What is Close Reading? Is It Helpful?

Close Reading
Academic experts have described close reading as the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of a text. Close reading stresses on the single and the particular over the general, affected by close attention to individual words, the syntax, the order in which the sentences unfold ideas, as well as formal structures.

Close reading is an uber-strategy that enables students to independently comprehend the increasingly challenging texts in today’s competitive world. Students need to understand and develop the habits of mind and the skills necessary to unpack the deep, embedded meanings found in complex, challenging texts to get ready for college and the upcoming professional career. Close reading is taken to be beneficial for readers, especially students who must focus on their books and literature to know what precious information they contain and how to interpret it.

When you close read a text, you observe the facts and details about the content. You may focus on a particular passage or the text as a whole. You might be aiming to notice all the striking features of the text, including rhetorical features, structural elements, cultural references; or you may only notice selected features of the text such as oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references. Regardless of the way you do it or what you see, making observations and understanding the particulars is the most essential element of close reading.

The second step in close reading is interpreting your observations or understanding what you have gathered from the text. Moving from the observation of particular facts and details to a conclusion, or interpretation, or observations is also known as inductive reading. Just like inductive reasoning, close reading requires the careful gathering of data or observations. It also focuses on thinking about what these details add up to and how they can be used for further processing of knowledge. Close reading has also been analyzed as:
  • The ability to understand the general content of a text even when you do not understand every word or concept in it
  • The ability to recognize and point out the techniques that writers are using to get their ideas and feelings across and to explain how they work
  • The ability to judge if the techniques the writer has used were a success or a failure
  • The ability to compare and contrast the successes and failures of different writers’ techniques

What you need to remember about close reading is that its goal is to closely analyze the material and explain why details are significant. It is necessary to keep in mind that close reading does not try to summarize the author’s main points. On the other hand, it focuses on ‘picking apart or examining’ and closely looks at the argument the author has presented and makes out why it is interesting or if it manages to deliver the right message.

How Close Reading Helps In Better Understanding Literature:

To understand what close reading really is and how it helps students and readers understand a text or piece of literature better, it is necessary to see how it differs from other reading instructions. More important, how close reading takes place and what makes the process easy. Discussed here are some effective ways for close reading that help to develop an interest in text and make it more comprehendible.

A Careful Reading Of The Text:

Carefully going through the text is very important for close reading. You must take notes as you read and mark anything that seems relevant or interesting or even if you cannot understand it. Ask yourself how the language and argument have been used, make notes on your observation of the text, pay attention to the language and see how the author has explained the facts, details, and evidence. After going through the entire text, return to the sections you have marks for repeated themes, words, or patterns. Close reading often focuses on one example of a theme or pattern to study its significance in depth.

Text Analysis:

According to experts of dissertation writing services, analysis of the text is very important for close reading and desired results. You can start by coming up with answers to the question that the author has raised. You must find out the type of words that have been used, the words that have been repeated to see what they are trying to emphasize, the adjectives that have been used, what they described and how the passages are connected, and what meaning do they impart. Look up the meaning of unfamiliar words and try to find out what these words or phrases are trying to tell you.

Come Up With Your Thesis:

Once you are done with analyzing the text, use your observations to come up with a thesis. You could argue that the text uses short, simple sentences, or that it is using irony or a combination of these things. In the thesis, you should focus on summarizing the observations you have made about HOW language is has been used in this passage and what you make of it. To come up with final observations, make sure to go through the text several times to know what it is all about and to analyze it most accurately.

Create An Argument About The Text:

After getting an idea of how language has been used in the passage, it is time to connect it with the argument and see what the author is saying and why this language is being used. This step is crucial for close reading as you cannot observe literature unless you understand the central idea or the main focus that the writer is working on.

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Close reading is all about determining what the text says, argue how the text works, and analyzes and compares the text. It helps the readers to notice everything about the text that contributes to its meaning and interest factor and think about what this message this text is imparting. Reading to determine what the text actually says is an essential reading habit that supports initial text comprehension, and close reading focuses on fostering this idea. As they begin to read, students can learn from and even use digital technologies and writing activities to make the most of close reading.


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