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 and Protocols
  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 7th grade close read activity below (Japanese Internment)

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

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