What is an essential step in closely reading fiction?
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Near reading has been a source of fascination since the Common Core State Standards exploded onto the scene. And it’s no surprise! It differs from other reading strategies that have been advocated in the past, so classroom routines designed to develop in-depth readers vary as well.
I pictured sitting scrunched up with one of my daughters as I read her a good book the first time I learned of close reading. Near reading, on the other hand, isn’t about cultivating reader love. It’s all about getting readers to reflect on the text and study it extensively in order to derive as much significance as possible.
Close reading allows readers to concentrate on the information presented by a text rather than depending on a vast amount of information or help. This differs from other types of reading lessons, in which you could begin by introducing teacher-determined goals, discussions of students’ personal experiences, picture walks, and so on.
We all know that simply comprehending what a text says isn’t enough. Close readers not only understand the author’s message, but they also look under the hood. They try to figure out the author’s tone or point of view, the implications of the author’s word choices, and why a text is structured the way it is. Furthermore, readers should evaluate a text’s content or meaning, compare it to other texts, and determine its consequences. It’s a lot to ask of students, but they can do it with the right scaffolding and encouragement.
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Teaching reading can be difficult due to the many different needs of students. Students are supposed to have a clear understanding of what they read and to respond with text-based responses. Near reading, a powerful classroom tool for fiction and nonfiction texts across grade levels, is one way for students to engage with the text.
Each part of close reading is highly structured at the start of the year, but as the year progresses, students work more independently. Setting a goal for close reading is the first step. “We’re going to read to find the key idea,” I said to the class to set the tone. The key concept assists us in determining the topic of an article.” We defined the key concept with the simple term “how animals adapt” while studying how individual animals adapted to their surroundings, for example. The aim should be written at the top of the page to help students concentrate their attention on achieving a particular target.
If an aim has been established, assign a number to each paragraph of the essay so that students can cite their sources and keep track of their progress. Students may use background hints like the title and pictures to make guesses about what the text would be about as a prereading technique.
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As readers, we’re accustomed to reading for plot or allowing the pleasure of reading to bring us along without questioning how and why a specific passage, phrase, or word achieves its impact.
Close reading involves pausing and analyzing the text’s precise methods, dynamics, and content. It’s not about reading between the lines, but about reading deeper and deeper into the lines and seeing how a turn of phrase, a definition, or a word can have several meanings.
Close reading an extended passage is possible, but for essays, it is always a good strategy to do the close reading first and then show the observations with very short excerpts or even single sentences. So, rather than doing a close reading of twenty lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream *in* your article, you’d do it on your own and then quote and clarify three key phrases, specifically linking them to your emerging argument.
Later critics, such as William Empson, used the technique to propose virtuoso interpretations of specific poems and literary works, emphasizing ambiguity and the multiplicity of potential meanings.
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Making notes about particular sections of the text or keeping a record of your impressions may be a significant step in closely reading fiction. It’s okay to take a break from reading now and then to reflect on what you’ve read and make notes. It can be helpful to list all of the characters and environments, particularly if the book is complex, but it is not needed. The most important thing is to think it about and comprehend it correctly… It’s also vital to consider the author’s writing style and comprehend why he or she is writing in that manner. If the emphasis of your reading is on the vocabulary rather than the literal aspects of the text, you should pay special attention to unfamiliar words.