For several years now, teachers of all levels have made close reading a point of emphasis. Teachers, across disciplines, have urged students to circle, underline, and mark up the text. By having students close read texts, students will, theoretically, read deeper, understand greater, and collaborate and communicate better.
Because teachers are inclined to hold students accountable for all activities and assignments, texts are collected and students earn points for showing their close reading. There is a systemic flaw in this process however. You and I can “read” a text, underline, circle, and highlight without having read the text at all, much less understand it.
We want students to read for deeper understanding, not for points.
A simple solution is to have students Question-Comment-(and) Connect – QC² – with the text. When students underline, circle, highlight, or do whatever they do to mark up the text, they should be asking a question, writing a comment, or making a connection. Students can record their questions, comments and connections in the margins of the text.
Our students will read deeper, comprehend broadly, and be empowered to collaborate and communicate profoundly. After all, these are the skills we want our students to possess when they leave our classroom.