When it comes to literacy instruction, the goal is to create well-developed readers and writers. Though there are many ways to do so, one way to reinforce key reading skills is to incorporate the practice of close reading. By definition, close reading is a practice to support strong reading comprehension by requiring a deep analysis of complex texts to uncover meaning. Close reading may help students expand their vocabulary and build background knowledge, making them feel more prepared to encounter new, more complex texts. If this approach sounds like something your class could benefit from practicing, then we have a solution we’d like to recommend- Raz-Plus. Equipped with Close Read Passages, Raz-Plus provides students and educators around the world with the support they need to easily implement close reading practices in the classroom.
Why Close Reading Matters
As an educator, you are probably aware that reading comprehension is something that is essential to becoming a successful reader, but did you know that it is closely tied to a few other skills? Cognitive science shows that reading comprehension aids with the expansion of one’s vocabulary and an increase in background knowledge on high-interest topics, such as science or social studies. As students build vocabulary skills, they will feel more comfortable to approach more challenging texts about varying topics, determine the meaning of new or unknown words, make cross-curricular connections, and acquire in-depth knowledge about the world. Close reading activities such as those included in the Close Read Passages available in Raz-Plus aim to provide new ways for students to engage with the text that allow them to acquire new vocabulary related to the content and topics about which they are reading.
The Benefits of Using Close Read Passages
Whether you are encouraging students to annotate excerpts from the text or tasking them with summarizing the text, close reading activities such as these are extremely beneficial when it comes to uncovering new layers of meaning and building a strong foundation for the development of proficient readers. Raz-Plus, our comprehensive solution for K-5 literacy instruction, is an example of a solution built to support close reading and its many facets. The first facet we would like to discuss is topic exploration.
The Close Read Passages included in Raz-Plus offer brief, high-interest passages that are intended to build knowledge while appealing to subjects your students know and love. Most topics align with both state and national standards and include a range of fiction and non-fiction selections. The wide variety of topics offered include, but are not limited to:
- Social Studies
- Social-Emotional Learning
Designed to help students increase understanding, each passage includes 2-4 pages of text that includes high-level vocabulary related to that particular topic.
Helping Students Gain a Deeper Understanding
Included in the Raz-Plus Close Read Passages is a Close Read Question guide. Within this guide you will find scaffolded questions to help you guide students through the close reading process. As students answer the questions during and after reading the text, they’ll unlock deeper meanings of layers of the text, helping them achieve the reading comprehension many educators seek. Created to support whole class, small group, and individual reading practice, Raz-Plus is a great resource to walk students through close reading practices successfully.
Building the Foundation for Lifelong Learners
The Close Read Passages available within Raz-Plus are the perfect companion on the pursuit of lifelong literacy skills. Outside of engaging students further in the act of reading, resources such as the Close Read Passages truly equip students with the skills they need to dissect the text in ways that open up new, exciting doors for future education and beyond. If you are currently considering implementing research-based close reading practices in your classroom, we highly recommend you consider Raz-Plus.
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Wexler, Natalie. The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System-- And How To Fix It. Avery, an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020.