Leap into Literacy

January/February: Grade 5

Reading: Notice & Note

Notice & Note-Strategies for Close Reading, by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst, tackles the tough issues of rigor, close reading and the Common Core. The authors emphasize the role of student choice and active participation, discounting the commonly held notion that close reading only consists of “reading with in the text.” Instead, they stress the importance of selecting a passage that is of interest to the majority of students, as well as one in which students can bring their own personal understanding. The authors identify six basic Notice and Notes Signposts which students use as they examine and discuss the passage. These are:


  • Contrasts and Contractions- contrast between our expectation of what the character will do and what he/she actually does

  • Aha Moment- when a character changes his/her belief or action

  • Tough Questions- questions a character raises that reveal his/her inner struggle

  • Words of the Wiser- when an insightful character offers wisdom about the main character

  • Again and Again- events, images, or certain words that recur frequently in the passage

  • Memory Moment- when the story is interrupted by a recollection


Students might use post-it notes, Notice & Note bookmarks, a reading log, or graphic organizer to delve deeply into the passage. For more information on the book, go to www.heinemann.com/products/E04693.aspx

Writing: PARCC

To meet the Written Expression standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Present a clear topic or opinion and organize ideas logically with supporting details and facts.

  • Develop a sequence of events using description and dialogue when writing a story.

  • Use linking words, like additionally or however, to connect ideas, reasons, and events.

  • Use quotations as evidence to support ideas in writing.

Fifth graders should be paying close attention to how they structure their writing. Whether telling a story (narrative writing), writing a report (informational writing), or convincing the reader of their point of view (persuasive writing), fifth graders should clearly introduce their topic and present related information in the form of a few clear, well thought-out paragraphs.

In narrative writing, fifth graders should learn how to organize an interesting sequence of events and use dialogue, description, and pacing to catch and maintain the reader’s interest.

When writing persuasive and informational pieces, students should draw on facts, definitions, and quotes from their reading to thoroughly develop their topic or opinion. At this age, students should use advanced linking words (for example, in contrast, especially) to form compound and complex sentences that convey their points. To wrap it up, students should have a well-reasoned conclusion.

Fifth graders should also be able to revise their own work to catch errors and improve how their writing flows.


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