Close Reading - Fruitport Blogs

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Close Reading
Develop an understanding
of a text based on
1. the words themselves
2. the larger idea the words suggest
Writing about Close Reading
It’s different than reading closely…..
• Start with larger meaning you’ve discovered
THEN
• Use the small details (the language itself) to
support your interpretations
Style
• Tone
• Sentence Structure
• Vocabulary
See what I mean in this example.
And there, at last, I got my ticket to the disaster.
I could see not just into the pit now, but also its access ramp, which trucks had
been traveling up and down since I had arrived that morning. Gathered along
the ramp were firefighters in their black helmets and black coats. Slowly they
lined up, and it became clear that this was an honor guard, and that someone's
remains were being carried up the ramp toward the open door of an
ambulance.
Everyone in the dining room stopped eating. Several people stood up, whether
out of respect or to see better, I don't know. For a moment, everything paused.
Then the day flowed back into itself. Soon I was outside once more, joining
the tide of people washing around the site. Later, as I huddled with a little
crowd on the viewing platform, watching people scrawl their names or write
''God Bless America'' on the plywood walls, it occurred to me that a form of
repopulation was taking effect, with so many visitors to this place, thousands
of visitors, all of us coming to see the wide emptiness where so many were
lost. And by the act of our visiting -- whether we are motivated by curiosity or
horror or reverence or grief, or by something confusing that combines them all
--that space fills up again
Now…
Read the following questions,
and then read it again
looking for the answers.
Questions on Paragraph
 Why is the first paragraph one sentence?
 In that paragraph, why does Berne call the empty
space “the disaster”?
 Why does the third sentence begin with “Gathered”
rather than “Firefighters”?
 What examples of figurative language appear in the
fourth paragraph?
 Does the word huddled in the fourth paragraph remind
you of anything else you’ve read?
 What is the effect of the dashes in the final sentence?
And there, at last, I got my ticket to the disaster.
I could see not just into the pit now, but also its access ramp, which trucks had
been traveling up and down since I had arrived that morning. Gathered along
the ramp were firefighters in their black helmets and black coats. Slowly they
lined up, and it became clear that this was an honor guard, and that someone's
remains were being carried up the ramp toward the open door of an
ambulance.
Everyone in the dining room stopped eating. Several people stood up, whether
out of respect or to see better, I don't know. For a moment, everything paused.
Then the day flowed back into itself. Soon I was outside once more, joining
the tide of people washing around the site. Later, as I huddled with a little
crowd on the viewing platform, watching people scrawl their names or write
''God Bless America'' on the plywood walls, it occurred to me that a form of
repopulation was taking effect, with so many visitors to this place, thousands
of visitors, all of us coming to see the wide emptiness where so many were
lost. And by the act of our visiting -- whether we are motivated by curiosity or
horror or reverence or grief, or by something confusing that combines them all
--that space fills up again
What TWO categories do the
questions from the last page fit into?
 Why is the first paragraph one sentence?
 In that paragraph, why does Berne call the empty
space “the disaster”?
 Why does the third sentence begin with “Gathered”
rather than “Firefighters”?
 What examples of figurative language appear in the
fourth paragraph?
 Does the word huddled in the fourth paragraph remind
you of anything else you’ve read?
 What is the effect of the dashes in the final sentence?
Ahhh yes,
• Word choice (diction)
• Word arranging (syntax)
Infested
or filled?
Test this out…
The room was infested with women.
What picture does this create in your mind?
How does the speaker of this line feel? How
would it change your response if the lines was…
The room was stocked with women.
OR
The room was congested with women.
OR
The room was clogged with women.
OR
The room was impregnated with women.
OR
The room was abounding with women.
Common Diction Questions:
• Which of the important words in the passage
(verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs) are
general and abstract? Which are specific and
concrete?
• Are the important words formal, informal,
colloquial, or slang?
• Are some words nonliteral or figurative,
creating figures of speech such as metaphor?
Common Syntax Questions:
• What is the order of the parts of the sentence? Is it
the usual SVO or is it inverted?
• Which part of speech is more prominent – nouns or
verbs?
• What are the sentences like? Are they periodic
(moving toward something important at the end) or
cumulative (adding details that support an important idea
in the beginning of the sentence)?
• How does the sentence connect its words, phrases, and
clauses?
Sometimes Style is referred to as
Schemes and Tropes
• Schemes are artful syntax such as parallelism,
juxtaposition, antithesis
• Tropes are artful diction such as metaphor,
simile, personification, hyperbole
Analyzing Style
• Style is a subset of rhetoric. It is also a means
of persuasion.
• There are three different methods to
analyzing style:
– Annotation
– Dialectical Journal
– Graphic Organizer
Annotation
Annotating a Text
1. Pick up a pencil, a pen, or a post-it.
2. Read everything at least twice.
– The first time, read quickly to get a sense of what the text is about.
– The second and subsequent times read carefully.
– Mark anything that you think is:
•
•
•
•
A. confusing,
B. interesting
C . surprising, or
D . important.
– Mark anything that is unfamiliar and keep going.
3. Begin to annotate.
• A. Circle, underline, or stick on a post-it for important ideas and
explain their significance.
• B. Mark repetitions or rhetorical signals.
• C . Circle confusing words or phrases. Define from context or
dictionary if possible .
• D . Note passages that seem inconsistent.
• E. Note passages that generate a strong positive or negative
response .
4. Write questions where you made annotations. These questions can
be for the instructor to answer, for the class to discuss, for you to use
– in future writing assignments , or for you to keep as a reminder
of what you were thinking.
5. Think about the connections between this text and other texts you
have read, information from other classes, and personal experiences.
In addition
• Identify main ideas (thesis statements, topic sentences)
• Identify words, phrases, or sentences that appeal to
you
• Identify words, phrases, or sentences that you don’t
understand
• Look for figures of speech or tropes such as metaphors,
similes, and personification
• Look for imagery and detail
• Note juxtapositions
• Ask questions
• Comment on what you have read
• Write down what the voice in your head is saying
Example
Another Example
Hints for using Annotation
• Use sticky notes if you can’t write in text
Dialectical Journal (double-entry
notes)
• Columned to help visually represent the
conversation between the text and the reader
• Answer what effect the writer is striving for
• Answer how the effect serves the author’s
purpose
• Break into small sections to analyze specific
word and sentence choices
Dialectical Journal
Note Taking
Pa
ra.
Note Making
Dialectical Journal
Another Example
Graphic Organizer
•
•
•
•
Use paragraph divisions to divide text for you
Takes much time to complete, BUT…
Gives great deal of information to analyze
Divide as you (or Mrs. Grimm) see fit 
Graphic Organizer
Rhetorical Strategy or Effect or Function
Style Element
Homework

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