Close Reading: Reading Through Character Emotion
Students will be able to use close reading strategies to read across a text and use character emotions to develop a theory about the character.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- As a class, review what the students have learned about close reading. If this is an introduction to the concept, start by defining the term close reading.
- Ask students how they would define close reading. Allow different students to explain in their own words what close reading is.
- Once students have answered, explain that close reading is reading through a “lens” to focus on one aspect of the book. For example, during the last lesson, the class read through the lens of emotion.
- Explain that reading through a lens helps students better understand and analyze different texts.
- Tell the class that today, they will be reading through a lens of character emotions. Activate prior knowledge with discussion questions, such as: What do character emotions refer to?
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)
- Review with the class what a close reader looks like. Explain that when a close reader tackles a book, they read through a certain lens, and use these lenses to find patterns. These patterns help readers develop a new understanding of the text.
- Remind students of how to use close reading strategies in context, specifically focusing on emotion.
- Tell the students that today, they will be reading The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Read The Other Side together as a class.
- While listening to the book, stop at places where the characters show emotion through action.
- Ask the class about what they can infer about how a character feels, based on what he or she is doing in the story.
Independent Working Time (15 minutes)
- Finish reading the book aloud. After you finish reading the book aloud, pass out copies of the book to every student.
- Ask each student to find a partner to work with. Alternatively, you can assign partners.
- Instruct each team to work together and highlight places in the book where the characters show emotion.
- Walk around and monitor the students as they work in partnerships. While walking around, take note of what the students are doing well so that you can refer to those students when you return to the whole group.
- Come back together as a class, and fill out the Close Reading Chart.
- Review places where the students found the emotions.
- As a class come up with patterns.
- Come up with new understandings.
- Enrichment: Students who need more of a challenge should use their own reading books to fill out the chart with examples of character emotions. Be sure to give students some scaffolding to help them understand the difference between character emotions and character actions.
- Support: Arrange students in a small group. Walk through how to use the chart with their individual texts and find one example as a group to help the students start.
- Use an interactive whiteboard (or similar device) to project samples of the book for the class.
Related Books and/or Media
- Falling in Love with Close Reading by Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Ask students follow-up questions to assess their understanding of reading through the lens of character actions.
- Some possible assessment questions include: What patterns did you observe with character actions? What did you notice with the pictures that helped you determine the characters actions? What do the actions of the character tell you about the character? What do you learn about the character through their actions?
- To assess whether or not students understand how to read through the lens of character emotion, consider asking questions like: What do you notice about how the characters act? How do these actions tell you about their emotion?
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Review the lesson with the students. Good points to review include how close readers read through specific lenses.
- Describe how students can determine character emotion through the actions of characters. Give students a few examples of key words and phrases from the text that point out a character’s emotions.
- Encourage the class to practice close reading while they read for fun.