Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 5: Wonderstruck

Rating: Five apple rating

  1. In order to access this unit from the LearnZillion website, you will need to register with the site; there is no charge for access to these materials. Use this link to register.
  2. Once you are signed in and are on the HOME page, click on the English Language Arts button at the of the page. Scroll down to “Browse Collections” and click on the English Language Arts Guidebook Units. Scroll down, and click on Grade 5 ELA Guidebook Units. Select the Wonderstruck unit from the choices.

Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

RL.5.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

RL.5.5 Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

RL.5.7 Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

RL.5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

RL.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Reading Informational Text

RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

RI.5.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

RI.5.6 Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

RI.5.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).

RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

RI.5.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Reading Foundational Skills

RFS.5.3(a) Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

RF5.4(a) Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

RF.5.4(b) Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

RF5.4(c) Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.


W.5.1(a) Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer's purpose.

W.5.1(b) Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.

W.5.1(c) Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequentlyspecifically).

W.5.2(a) Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

W.5.2(b) Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.

W.5.2(c) Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrastespecially).

W.5.2(d) Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

W.5.2(e) Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

W.5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

W.5.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.

W.5.9(a) Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").

W.5.10 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.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.5.1(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.5.1(b) Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

SL.5.1(c) Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.

SL.5.1(d) Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.

SL.5.3 Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

SL.5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

SL.5.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.


L.5.1(b) Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

L.5.1(c) Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.

L.5.2(a) Use punctuation to separate items in a series.

L.5.2(b) Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.

L.5.2(c) Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It's true, isn't it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).

L.5.2(d) Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.

L.5.2(e) Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

L.5.3(a) Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

L.5.4(a) Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

L.5.4(b) Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis).

L.5.5(a) Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.

L.5.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).

Description of Unit

This Grade 5 unit titled “WONDERSTRUCK” created by the Louisiana Department of Education in partnership with LearnZillion includes forty-three sessions of approximately one hour of ELA/Literacy instruction. The focus of the unit is to develop student understanding and ability to express the importance of language, education, and effective communication for bridging differences. Students read literary and informational texts, in order to determine how characters respond to the challenges presented by language barriers and ineffective communication. The novel WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selzinck is the main text. Activities include asking students to: examine text evidence; practice quoting accurately from the text to support inferences; reread excerpts to analyze theme/topic; compare and contrast characters and text from the same and different genres; participate in small and large group discussions; write in response to a prompt that develops the topic with details and quotations from a text; determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and figurative language; analyze how an author develops an argument in an informational text; analyze the development of a theme in a literary text; engage in a debate; plan and draft an argumentative essay; analyze how a series of scenes fit together to develop the theme in a literary text ; participate in collaborative reading and discussion groups. As a culminating writing task, students write a multi-paragraph essay in response to the question: How do the details and illustrations of WONDERSTRUCK help to develop the theme of “effective communication develops strong relationships?”


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the website and the teacher notes/preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. Use the link below for guides that describe the “why” and “how” of the unit. While guidance is given on how to support struggling students, additional supports and accommodations may need to be developed for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. Teachers can access the list of reading materials used in the unit by using the Text Portal link below. Most of the texts used in the unit will have to be secured by the teacher.

Approach Guides, Learning Tools, Instructional Strategies

Wonderstruck Unit: Text Portal

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. Explicit writing instruction includes: verb tense and shifts in tense; planning and drafting of an argumentative essay; using transition word to link ideas; varying sentences by expanding, combining, and reducing; planning, drafting, revising, and editing an explanatory essay. Lessons 41-43 give a detailed plan for a multimedia extension project—how to plan, create, present for the students’ understanding with an aligned rubric for the teacher.