Culminate a Close Reading with a Writing Task
Students’ reading comprehension is often assessed through their writing. Thus, after pouring over a passage, digging into its deeper meanings, and engaging in a close reading, conclude the experience with a writing task that assesses students’ new understanding of the text, topic, and/or author. Such a culminating task mirrors the requirements on standardized assessments. These tests expect students to use the information learned from the reading.
When determining the written task, consider the one that best assesses the targeted reading and writing standards.
- READING STANDARDS: The written response should focus on the reading comprehension standard(s) that were utilized within the close-reading questions and class discussions. Many of the thoughts and annotations made during the reading are used in the after-reading writing task. These become the evidence that supports their thinking.
- WRITING STANDARDS: Since the written response can generate a persuasive/argumentative, informative/expository, or a narrative, consider the mode emphasized within the writing curriculum. Craft a writing task that has students generate a product that coincides with the genre they have been learning as writers.
Three common after-reading writing tasks include the Literary Analysis, Research Writing, and Narrative Writing.
Within a literary analysis, readers study, compare, and/or evaluate an author’s craft. After closely reading excerpts in literature, students might analyze some of the literary devices (e.g., irony, satire, figurative language, etc.). Or, perhaps they are evaluating the author perspectives or text structures of multiple informational texts.
NOTE: Introduce the literary-analysis task after reading one text before asking students to juggle multiple passages.
A literary analysis task can follow a close reading of one or more passages. However, the research-writing task can only be assigned as a reading task if students have read two or more informational texts.
After closely reading multiple nonfiction texts, students are asked to utilize information from all the sources. They are not summarizing the texts, but rather synthesizing the information. Depending on how the prompt is worded, this synthesis can generate a persuasive/argumentative response or an informative one.
After teaching story elements in reading and writing, then a narrative-writing task is a logical choice. After closely reading literature, the prompt may require students to rewrite the original story/scene from another point of view, insert the missing piece, or tell what will likely happen in the sequel.