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 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 2. Use text features to facilitate understanding of literary texts

Objective b. Identify and explain how graphic aids such as pictures and illustrations, punctuation, print features contribute to meaning


Students will read a literary text without illustrations. After reading is complete the teacher will place students in small groups. Each group will be assigned to list the elements that should be included in an illustration for that text. Students must have a text-based reason for each element they would include in an illustration. Students will share their proposed illustration with their classmates. Teacher Note: As an extension of this procedure, students may draw the illustration, design the illustration from magazines or clip art, or computer-generate an illustration.


After modeling the use of end punctuation, the teacher will provide students will a passage where selected declarative sentences are highlighted in blue, interrogative sentences in green, imperative sentences in yellow and exclamatory sentences in pink. After the teacher has reviewed this marked text with the class and explained how the end punctuation affects the understanding of the passage, students will be given another passage where selected end punctuation has been removed. They will supply the end punctuation and then read aloud those sentences where the tones of their voices reflect the end punctuation. Finally students will offer explanations regarding how the punctuation affects an understanding of the passage. For example, a question mark at the end of a certain sentence might indicate a concern of one character for another—a graphic feature as a part of characterization.


The teacher will present the class with a series of illustrations or paintings. In a discussion students and teacher will note the people, objects, or surroundings in the visual and then talk about how that illustration or painting makes them feel citing elements of that work that support the feeling. Next the teacher will present students with a series of poems or short passages where a mood is dominant. Have students select illustrations or paintings to match the print text. Discuss why the text and visual are good matches. Finally present students with a poem or prose passage that is already paired with an illustration or painting. Have students use the visual to determine a mood for the text and then read the text to see if it reflects the visual.


The teacher will review with students the various types of print features: bold print, color print, font type, italics, and underlining. Next the teacher will instruct students in the various reasons for which an author might use a print feature: to indicate a conversation, an interior monologue, plot or setting changes, or the importance of a portion of text. Next students will peruse a series of passages selected by the teacher for their use of print features. By highlighting, underlining, or whatever means is available, students will note print features in these passages. Students will supply a viable literary reason for the use of the print feature and be prepared to defend their reasoning in class discussion. Once answers have been established, teacher and students will discuss how the use of that print feature can help a reader to comprehend the passage. For example, an embedded portion of text in italics within a section of regular print might indicate a character's thoughts. Those thoughts might be in opposition to what that character actually says. This might indicate secretiveness in that character's behavior. Essentially the use of the print feature may be a step in analyzing a character.

Resources for Objective 3.A.2.b:
LESSON SEEDS | Sample Assessments | Advanced/G-T |