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Gaining Background Knowledge through a Close Read

Before analyzing and investigating primary sources, students need to either connect to background knowledge or gain new background knowledge. A close read of a background article or textbook chapter is a way to begin.

The Close Read Process:

  1. Read the text out loud as students follow along.
  2. Students reread the text independently
    Reading and Discussion Tools
  3. Guide discussion of parts of the text with a series of specific vocabulary and text-dependent questions and tasks
    • Questions at the Word level
    • Sentence level
    • Structure level (what is the purpose of this paragraph?)
    • Whole text level (what is the big idea?)
  4. Give students a choice of writing prompts to assess understanding or ask students to generate inquiry questions to stimulate short, focused research



Example of a 6th grade close read activity (Civil War)

Example of a 7th grade close read activity (Japanese Internment)

Example of a high school close read activity (Civil War)