Making a Case for Emotion in the Common Core Understanding of Close Reading

Emily Wender


This article argues that close reading is a more authentic, relevant, and powerful practice for students when we treat emotion in readers and in texts as a rhetorical category of analysis. Both building off of the Common Core State Standards’ focus on close reading and critiquing its limiting definition, this article both models and analyzes a type of close reading that puts rhetorical analysis of emotion at its center. The text under consideration is a reading response composed by a student in a sophomore English class in an urban public school in the South. Ultimately, the article argues that by privileging emotion as a rhetorical category of analysis, emotions gain significance beyond the individual, pointing to stances on the world and to relationships with others. By considering the rhetorical force of emotion along with scholarship on emotion in literacy and cultural studies, I offer this article as one way of troubling the CCSS from within.


close reading; emotion; rhetorical; standards; object;

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JCT: Journal of Curriculum Theorizing is an interdisciplinary journal of curriculum studies. It offers an academic forum for scholarly discussions of curriculum. Historically aligned with the "reconceptualist" movement in curriculum theorizing and oriented toward informing and affecting classroom practice, JCT presents compelling pieces within forms that challenge disciplinary, genre, and textual boundaries.

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