Grade 3: MRS. MACK by Patricia Polacco


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Reading Literature

RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RL.3.2 Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events

RL.3.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

RL.3.5 Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.

RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)


W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.


L.3.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.3.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.3.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.


This Grade 3 assessment titled “MRS. MACK by Patricia Polacco” cited on is intended to be completed in one class period. This mini-assessment is based on excerpts from two chapters, “The Woman with Snakeskin Boots” and “My Beautiful Copper Penny,” from the book MRS. MACK by Patricia Polacco. In this mini-assessment, students respond to eight text-dependent questions that address the Reading Standards listed above. Additionally, there is an optional informative/explanatory writing prompt, which is aligned to the Reading, Writing, and Language Standards listed.


Connecticut educators are encouraged to give students the time that they need to read closely and write to the source.  While it is helpful to have students complete the mini-assessment in one class period, educators should allow additional time as is necessary to accommodate students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. It is strongly recommended that the writing prompt not be made optional to more fully assess each student’s ability to meet the targeted Common Core Standards listed above. Although the pages of the excerpts of the book, MRS. MACK by Patricia Polacco are listed in the materials, the texts are not included in this document due to permissions denial for web rights. Teachers will need to provide the excerpted text.


This mini-assessment is an excellent example of how to design rigorous text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards using literary-paired passages. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives a specific rationale for each answer option and lists the specific standards addressed. A Scoring Rubric for Text-Based Writing Prompts and information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.