Grade 4: “The Legend of the First Fire”


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You will need to sign in (free). Scroll down to the third section: Close Reading Lesson Library. Scroll down and click on Grade 4 Close Reading Modules. Select Grade 4 Close Reading Modules: Literary Texts, and choose the above title.


Reading Literature

RL.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RL.4.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

RL.4.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).


This Grade 4 lesson set “The Legend of the First Fire” by Jennifer Shirts for LearnZillion is intended to be completed in 5 sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. The lessons focus on students furthering their understanding of the purpose of a legend while developing close reading skills and finding text evidence to: infer feeling, understand the impact of the characters’ motives, and infer the effect of a setting. Students also learn to consider the characters’ descriptions, actions, and motives—as well as how the author’s word choice supports character development and theme. As a culminating writing task, students are required to extract the theme (lesson) that the legend is teaching, drawing from the knowledge about characters’ motives and actions using previous days’ notes and their copy of the annotated text as a support.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the website, as well as the teacher notes and preparation materials, will require familiarity to be used effectively. Writing and language standards are not listed, but could be added since students take notes, answer written questions throughout the lesson set and the culminating activity is a writing task. While assessment guidelines are included, the use of a Common Core-aligned rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which students can independently demonstrate the targeted standards is suggested.


The lesson set is a good example of how to sequence, scaffold, and support learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. Each lesson addresses targeted CCSS instructional expectations and is easy to understand and implement.  The lessons are designed to be used in multiple ways in school and/or at home to provide appropriate supports for all students. The use of technology and media allows flexibility for teachers as they plan and deliver their instruction. All materials are included for downloading. Specific teaching notes in each lesson plan provide guiding questions, note the standards addressed in the lesson, state the purpose of questions with suggested answers, what to look for in students’ work, suggested prompts and pacing guides.