5th Grade Reading Overview

Children in 5th grade are expected to read multi-chapter books and comprehend the stories they tell. They'll also be preparing for more rigorous academic study in middle school. Finding out what's expected is a good way for you to ensure that your child is ready for middle school.

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Overview of 5th Grade Reading

Reading Fluently

Students in 5th grade are expected to read complex text fluently and with strong comprehension. They spend much of their time discussing, reflecting on and responding to a wide variety of literature and informational texts. By doing critical analyses, they can gain a deeper understanding of what they're reading. They may also read for pleasure, choosing books based on personal interests, genre or author.

Research through Reading

Students will continue to improve their research skills. They gather information from a variety of sources, including the Internet, encyclopedias, textbooks and maps. They should be able to use different features of a book, such as the index, glossary, title page, introduction, preface and appendix. They should also be able to take notes about the text, highlight important sections and make outlines. Additionally, they begin to evaluate and cite sources. By 5th grade, students are expected to produce research projects on a variety of subjects, such as animals and their habitats or early U.S. explorers.

Reading for Meaning

Students critique significant works of literature, delving deeper to find the meaning in what they read. They learn about the elements of a plot, including the setup, rising action, climax and resolution. By engaging in a more critical look at the characters, settings and themes, students can analyze the author's purpose for writing and understand how that purpose influences the text. They also learn about the use of such literary devices as imagery, metaphors and symbolism.

Activities and Strategies

You can expect 5th graders to learn different strategies to help them identify main ideas, make inferences and draw conclusions from the text. A common method is the question-answer relationship, or QAR, which asks children to tell where they found the answers to questions. For instance, for 'think and search' questions, the answers are found within the text itself. For 'author and you' questions, students read the text and call upon prior knowledge to arrive at an answer.

Students are often given opportunities to respond to what they read through discussions and journal entries. Additionally, they demonstrate their understanding through book reports, skits, illustrations and time lines.

Your child may also take part in literature circles, which are student-led book discussion groups. Students choose their own reading material and meet in small groups with others who are reading the same book. Each member of the group is assigned a role that helps guide the group in a discussion of the book. Literature circles allow for students to share their thoughts, concerns and understanding of a novel.

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