Grade 5:“Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer


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You will need to create an account (free). Click on ELA and choose the Close Reading Lesson Library. Scroll down to click on the Fifth Grade Reading Modules. Then, select Literary Texts. Select the title above.


Reading Literature

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

RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

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.

RL.5.5 Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

RL.5.6 Describe how a narrator or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.


This Grade 5 unit titled “Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer” created by Tim Putnam for LearnZillion is intended to be completed in 5 sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction that develops close reading skills. In the initial reading of the poem, students focus on comprehending the poem, specifically difficult or unfamiliar vocabulary. With each additional reading, students practice using: context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words, visualization to understand figurative language, the author’s deliberate word choices to determine both what the author’s motives are for describing the action as he does and to express emotions. By making comparisons between characters (“the fans” being a character in the poem), students begin to consider the structure of the poem and work to become aware of their own thinking as they make inferences based on the word choices and how the author’s point of view influences their feelings and attitudes. For a culminating activity, students work independently to use evidence from the text to write about how the division of stanzas helps the readers get a sense of the changing emotions throughout the poem.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the teacher notes and preparation materials require familiarity to be used effectively. Writing and language standards are not listed, but should be added since students take notes, answer written questions throughout the lesson set, and complete a writing task for the culminating activity. 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. Lesson set materials include a close reading overview video, a text complexity and vocabulary analysis for the article, detailed teaching notes with guiding questions and a listing of standards addressed, questions with suggested answers, guidelines for examining student work, as well as suggested prompts and pacing guides. All materials are provided for free downloading.