Grade 5: THE SUMMER OF THE SWANS by Betsy Byars


4 apple rating


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’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

RL.5.9 Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.


W.5.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

W.5.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


This Grade 5 mini-assessment titled, “THE SUMMER OF THE SWANS by Betsy Byars” cited on is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of two excerpts from the same complex text (fiction) to demonstrate deep understanding.  In this mini-assessment there are seven selected-response questions that address the reading standards listed and one (optional) constructed-response question that addresses the writing standard listed. It is designed to be completed in one 45-minute class session.


It is recommended to Connecticut teachers that the writing prompt not be made optional.


This mini-assessment is a good example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards. It could be used as a formative assessment at the start of the school year.  An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives a specific rationale for each answer option and lists the standards addressed. Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.