Comprehension Skill Focus with Close Reads!

Hey there! I wanted to pop in and catch up with a little deeper knowledge about close reads!  The purpose of a close read is for students to gain an understanding of a book inside and out.  We have been made to believe that kids can get everything they need from a book after just one read….well maybe for those “high fliers” they can!  However, think about those kids in your classroom that are still processing the questions you asked three pages ago….when we pull out the text more than once EVERYONE gets a chance to fully understand the text, vocabulary, and skill focuses being covered.  There is absolutely no way that kids can have a FIRM understanding of vocabulary addressed in a book after one read. However, introduce, review, and add actions to vocabulary for 4+ days and they will have an understanding…a transparent understanding that they will use in their writing and conversations. <<<–THIS is what we are going for right?  Close reads really are not a change to what you are teaching just HOW you are teaching it! 
So, let’s talk comprehension!  I strive to meet the following ten comprehension skills in each close read.  However, there are a few that are not applicable with one another.  For example, when we are reading a nonfiction ponies book there won’t be characters… and you so on!

I have shared a sample close read map before, but below you will see how each of the sample close reads align to the above mention comprehension focuses.  If you have chosen your own close read texts you can easily align those texts to the above mentioned comprehension focuses…if the book is “meaty” enough.  You’ll notice that a lot of the books we are/have been reading to our kids are fun but can lack these comprehension focuses!  I have listed the ten comprehension focuses for each close read and if they are covered in that close read they will be underlined.  You can download the sample comprehension map by clicking below!

Also, if you use a literacy focus wall in your classroom you can download this freebie comprehension focus wall display!

And I will leave you with this powerful quote..I shared on Facebook, but it’s worth sharing twice! 🙂  Have a great week and I’ll be back soon! 🙂


  1. I am really interested in these close reads, however, I just started today introducing the parts of a book and the "babies" aren't ready for that. They were rolling on the floor as I was reading and I know what I was saying was over their heads. When discussing a book at a higher level, how do you handle those not ready for it?

    1. Hi there Lee Ann! I don't really consider it that I am presenting a book at a higher level…if anything I am bringing it down for the kids because I am giving them multiple opportunities to learn the information. The first day I read {Mondays} is for simple enjoyment…the next day we discuss the hard to understand vocabulary words. On third day is when I have students use their think-pair-share partners to get them talking about the book…if your kids aren't ready for that you could lead a whole-group conversation. If you have several that are not "getting" what you are reading to them then reading it more than once might just help! 🙂


    1. Hey there! Here is a list of the actions we are doing this week:

      Ripe- pretend to pull down an apple from a tree
      blossom- open hands like a flower blooming
      rot- blog nose and make a stinky face
      thud- make a fist into the other hand
      dribble- pretend bite from an apple and wipe the juice dribbling down

      nothing special but it works 🙂

  2. Hi, I just started implementing your Close Reading unit (bundled – I'm alternating fiction/nonfiction weekly) and it's been an awesome experience. My students are digging much deeper than before thanks to your guidance. It's a big change for them, but they are building their stamina to stick with it. I'm also interested in finding more ways to make vocabulary "stick," I'll be trying out the gestures! Thanks for such an amazing resource – I can't say enough wonderful things about it! Jen 🙂

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