Close reading is deep reading, and it plays a crucial role in comprehension. I wanted to do close reading with my sixth graders, but couldn't find anything to guide my middle-schoolers through the process while holding them accountable. Everything I found was more elementary-based and very teacher-led. SO...I made my own, and it has worked perfectly...they love it!
First, a few volunteers are chosen (by the teacher) to be group leaders. Next the group leader chooses an article or short story, and the teacher makes enough copies of the article for group members. (This is done the week prior to starting). Students then sign up for a group based on what they want to read that week--not based on who is in the group. Throughout the week, the groups read their articles and complete this MIDDLE SCHOOL CLOSE READING STUDENT GUIDE.
The guide is set up so that the students know exactly what to do. They read the article at least three times and complete each section as they go, working together and discussing their ideas. They can choose to read it aloud together, taking turns (paragraph by paragraph), or "popcorn" reading.
Skills/concepts covered include: vocabulary in context, identifying central (main) idea/details and theme, identifying text features/author's craft, and text connections/big questions.
The guides are due at the end of the week for a group reading grade. I also evaluate individual students by observation throughout the week for participation points. This close read activity has been a success in my classroom and my students love it. Since they are involved in choosing their text, they read with more interest and have taken ownership of it. I have found that THEY are finally working harder than I am. I am there to facilitate, but I am not in charge of their group..they are! I hope you find this resource as valuable as I have, and have fun watching them grow as readers.