"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" by Nathaniel Hawthorne Close Reading Questions

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This editable 12-question close reading assessment promotes high-order analysis, active reading strategies in classroom and distance learning contexts, and preparation for ACT reading test question types (vocabulary-in-context questions, author's voice and method questions, main idea questions, and detail questions). A copy of "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a public domain text, is included, as is a detailed answer key.

With an estimated Lexile Measure of 1300-1400, this text and its corresponding active reading exercise are appropriate additions to a high school short story unit, especially at the 11th and 12th grade levels.

Materials are delivered as a Google Document.

By completing this activity, secondary students will demonstrate the following:

  • An ability to define complex words and phrases in context
  • An ability to analyze the text for literary devices such as foreshadowing and symbolism
  • An ability to draw reasonable inferences about characters in context
  • An ability to analyze and articulate character motivations
  • An ability to analyze the author's craft and articulate the significance of given details
  • An ability to find and articulate relevant textual details in support of a claim
  • An ability to articulate what the text indicates both explicitly and implicitly and provide textual evidence in support of answers
  • An ability to write with clarity and precision

This resource aligns well to Academic Literacy Project teaching principles and may serve as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students decode language and pose/respond to questions relating to plot, broad topics, and character development, demonstrating an ability to analyze how complex characters transform and advance the plot and themes by applying logic and citing compelling, meaningful textual evidence. They will also evaluate their peers' reasoning and use of rhetoric to advance claims, clarifying or challenging unclear ideas. Using this resource for structured guidance, students, ultimately, will present information, conclusions, and supporting textual evidence clearly, concisely, and appropriately, thereby helping their peers -- and teacher -- comprehend their thinking.

Click the PREVIEW icon to view the resource prior to purchasing.

This resource is available in a substantially discounted bundle of short story resources. Alternatively, it is available in another massively discounted bundle, which offers access to Google Document versions of more than 530 high school English materials.

Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


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