In order to comprehend text at the deepest level possible, we engage in close reading. This is a strategy in which we reread a text numerous times, each time looking for meaning at a deeper level.
“Close reading requires a substantial emphasis on readers figuring out a high quality text. This ‘figuring out’ is accomplished primarily by reading and discussing the text (as opposed to being told about the text by a teacher or being informed about it through some textbook commentary). Because challenging texts do not give up their meanings easily, it is essential that readers re-read such texts…A first reading is about figuring out what a text says. It is purely an issue of reading comprehension…A second reading would, thus, focus on figuring out how this text worked. How did the author organize it? What literary devices were used and how effective were they? What was the quality of the evidence?…Finally, with the information gleaned from the first two readings, a reader is ready to carry out a third reading—going even deeper. What does this text mean? What was the author’s point? What does it have to say to me about my life or my world? How do I evaluate the quality of this work—aesthetically, substantively?…Thus, close reading is an intensive analysis of a text in order to come to terms with what it says, how it says it, and what it means.”
-Tim Shanahan http://www.shanahanonliteracy.com/2012/06/what-is-close-reading.html