Grade 3: Elena’s Serenade


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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.

Reading Foundational Skills

RF.3.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

RF.3.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.


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.

Speaking and Listening

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.


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.3.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.3.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).


This Grade 3 lesson titled “Elena’s Serenade” cited on has an ELA/Literacy suggested instructional time of 5 days of at least 45 minutes/day. The main focus of this lesson is to have students read a complex text closely to determine its central message. The first reading of the text is independent, followed by a teacher read aloud with students following along. (Depending on the amount of support needed by students, the teacher may choose to reverse the order of steps 1 and 2.) For the final time, students along with the teacher, re-read the text stopping to discuss and respond to questions using text evidence. Methods to structure the reading and discussion include: whole class discussion, think-pair-share, independent written response and group work. As a culminating activity, students write an informative/explanatory essay in response to a prompt about the central message, using evidence from the text to support their answer.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that additional time and support may be necessary to meet the needs of some students. While there is a sample response to the writing, a CCSS-aligned rubric should be created to elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate all of the major targeted standards listed above. This lesson was created as part of the Basal Alignment Project; if teachers are using a trade book or different edition, the page references in this lesson will not match.  In order to complete this lesson as intended, each student will need a copy of the text.


This lesson 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 gradually build toward independence. Instruction focuses on building students’ academic vocabulary in context throughout instruction. The lesson plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use.