Grade 4: Close Reading – Lou Gehrig


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Directions: In order to access this lesson from the 63000 resources website, you will need scroll down and select the title, “Lou Gehrig Close Reading Exemplar” using the link above.


Reading Informational Text

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

RI.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

RI.4.3 Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 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.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.

RI.4.8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

RI.4.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


W.4.2 Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.


L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.4.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.4.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

L.4.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.4.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

L.4.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).

Speaking and Listening

SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.4.2 Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

SL.4.3 Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.

SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


This Grade 4 lesson titled “Lou Gehrig Close Reading Exemplar” cited on is intended to be completed in 2 sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. The lessons’ activities focus on the value of struggling with complex text to uncover its meaning. At the start of the lesson, students silently read the text, first independently, and then following along with the text as the teacher and/or students read aloud. The teacher then leads students through a set of text-dependent questions that compel students to reread specific passages and discover the structure and meaning of the author’s words. Students then discuss the text in depth with the teacher and their classmates, performing activities that result in a close reading of the text. As a culminating task, students write a newspaper article providing a summary and highlights of Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech for fans not in attendance.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that the while the lesson lists language standards as targeted standards, there is no evidence of direct instruction for these standards. It is suggested that the writing assessment included with the lesson not be made optional. 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 will need to be developed. Select the link below for sample Smarter Balanced rubrics that could be used or adapted for scoring this lesson task.

Smarter Balanced Assessment – Rubrics – English Language Arts/Literacy


The lesson is a good example of how to make reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. The instructional activities focus on challenging sections of the text and engage students in a productive struggle through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. All materials needed for the lesson are included, as well as detailed directions for the teacher.