Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 1: Realistic Fiction – Why Do We Read It?

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  1. In order to access this unit from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website, you will need to register with the site; there is no charge for access to these materials. Use the above link to register.
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Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

RL.1.9 Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Reading Foundational Skills

RF.1.1 Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

RF.1.2 (c) Isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in spoken single-syllable words.

RF.1.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

RF.1.3 (f) Read words with inflectional endings.

RF.1.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.


Writing.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Speaking and Listening

SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

SL.1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.


L.1.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

L.1.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Description of Unit

This Grade 1 unit titled “Grade 1: Realistic Fiction – Why Do We Read It?” from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is intended to be completed in approximately two weeks at the start of the school year. Beginning unit activities include: the use of picture books and realistic fiction chapter books for read-alouds to enable students to develop understandings of characters, settings, and events; and modeling of how to ask questions while reading and finding evidence in the text to support an answer to a question. During the second half of the unit, a combination of read-alouds and small, differentiated reading groups is used. Narrative writing gives students practice clearly expressing their responses to reading, as well as to their own experiences as first graders. The culminating performance assessment asks students to choose one of the books—the chapter book or one of the picture books read aloud—to plan and write about what might happen next if it were to continue. Students can choose to illustrate their extension of the story. Their stories are then shared with each other and family members.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. While many accommodations and supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities and/or read below the grade level are provided, it will be important to consider the variability of learners in your class and make adaptations as necessary. At the start of each of the lesson groupings, the texts and materials needed are listed. These are not included with the unit plan and will have to be secured.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is an exemplary example of a progression of learning activities where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time, requiring all students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Lessons are designed to cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, speaking, listening and writing. Lessons are designed to gradually remove supports.  Vocabulary is embedded in the unit, and ongoing assessments inform instruction. All students demonstrate their independent capacities through a final authentic performance task. There is an aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which each student can independently demonstrate the targeted grade-level standards.  The unit plan provides lesson pacing, detailed lesson activities, targeted academic language, instructional tips, strategies, anticipated student preconceptions/misconceptions, optional activities, differentiation for ELL students and students with advanced skills and/or accommodations for students with disabilities.