Grade 5 Reading

Writing About Reading and Book Clubs

Unit Sketch

This first unit of the school year sets up the routines for writing about reading, responding to reading, using reading response journals, read alouds, book clubs, and poetry workshop for the rest of the year. The emphasis is on narrative reading. The read alouds are Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, and Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The poetry element, "Thursday Poetry Workshop," will focus on prose. Thursday Poetry Workshops is an ongoing element throughout the year.

This unit accompanies the first writing unit, Narrative Vignettes, the first Social Studies unit, Human Movement, and the Science unit, Earth's Systems (Our Watery Planet).

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Readers follow established routines and support members of their book clubs.

  • Readers share what they have learned with others in a variety of ways.

  • Readers read knowing they'll write, seeing more.

  • Readers aim to notice more elements of the story.

  • Readers push themselves to grow new ideas.

  • Readers draw on all they know to read well and interpret texts.

  • Readers read alertly, seeing details as meaningful.

  • Readers uncover life lessons or messages.

  • Readers connect ideas to form bigger theories.

  • Readers study author's craft and learn from mentor authors.


Students will be able to...

  • Grow ideas and theories

  • Identify story elements: setting, characters, plot

  • Compare and contrast texts, story elements, and themes

  • Use questioning to explain events and details from the text

  • Use text-based evidence to identify and record quotes from the text to support claims and theories

  • Compare and contrast the various characters and identify how each responds to various situations and events

  • Use text-based evidence to collect details and examples from a text to show examples of various narrative elements used within that specific genre

  • Identify author's craft moves

Informational and Research

Unit Sketch

This is a companion piece to the unit Writing: Feature Articles. The beginning of this unit lets your kids in on a big secret: nonfiction texts are becoming more complex, and the reading strategies that once could be used to make meaning won’t always work with these more complex texts. Then, throughout the rest of the unit, students are given a chance to study and apply this complex strategy work by researching topics in the world they’re interested in (You can open it up and give them unlimited reign or you can put them in research groups. Step back and watch as students grow in their abilities to identify and infer main ideas, accumulate topic-specific vocabulary, and rise to meet the reading challenges set forth by the books they read. This unit is paired with Journalism - Writing: Feature Articles.The power of teaching these two units side by side is that students will have the opportunity to apply what they are learning about informational texts in reading to their own writing. As they craft news stories and feature articles on a variety of events and issues, they can use the structures and craft moves that they see in action while reading independently to lift the level of their own writing.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Authors present information in a variety of text structures to portray a certain idea. The way the author structures their work has an impact on how the reader reads the information.

  • Readers pick out main ideas to help them summarize informational text.

  • When researching, readers use a variety of sources to help them become knowledgeable about their content.


Students will be able to...

  • Think about text features & text structure, and how the parts of the text fit together

  • Look for the main idea and supporting details in order to understand what they read

  • Summarize nonfiction texts

  • Ask questions at different levels; questions that help them understand the text they’re reading and questions that get them to think beyond the text, to question across texts and across the topic

  • Compare and contrast multiple sources on a topic

  • Determine the perspective of the author of that text and how he or she might be trying to sway their thinking about a certain topic even if the author’s perspective isn’t explicit


Unit Sketch

This is an ongoing year-long unit in which students read a variety of poetry and learn to identify the key elements of poetry. They interpret poems individually and collaboratively and learn how to use pace, volume, stress, enunciation, and pronunciation to express themselves effectively.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Poems should be meaningful to readers

  • Poems convey meaning and emotion

  • Poets create meaning from the inventive use of imagery, form, and figurative language

  • Technology is highly valuable for collaboration and sharing


Students will be able to...

  • Interpret poems individually and collaboratively

  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings

  • Identify key elements of a poem including imagery, simile, metaphor, alliteration, rhyme and rhythm

  • Identify the use of the five senses in poetry

  • Use pace, volume, stress, enunciation, and pronunciation to express themselves effectively

Reading for Advocacy: Modern Day Slavery

Unit Sketch

This is a Reading/Writing companion unit to the Social Studies unit, Slavery Then and Now. This is a digital media-focused unit, with many of the "reading" resources being videos from news sources, such as CNN10 and Ted Talks, and websites, as well as articles.

In the Reading portion, students will read articles, watch CNN10 and Ted Talks, and research websites about anti-slavery organizations.

In the Writing portion, students will write a transcript for a Ted Talk, which they will then present publicly for #myfreedomday (which falls in March).

Students will become advocates by creating awareness against Modern Day Slavery.

  • What is modern day slavery?

  • What are the types of modern day slavery?

  • Who does modern day slavery affect?

  • What organizations/people are fighting against modern day slavery?

  • What is the government’s role in the fight against modern day slavery?

  • What is our role as consumers in the fight against modern day slavery?

  • What is your role in the fight against modern day slavery?

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Readers recognize that a good argument is supported by reasons backed by evidence.

  • In order to debate an issue, one must become an expert on the issue, back up their own claim, create awareness and call to action.


Students will be able to...

  • Debate on a specific topic from a text

  • Determine an author's perspective in order to understand how their ideas fit into the issue

  • Discuss choices authors make to shape the content of their stories

  • Read a text and ask, "How might this information apply to my argument?"

  • Summarize an argument by putting the author's idea in their own words without changing the author's message

  • Use reasons and evidence to back up an argument

  • Use their annotations to facilitate evidence-based conversations about a text


Unit Sketch

This unit introduces students to the symbols and themes of fantasy. The read aloud is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Students work in clubs to become deeply immersed in the fantasy genre and further develop higher-level thinking skills to study how authors develop characters and themes over time. They think metaphorically as well as analytically, explore the quests and themes within and across their novels, and consider the implications of conflicts, themes, and lessons learned. Students will engage in Fantasy Book Clubs.

This unit is a companion piece to Writing: Decisions Writers Make, a non-genre unit. Many students will likely choose to write their own fantasy story in that unit.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Fantasy stories use imaginative characters and plots to teach a moral or lesson.

  • Fantasy stories contain archetypal characters that can perpetuate or debunk societal stereotypes.

  • Fantasy authors use made-up worlds and situations to make a statement about and/or satirize the real society that we live in.


Students will be able to...

  • Actively participate in discussions about texts during book club

  • Analyze a text by asking questions about the characters, theme. structure, and author's craft

  • Consider how a story portrays cultures and represents characters

  • Notice patterns across texts.

  • Read complex texts developing skills of synthesis and interpretation

  • Think about how the work they have done in the fantasy unit applies to other genres

  • Think metaphorically about a text