Close Reading – unlocking meaning

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Unlock the meaning of texts with Scholastic’s new close reading resources.

Close reading

What is close reading?

Close reading is the skill of noticing and interpreting details that unlock the full meaning of a text. This active, analytical and attentive way of reading is important for deep understanding of what the text is trying to achieve and the techniques by which it does it. As a result, close reading goes far beyond superficial decoding of words and basic literal comprehension.

The reader who is using close-reading skills will not only notice word choices and choices of syntax and style, but will also reflect on what these choices convey and how they contribute to the overall meaning of the piece. They will be able to identify textual evidence to explain the effects and effectiveness of written expression.

A key element of developing close-reading skills is the habit of annotating the text to help engage with the details and notice structural patterns, such as how a sequence of connectives through a text can build an argument or define a timeline.

Close-reading skills can be applied in all areas of learning, helping children to extract detailed information and understanding from whatever they read. It will help to build children’s comprehension skills and will further help to improve their performance in the National Curriculum Reading Tests. But these skills will not just emerge automatically in young readers. Close-reading skills need to be nurtured and developed actively.

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