The main thing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) get right is the emphasis on close reading. The emphasis on reader response has led lots of students to think reading is a process of free association–they grab at any stray association that comes to mind and offer that as what the text “means.” But most texts do have meanings that we can ascertain through attention. Communication really is possible.
Practice at close reading is also essential to learning to write well. Close reading is a fundamental strategy of critical thinking.
Here’s a worksheet that may be useful for applying these questions to specific texts.
Adapted from The Art of Close Reading by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder (The Foundation for Critical Thinking).