Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 4: Cinderella by Barbara McClintock - A Common Core Unit for ELLs

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Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

RL.4.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

RL.4.9 Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

RL.4.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

W.4.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

W.4.10 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.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.4.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.4.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.4.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Description of Unit

This Grade 4 unit titled “Cinderella by Barbara McClintock —A Common Core Unit for ELLs” posted on the website is organized into eight lessons of approximately thirty minutes each. Although the unit is written for Spanish-speaking ELLs, teachers of students speaking other languages may wish to adapt the lessons by connecting to other languages, cultural elements, or related stories.  The lessons develop students’ reading and writing abilities through targeted activities built around interactive shared readings of a text where the teacher engages students in ongoing dialogue to develop students’ language proficiency and comprehension.  In the first interactive shared reading spread over four days, the focus is on helping students understand the text though the use of literal questions and targeted key vocabulary.  In the second shared reading, students work in groups and with partners to analyze the text. Vocabulary instruction is embedded throughout the unit.   As a culminating activity, students work in pairs to write a short fairy tale, incorporating common attributes of fairy tales.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that they will need to revise the existing summative assessment to elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major targeted grade-level standards listed above—currently, this assessment is completed with a partner. In addition, a Common Core-aligned rubric will need to be created. Teacher notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively.   Additional instructional time may be necessary based on the varied needs of students. The text needed for the unit is not included.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is a good example of how to integrate appropriate supports in reading, writing, speaking and listening for students who are ELL, have disabilities, and/or read well below the grade level text band.  It provides all students with opportunities to engage with a text of appropriate complexity for the grade level— CINDERELLA by Barbara McClintock (860L). Each lesson has a Teacher’s Guide that includes the following components: teacher prompts, read-aloud cues, comprehension questions, vocabulary words, and partner talk. Extension activities and optional lessons are also provided.

Related materials, classroom videos, and teacher videos are available on the Colorín Colorado website: