Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 3: My Librarian is a Camel - How Books are Brought to Children Around the World (Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 2)  

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Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Reading for Information

RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

W.3.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Speaking and Listening

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.3.1 (b) Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

SL.3.1 (c) Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.

SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.


L.3.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Description of Unit

This Grade 3 unit titled “My Librarian is a Camel - How Books are Brought to Children Around the World (Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 2)” developed by is intended to be completed in approximately 11 one-hour sessions of ELA /Literacy instruction. In this unit, student begin to build their close reading skills; hear stories read aloud and read works in their entirety and excerpts of more challenging writing closely. Students practice identifying the central message and taking notes as they explore the question: “Why do people seek the power of reading?” Through the study of literature, literary nonfiction, and informational articles from around the world, students experience the extraordinary lengths to which some people go in order to access the power and privilege of reading. Students learn about and practice how to close read and answer text-dependent questions. They also determine the criteria for a good conversation and practice discussing texts with their peers. Through unit activities, students begin to build their ability to write an informative paragraph using a simple graphic organizer to help them understand how to develop a topic with facts, definitions, and details. In the culminating assessment, they independently read excerpts from The Librarian of Basra or another text of the teacher’s choosing at the appropriate Lexile range. They follow the same close reading routine they have been practicing throughout the unit: reading to get to know the text, reading to determine the central message and to identify unfamiliar vocabulary, reading to take notes about how key details help to convey the central message or lesson of the text, and reading to answer text-dependent questions.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the unit materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. While most of the resources and materials needed to implement the unit are included, some texts are not and will need to be secured. This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards and to be taught during the literacy block of the school day; however, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies and Science content taught during other parts of the day. This unit includes two texts, written by Jeannette Winter, that address the importance of literacy and books even during times of war. Both texts include some reference to violence. Leading publishers and teaching resource web sites endorse these texts as appropriate and effective for 3rd-grade children. During instruction, lessons are designed to allow time to discuss some of the issues surrounding war with students and to build students’ idealism, help them articulate it, describe what it means to act bravely, and notice how these real people pursue the power of reading. A Letter to Families (in Lesson 6) is provided to help guide students and families through this topic. The NYS two-point rubric used to score the culminating assessment is provided at end of Lesson 11’s Supporting Materials.

Rationale for Selection

The design and the integrated content of this first unit of the year are both exemplary. The unit provides all students with multiple opportunities to engage with texts of appropriate complexity for the grade level. The unit plan is particularly strong in providing important supports in reading, writing, listening and speaking for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below or above the grade level text band.  Instruction includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. Supports are gradually removed, requiring students to demonstrate their independent capacities. The unit materials also contain excellent templates for instruction and an aligned rubric for assessment. Click on the following link to watch how a teacher moves students through the close reading process.

Close Reading in Action –long version (from Students from Kerry Meehan’s third-grade class at World of Inquiry School #58 in Rochester, NY, experience a close reading lesson from an ELeducation ELA curriculum module (G3:M1:U1:L2). Meehan guides students through the close reading process, checks for understanding, and leverages the power of student talk and collaboration to help them make meaning of a complex text. It highlights each instructional move and its impact on student learning. This video is useful to those new to close reading as an instructional practice and for those interested in the rationale behind the lesson design.