Teaching through Close Reading: Historical and Informational Texts

Tuesday, April 9, 2013
10:00 am - 11:30 am (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Lucinda MacKethan
Professor of English, Emerita, North Carolina State University
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

The 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 This seminar will address those questions by analyzing historical documents and what the Standards call “informational texts,” including Common Core exemplar texts.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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Assigned Readings

  1. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself, by Frederick Douglass.
  2. "Mother Tongue," by Amy Tan.
  3. "From Good to Great," by Jim Collins.
  4. "FedViews," by Eric T. Swanson, January 12, 2012.

Seminar Recording