Lesson Plan

Three Times a Charm! Close Reading with Annotations

In fifth grade, students are expected to analyze complex texts on a deeper level. Teach your students to use close reading strategies, like rereading and annotation symbols, to dive deeper into fictional texts.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea and Details in Fiction pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Main Idea and Details in Fiction pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to use the close reading strategy to understand a text more deeply.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Response to LiteratureClose Reading ChecklistClose Reading AnnotationsThe Story of the Amulet
  • Show students an unfamiliar image for 10 seconds, like Norman Rockwell's At the Vet's. Then hide the image and ask students to tell you about what they saw. Call on several students to share and urge them to share as many details as they can recall. Prompt them with additional questions, like "How many dogs were in the waiting room?"
  • Show the same image again, but for a longer period of time (about one minute). Hide the image and again call on students to share what they saw.
  • Ask students to reflect on the experience of recalling details with the following questions:
    • "What did you notice the first time you looked at the image?"
    • "How did it feel to look at it again a second time?"
    • "What would happen if you looked at it again?"
  • Explain that this exercise was much like reading. When we read a text one time, we get a big picture, but we don't notice all the details. When we read something more than one time, we begin to notice more about the text.
  • Tell students that today they will practicing a skill called close reading, which is a strategy that allows readers to develop a deep understanding of a text by rereading, making notes, and analyzing details and patterns.
  • Explain that they will be reading a text three times, with a specific focus each time they read. In addition, they will be making notes as they read using annotation symbols which will help them mark important words and ideas they want to remember.


  • Provide sentence frames to encourage student participation in the class discussion (e.g., "When I looked at the image, I noticed...").


  • Offer student-friendly definitions for unfamiliar terms like "analyze" and "annotation."