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Closer Reading, Grades 3-6

Closer Reading, Grades 3-6
Better Prep, Smarter Lessons, Deeper Comprehension

Foreword by Laura Robb

Additional resources:

March 2014 | 224 pages | Corwin

Close Reading. Not in a very long while has a term been freighted with so much responsibility to pull every student out of a reading tailspin and into a great future of college and career readiness. Finally, here’s a book that tunes out all of the hubbub and gets down to the business of showing how exactly to “get close reading right.”

What makes Closer Reading such a have-to-have resource? Nancy Boyles knows full well that we’ll never realize the promise of close reading unless we figure out where it fits in with existing literacy practices. So she magnifies all the planning that goes into powerful close reading lessons, while providing a wide-angle lens to answer our biggest questions—top among them how close reading relates to text complexity and strategic reading comprehension.

Chapter by chapter, Nancy delivers astoundingly practical ideas on how to import close reading into daily planning, including how to:

  • Connect close reading with other instructional practices (whole class, read alouds, guided reading, conferring)
  • Select rich texts and plan for initial close reading lessons
  • Deliver initial and follow-up close reading lessons
  • Engage students in peer practice after close reading
  • Coordinate comprehension strategies and close reading
  • Use close reading to deepen students’ independent reading

Close—closer—closest. Yes, if we want our students to intimately understand a text's ideas, we'll need to make some shifts in our instruction. Fortunately, we now have Closer Reading to lean on as we go into higher gear.

A former classroom teacher and professor of reading, Nancy Boyles is a literacy consultant, who provides workshops, model lessons, and curriculum support to districts and organizations nationally, regionally, and locally. Over the course of her career she has received numerous awards , including New England Reading Association’s Outstanding Literacy Leader Award and Connecticut Reading Association’s Celebrate Literacy Award for exemplary service.

 “Closer Reading, Grades 3-6, will become a treasured friend and guide, as you will value every tip, model lesson, and complex book recommendation. It is a must-have book for your professional library and for professional learning communities!”
—LAURA ROBB, Author of Unlocking Complex Texts

Foreword by Laura Robb
Chapter 1. Closer Reading: Closer Than What?
Chapter 2. Choosing a Complex Text for Close Reading
Chapter 3. Getting in the Mindset of Close Reading
Chapter 4. Supporting Readers Before Close Reading
Chapter 5. Supporting Readers During Close Reading
Chapter 6. Supporting Readers After Close Reading
Chapter 7. Moving Students Toward Independence in Close Reading
Chapter 8. Digging Deeper in Close Reading Through Rereading, Small-Group Instruction, and Independent Reading
Chapter 9. Close Reading for the Common Core--and More
Appendix I. Templates for Designing Close Reading Lessons
Preparing for Close Reading

Planning for Close Reading

Appendix II. Sample Lesson Plan for Shared Reading: "She Was THAT Kind of Lady"
Text Selection and Preparation for Close Reading

Lesson Planner for Close Reading

Appendix III. Templates for After Reading
Template 1: Most Important Words

Template 2: Theme Chart

Template 3: Gist Statement and Brief Summary

Template 4: Noticing Text Structure and Genre

Template 5: Evidence From First Close Reading of a Text

Template 6: Paraphrase It!

Template 7: Words That Show Tone

Template 8: Looking Into Illustrations

Template 9: Viewing a Video

Template 10: Reading a Photograph

Template 11: Evaluating an Argument

Template 12: Reading and Evaluating a Primary Source

Template 13: Reading Like a Scientist

Template 14: Reading Like a Historian

Appendix IV. Websites for Short Texts
Appendix V. Bibliography of Picture Books for Close Reading
Works Cited


“It’s a comfort knowing that at last there’s a book about close reading that honors and respects the needs of teachers in the intermediate grades. You will read, dog ear pages, study the book with team members, and revisit and reread parts on your own. It is a must-have book for your professional library and for professional learning communities!”

Laura Robb, Author of Unlocking Complex Texts

“Nancy Boyles does a superb job of explaining close reading and when teachers should have students engage with it. Through the wealth of practical teaching ideas she offers herein, she reminds us that reading is purpose driven. . . . The result is that teachers and students alike understand when to read close and, as important, not so close!”

Michael F. Opitz, Coauthor of Good-bye Round Robin, Updated Edition

“This is the book you have been waiting for! With keen insight and explicit attention to detail, Nancy Boyles provides the resources you need, just when you need them. Closer Reading is a ‘must have’ for all literacy leaders, administrators, and teachers who want to see their students gain a deeper understanding of reading comprehension.”

Cathy Mastrianna, President,Connecticut Reading Association
Connecticut Reading Association

“Nancy Boyles’ Closer Reading, Grades 3-6, is my new ‘go-to’ book  for sorting through the myths, mystique, uncertainties, and questions surrounding the close reading of complex text and, more importantly, the positioning of readers, writers, learners, and teachers as they navigate close reading within and beyond  a standards-based curriculum.”

Jane Wellman-Little, President, New England Reading Association
New England Reading Association


 “Nancy’s ability to ‘sit on your shoulder’ as she guides you to understand the real meaning of close reading, choose appropriate text for an authentic purpose, and assess its effectiveness--all while building on our prior knowledge and affirming our passion and commitment to be better teachers--is like no other. . . This outstanding resource is a ‘must-have’ professional text.”

Barbara E. Mechler, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, New Fairfield, CT
New Fairfield, CT

“Dr. Nancy Boyles combines her vast knowledge of literacy, the Common Core Standards, and best practices for students as she guides our understanding of close reading: what it is, what it isn’t, and how to embed it into daily instruction. . . . This book is a treasure of knowledge and practical teaching practices that won’t collect dust on any shelf.”

Jen Tapia, Director of Professional Development, Aurora Public Schools, IL
Aurora Public Schools, IL

Excellent Text, would recommend it when course content centers around close reading only. The course I am teaching needed more variety in terms of meeting the CCSS.

Mrs Kelly True
Grad/Continuing Ed/Professional Dev, Framingham State University
August 10, 2014
Key features

The book is broken down into three parts:

  • Part I gives readers a clear definition of close reading & why it's important
  • Part II is full of resources for how to teach students to read closely including a tool to determine text complexity, mini-lessons, and study questions at the end of each chapter
  • Part III puts all of the information into context and includes 10 easy steps to implement close reading in the classroom, resources, and short & long term goals

Appendices also include important features:

  • a list of short texts sorted by category and grade level to use in the classroom for close reading
  • Samples of close reading lessons for both small groups and the whole class
  • Annotated list of websites for short text resources

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ISBN: 9781483304403

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