- Slides: 18
Close Reading Standard Grade
Why Close Reading? § Close Reading tests how well you can understand, analyse and evaluate texts. § Some questions will test how well you understand what the passage is about (understanding) § Some questions will ask you to identify and explain some of the techniques used by the writer (analysis) § Some questions will ask you how effective you think the language and techniques used by the writer are (evaluation) § You will need to read the passage carefully (or closely) in order to answer the questions
Rules for Close Reading § Read the question carefully to ensure you know what you are being asked to do § Answer all parts of the question § Use your own words as far as possible (unless you are asked to quote) § Fit your answer to the number of marks available § Remember – all answers are in the passage
Types of Question Imagery § You may be asked to identify and quote an image, and/or explain its effect § (IMAGERY refers to similes, metaphors and personification) § To answer, you need to explain how the two things being compared are similar § Use the phrases “just as” and “so” to help you write your answer
For example: § Q. How effective is the metaphor “ a curtain of cloud hid the distant mountains from view? ” § A. This is a very effective metaphor because just as when curtains are closed you cannot see what is behind them, so the clouds obscured the mountains and they could not be seen
Tone § You may be asked to identify the tone of a section of the passage § To answer, think about how the words may be said aloud – what tone of voice might be used? § Common types of tone: humorous, ironic, sarcastic, angry, happy etc.
Link § You may be asked how a sentence creates a link in the writer’s argument § To answer, identify any linking words or phrases used – e. g. However, But, On the other hand, Yet etc. § Explain how the sentence summarises what has been said previously § Explain how it leads on to what comes next § Use the phrases “refers back to” and “leads on to” to help you write your answer
For Example § When the Romans invaded the south of Britain, the quickly overcame the Britons. However, unlike their easy victory in the south, the north of the country resisted the foreign invaders. Here the Romans found it much more difficult to subdue the natives. § How does the underlined sentence act as a link in the writer’s argument? § The word “However” indicates a change in direction of the writer’s argument. § It refers back to the how the Romans easily won in the south (“unlike their easy victory in the south” ) § It leads on to how they did not find it so easy in the north (“Here the Romans found it much more difficult to subdue the natives”)
Word Choice § You may be asked to comment on the effect of a particular word § You may be asked why the writer has chosen a particular word § To answer, you will need to comment on the connotations of the word, showing that you understand the meaning, and explain why it is so effective in the context in which it is used § Use the word “connotations” in your answer
For Example § A lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. § Q. What effect does the writer’s use of the word “feeble” have on this sentence? § A “Feeble” has connotations of weakness or lack of strength. This suggests that the fire is lacking in warmth and helps to create sympathy for the boy.
Sentence Structure § Questions on sentence structure ask you to think about how the sentence has been put together – look at: § length of sentence § type of sentence § the order of the words within the sentence § punctuation used § whethere is an obvious pattern within the sentence. § Comment on any of these which are appropriate and explain their effect.
Types of Sentence § Statements – tell you something and end with a full stop. (Most sentences are statements. ) § Questions – ask something and end with a question mark. Using questions may challenge the reader or show uncertainty in the writer. § Look out for rhetorical questions, which are usually used to stir up strong feelings in the reader, therefore creating an emotive tone.
§ Commands – tell you to do something and end with a full stop or an exclamation mark. § Exclamations – express excitement, surprise or another strong emotion and end with an exclamation mark. May be used to create an emotive or dramatic tone. § Minor sentences – are very short sentences which do not contain a verb. May be used to create a tense or dramatic mood. Since they are shortened forms of other types of sentence, they can end with a full stop, a question mark, or an exclamation mark. § For example: Silence. Why? No such luck!
Punctuation Marks § Commas , separate words or phrases within a sentence. A number of commas may indicate a list. § Colons : may introduce a quotation, a short list, an explanation, an elaboration or a summary of what has gone before. § Semi-colons ; finish off one part of a sentence. May be used instead of a conjunction to separate two principal clauses in a sentence. May also be used to separate items in a list of phrases.
§ Inverted commas “ “ mark quotations, direct speech, foreign words or words used in an unusual way. (Italics can be used in the same way. ) § Dashes – can be used like a colon (see above). Two dashes can mark off parenthesis. A series of dashes can be used informally to show an outpouring or ideas or emotions.
§ Ellipsis … indicates a dramatic pause or tension. Commonly used to create suspense. (Can also be used to show part of a quotation has been missed out. ) § Parenthesis ( ) , , - - - used to add a nonessential piece of information to a sentence.
Patterns in Sentences § § The most common patterns to look out for are: List Repetition (where ideas, words or phrases are repeated) Climax (where the sentence builds up to something dramatic) e. g. “I came, I saw, I conquered. ” (uses all three) Also watch out for anti-climax, where the sentence seems to be building up to something dramatic but then nothing happens. If there is a pattern, state what it is and identify its effect.
Hints § If you are asked to quote, you need to write down the exact words from the passage § If you are asked to “Write down an expression”, you also need to quote (should be either a single word or short phrase) § If you are asked to give reasons for something, the reasons will be given in the passage - don’t try to think of your own reasons § If the question mentions “Figures of speech”, this just means the same as “literary techniques” – that is, similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, onomatopoeia etc.