The Close Reading Protocol strategy asks students to carefully and purposefully read and reread a text. When students “close read,” they focus on what the author has to say, what the author’s purpose is, what the words mean, and what the structure of the text tells us. This approach ensures that students really understand what they’ve read. We ask students to carefully investigate a text in order to make connections to essential questions about history, human behavior, and ourselves. Skillful close reading is also an important foundation for helping students develop the ability to justify their claims in class discussions and writing assignments with specific evidence. A typical close reading activity uses some or all of the steps in the procedure below.
You can prepare some questions, use the essential questions from the classroom, or have students themselves create the questions for a discussion. To do this, you might guide the students by asking them to find connections between the essential questions and the text or to write questions based on what resonates with them.
By reading diary entries of a girl living in the Łódź ghetto, students consider the effects of hunger and deprivation on the bodies, minds, and spirits of those who lived in ghettos.
Through a close reading of diary entries, students consider how terror and intimidation shaped the experience of Jews living under German occupation.
Through a close reading of diary entries, students learn about the intellectual and cultural life of young people living in the Vilna ghetto during the Holocaust.
Students reflect on how one young man drew on religion to understand the persecution he faced during the Holocaust.