GRADE FOUR Language Arts Standards and Benchmarks Standard 1 VOCABULARY: Students will display evidence of a comprehensive reading and speaking vocabulary and will possess a variety of strategies to improve fluency. 1. Define words within an appropriate context and be able to verify those meanings by restatement, example, comparison, or contrast. 2. Identify and use, across content areas, antonyms, synonyms, compound words, homophones, homographs, and words with the same prefixes and suffixes. Benchmarks: a. Explain the differences between synonyms (e.g., angry, irritated, furious, upset) and order sets of words to given criteria (e.g., informal to formal, soft to severe) b. Begin to distinguish the difference between literal and figurative language in text. c. Use a thesaurus (both text and electronic versions) to expand vocabulary. Standard 2 READING COMPREHENSION: Students will apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate a variety of texts. 3. By the end of the academic year, independently read aloud unfamiliar books at DRA Level 42 with 95% or better accuracy of word recognition (self-correction allowed). 4. By the end of the academic year, independently read aloud from unfamiliar books at Level 42 that they have previewed silently on their own, using intonation, pauses and emphases that signal the meaning of the text. 5. Paraphrase, summarize, hypothesize, and make analogies and/or inferences about the material read using evidence from the text to support statements or views. 6. Determine, orally or in writing, the key questions needing to be answered; prioritize the resources available, and determine if the questions have been sufficiently addressed. 7. Clarify and demonstrate understanding by note taking, outlining using a graphic organizer, summarizing or by writing a report. Benchmarks: a. make predictions as they read and then validate their predictions by reviewing the texts. b. use and interpret information from tables, maps, and charts and ask questions about the data. c. use different reading strategies to gain information (e.g., setting a purpose, skimming, scanning, reading topic sentences). d. define and sequence information needed to carry out a complex (more than 6 steps) procedure. e. follow multi-steps written directions (e.g., to follow a technical manual to program a VCR, to install software, or to follow recipes). Standard 3 LITERARY UNDERSTANDING: Students will interpret, respond to, and evaluate literature. 8. Evaluate literature with respect to character development, setting, plot, climax, mood, theme, and use of figurative language. 9. Determine the author’s theme or message through the actions, quotes, motives, and descriptions of characters in various works of fiction. 10. Write engaging and concise responses to literature that express their reaction to the story’s characters, plot, and/or theme as well as the author’s writing style and support their opinions by citing passages from the text. 11. Analyze the impact the author’s word choice has on the reader in terms of communicating the mood, character’s feelings, and theme of the story or poem. 12. Analyze how characters in literature deal with conflict, solve problems, and how these actions relate to real-life. 13. Identify and analyze the word choice and arrangement in poetry and prose. 14. Begin to identify the impact figurative language (idioms, imagery, symbolism, alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphors, hyperbole, and rhyme scheme) has on a reader versus a literal description. Benchmarks: a. recognize the genre features of historical fiction and autobiographies and compare different works in each category. b. identify the factors that created the plot in the story. c. identify moral dilemmas in a story. d. analyze the author’s use of similes, metaphors, and hyperbole to describe locations, actions, characters, feelings, and situations. e. analyze how the author structured the story’s beginning and ending, point of view, plot, and characters to make the story enticing and hold the reader’s interest. f. examine the reasons for a character’s actions, accounting for situation and motive. g. explain how the motives of supporting characters can affect the protagonist. h. compare the challenges, issues, and situations encountered in their daily life with those experienced by people in other times, places, and/or cultures as portrayed in literature. i. compare poetry from different cultures. j. describe the characteristics and purposes of the following forms of poetry: ballad, couplet, narrative, and free-verse. Standard 4 READING HABITS: Students will engage in self-initiated reading for information, entertainment, and personal growth. 15. Independently read for pleasure. Benchmarks: a. begin to recognize that literature can be used to better understand oneself. b. update reading logs on a weekly basis to document their independent reading accomplishments and establish reading goals on a regular (monthly) basis. c. define the characteristics of various types of reading materials that make it appealing to them. d. provide reasonable and supported explanations for reading preferences. e. critique books they have read based on an established set of criteria. Standard 5 WRITING STRUCTURES: Students will write clear, coherent, and focused compositions on a variety of topics for different purposes and audiences. 16. Create a multiple paragraph composition that provides an introductory paragraph; establishes and supports a central idea with a topic sentence at or near the beginning of the first paragraph; includes supporting paragraphs with simple facts, details, and explanations; concludes with a paragraph that summarizes the points and demonstrates appropriate and effective transitions between paragraphs. 17. Select synonyms to replace words to improve quality (e.g., precise verbs, descriptive modifiers). 18. Edit and revise selected drafts to improve coherence and progression by adding, deleting, consolidating, and rearranging text. 19. Begin to edit their own work for identified grade level mechanics and provide feedback to others on the quality of the writing based on established criteria. 20. Independently, using the writing process write narrative and persuasive, poetry and expository pieces 21. Review work to anticipate the effect it will have on the reader and revise style, structure, and accuracy to improve its intended impact. Benchmarks: a. collect, select, and assemble ideas in a suitable planning format (e.g., flow chart, list, star chart, webbing). b. use paragraphs to show a change in idea, place, time, or speaker. c. find and use different ways to validate a point (e.g., statistical evidence, exemplification, testimony). d. identify, analyze, and apply the writing techniques and structures of recognized professional authors. e. prepare various examples of persuasive writing supported by facts. f. describe an object, person, or setting in a way that includes relevant details and is accurate and evocative. g. produce compositions that exhibit a writing voice that shows awareness of an intended audience and purpose. h. write to accomplish different purposes (e.g., provide information, editorials, entertain, arouse emotion, persuade, show multiple perspectives). i. use varying sentence patterns and lengths to slow down, speed up, or create a mood for the reader. j. join sentences together in increasingly complex ways by widening the range of conjunctions “and’ and “then” (e.g., if, so, while, though). k. write in first and third person. l. work on developing a character, often by providing motivation for action, and having the character solve a problem. m. manipulate literary devices (point of view, simile, metaphor, foreshadowing) to improve the impact of their writing. n. record reactions and observations before, during, and after learning activities (e.g., science experiments, field trips, literature study, movies). o. use prescribed criteria from a scoring rubric to evaluate their own and others’ compositions before presenting them for teacher evaluation. p. show how a final piece evolved through multiple drafts before it was presented to a targeted audience. q. reflect on their growth as writers and set personal goals to improve writing skills and products. r. create a portfolio which contains selected compositions including critiques from a range of readers (classmates, parents, teachers, older students). s. provide an engaging beginning that establishes a situation. Standard 6 WRITING MECHANICS: Students’ independent writing will demonstrate a command of appropriate English conventions, including grammar, usage, and mechanics. 22. Identify and correct ambiguity in sentences (e.g., unclear use of pronouns). 23. Use appropriate sentence structure. 24. Use either legible cursive or word processing programs to create, edit, revise, and present their compositions or final copies. 25. Begin to use word structure and word families based on meaning to spell unfamiliar words. Benchmarks: a. b. c. d. e. use various forms of verbs correctly (e.g., verb tense, subject/verb agreement, helping verbs, linking verbs, and often misused verbs such as lie/lay, sit/set, and rise/raise in writing). identify prepositions, subjects, predicates, auxiliary verbs and linking verbs. begin to use colons and semi-colons. begin to use transition words (e.g., thus, furthermore, in addition). use a thesaurus (both text and electronic versions) to expand writing vocabulary. Standard 7 ORAL LANGUAGE: Students will demonstrate an interest in and the ability to speak purposefully and articulately, as well as listen and view attentively and critically. 26. Prepare a simple speech that includes an introduction, transitions, main points in the body, and a conclusion. 27. Present narrations of an incident that relates ideas, observations, and/or memories in a way that enables the listener to imagine the circumstances of the event or experiences and give insight into why the selected incident is memorable. 28. Make informational presentations/speeches that frame a key question, contain facts and details that help listeners focus, and incorporate more than one source of information (e.g., speakers, books, television, film, internet). 29. Demonstrate the characteristics of an effective listener when participating in discussions and group work. 30. Distinguish between facts and opinions in a presentation. 31. Plan and shape presentations to achieve particular purposes or effects, and use feedback from rehearsals to make modifications. Benchmarks: a. reflect and revise presentations to include precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate and colorful modifiers, and active rather than passive voice. b. determine what content, format, and style is appropriate for different audiences and situations (e.g., peers, parents, community members). c. analyze famous speeches for the features that made them memorable. d. present effective introductions and conclusions that clarify and support the listener’s understanding of key ideas and evidence. e. explore how the use of pauses and changes in pace, volume, and pitch are used to emphasize key points and capture the audience’s attention. f. restate ideas with greater clarity when listeners indicate non-comprehension. g. summarize main points at the beginning and ending of a presentation. h. present poetry or dramatic dialogues using clear diction, tempo, and volume. i. begin to use music, sound effects, props, and visuals to increase the effectiveness of their presentation. j. encourage audience participation in presentations when appropriate. k. provide feedback to the speaker regarding the effectiveness of the presentation. l. summarize what another speaker has said, and check whether the speaker accepts the summary. m. describe how the speaker’s gestures, words, and tone affected the audience’s emotions. n. recognize and build on other people’s contributions in discussions. o. take notes to record and summarize what a speaker says, as well as their reactions to and/or questions about the presentation. p. use interviewing techniques to gain information (prepare and ask relevant questions for the interview, make notes and report responses, and ask follow-up questions to extend the interview). q. use comparisons and analogies to explain ideas. Standard 8 RESEARCH: Students will use a wide variety of resources to research information and ideas and represent them accurately, appropriately, and in their own voice. 32. Write information reports and/or essays that frame a key question about an issue or situation; include facts and details for focus, and use a minimum of 3 sources from at least 2 informational structures (CD-ROM, periodicals, books, internet). 33. Determine, either orally or in writing, the guiding questions to be answered, prioritize the resources available, and determine if the questions have been sufficiently addressed. Benchmarks: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. create and follow a plan to collect and record information within a pre-established time frame. determine if gathered information is sufficient to answer research questions. assess knowledge gained through the inquiry or research process, form conclusions, and generate new questions for further inquiry or research. record key facts and ideas in their own words and identify titles and authors of sources. identify ways to determine the reliability of information (e.g., research, support, proof). understand how advertisements sell products or ideas (e.g., campaign speeches, commercial packaging). begin to identify specific persuasive techniques used in presentations and media formats (e.g., promises, flattery, and testimonials from famous people) with emphasis on those used to persuade children. organize ideas and information using a variety of strategies (e.g., clustering, sequencing, webs, cause and effect charts). explain the purpose and features of almanacs, atlases, search engines, and web-reference sites and use these sources in their research. scan indexes, directories, and IT sources to locate reference materials and information quickly and accurately. h. i. j.