Connecticut Core Standards

Grades 9-10:  Reading Closely for Textual Details – “Brain Gain”

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Common Core Standards

Reading Informational Text

RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

RI.9-10.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.

RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"), including how they address related themes and concepts.

RI.9-10.10 By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)

W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Description of Unit

This Grades 9-10 unit titled “Reading Closely for Textual Details – Brain Gain” from odelleducation.com is part of a developing core proficiencies program that is intended to be completed in three weeks of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy.  This unit develops students’ abilities to read closely for textual details and compare authors’ perspectives through an examination of a series of texts about U.S. education. Throughout unit activities, students focus on: attending to details, language, and perspective; posing and responding to text-dependent questions; and analyzing connections and relationships to deepen understanding. The unit integrates the development of explanatory communication skills into the close reading process. Students learn to explain their thinking and to link it with textual evidence both in discussion and writing. The unit ends with a two-stage culminating assessment in which students first analyze and write about one of three related texts, then lead and participate in a text-centered discussion with two other students who have analyzed different texts.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that teacher notes and preparation materials require familiarity to be used effectively. While this unit uses varied modes of assessment, including a range of pre, formative, summative, and self-assessment measures, no formal CCSS aligned rubrics are included to measure individual student performance on all targeted standards; it is suggested that rubrics be developed. (The unit does include detailed checklists for teachers and students that could be used to create rubrics.)  If this unit is used in a social studies classroom, standards for Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards should be substituted for the standards listed above. It is also suggested that social studies teachers add standards from the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks. For direct links to these sources see below.

Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards  

CT Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks

Rationale for Selection

The design of this unit is exemplary. It integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills that meet targeted Common Core standards. Rather than simply ask students to read closely, this unit instructs them in a process for doing so. The lesson activities are designed to have students engage in the steps for approaching, questioning, and analyzing texts that help them focus on key textual characteristics and ideas. The unit plan is structured to be implemented in a variety of ways. It can be used as a short, stand-alone unit to introduce or develop key student proficiencies in reading closely for textual details, or it could also be used to integrate the instruction into a larger module. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials and find everything needed for pacing and instruction. Formative and summative assessments provide all students with the scaffolding needed for success.