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Fifth Grade ELA Curriculum

In fifth grade, students are focused on understanding and developing ideas about what they read and learn. They are taught to support their ideas using specific details from the text. Students are expected to carefully think about their reading 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 instruct students in specific strategies reading strategies such as: determining theme and central idea, analyzing how characters and events develop and change over the course of a text, understanding point of view, and the use of figurative language. Fifth graders further deepen these skills as they write extensively about what they read.

Fifth graders are also encouraged and expected to be more independent in their learning, requiring less guidance and support from adults and teachers. For example, when asked to research a topic, students should know what to do and how to accomplish this goal. A student certainly may need the assistance of a teacher throughout the research but also has the basic tools to do so by him or herself.

Fifth graders build on the skills they learned in fourth grade to become clearer and more developed writers as they produce many different kinds of pieces about a variety of topics. Students are taught to use their writing to share their unique ideas, opinions, and perspectives. They are taught to use connected and specific details in their writing as well. Students are taught specific writing strategies and techniques, often studying the work of accomplished professional writers to use as models.

Instructional Area

Instructional Materials

Units of Study / Learning Objectives


Our fifth grade reading units were developed by White Plains teachers and were recently aligned to Common Core Standards.

Units of Study Include:

  • Interpreting Text: Finding Theme
  • The Rights of Children: reading unit with social studies themes
  • Exploring Energy: reading unit with science themes
  • Reading Across Texts
  • Reading and Interpreting Poetry
  • Moving On: Reading Fiction Focusing on Personal Change


Our fifth grade writing units were developed by White Plains teachers and were recently aligned to Common Core Standards.

Units of Study Include:

  • Elaborating on Theme: Responding to Literature
  • Becoming Citizens: Expressing our Point of View – persuasive writing
  • Energy Research Writing
  • Writing to Make Connections: writing text based responses
  • Critical Analysis of Poetry
  • Moving On – Personal, Reflective Narratives