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Common Core Reading Passage Examples for 5th Grade

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching to the common core state standards can be challenging, especially without useful supplementary materials. This lesson gives you some examples of the types of reading passages you can give your 5th graders to align them with the common core.

The Fifth Grade CCSS In Reading

Teaching to the Common Core State Standards can be challenging, but it can also improve the direction of our practice. In fifth grade, the reading standards ask students to be able to look explicitly at text to determine evidence, to talk about story elements, and to identify key aspects of the structure and craft of a literary text. Fifth graders are also expected to extract the main idea in nonfiction text and use nonfiction writing to learn about specific content areas such as history or science. In terms of mechanics, the Common Core State Standards ask fifth graders to continue developing their knowledge of phonology, on an appropriately complex level, and to read fluently enough to support their comprehension. For all of these areas, it is essential to have reading passages that give your fifth graders adequate practice. This lesson provides examples of what such passages might look like.

Fiction Text

When choosing texts for your fifth graders to work on their fiction reading skills, you want to make sure to find adequately complex literary texts from a variety of genres. These texts should have complex characters that change over time, and they should come from authors of diverse cultural backgrounds. They should also require the use of inference skills, like visualization, prediction, and text-to-self connection, in order to support comprehension, and they should incorporate a variety of different story elements such as complex characters, setting, problems, and solutions as part of the plot. Some great books that you can use to extract passages from for fifth grade include:

  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This book tells a story that requires a historical understanding of the Holocaust. The text involves an intense intergenerational relationship and the reader will see how interactions with her grandmother, and a careful study of her family's history, cause the main character to change over time. If you extract passages from the beginning of any chapter, you will provide your students with ample opportunity to think about characters, dialogue, and the ability to use evidence to support theories about text.

  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This book tells the story of a boy's ability to survive in the wild, and it also shows how an individual's relationship to his family can change as a result of important life experiences. Taking a passage from the middle of the book will require students to make inferences about what came before and what is likely to follow, and the book is also ideal for thinking about setting, problem, and solution as key elements of story.

Nonfiction Texts

A big focus of the Common Core State Standards is also on helping students read nonfiction texts. Excerpts from these books will support your fifth graders as they practice reading to learn.

  • Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World by Nancy Castaldo

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