.2

Text Graffiti

This strategy exposes students to multiple short pieces of a text before they read it in its entirety. Students read selected quotes out of context and comment on both the selection and the comments of other students. The activity ends with students reflecting on their reactions to and predictions about the text.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RI.6-12.1

Text-Dependent Questions

Readers must refer back to the central text to answer text-dependent questions and provide evidence from the reading to support their answers. Students provide accurate, relevant and complete evidence. To do this well, students will often need to re-read the text several times. This approach privileges the text over prior knowledge, personal experience and pre-reading activities.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RL.6-12.2, RL.6-12.4, RL.6-12.5, RL.6-12.6, RI.6-12.1, RI.6-12.2, RI.6-12.3, RI.6-12.4, RI.6-12.6

Think Aloud

Think Aloud requires readers to stop during their reading to think, reflect and discuss their process. Readers talk about skipping text, rereading, searching back in the text for information, questioning, clarifying, summarizing, making connections, reflecting, predicting and visualizing.
Grade Level
3-5

Thinking Notes

Thinking notes are text annotations (highlights, underlines or symbols made on the text or in the margins) that document student thinking during reading. Depending on how you structure the task, these notes can indicate agreement, objection, confusion or other relevant reactions to the text.
Grade Level

Window or Mirror?

This task helps students consider if the text is a window or a mirror through practicing literacy skills and using technology. Students will decide if author, speaker, characters or content in a text reflect students’ lived experiences (mirror) or provide a window into the lived experiences of people whose identities differ from the students’.
Grade Level
CCSS
RL.6-12.1, RL.6-12.2, RL.6-12.3, RL.6-12.7, RI.6-12.1, RI.6-12.2, RI.6-12.3, RI.6-12.7