Close Reading & Text Dependent Questions

We all know that close reading is the buzz in education right now.  And I've read so many AMAZING blog posts about the whys and hows of close reading.  But I haven't read much about the text-dependent questions that are a MUST along with close reading.  So, since I've just finished reading Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts (Corwin Literacy) by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher, I'm going to post my quick thoughts about text-dependent questions. And I'd love to hear what you're doing or using for text dependent questions in the comments below.

So, here's the book I just mentioned.  I highly recommend it if you're interested in increasing the rigor of your shared reading time.

And, here are my take aways from the chapter on Text Dependent Questions.

Text Dependent Questions
“As part of every close reading, students should respond to text-dependent questions that require them to provide evidence from the text rather than solely from their own experience.”

-Rigorous Reading by Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher
1 The types of questions students are asked is very important!!  If students are asked only recall and recitation questions they will learn to read for only that type of information. If they are asked questions that require them to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate, they will learn to read more closely and actively engage with the text.  Requiring students to locate evidence within the text forces them to HAVE to read it.
2 There are several ways we as teachers can structure questions so that students have to return to the text to find evidence for their own responses.  * General Understanding questions get at the gist of the text (retelling, summarizing). * Key Details questions are often the who, what, where, when, why or how of the text.  * Vocabulary and Text Structure questions require students to consider the organization of the reading. * Author’s Purpose questions get at the genre of the text and the use of narration to help students make sense of what they are reading. * Inference questions push students to think about how the parts of a text build to a whole. * Opinions, Arguments and Intertextual Connections are used sparingly, after several readings, and should result in deep and engaging conversations and written responses.
3 Text Dependent Questions help give students a purpose for reading.  Most readers do not like to reread things a second or third time unless there is a specific reason for doing so. Reading a text more than once, and talking about a text with peers, will lessen the amount of instructional support needed by teachers before, during and after reading!!
4 Close reading is in part about discovering what the author meant and how to come to terms with the ideas in the text.  Text dependent questions help readers make these discoveries.

5 Combined with shared, collaborative and independent readings, close readings provide students the experiences they need to become skilled in analytic reading, a prerequisite for college and career success!

Currently, I'm using Scholastic News (purchased subscription), (FREE) and the passages from this 25 Complex Text Passages to Meet the Common Core: Literature and Informational Texts: Grade 5 (purchased by my district) as resources for close reading and text-dependent questions.  What are you using?


  1. Well, as soon as I can order that book, I will be using that! Also, I have access to the Read 180 Stretch Texts. Plus, we get the Scholastic magazines too.

  2. I am absolutely going to buy the Complex Text Passages book! This post was awesome! Thank you!!

    I use these and love that there is a nonfiction and fiction text on the same topic.

    Crofts' Classroom

    1. Tina, I hope you find the book helpful. It's definitely upped the rigor of close reading in my classroom!

  3. Thanks, Melissa. What a concise overview. It makes writing TDQ's easier when this info. is right in front of you. I usually create my own pieces or use items from my literature or social studies text.


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