Common Core Spotlight

Synthesizing Information From Three Texts

The Common Core State Standards place strong emphasis on making connections between “two or more texts [that] address similar themes or topics” (Standard R9) as well as between texts in a variety of genres (Standard R6). So we’re always dreaming up activities that will help you practice these skills with your students. We’re very excited about our latest, which is all about synthesizing information.

First, your students will read “Day of Disaster: The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, 79 A.D.,” a thrilling nonfiction narrative by Lauren Tarshis. The article transports students to the Roman Empire, giving them a vivid sense of what it might have been like in Pompeii on the day Mount Vesuvius erupted. Packaged with the article is a first-person account of the disaster by Pliny the Younger (a primary document!) and an editorial about why many people today refuse to evacuate in the face of a natural disaster.

Then, students will gather textual evidence from all three texts (keeping in mind the purpose and point of view of each) to respond to the writing prompt on page 15. To help them do this, we’ve created two differentiated versions of our text-evidence activity “How Do People React?”

Your students will:

Common Core ELA Anchor Standards this activity supports:
R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, R9, R10, W2, W4, W9, SL1, SL4, L3, L4, L6

Find additional activity sheets supporting the paired texts on our Quizzes and Activities page.

More Common Core Resources:
To learn how the rest of the February 11, 2013, issue supports the Common Core State Standards, see pages T2–T3 of your Teacher’s Edition, or click here.

To learn more about how Scope aligns with the Common Core and to explore our awesome collection of Common Core resources, click here.

Have a question or a comment about this activity? E-mail Editor Kristin Lewis at

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