Close reading differs from regular reading by intentionally looking more closely at text in order to fully understand the content and meaning. These close reading activity cards are perfect for Grade 1 and Grade 2 children – the texts are short to help keep concentration high!
Why do we use close reading?
When children are learning to read they often get into the habit of just decoding and reading the words on the paper. While this is natural, it’s very common for children to get to the end of a passage and not be able to say what they just read about because their focus was on pronunciation rather than meaning.
When children know they will need to answer questions about the text they tend to read more slowly and really think about the meaning of the sentences they’re reading. They may want to go back and read it again to catch what they missed. The more they practice this skill, the more meaningful their reading becomes.
It also helps kids discover the joys and adventures found in reading, to encourage them to read purely for the pleasure to be gained in curling up with a book!
With longer passages this can be tiring, so these activity cards include just one small paragraph so there’s not too much information to remember.
Close reading cards
After downloading the cards (below), I printed the color version cards onto cardstock, then cut and laminated them so they could be reused with dry erase markers.
I printed the black and white version cards onto colored paper so they could be glued into the children’s writing books.
I printed off one of the die onto cardstock. I’ve previously used paper for this but they don’t last long!
Then I cut around the edges, folded on all the dotted lines and glued the die into a cube.
Finally, I printed off the sheets I needed for each child – although I’ll make it into a more permanent center later and laminate the sheets to make them reusable, too.
Children read through a card and then thought about the prompt questions. What was happening in the ‘story,’ who were the characters, when and where was it happening and so on.
There were six prompt questions: where, why, how, who, when and what.
While the children found they could answer some of the questions, they couldn’t answer all of them. Sometimes they had to use story clues to make a guess. For example, in the story where Rosie was angry, no time was given. But because she wants to go outside to play, we can assume it must have been daytime (not nighttime).
Some children thought it might be in the morning because Rosie must need to tidy her room each day before she plays. Other children thought it might be after lunch because she wasn’t allowed out because she STILL hadn’t tidied her room.
It was a great exercise for encouraging children to think about what they REALLY know from the text and what they’re ASSUMING from the text.
Options for use
When we first started, the children paired up to work on one card together. They read it through then rolled the die for each question prompt. They answered the questions verbally and when the information wasn’t clear, they debated all of the alternative answers they could think of to decide which was more likely.
They marked the cards to show whether they could answer the question or not, or whether they had to take a guess.
The following day, we added the recording sheets to include writing and extend the activity. Instead of using a die, they used the questions from the sheet, checking the ‘guess’ box if they couldn’t be completely sure.
As a check, the children showed each other their recording sheets and compared their answers. It was really positive to be able to show that even though some answers were different for the ‘guessing’ components, it didn’t mean that they were wrong. Sometimes, we just can’t know for sure!