School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 4

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 1. Develop comprehension skills by reading a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts including print and non-print


To demonstrate proficiency of the skills in this indicator, a reader must read and analyze a variety of self-selected and assigned literary texts and through this reading develop, apply, and refine comprehension skills. It is essential that a reader have knowledge of a wide variety of literary forms and genres that represent diverse cultures and that a reader engages in active learning with these forms and genres by reading, listening to, and discussing their literary elements as well as the ideas they define.

When a reader approaches a text critically, that reader is reading or listening to that text with a definite purpose. It may be to identify and analyze elements of the text like the characters, setting, or mood etc…Or it may be to identify the cultural diversity of the text which will require attention to similarities and differences among texts. A reader may need to identify an author's perspective or the elements of the time period in which a narrative takes place.

There is a wide variety of literary texts which a reader may access. A full list is available in the clarification for Standard Three, Indicator Three. Certain of these texts may define cultural elements or diversities such as customs, language, food, religion, traditions, or elements of a geographic region. Other texts may have a point of view that controls completely the amount of or types of details a reader has access to which may ultimately create a bias for or against a particular subject or idea. Still other texts may focus on ethnic groups which help a reader appreciate the characteristics, language, and customs of that group. Or a text may be set during a particular time period where elements of the setting may indicate a past, present, or future placement.

Two broad divisions of literary text are fiction and nonfiction. Fiction tells imaginary stories while nonfiction tells about real people, places, and events. Particular kinds of literary nonfiction are biography, autobiography, personal narrative, memoir, and journal which are defined in the clarification for Standard Three, Indicator Three.

There are four main literary genres which are fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Within each main form are examples of that form like short story, novel, folktale, fairy tale, etc…which are types of fiction.

A literary form is the structure or organization of a literary work. Poetry is a genre. A limerick is an example of poetry. The form of a limerick is 5 lines or verses formed by two rhyming couplets which are a rhymed pair of lines, and a fifth line which rhymes with the first couplet.

When a reader has a broad range of experiences with different types of literary texts, that reader is equipped to draw critical conclusions about the similarities and differences between and among texts of varying forms, genres, and multiple diversities.