Close Reading Lesson Plan for Middle School

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson plan, the teacher introduces students to strategies for close reading and big picture reading. Students practice using close reading strategies while reading a narrative text.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define close reading and big picture reading
  • list strategies for close reading and big picture reading
  • effectively use close reading strategies to analyze a fiction text


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone

Materials Needed

  • Projector or SMART Board to project the lesson video
  • The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (1 copy per student) or photocopies of the chapter to be examined (so that the copies can be highlighted and annotated.)
  • Photograph of a field of sunflowers
  • Close-up photograph of a sunflower
  • Various colored highlighters for each student


  • This lesson will use examples from the book, The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman to model the questioning and thought processes involved in close reading. You can adapt these same strategies to any text.
  • Students should have already read the text that you plan to discuss in your close reading lesson. In this example lesson, students have read Chapter 1 of The Book Scavenger.
  • Show students a photograph of a field of sunflowers. Ask them to think of that as the 'big picture;' where they can look at the whole all field all at once.

Relate a field of sunflowers to the big picture.

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