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The Art of Close Reading (Part Two)

Linda Elder and Richard Paul

In the previous article we introduced the idea of close reading, which is reading with an emphasis on:

  • understanding your purpose in reading

  • understanding the author’s purpose in writing

  • seeing ideas in a text as being interconnected

  • looking for and understanding systems of meaning

In this article, we discuss the art of engaging a text while reading. To read closely, students must get beyond impressionist reading. They must come to see that simply deciphering words on a page and getting some vague sense of what is there does not translate into substantive learning. Instead, they must learn that to read well is to engage in a self-constructed dialog with the author of a text. Really good reading requires close reading. It requires one to formulate questions and seek answers to those questions while reading. It requires connecting new ideas to already learned ideas, correcting mistaken ideas when necessary. In other words, close reading requires....

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