School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 5

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 d. Explain whether or not the author's opinion is presented fairly


The teacher will provide students with an informational passage where the author has a clearly defined opinion. Together teacher and students will read the assigned text and then complete a chart like the one below.

Title and AuthorAuthor's OpinionIdeas that Support the Author's OpinionIdeas that are Against the Author's OpinionIs the author's opinion presented fairly?

For student beginning this process, the teacher should provide the author's opinion.


Students will read the informational text about school dress codes "Dress Rehearsal" by Loretta Grantham in the Palm Beach Post from August 24, 1992. This article is available on the SIRS database. Prior to reading the article the teacher will provide each student with 2 different colored highlighters or pens. As students read, they should highlight information that supports school dress codes in one color and highlight information in a second color that opposes school dress codes. After reading is complete, students should have a visual of pro and con support. A teacher-led discussion should follow where each support piece is evaluated for its effectiveness. Finally, teacher and students should determine how fairly the author's opinion of school dress codes is presented.


The teacher should place students in small groups and provide each group with a folder containing a series of appropriate magazine advertisements. To begin have students determine the opinion of the product presented in the advertisement. Next have them determine how the advertisement supports that opinion. Finally have students compile a series of questions they may have about the product. Next, the teacher should select several of the advertisements for a whole class discussion about the effectiveness of the advertisements and what kind of balance of information, if any, was apparent in its presentation. This procedure can be extended in further sessions to include texts with denser print.


The teacher should supply students with a current newspaper article and editorial about the same topic. The SIRS database is a possible resource for these passages. After reading both selections, students should analyze both passages. For the newspaper article, students should list all pertinent facts about the topic. For the editorial, students should note the author's opinion and all evidence used to support his/her opinion. Next, students should note any factual information from the newspaper article, which also appeared in the editorial. Finally, both passages should be reviewed side-by-side to determine that the newspaper article is free of opinion while the editorial should show definite opinion. To extend this activity, teacher and students could focus solely on the editorial to determine if the support for the author's opinion is biased or balanced.


To determine if an author's argument is clear, the teacher should model the reading aloud of an informational passage asking pertinent questions of him/herself as the reading progresses. The teacher should ask questions such as "What does the author believe about _____?" "How do I know the author believes_____?" or "Why is this detail included in the text?" As the reading continues, the teacher or a student recorder can list both questions and answers. At the conclusion of the reading, both teacher and students should look at the recorded answers to make a determination about the clarity of the author's argument and thought processes. To extend this activity, students should reread the article focusing on those answers to the question "How do I know the author believes_____?" and review that information for balance to determine if an opposing view is presented and how the presence of that opposing view can create a more reliable resource.