How to dig deeper when analyzing short stories with close reading

Nicole at Apple Tree Resources
How to dig deeper when analyzing short stories with close reading

What is close reading and how can you make it work in your classroom? In this episode, I answer those questions by sharing reading strategies that will help your students move beyond basic comprehension of a text into actually analyzing it and creating deeper meaning. Close reading is a skill your students will use again and again, so it's important to teach it right! You won't want to miss this episode.


Resources Mentioned:  

Close Reading Guide


Want to read instead of listen? Check out the podcast blog below. 

Hey there, fellow educators! Welcome back to another exciting episode of "Let's Chat Teaching" by Apple Tree Resources. I'm your host, Nicole Sanders, a dedicated classroom teacher turned online course creator, and I'm here to help you navigate the world of teaching with ease. In today's episode, we're delving into the fascinating world of close reading strategies and how to effectively use them in your classroom.

What is Close Reading?

So, first things first – what exactly is close reading? Well, think of it as a superpower in the world of literary analysis. Close reading is an approach that allows us to dive deep into a text, be it fiction or nonfiction, to fully comprehend what it's saying and even explore interpretations beyond the surface. It's a strategy meant for shorter texts, and today, we'll focus on how to apply it to short stories.

Close Reading in the Classroom

When we incorporate close reading in our classroom, we're not just interested in what the text is saying; we also examine how it says it. This involves scrutinizing elements like imagery, figurative language, and more. Close reading empowers us to ensure that students grasp not just the vocabulary but also the deeper nuances of the text.

For short stories, it typically involves multiple readings. The first read-through is all about getting the general idea of the story – who the main characters are, where and when the story takes place, and whether students can retell the story in their own words. This initial step helps us gauge their comprehension.

The Second Read: Digging Deeper

On the second read, we go a step further. Students have the short story in front of them, and they're encouraged to highlight unfamiliar words or concepts. This time, we're also looking at the story's point of view, examining the structure and the choices the author makes in the narrative. We're essentially asking ourselves why the author did what they did and what it reveals about the story.

Students can annotate dialogue and analyze how it contributes to the narrative. The second read is all about going beyond comprehension and delving into the nuances of the story.

Collaboration is Key

Close reading isn't a solitary endeavor. It's crucial for students to work in partners or small groups during this process. This allows them to share ideas, learn from each other, and explore the text collaboratively. Sometimes, a classmate's perspective can resonate more effectively than the teacher's millionth explanation.

The Magic of Writing

The close reading process involves reading, thinking, discussing, and writing about the text. All these elements together create the magic of going deeper. As students read the short story for the second and third time, they write notes directly onto the text, helping them identify crucial elements for later discussions and written responses.

Accessing Close Reading Resources

Now, you might be wondering how to equip your students with the tools and symbols they need for effective close reading annotations. I've got you covered! Head over to to grab a free three-step close reading guide and a handy set of annotated note-taking symbols that your students can use during the close reading process.


 In a nutshell, close reading is a powerful tool to help students move beyond basic comprehension and truly analyze the text. While it may involve a few readings, it's well worth the effort. The deepening of learning and shared ideas make it a valuable addition to your teaching toolkit.

And remember, it's essential to choose engaging and entertaining short stories to keep the process enjoyable for your students. If you're seeking recommendations, don't forget to check out our previous episode where I review five fantastic short stories that have been a hit in my classroom.

That's a wrap for today's episode. Thank you for tuning in and spending your precious time with me. Your dedication to improving your teaching skills is truly commendable. Until next time, happy teaching, and let's continue to make learning exciting for our students.

But before we sign off, if you're looking for five free activities that can be used with any story, head over to to grab your free resource. It's my little gift to make your teaching journey even more fun and engaging.

See you next time!





Digging Deeper with Me

Want to connect further check out

Prod-D Courses for Teachers:

Resources for your classroom: