5th Grade English Language Arts Skills

In 5th grade, students read closely from a mix of literature and informational texts as they work towards becoming strong readers. In their writing, fifth graders learn to more fully develop ideas and support them with reasons and evidence. They learn to research to build knowledge and to clearly present their ideas when speaking and writing.

Rich and Challenging Texts

Read rich and challenging 5th grade-level texts closely, proficiently, and independently.

Example stories: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Example poetry: “Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost, “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf” by Roald Dahl, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Example informational texts: Hurricanes: Earth’s Mightiest Storms by Particia Lauber, A History of Us by Joy Hakim, Horses by Seymour Simon

Explaining the Text

Explain what a story, play, poem, or informational text says and make inferences (“read between the lines”) using details and quotes from the text.

Identifying Themes

Summarize a text and identify the theme or main ideas of a story, play, poem, or informational text based on details in the text.

Tip: Discuss Reading
Talk to your child about what she is reading. Ask her to tell you what a book is about and who the main characters are. Ask her what she’s enjoying about the book. Having her talk about what she’s reading prompts her to analyze the text as she’s learning to do in school and to ask the kinds of questions that are being discussed in class.

New Vocabulary

Read and understand new vocabulary, including general academic vocabulary and vocabulary in specific subject areas like science or social studies.

  • Academic vocabulary includes words that are found in texts across subject areas. Examples: relative, vary, formulate.

  • Subject area vocabulary includes words that relate to a field of study, like biology. Examples: mitosis, chromosome.

Spot Metaphors and Similes
As your child learns about new concepts like metaphors (He has a heart of gold) and similes (She’s busy as a bee) make a game out of identifying examples in everyday conversation, on television or in print.

New Words and Phrases

Use different strategies to understand new words and phrases: for example, use context as a clue; use common Greek and Latin roots as a clue; consult a dictionary online or in print.

5TH GRADE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS TIPS

How you can help your child master reading and writing skills outside of the classroom.

Developing a Topic

Explain how an author develops a topic and supports it with reasons and evidence.

Tip: Discuss Reading
Talk to your child about what she is reading. Ask her to tell you what a book is about and who the main characters are. Ask her what she’s enjoying about the book. Having her talk about what she’s reading prompts her to analyze the text as she’s learning to do in school and to ask the kinds of questions that are being discussed in class.

Tip: Discuss Different Points of View
Your child’s classroom discussion of reading is starting to focus on how different points of view can influence and shape perceptions. You can help develop her understanding of this concept with your conversations at home, whether you’re talking about what happened that day at school or about stories that are on the news. Ask her to tell you not just what happened, but why she thinks someone acted in the way they did.

Opinion Pieces

Write an opinion piece that supports a point of view with reasons and information.

Examining a Topic

Write papers that examine or explain a topic and present information clearly. Use examples, facts, and details to develop the topic and organize the information in a logical way.

Writing Stories or Narratives

Write stories or narratives about real or imaginary experiences. Establish a situation and develop story elements such as characters, a well-sequenced plot, and descriptive details to help the narrative come alive.

Use Social Media to Practice Writing
If your family uses social networking sites, such as Facebook, ask your child to become a regular contributor to status updates. Writing short summaries of important family events or weekly activities will help her practice her writing skills and develop good social networking skills. Make sure to check her posts and to discuss concerns about content or language that you have with her.

Supporting Evidence

Include evidence from text to support thinking and conclusions.

Applying Grammar Rules

Use conventional capitalization, punctuation, and spelling and apply the rules of grammar in written work.

Using Technology

With guidance from adults, use technology to produce writing and to work with others on writing.

Typing

Comfortably type at least two pages in a single sitting.

Class Participation

Participate in class discussions about complex 5th grade topics and readings. Be prepared to share ideas, ask and answer questions, and draw conclusions from the discussion.

Summarizing Ideas

Summarize ideas that another speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

Giving a Presentation

Give a well-organized presentation about a topic or a reading, or present an opinion. Support ideas with facts and descriptive details. Speak clearly and audibly and include multimedia or visuals to more clearly and effectively express information.

Rules of Spoken English

Learn and apply the rules of spoken English.

Examples:

  • Use verb tenses correctly, including the “perfect” tenses (I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked).
  • Use conjunctions (and, but, or) and conjunction pairs (neither/nor, either/or) correctly.
Research Projects

Conduct short research projects to gather information from print and digital sources.

Tip: Look Up Answers
When family conversation leads to questions that require looking up an answer, challenge each person to use a different print or digital resource to quickly find an answer to the question.

Taking Notes

Take notes to summarize or paraphrase the material and provide a list of sources.

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