Grade 5: Benjamin Franklin: Inventor, Printer, Writer


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You will need to sign in (free). Scroll down to the third section: Close Reading Lesson Library. Scroll down to the fourth section: 5th Grade Close Reading Modules. Select Informational Texts. Choose the above title.


Reading Informational Text

RI.5.1 Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

RI.5.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

RI.4.5 Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

RI.5.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).

Reading Literature

RL.5.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.


L.5.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.5.4(a) Use context (e.g., cause/effect relationships and comparisons in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

L.5.4(c) Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

Speaking and Listening

SL.5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.5.2 Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

SL.5.3 Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


This Grade 5 lesson titled “Benjamin Franklin: Inventor, Printer, Writer” by Kim Stanci for LearnZillion is intended to be completed in 5 sessions of social studies/ELA/Literacy instruction. The focus of instruction is to have students participate in the close reading of an informational article that includes both primary and secondary source information. Throughout instruction, students learn how to: use specific evidence and/or quotations from the text to support a main idea, explore the meaning of multiple meaning words using clues from the text, and use the cause-effect structure to explain how early decision shaped accomplishments. In the culminating activity, students independently complete a writing task that requires them to explain how two ideas in a text are related by finding connections between the evidence that supports each idea.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the website, as well as the teacher notes and preparation materials, will require familiarity to be used effectively. In addition, prior knowledge and skills needed before starting this instruction are noted in the Five-day Close Reading Lesson Plan Overview video. Writing is used in both note-taking and in the summative assessment, but there are no writing standards listed, and they should be added and assessed. While assessment guidelines are provided, there is no aligned rubric to provide sufficient guidance for interpreting the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the targeted grade-level CCSS standards; it will need to be developed. Due to the nature of the content, the lesson fits best in a social studies class setting to extend background knowledge when learning about American history.


This lesson set is a good example of how to focus on challenging sections of a complex literary text. It engages students in a productive struggle through text-dependent questions and other supports that build toward independence. The lesson plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. Materials include the full text, a read-aloud video, a close reading overview video for teachers, as well as a text complexity and vocabulary analysis explanation sheet. Each day’s lesson includes tips for teachers within the lesson plan. Suggestions and materials are included for scaffolding instruction to make learning accessible to all students. Vocabulary instruction is embedded in the activities. The lessons are designed to be used in multiple ways in school and/or at home to provide appropriate supports for all students—those at grade level, as well as those who are ELL, have disabilities, or who read well below the grade level text band. The use of technology and media allows flexibility for teachers as they plan and deliver their instruction.