Common Core Spotlight

Close-Reading Scope’s Narrative Nonfiction:
A Great New Activity

You’ve probably heard the buzz about “close reading” and Common Core. In fact, close and reading are among the very first words of the very first group of anchor standards in the Standards: “Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” (Anchor Standard for Reading No. 1)

Many of our activities—such as our critical-thinking questions and our popular “Read, Think, Explain”—include questions that facilitate deep reading and emphasize the use of text evidence. But we also wanted to give you a set of questions designed specifically for group reading and discussion. So, drumroll, please: Here is our very first close-reading activity, for use with this issue’s narrative nonfiction article, “The Burning Town.”

These text-based questions will guide your students to a deeper understanding of the story—and give them a lot more confidence in their nonfiction-reading skills. They will uncover layers of meaning, analyze the author’s purpose, trace arguments, and reflect on how individual sentences and sections contribute to the larger work. We recommend that you use these questions as students read the article a second time (the first read should be for basic comprehension), for either whole-class or small-group discussion.

Editor’s Tip: An important goal of close reading is to give students the ability to ask these kinds of questions on their own. After working through our close-reading questions for “The Burning Town,” challenge your students to generate their own questions for another Scope story.

Your students will:

Common Core ELA Anchor Standards this activity supports:
R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R10, W2, W4, W9, SL1, L3, L4, L6

Find additional activity sheets supporting the paired texts on our Quizzes and Activities page.

More Common Core Resources:
To learn how the rest of the May 6, 2013, issue supports the Common Core State Standards, see pages T2–T3 of your Teacher’s Edition, or click here.

To learn more about how Scope helps with the Common Core and to explore our awesome collection of Common Core resources, click here.

Have a question or a comment about this activity? E-mail Editor Kristin Lewis at

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