Writing: 5th Grade

Learn about the writing assignments to expect in 5th Grade and find activities you can do at home.
By Shira Ackerman, MA
Jan 28, 2013



Writing: 5th Grade

Jan 28, 2013

Fifth graders build on the skills they learned in 4th grade to become clearer and more developed writers as they write many different kinds of pieces — about a variety of topics — and use details and organization to write strong pieces. Students are taught to use their writing to share their own unique ideas and perspectives, not just those of others. They are taught to use connected and specific details in their writing, as well. Students are shown specific ways to do this and spend much of their writing time in class working on their own individual writing pieces.  

In order to build writing skills, your 5th grader:

  • Writes opinion pieces, including:
  1. An introduction and conclusion
  2. A logical and clear structure
  3. Reasons, proofs and ideas that support the author’s opinion.
  • Writes informational pieces, which:
  1. Explain a topic using specific details such as definitions, quotations and facts
  2. Include an introduction and conclusion.
  • Writes narrative pieces, which:
  1. Introduce and describe an event in a logically ordered way
  2. Use details such as dialogue, thoughts and emotions
  3. Include a conclusion.
  • Plans, revises, and edits his writing.
  • Thinks about the best way to approach her writing and tries different ways to do so. For example, writes in a different tense, or from a different perspective, such as 1st or 3rd person.
  • Uses technology (under adult guidance) to publish writing, research, and communicate with others.
  • Types at least two pages of text in one sitting.
  • Uses multiple sources to write and create a research project.
  • Takes notes on information and cites the sources used.
  • Writes over a range of times including long (over weeks) and short (one sitting or a couple of days) periods of time.

Writing Activities

  • Practice Typing: There are a variety of ways your child can practice his typing. He can play typing games, he can type something you or he has written, or he can type out a conversation you have together.
  • Revise Someone Else’s Work: Practice revising pieces of writing. You and your child can both write your own pieces, or your child can choose another short piece of writing from another source. Your child can then “revise” that piece, trying to improve it by adding more detail and descriptions.
  • Pick a New Perspective: Use either a piece you or your child wrote or pick a text written by someone else, such as a short story or article. Ask your child to re-write the piece from a different perspective, like that of another character or person in the story or a person who witnessed an event. Talk to your child about the difference in perspectives.
  • Become Investigators: Pick an event or moment such as a family meal, preparations in the morning, or a car ride. Ask your child to silently observe the scene and take detailed notes on what he observes, writing down things that were said and things people did. Your child can then read back his notes to everyone who was at the event. You can take this even further and by asking your child to develop ideas about the event that he observed (for example, “Getting ready in the morning is a very hectic time in our family. Maybe we should all wake up earlier or have assigned jobs.”) and use evidence to support these ideas. 
Age 10