Close Reading Paper

Return to Assignments


Close Reading Paper


  Excellent  Satisfactory  Developing 
  • Analyze theme or idea from text (related to ethnic/racial/regional/marginalized identity).
  • Makes an argument through analysis of the text.
  • Topic sentence and body paragraph directly tied to thesis. 
  •  Relates to book and loosely connects with marginalized identity.
  • Makes some point. 
  • Paragraphs loosely related to theme in thesis. 
  • Lack a thesis.
  • Does not organize paper. 
Close Reading (analysis) 
  • Analyzes SPECIFIC material from the text to support THESIS ARGUMENT. 
  • Makes observations (loosely based on text) related to idea in thesis. 
  • Summary 
  • Excellent 
  • Distracting mechanical errors. 




Do a close reading of one of the texts for this class or another regional or ethnic text of your choosing (should be by an ethnic or regional author - COMPARATIVE READINGS ARE ALSO ACCEPTABLE). The close reading should be guided by a single thesis that illuminates and analyzes one specific aspect of the text. 


Note: If you are looking at children's fiction, you should choose at least three texts that can be discussed with a united thesis. 



The purpose of this paper is to utilize the close reading skills practiced in class. It will be the basis for the final research paper.


Online Resources:

Harvard Writing Center: How to do a Close Reading (examples of close readings here).

Close Reading of a Literary Passage.


Here are some places to start looking for regional and ethnic authors, but remember to CHECK these sources. For the purposes of this class, we are looking at regional and ethnic authors who belong to the in-group that their texts explore. 


Resources for Multicultural and Ethnic Children's Literature



A great place to start looking for diversity is in the awards section of your text book to find authors who are not only diverse, but thinking critically about ways to present diverse stories to a broad audience. There are also organizations devoted to celebrating specific groups.



It's good to look at national awards as well as awards produced by specific societies that have diverse or minority interests at heart, especially when you are considering narratives that offer representations of specific communities. It is important that those representations are not only produced by members of an in group but also approved by the in group. See this link for controversies with awards. For example, J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegyconsiders himself an insider in Appalachian culture, but Appalachians do not share that view and resent his description of life here. 


See Historical, Realistic, and Multicultural Children's Fiction for more resources.


Intro: Book and theme/idea

THESIS: ARGUMENT about the message of the book (WAY the author conveys a point...). 


Body Paragraphs:





In Holes, Sachar uses an extended metaphor about Eden and the Fall to express the ways that racism has been a founding curse in the U.S..