Supports for Close Reading

When it comes to students reading challenging texts, having the right support can make the difference between giving up and persisting.  

Built-in supports for middle and high school readers      

  • Primary documents have been modified or adapted to balance authenticity and challenge with accessibility for readers at the middle school level

  • Embedded glossaries help students build academic vocabulary and understand challenging historical terms

  • Context slides help provide the background knowedge students need to understand and contextualize the documents

Questions and prompts that model historical reading

Text-specific questions for each document help students read like historians. Over time, students develop these habits of mind: 

  • Sourcing – asking when a document was written, who wrote it and why, who the audience was, etc.

  • Contextualizing – thinking about was going on at the time a document was created and how this influenced the document – and vice versa

  • Reading closely – noticing a document’s structure and language and how each shapes it’s meaning

  • Gathering evidence – finding textual support for the author's position or claims

  • Stating the big idea – identifying an important idea in the document and finding the evidence for it

Close reading with Zoom In Glossary feature

Testimonials topcopy


“The guiding questions are great! [Students] have to research, find, and formulate their answers based on the documents. Many were surprised that they could actually write as much as they did when it all came together at the end of the lesson.”

Lori Drouhard Jr., High School Social Studies Teacher, Kansas