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A Close Look at Close Reading: Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Texts, Grades 6–12


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The Common Core State Standards have put close reading in the spotlight as never before. While middle and high school teachers want and need students to connect with, analyze, and learn from both literary and informational texts, many are unsure how to foster the skills students must have in order to develop deep and nuanced understanding of complicated content. Is there a process to follow? How is close reading different from shared reading and other common literacy practices? How do you prepare students to have their ability to analyze complex texts measured by high-stakes assessments? And how do you fit close reading instruction and experiences into an already crowded curriculum?

Table of contents

Understanding and Evaluating Text Complexity

Understanding the Role of the Close Reader

Planning, Teaching, and Managing Close Reading

Reading Closely Across the Disciplines

Supporting Academic Communication About Closely Read Texts

About the authors

Barbara Moss, PhD, is a professor of literacy education at San Diego State University, where she teaches both preservice and graduate courses in literacy education. During her long career in the public schools, she taught reading or English language arts at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. In addition, she worked as a reading specialist, a reading supervisor, and a high school literacy coach. She has worked as a university professor in both Ohio and California. Her research interests focus on children's literature in the classroom, especially informational texts, disciplinary literacy, and teacher implementation of instructional strategies. Moss has published widely in literacy journals including The Reading Teacher, The Journal of Literacy Research, and Reading and Writing Quarterly, and regularly presents at professional conferences. She has authored, co-authored, or edited numerous books on topics including independent reading, classroom strategies for teaching informational texts, new literacies, and children's nonfiction trade books.

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Instructional Strategies

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