School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 4

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

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 2.0 Comprehension of Informational Text

Indicator 6. Read critically to evaluate informational text

Objective c. Identify and explain what makes the text a reliable source of information


The teacher will divide the class into four groups and provide each group with a different text focused on a single subject. These texts should be a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. For example, skateboarding is a topic about which both fiction and nonfiction text should be available. Each student within the group will read the text. Once reading is complete, the group will select pieces of information they agree are factual and pieces of information they agree are fictional. Each group should be able to justify why their selections are fact or fiction. Each group should share its text and its findings with the entire class. During the sharing any errors on the part of the group should be corrected. Finally, the teacher should pose this question to the class: If you were assigned to write a paragraph about ______, which text would provide you with the most accurate information? Teacher and students should discuss all texts to determine which would prove the most reliable for the task and why it would be reliable. Teacher Note: This activity will be more successful with students if the teacher models the procedure first with a single passage.


First, the teacher should make certain that students know the difference between a fact and an opinion. The teacher will select an informational text where ideally there are facts, supported opinions, and unsupported opinions. Together, teacher and students will read the passage and examine its content for facts, opinions, and supported opinions. As teacher and students peruse the passage, they should track their findings on a chart.

Facts from the text…Opinions from the text…Opinions from the text which are supported by facts

Once the reading of the passage and the chart are complete, students have a map of the content of the passage. To extend the activity teacher and students can focus on the "Fact" column, return to the text, and determine if there is anything in the text like quotes from experts, first-person accounts, statistics, etc…that speak to the reliability of the fact. Teacher Note: Once the teacher has guided students through this process, they may work independently through the same process with a different text or may advance to comparing texts to determine the one, which is more reliable.


The teacher will provide students with two pieces of informational text about the same topic—one that is current and one that is less current. The teacher will tell students that they must select which text they would use to complete a research of the stated topic. Students may work individually, with a partner, or in small groups. First, both texts should be read. Second, the author and his/her credentials, if available, should be noted. Within the text, any dates, quotes and their speakers, statistics, specific places and events should be recorded. Third, any information in both texts where one text contradicts the other should be noted. Once all of this information has been gathered, students should judge which text provides the better information to complete research.


Using a presenter attached to the Internet or multiple pieces of the same informational text, the teacher should guide students through an informational passage. As the teacher and students work their way through the article, the teacher will point out evidence that the selected article is a reliable one and how that evidence shows reliability. The evidence and how that evidence is reliable can be recorded on a T chart, which will serve as a guide for an independent student activity. Once the article has been examined, the teacher should provide students with four to five samples of informational passages, which they will read, and using the information from the chart determine the degree of reliability of each passage. Some may prove highly reliable; others only moderately reliable while others may not be at all reliable and yet others have no way of proving their reliability at all. Finally all information from the activity should be shared in a general class discussion where any questions about reliability are made clear.