This editable close reading exercise features 8 text-dependent, higher-order questions, helping students improve reading comprehension of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (Act 2, Scene 3) with emphasis on Friar Laurence’s opening soliloquy. By engaging in this exercise, students will make their engagement with text visible through annotations, read to apply literary devices, develop their vocabulary, and identify what the text says explicitly and implicitly. They will also demonstrate a greater understanding of Friar Laurence’s philosophy. An answer key with sample annotations is included.
This resource is delivered in Word Document format and aligns well to Adolescent Literacy Project teaching principles. I recommend using these worksheets as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students decode Shakespeare’s language and pose/respond to questions relating to plot, broad topics, and character development, demonstrating an ability to analyze how complex characters transform and advance the plot and themes by applying logic and citing compelling, meaningful textual evidence. They will also evaluate their peers’ reasoning and use of rhetoric to advance claims, clarifying or challenging unclear ideas. Using this resource for structured guidance, students, ultimately, will present information, conclusions, and supporting textual evidence clearly, concisely, and appropriately, thereby helping their peers – and teacher – comprehend their thinking. In the role of facilitator, I observe my students becoming more consistently engaged with the novel and taking greater ownership of their learning.
In addition to helping students gain deeper understanding of the material and greater confidence in their ability to read complex texts, this resource was designed to prepare students for ACT-style questioning.