Grades 11-12: Reading Closely for Textual Details – We, as a people, will get to the promised land!


5 apple rating


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.11-12.4 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.11-12.6 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.11-12.8 Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

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.  By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.


W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

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

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

Speaking and Listening

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.



This Grade 11-12 unit titled “Reading Closely for Textual Details: We, as a people, will get to the promised land!” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program that is intended to be completed in three weeks of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy.  This unit develops students’ abilities to read closely for textual details and to compare authors’ perspectives through an examination of a series of texts. It integrates the development of explanatory communication skills into the close reading process. Students learn to explain their thinking and to link it with textual evidence both in discussion and writing. The unit culminates in a structured text-centered discussion in which students examine discoveries they have made about an important topic, by explaining and comparing their textual analyses with their peers. If more formal evidence is desired, the unit includes an optional written summative assessment.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that while this unit uses varied modes of assessment, including a range of pre, formative, summative, and self-assessment measures, no formal CCSS aligned rubrics are included to measure student performance. (The unit does include detailed checklists for teachers and students that could be used to create rubrics.)  Before this unit is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA standards listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this unit, additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards, and possible assessment and/or rubric revision.


The design of this unit is exemplary. It integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills that meet targeted Common Core standards.  It has been structured to be implemented in a variety of ways. It can be used as a short, stand-alone unit to introduce or develop key student proficiencies in reading closely for textual details, or it could also be used to integrate the instruction into a larger module. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials and find everything needed for pacing and instruction. Formative and summative assessments provide all students with the scaffolding needed for success.