Teaching Students to Close Read… When you can’t mark the text!

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Teaching Students to Close Read-2

Hello there!

After I posted my lesson on Close Reading and annotating the text a couple of weeks ago, I’ve received quite a few e-mails requesting pictures of the OTHER side of the bookmark: Using sticky notes to Close Read.

Click to download free bookmarks.

Here’s the DL…

I had my sixth grade students cut the sticky notes into 3 pieces, and they used them throughout Chapter Six of The Hidden Girl.

Don’t forget that the “key terms or main ideas” to look for need to be specifically set by the teacher! I sent my students in search of evidence of the theme since that’s the standard we’re learning this week. We learned about the author’s viewpoint last week, which students found evidence of on the pink stickies.

Slide53My students love to stay organized, so many of them placed the cut colored sticky notes over the corresponding part of the bookmark.

Slide61After we finished reading, students used the close reading stickies (focusing on blue and pink) and their TBE sentence starters to write a paragraph providing evidence of theme along with summarizing the viewpoint of the author.


I recently began using this strategy with 5th grade students as we read “The Giver”. We read each chapter 2 times. With shorter text, we may read 3, 4, or even 5 times, but I just don’t have enough instructional time to read each chapter more than twice. Students do reread certain parts of the books multiple times.

The first time they read the chapter, they use the post-it note strategy. The parts that they mark with yellow (I don’t understand), we use the next day to dig deeper into the text. I usually collect them and choose 4 parts to share with the class. The class goes to each of these parts, rereads, and comes up with a sentence explaining what the phrase or sentence means. I usually look for confusing parts of the book instead of just words they don’t know. After each group shares what they think it means, we all come together as a class to write an improved explanation. This allows for students to dig deeper into those hard to understand parts of each chapter.

For the second read of the chapter, students are answering open-ended questions. I use the ones from The Giver student booklets, because it’s easy for the students to take out their booklets and get straight to it. They provide text-based evidence when answering questions, which has them going back to the text and reading those difficult parts again. Check out {this free lesson} to teach students how to provide text-based evidence using mentor text.

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You can download the double-sided bookmarks for free by clicking the image below!

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Related Resources

3rd grade interactive notebook

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Written by
April Smith