Professor of English, Emerita, North Carolina State University
National Humanities Center Fellow
About the SeminarThe close reading of challenging primary documents is central to the Common Core State Standards, yet many teachers may be unfamiliar with close reading as an instructional practice. What is it? How does it facilitate the reading and understanding of diverse kinds of texts? How is it done? This two-part seminar will address those questions by analyzing poetry and fiction, historical documents, and what the Standards call “informational texts,” including Common Core exemplar texts. Among other topics it will examine how context, purpose, and point of view shape meaning; how an author structures a text and develops arguments; and how figurative language, strategic silences or gaps, and similar tools convey meaning.
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Online EvaluationOnline evaluation for seminar participants.
Online ForumEnter the seminar forum.
Assigned ReadingsTo incorporate seminar texts into your teaching, we offer the National Humanities Center’s Primary Document Application Form.
- "An Afghan farmer tills under his dreams for his son," by Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times,November 30, 2012.
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself," by Frederick Douglass.
- Walden; or, Life in the Woods, by Henry D. Throeau.
- "Mother Tongue," by Amy Tan.
- "The Darkness, Jackson, and Fear," by Bruce Catton.
- "From Good to Great," by Jim Collins.
- "FedViews," by Eric T. Swanson, January 12, 2012.