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What is Close Reading?

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From the Ask the Experts voice mailbox:

I’d love to hear Doug Fisher talk about close reading. We are a group of literacy specialists debating back and forth about what that means. We’ve read Tim Shanahan’s Blog and would love to hear more.

Thanks for the question! At your request, we asked one of our experts on close reading, Dr. Douglas Fisher, to answer this question for you.


"Close reading is an instructional approach that requires readers to re-read a text several times and really develop a deep understanding of the content contained in the text. The purpose is to build the habits of readers as they engage with the complex texts and to build their stamina and skills for being able to do so independently. However, close reading doesn’t mean that you simply distribute a complex reading and then exhort them to read it again and again until they understand it.  As part of a close reading, students "read with a pencil" and learn to annotate as they go. In addition, they are asked text-dependent questions that require that they produce evidence from the text as part of their responses."

- Dr. Douglas Fisher

Don't miss Doug Fisher discussing close reading on YouTube here and here. Scroll through the posts on this website to find transcripts of these YouTube videos.

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