‘Deconstructing Close Reading in an Elementary School Classroom’ – Part 1

Version 2

This is my ‘I hate taking notes’ face.

I hate taking notes at conferences. Okay, well I don’t hate it. I actually get quite a bit of good information by taking notes, but I would much rather listen and engage with the speaker and then grab a transcript of their session at a later time.

Hence, over the next few posts, I will be including a direct transcript of the session I spoke at this month for Utah Valley University. Feel free to check it out, share with others, ask questions, and let me know if there is anything more I can do to help clarify my method of ‘Deconstructed Close Reading.’

Session Overview

Transcript from UVU Forum on Engaged Reading (10/16)

Discover an authentic and differentiated approach to close reading, also known as reading closely. Five specific reading tasks merge into one formula.

-An innovative way to scaffold independent reading of complex texts

-A simple method for integrating Social Studies and Science curriculum

By empowering yourself, you empower your students!

Session Description

By Paige Drumm (O Classroom! My Classroom!)

Close reading is a literal term used to categorize reading closely.  Close reading, while simple in name, can be in theory and application complex.

This session is for teachers who work with primary or intermediate elementary school students.  No previous experience or understanding of close reading is necessary. Specific examples of the close reading formula and the daily cycle will be provided. Attendees will walk away with an increased understanding of the close reading process.

The formula itself, including daily tasks, is adaptable within any content and curriculum. It is also self-differentiating. The formula provides opportunities for all students to take part and build understanding. Through active participation, students delve into deeper thinking and gain confidence learning how to engage in independent reading. The tiered tasks provide opportunities for guided and autonomous practice. Leading both teachers and students through the process of comprehending complex texts. The tasks drive students towards engaged learning, collaborative conversations, and writing from text sources.

At the beginning of each formula cycle, students read to get the flow. They then spend time targeting vocabulary and defining strategies. Next, students focus on paraphrasing and summarizing. Finally, the cycle ends with, generating supported inferences using textual evidence and quotes. At this point, teachers and students integrate their close reading knowledge into writing content. Or, the cycle repeats with a new complex piece of literature or nonfiction.

Every task, within the close reading formula, has an authentic purpose and meaning. There is no wasted classroom time. This specific approach minimizes teacher preparation while maximizing student regulated learning. It is a simple, purposeful, focused way to optimize the reading of complex texts. The formula is unique and empowering. It helps teachers create an environment where students are masters of their own knowledge!


Research has determined that there is more than one way to teach close reading. All methods contain similar facets.

Learning what questions to pose during a lesson is key. The questions asked, determine how deep students delve into textual understanding.  They also play a role in student’s level of engagement.

Teachers must be careful to scaffold close reading experiences.

For close reading to be successful, pair it with other sound instructional practices.

Check out my next post – 

‘What? Close Reading a.k.a. Reading Closely’ Part 2





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