Grade 11: Andrew Carnegie – “The Gospel of Wealth” (1889) – A Close Reading


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Reading Informational Text

RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RI.11-12.2  Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.11-12.3  Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

RI.11-12.4  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

RI.11-12.5  Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.

RI.11-12.6  Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

RI.11-12.9  Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.

RI.11-12.10  By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


W.11-12.1  Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.4  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.11-12.7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

W.11-12.8  Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

W.11-12.9  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


This lesson plan intended for Grade 11 titled “The Gospel of Wealth 1889 – Andrew Carnegie” from  is intended to give students an opportunity to closely examine a complex text and to discuss text-dependent questions while building academic vocabulary.  Two assessments are included as culminating activities.  The first asks students to independently write a paragraph to answer a focus question citing specific evidence. The second has students conduct research using two resources to address a teacher provided essential question in a five paragraph essay.  Students are required to document their research process, include parenthetical citations and an MLA Works Cited.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the activities as described are not divided into separate lessons, nor is there a suggested pacing guide.  The intended instructional time for this lesson is not included. The plan would be enhanced with more scaffolding, teacher modeling, and discrete skill instruction for students who are ELL or who have disabilities.  An aligned rubric will need to be developed to provide sufficient guidance for interpreting students’ understanding of both the reading and writing standards listed.


The lesson plan is a useful example of how to incorporate rigor and thoughtful text dependent questions to provide students with multiple opportunities to engage with a complex text.  The plan includes an annotated excerpt with bolded vocabulary, text-dependent questions (with sample responses), teacher suggestions, and a culminating writing task. This lesson could be adapted to be used in social studies/history classes.