Common Core Standards and Reading Informational Text

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Langston Hughes, poet

Summer is the perfect time to really read the Common Core Standards for your child’s grade level. You can find out what they should know and then identify areas that could use a little extra work. You don’t want to “drill” content into your kids but it is a great way to direct downtime and to find suggestions for a child who might be bored.

Many fourth graders are wonderful readers and love the world that opens to them through fiction. Some parents hope to also encourage an interest in informational text for a variety of reasons. We looked at the Common Core Standards for fourth graders and came up with some great books and activity ideas to encourage your child to explore more informational texts. We have listed the Standards here from, and then listed our book and activity ideas.

Reading: Informational Text

Key Ideas and Details

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Craft and Structure

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.6 Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.9 Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Presidents, Eyewitness Books, James David Barber

I Wish I Knew That: U.S. Presidents: Cool Stuff You Need to Know, Reader’s Digest

Who Was John F. Kennedy, Yona McDonough

Yes We Can, A Biography of President Barack Obama, Garen Thomas

Rocks, Fossils, and Arrowheads, Laura Evert

Rocks and Minerals, A Gem of a Book, Simon Basher

Rocky Road Trip, Judith Stamper

Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne

Heart and Soul, the Story of America and African Americans, Kadir Nelson

We are the Ship, The Story of Negro League Baseball, Kadir Nelson

I, Too, Am American, Langston Hughes

1.) Write a book review newsletter for your friends. Read four or five books and summarize them in 6 – 8 sentences. Type them up and leave blank spaces for illustrations. Come up with a catchy title for your book review and publish!

2.) Pick a favorite president and learn five things about them that surprise you. Share the facts with at least three people. Call a grandparent, write a letter to a pen pal, tell a friend.

3.) Interview your friends, neighbors and relatives about their favorite president. Then, create a graph showing which president is most popular. Try an online graph maker for kids.

4.) Read about rocks and minerals. Go for a long walk in the woods or on a trail and find interesting rocks. Try to avoid gravel. When you return home, try to identify your rocks by searching for them online.

5.) Learn about how rocks are formed. Then, make pancakes to see how something can change when heat is added (igneous) or pressure such as from a spatula is added (metamorphic). Can you think of another experiment that would demonstrate these changes.

6.) Read three books about presidents or about rocks and minerals. Discuss how the information is presented. What are some similarities and differences? Pick the book that you feel presents the information in the best way. Write a recommendation for this book on amazon or on paper to give to a librarian.

7.) Read Nelson’s book on the African American experience and then paint your own picture. Try to synthesize what you have learned about this volatile history.

8.) Read Nelson’s book Heart and Soul, and then look up other African American artists who illustrate their history artistically. In particular, research Romare Bearden’s paintings reflecting the Great Migration. Research this time period and how American was changing during that period of time.

9.) Read about the Negro League and then go watch a baseball game. Talk about how baseball has changed and how our country has changed in the last 20, 50, and 100 years.

10..) Read Langston Hughes and talk about what it means to be an American. Take the citizenship quiz online. Would you pass this test?


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