Close Reading Strategies, Techniques, & Tips: A Practical Guide for High School

Rated 4.74 out of 5, based on 26 reviews
26 Ratings
Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
7 pages
Share this resource
Report this resource to TPT
Also included in
  1. Struggling to make your yearly plans for writing both practical and fun for your students? Students can be very resistant to writing instruction. Some are bored out of their minds by years of useless, monotonous exercises, and have stopped believing that they can actually learn to become better wri
    Price $64.97Original Price $120.61Save $55.64
  2. Worried that you’ll lose your chance to start the school year right this time? The first few weeks of school are crucial for your classes’ success throughout the year, and there is so much pressure to do it all: set the tone for your classroom; inspire students to work harder; establish rigor and e
    Price $25.97Original Price $50.74Save $24.77
  3. Want to empower your students to take charge of their own educations?So many short story resources involve nothing more than checking boxes or filling out pages of meaningless worksheets. This kind of busywork might seem convenient, but it doesn’t teach students any skills that they need. In fact, w
    Price $41.97Original Price $82.85Save $40.88
  4. Looking for an engaging and rigorous Short Fiction Unit 1 for your AP Literature curriculum? You’ll start your year off with a bang when your students explore these six high-interest stories about people choosing to do the wrong—or right?—thing. Based in the skills required in the AP Lit CED, this
    Price $19.97Original Price $29.76Save $9.79


Tired of useless close reading handouts that do nothing more than teach your students to hate literary analysis?

Simply instructing your classes to go through a checklist or point out literary elements doesn’t teach them any skills. In fact, if you teach the wrong kind of close reading lesson, you’ll discourage critical thinking and teach students that reading great literature is just about ticking off lists of literary devices. That kind of disempowering instruction creates a generation of passive learners who blindly believe that the teacher has all of the answers.

Honed over 16 years of teaching high school English, including AP literature, this guide is different from all of the other close reading handouts because it explains the process in a way that actually makes sense to students—and teachers. The explanations and handouts included in this resource will help you and your classes make sense of the close reading process so that your students will be able to take the lessons learned and apply them to any text.

Beyond teaching them to unpack and analyze, however, teaching them to read closely will teach them so much more. When you teach your students how to complete a close reading of a literary passage using this guide you will will:

  • Give your classes the skills and confidence they need to understand and explain a literary passage on a standardized test with little guidance or context.

  • Help your students to realize why it is essential to examine evidence before formulating ideas when they see how much better their ideas are when they follow this process.

  • Get your classes to appreciate how great writing is created by hard work and revision when they examine the intentional choices that writers make in creating meaning.

  • Help your students become less passive and more proactive in their own educations when they realize that they can find the answers independently.

After explaining the process to thousands of students, I have figured out how you can explain close reading in a way that makes sense to your students and gets them excited about analyzing literature. This close reading guide will empower your students to read a challenging text independently.

"I think that this guide will help my students to slow down and fully appreciate the details and subtle meanings in passages, as well as fully comprehend the bigger picture.”— Sheila H.

“I've been looking for a resource to explain close reading to my students. This is it. Thank you!”—Kristi M.

Total Pages
7 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
Report this resource to TPT
Reported resources will be reviewed by our team. Report this resource to let us know if this resource violates TPT’s content guidelines.


to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Questions & Answers


TPT empowers educators to teach at their best.

More About Us

Keep in Touch!

Sign Up