Most of the 5th grade reading curriculum focuses on teaching students to understand the texts they read and to develop ideas about what they read and learn. More precisely, they are taught to support their ideas using specific details from the text. Students are expected to think carefully about (and ultimately use) details such as quotes, facts, and events from a text to develop and explain what they think and what they have learned. Students practice this as they read texts together as a class as well as through the reading they do independently. Fifth grade teachers teach students specific strategies they can use to do this. Fifth graders further deepen these skills as they write extensively about what they read.
In order to build reading skills, your 5th grader:
- Begins to use direct quotes from texts to explain and prove ideas about the text.
- Reads a variety of genres of text including: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama.
- Uses details from the text to: summarize the text, identity the main idea or theme of a text, compare characters or events in a text, or compare different texts of the same genre (for example, two fantasy texts).
- Interprets and understands metaphors and comparisons made in a text.
- Identifies an author or narrator’s point of view and explains how this affects the content of a text.
- Compares multiple perspectives on the same event, idea, or theme.
- Uses the context of a text to determine the meaning of unknown words.
- Uses technology and digital media to further understanding of a topic and find the answers to questions.
- Gathers information from multiple sources about one topic.
- Start a Book Club: Form a book club with family members, your child’s friends and their parents, or just the two of you. Select a book together and establish small reading assignments (for example, one or two chapters at a time). Choose a specific “meeting” time and place, such as a weekly trip to a local café or park, or just chat over some snacks at home, discussing the book. Be sure to focus on talking about your ideas and some themes in the book, using concrete examples from the book and the other skills mentioned above. After you finish one book, pick another book by the same author, about a similar topic or in the same genre and compare them.
- Compare Perspectives: Read about an event you and your child attended or write your own accounts of an event you shared. Read the two pieces and then compare the differences between them, like the perspectives from which they were written.
- Read and Research: Help your child come up with a question about a topic of interest. Then work together to read a variety of sources to find the answer. Use technology (under your guidance) as well as magazines, newspapers, and, if relevant, poetry and fiction to find the answer.
- Vary Your Reading: Read different genres of texts with your child. For example, pick a poem or play, read it together, and talk about the ideas, perspectives, and themes of it. Read two poems about one topic and compare them.