EL Support Lesson

Close Reading Strategy

This lesson teaches your students to pay attention to small words, such as adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, to make a big difference in reading comprehension! Use as a stand-alone lesson or as a pre-lesson for *Close Reading: Introduction*.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Close Reading: Introduction lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Close Reading: Introduction lesson plan.

Students will be able to understand that close reading is a strategy that helps them read with a focus in order to deepen comprehension.


Students will be able to describe story details with adjectives, adverbs, and verbs using cooperative learning groups.

(2 minutes)
  • Activate prior knowledge by asking students to think about what helps them focus when they read independently. Allow students time to think on their own before sharing with a partner. Then, have them share out as a group.
  • Share that readers sometimes lose focus when they are reading a text, and then they realize they don't understand the story. They missed important information because they were not paying attention. Explain that today's lesson will be about a strategy they can use that will help them focus and pick up on details that matter.
  • Go over the language objective and have students repeat it aloud.
(8 minutes)
  • Explain to students that there are some key terms they need to know in order to be successful in today's lesson. Display a list of the tiered vocabulary words, and ask students to rate their knowledge on a scale of 1 to 4 on each word. Explain the rating scale as follows:
    • 1 - I've never heard this word.
    • 2 - I've seen or heard this word before.
    • 3 - I think I know this word.
    • 4 - I know this word and can explain it.
  • Pass out a set of Vocabulary Cards to each student and go over the definition of each of the words. Give students time to sketch images that will help them remember the definitions. Allow students to talk to each other during this time to share ideas.
  • Model using the word "actual" in a sentence. For example, I saw an actual alligator walking on the street.
  • Put students into partnerships and have them work together to create sentences for the words expect and actual. Instruct each partner to write a sentence with one of the assigned words on their white boards.
  • Scramble partnerships and have students share their sentences with a new partner. Then, share out as a whole class.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that there are different types of words that authors use when writing. As readers, we need to pay close attention to these words so we can learn about the story.
  • Distribute a copy of the Adjectives and Adverbs and Verbs, Oh My! worksheet to each student, and review the information at the top. Share that these three parts of speech can give us a lot of information about characters, settings, and major events in a story. Provide more examples of adjectives, adverbs, and verbs in example sentences.
  • Guide students to complete the first two examples in part one of the worksheet. Identify the parts of speech of the words, and point out that the underlined words give you more information about the main character's feelings about getting a kitten. For example. say, "In the second sentence, it says that she wants an actual pet. That makes me think that she has had toy pets, but never a real pet."
  • Instruct students to work with a partner to complete the rest of the first part of the worksheet together. Go over the answers as a class, and then scramble the partnerships.
  • Explain the process for completing part two of the worksheet by modeling how to complete the first question. Show students that you need to identify an adjective to complete the sentence, and that you can use the information box at the top of the worksheet to remind yourself about adjectives.
  • Have the new partnerships complete the rest of the worksheet together, and go over the answers as a class. Call on nonvolunteers to share their answers. Ask the others to give a thumbs up or down to show whether they agree or disagree.
(12 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Close Reading in Fiction worksheet to each student. Explain that they are going to read a short fictional text to practice looking at the important adjectives, adverbs, and verbs that give us more information about the story. These words help us focus on the details in the text. The close reading strategy is the method that will help us focus on details and important information, which improves our reading comprehension. After sorting the words, they will use them to answer comprehension questions about the story.
  • Ask a volunteer to read the information at the top of the page to review the parts of speech.
  • Read aloud the text to the class, and have them circle any unknown words they wish to discuss. Offer definitions and clarification as needed.
  • Model sorting the first few words into the chart based on the part of speech, and engage learners to guide you in the next few. Then, put students into small groups and have them complete the remainder of part one of the worksheet. Go over the answers together. Be sure students' charts are correct before moving on to part two of the worksheet.
  • Show students how to answer the first question by using the chart as a Word Bank. Have learners complete the two remaining questions in their small groups. Call on nonvolunteers to share their answers to the sentence frames. Have them share by reading the completed sentence frame aloud. Ask the other students to give a thumbs up or down based on whether they agree or disagree.
  • Review that the strategy of close reading requires us to look at words, like adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, to better understand the story. By paying attention to these small words while close reading, we stay focused while reading and we learn a lot.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Partner ELs with students that will offer support during discussions and group work.
  • Ask ELs to verbally summarize information that was modeled before moving on to student practice.


  • Allow learners to utilize a glossary, thesaurus, and dictionary for help with unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Ask advanced ELs to add on, rephrase, or clarify what their peers say in class discussion.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student and instruct them to write their names on them for the Exit Ticket.
  • Ask students to respond to the following question: "How do adjectives, adverbs, and verbs help you as a reader?"
  • Provide a sentence frame for students to use as they answer the Exit Ticket question, such as: "Adjectives, adverbs, and verbs help me because..."
(3 minutes)
  • Put students into partnerships and instruct them to share their answers from the Exit Ticket. Then, call on nonvolunteers to share their answers with the whole class.
  • Remind learners that we pay attention to small words when reading to help us better understand what we read.

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