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Close Reading Strategies For Reading Informational Text

 Close Reading Strategies For Reading Informational Text

Teach your students to be a good close reader by using these six close reading strategies for reading informational text.

teaching close reading strategies

 Teach Students How to Read Informational Text

We want students to engage with the text instead of just racing to the end so they can answer the questions. Getting students to slow down and engage with the text in different ways, and reflect as they read are challenges for every teacher, and are the goals of close reading. They’re also at the heart of the Common Core English Language Arts standards. There are specific close reading skills you can teach that will help your students be better readers of informational text now and down the line. Use these six close reading strategies to help your students be better readers.
Bald Eagle Informational Text Unit

Bald Eagle Informational Text Unit for Google Classroom: This reading informational text unit on bald eagles will engage your students in practicing their reading informational text skills such as text features, making inferences, vocabulary, and more. Text-dependent questions and drag and drop activities are included in this unit and will encourage your students to read back into the text to find the answers. Great for Distance Learning.

Tips for Teaching Students to be a Good Close Reader

 1. Be a Close Reader Yourself

As you teach close reading, it’s important that you know the text backward and forwards. Every time you raise an issue or ask a question for discussion (e.g. “What does the author mean by the term ecosystem flooding? What part of the text supports explains this concept?”), you’ll know how to help your students find the textual evidence and where it’s located in the text. Modeling close reading through your class discussion is an important way to show close reading strategies in action.

teacher models reading strategies

2. Teach “Stretch Texts”

The purpose of having students learn close reading skills is to enable them to read increasingly complex texts over time. As you choose texts to use with your students, think about your purpose behind each text. Look for articles that raise authentic questions and could be interpreted differently depending on each student’s background knowledge or prior reading. Be sure to occasionally assign “stretch texts” in class. These are texts that you wouldn’t expect students to read independently, such as an article on chemical reactions or an article on the importance of honey bees to our food supply. This close reading unit on Coral Reefs might be a bit difficult for a 5th grader on their own, but with the support of a teacher, they can read it.

3. Teach Students to Look for the Evidence
Teachers should want students to leave their class knowing how to look for evidence. It’s the most central skill of the Common Core standards. Push students to go beyond recounting facts. As you’re planning, think about what higher-order questions you can ask in class discussions and written assignments.

reading informational text

4. Always Set a Purpose for Reading

After your students have read a text through once, help them dig deeper by setting a specific purpose for reading it again. Giving students something specific to focus on requires that they return to the text and really focus. We want to teach them to read back into the text to find answers. (e.g. “Why does the author claim that all Santa’s reindeer must be female?” or “What is one of the structural adaptations that reindeer have that help them survive on the tundra?”) I have digital escape rooms with informational text and my students know that they must read carefully in order to escape!

5. Focus on Making Connections

Rather than asking students a bunch of comprehension questions, focus their reading experiences around connecting with and remembering the text. Plan and ask questions that help you understand if students understand the text, and where they need to dig deeper into the big ideas. 

6. Provide High-Interest Informational Text Passages

Students will learn to use close reading strategies best if they have interesting text passages to read. Particularly with nonfiction and informational text passages, it is key that you find topics that students find engaging. My students love to read about animals.  They find animals really interesting.  So I incorporate lots of informational text passages on animals.

Visit This Great Blogpost for more Reading Strategies

Would you like to read about Three Easy Suggestions that Keep Your Students Reading and Writing? You will love this blogpost by my friend Marion at Mentoring in the Middle
Keep students reading and writing

Comparing Two Passages

In Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade students are required to read two text passages on the same topic.

Students are required to compare and contrast the key details and important points in the two text passages and they are required to integrate information from the two text passages to speak or write knowledgeably about the topic.

I have lots of great informational text passages in my store.

These activities are aligned with the CCSS for Reading Informational Text.



Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.


Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.


Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

I have created several resources for comparing and integrating two text passages on a topic. These are perfect for 3rd-5th grade students. I have printable versions and also online versions for distance learning.

Read Two Text Passages On Reindeer Distance Learning Unit

reading informational text

Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

reading informational text strategies

Compare and Contrast Two Informational Text Passages on Rabbits

reading informational text

Compare and Contrast Two Text Passages on Rabbits for Distance Learning

informational text structures

See more on using high-interest reading passages to engage students.

Elephants Informational Text Passages

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FREE Bald Eagle Reading Informational Text Unit

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