When discussing close reading for the Common Core, I’m often asked by teachers, “What am I supposed to do for pre-reading? Don’t the standards say just throw students into the text?” There is a difference between explaining everything students will be reading beforehand, and just supporting students by providing critical information and prior knowledge for those who need it.
For example, if we want students to discover information in the text, telling them everything about the plot in advance spoils the reading experience for them. So what does this mean? We need to be strategic in our choices as to what we do with students prior to the text. Timothy Shanahan (http://www.shanahanonliteracy.com) recommends that pre-reading should be brief compared to the length of time of the reading itself. He also suggests that teachers not reveal info students can gain by themselves; rather, they should give students a reason to read and/or arouse curiosity.