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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2: Close reading

Close reading of selected texts to explore the language used to describe characters, settings, problems and solutions. Focus on:

  •  What happened?
  •  What happened first? next? last? etc.
  •  Why did it happen?
  •  What words were used to describe the action?


  •  Where did the story take place?
  •  What was the setting?
  •  Can you picture the setting in your mind?
  •  When did the story take place?
  •  What words were used to describe the setting?


  •  Who were the main characters?
  •  What do you think they looked like?
  •  What words were used to describe each character?
  •  How would you describe the nature of each character?


  •  How did the story begin?
  •  What was the lead sentence?
  •  Did it "hook" you in to the story?
  •  What was the problem?
  •  How was the problem resolved?

Students and teacher select an extract from a narrative they have read and enjoyed. In small groups they read this aloud and talk about why this extract was chosen to share. It is sometimes beneficial to have boys and girls working in gender groupings as boys are more likely to contribute to discussions about books that interest them.

Develop charts which describe:

  •  Characters
  •  Settings
  •  Plot
  •  Problem and resolution

Continue to add to these charts throughout the unit (provides a very good basis for students when they write in narrative form).

Published on: 25 Apr 2009