Close Reading: A Cautionary Interpretation


  • Kathleen A. Hinchman,

  • David W. Moore


Implementation of Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts across most of the United States has yielded the rapid creation of new, interconnected literacy assessments, curriculum guidelines, instructional materials, teacher preparation programs, teacher evaluation systems, and professional development. This essay explores two researchers' concerns about instructional recommendations for teaching students how to engage in close reading, a key construct underlying these Standards.

Meant to encourage and inform educators' exercise of professional judgment in planning instruction, the essay summarizes explicit and implied shifts in literacy instruction that are suggested by the new standards, examines various competing interpretations of close reading and close reading instruction, and offers research-based instructional recommendations to enable youth to complete close reading tasks effectively, rather than distancing them further from the literacies needed to fulfill their lives.