Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 4: The Lightning Thief

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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.4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

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.

Reading Informational Text

RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

Reading Foundational Skills

RF.4.4 (a) Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

RF.4.4 (b) Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

RF.4.4 (c) Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.


W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

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. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 4 here.)

W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

W.4.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

W.4.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

W.4.9 (a) Apply grade 4 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "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].").

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 & 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.4.1 (a) Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

SL.4.1 (b) Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

SL.4.1 (c) Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.

SL.4.1 (d) Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

SL.4.2 Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

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.

SL.4.6 Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 4 Language standards 1 here for specific expectations.)


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

L.4.1 (e) Form and use prepositional phrases.

L.4.1 (f) Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.

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

L.4.2 (b) Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.

L.4.3 (c) Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.

L.4.4 (a) Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

L.4.4 (b) Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).

L.4.4 (c) Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

L.4.5 (a) Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

L.4.5 (b) Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

L.4.5 (c) Demonstrate understanding of words by relating them to their opposites (antonyms) and to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).

L.4.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Description of Unit

This Grade 4 unit titled "THE LIGHTNING THIEF" created by the Louisiana Department of Education in partnership with LearnZillion includes approximately forty 60-minute sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. In this unit, students read the novel, THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan, as well as short literary and informational texts, to understand traditional stories that focus on common patterns in literature, specifically the quest. Students also study the features of fantasy text, character development, theme, and the traits of essay writing. Through the unit’s core activities, students learn how to build independent capacity to read and comprehend a range of complex texts and how to write effectively when using and/or analyzing sources. The culminating unit assessment is divided into three tasks: the Writing Task asks students to write a multiparagraph essay to explain how the quest motif is part of THE LIGHTNING THIEF by describing Percy’s goal, the challenges he faces, and how he changes along the way; the Extension Task requires students to select a mythological character and research his or her stories in order to write and publish an explanation of how the character is a part of our lives today and then to create a presentation of their findings; the final Cold Read Task asks students to read “Atalanta’s Race” and then answer a combination of six directed response questions and then one constructed response.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the website and the teacher notes/preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. While guidance is given on how to support struggling students, additional supports and accommodations will need to be developed for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. The creation of a variety of end-of-lesson formative assessments, including the use of exit slips, is recommended to inform instruction. While all student materials are available to download and print, no texts used in the unit are included with the materials and will need to be secured. Some computer access will be needed to implement the unit as written.

Rationale for Selection

This unit is an exemplary example of how to provide for authentic learning, application of literacy skills, student-directed-inquiry, analysis, evaluation and/or reflection. It makes reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. The instructional activities focus on challenging sections of text and engage students in a productive struggle through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. Lessons routinely expect that students draw evidence from texts to produce clear and coherent writing that informs or explains in various written forms. Lesson activities use technology and media to deepen learning and draw attention to evidence and texts as appropriate. The plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. Classroom-ready materials, assessments (with answer keys), and graphic organizers are included. Detailed daily teaching notes with suggested pacing, Student Look-Fors, and recommendations for reading support are provided. An Extension Task Presentation Rubric and a Culminating Writing Task Rubric with an exemplar student response are included in unit materials. Video Overviews of how to use the ELA Guidebooks 2.0 and a Grammar Guide are available on the website.