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Lesson Plans
Close Reading and Text Features
3rd–5th Grade

CCSS Reading: Informational Text
  • RI.3.7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.4.7: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Materials Needed

Provide students with a copy of the “Three Cheers for Engineers!” reading passage.

Tell students, “Today we are going to read a passage titled, “Three Cheers for Engineers!” One practice of good readers is that they pay close attention to the text. As we read, I want you to think about the meaning of the text, the words that are used and other features on the page that are used to help interpret the text.”


  1. For the first reading, ask students to read the passage independently, or have them follow along as you read the passage aloud.
  2. Guide students through a series of questions that will help them understand the text, and require them to provide text-based answers. Point out that the answers to these questions can be found directly in the body of the text, the photos or the captions. Ask students to point to where they found their answers. For example, you might ask:
    • What are three structures that are mentioned in the text that are considered to be examples of impressive engineering? Use the text and pictures to find your answers. (Answer: Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Channel Tunnel and Itaipú Dam. Evidence is found in the reading passage and in the captions.)
    • Who was Joseph Strauss? (Answer: He was the engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge. This evidence is found in the second paragraph.)
    • What did the author suggest was the most amazing thing about the Empire State Building? (Answer: Its construction, or how it was built. This evidence is found in the last paragraph.)
    • Approximately how many miles of electric wiring are inside the Empire State Building? (Answer: Over 400 miles. This evidence is found in the caption for the Empire State Building.)
    • Which tab would you click on to find information on books? (Answer: Literature)
  3. After students have answered a variety of text-dependent questions, ask, “How do you think the words in bold type, the photos and the captions added to your understanding of the text?” (Possible answers: The bold type provides more information. The photos illustrate the meaning of the text. The captions give an example of what the text discusses.)

Independent Practice

  1. Have students write a short article about a memory they have (e.g., a birthday party, a funny moment, etc.). Whether funny or serious, emphasize that the article should be autobiographical and factual.
  2. Encourage students to include a picture, time line, map, graph and/or photos to accompany the article, and have them write corresponding captions.
  3. Invite students to share their article and demonstrate how the additional elements support and enhance the text of their article.

View the 3rd–5th grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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