Teaching students how to read is not really the remit of the secondary classroom teacher. It is a tremendously difficult task that ideally requires several MA-level qualifications and one-to-one time with students. It is a SENCO-level role that is very rarely funded in 2018 it seems.

Classroom teachers can teach students who already have fundamental reading skills. Doug Lemov’s reading reconsidered is useful in this instance: it summarises essential aspects of this craft. Essentially there are three aspects to teaching close reading:

1) Reading in detail, stopping to analyse most/all words of note.
2) Reading a text in its entirety/almost in its entirety before considering it.
3) Jumping/skimming/scanning a text, ranging for points and ideas, making connections and associations.

The metaphor I would use to understand this comes from chess. You can either understand a whole text (strategy) or understand a paragraph (tactics). Of course, of the two tactics is more important. Without tactics, strategy cannot exist. Strategy is more deep-seated sense of understanding. Without regular and deep understanding of tactics, strategy simply cannot happen. But you cannot pretend that without the fundamentals of reading (tactics) in place, that any kind of deeper understanding or appreciation can realistically occur. It will constantly be hampered by the physicalities of reading.

It is therefore dangerous for focus a curriculum too much on exam preparation. That means texts are only understood in fragments. Of course, if teachers barely read themselves, them such a curriculum is inevitable. They need to experience themselves deep reading. It is without doubt that there are teachers who exist like that.

Inference needs to be questioned and built all the time.