I like to refer to this standard as the How do you know?standard. The focus here is on proving that what you see in the text is true. Backing up your claims with facts is a powerful cognitive step for students.
In grades, K-2 students are simply to use the text to answer questions about who, what, when, where, and why. As students progress to the third grade, they are introduced to the concept of referencing the text explicitly as they answer these questions. This is the first grade level where students are expected to be able to answer the question: How do you know? In fourth grade students continue with this expectation, but now they must differentiate between explicit and implicit information in the text as well. The standard specifically defines this as the ability to draw inferences from the text. Fifth graders have those same demands, but at this grade level they are expected to quote accurately from the text when they provide textual evidence. Lessons for this standard demand that students are able to integrate quotes into their own sentences and paragraphs, relying on an ability to make assertions and support them with quotes from the text. This is the basis of the Common Core Standards. Students are being taught the skill of supporting their own responses with evidence found in the text.
Implications for Instruction: K-2
When planning for this particular standard, teachers in the lower elementary school grades are laying the foundational groundwork.
K-1: The focus is on the 5Ws. Students just need to locate information about a text, but also combine this with the ability to ask questions about a text. Students are not just “searching” for the right answer, but they are posing questions of their own.
2: Teachers need to select text that incites curiosity. Students are expected to handle the 5ws and Hs as the form their own questions with an enhanced focus on details. This is where a rich text with extensive vocabulary, adjective use, or multifaceted information offer students opportunities to do just that. Texts should be rich in content. Venturing away from stereotypical low reader text with minimal interests is critical here.
Implications for Instruction 3-5
3-4: In third grade, things get exciting! Students go back into the text and prove their responses. I see highlighters, post it notes, mock debates and trials, colorful index cards. This is all about making assertions about the text and showing that you can go into the text and point out why your claim is accurate. teachers also have a commonality among language here. Word walls and direct instruction must include explicit, implicit, and inferencing lessons. Distinguishing between these types of information is critical.
5: Fifth grade teachers need to follow the same goals as the third and fourth, but there is a strong focus here on writing. Students need to quote accurately. Lessons on punctuation placement for quotations emerge here. Reversal of information will work well here. Pull a quote and have students match it to a theme, idea, or assertion about the text. Opportunities for differentiation abound here.
Implications for Instruction 6-8
6: This standard continues exactly what fifth grade has focused on (see above).
7: Seventh graders have to cite multiple pieces of textual evidence. This means that instead of just doing a graphic organizer on the 5Ws and supporting their choices with a page number or quote, students have to look at two or more parts of the text. teachers should not confuse this to mean analyzing two different pieces of text. This involves ONE piece, but analyzing how its parts support a larger meaning.This is just an extension of what the fifth and sixth graders have been doing, but it is extended to more than one section of the text. For example, if a student claims that the Hobbit is about how greed can be dangerous, they have to identify two parts of the text that support that claim. They might reference Thorin, who loses so much because of his ancestral pride as a specific point in the text that provides textual evidence that this book is a cautionary tale. In fifth and sixth grade that would be enough. In seventh grade, they need a second piece of textual evidence. They might also explain that the poor relationships between dwarfs and men warn about the consequences of greed.
8: Eighth graders need to be able to look at a text, much like the seventh graders did, but determine which textual evidence most strongly supports an analysis of the text. The teacher’s selection of texts that have strong motifs, symbols, and themes is critical here.
Implications for Instruction 9-12
9-10: Ninth graders get a bit of a break with the rigor of the progression here. They simply need to cite evidence that is thorough and strong to support analysis of the text. It is assumed that they can use the skills from eighth grade to determine which textual evidence best serves their purpose and select the strongest. Teachers should scaffold this with text that always offers multiple themes and symbols, but at increasingly difficult complexity levels. Ninth grade teachers have the best opportunity to look critically at text and bring in topics of classism, sexism, racism, and diversity, encouraging students to draw from their own perspectives. Text that is “empty” of multifaceted themes will fail to allow for rich evidence and analysis.
11-12: By the end of high school this standard is all about citing strong evidence, but also making judgments about what the text leaves uncertain. Where does the author stop? Where does he leave a theme, idea, relationship, or motif unexplored? Students are reading like writers. This is the time for text that matters to students. They are thinking critically and assessing how the text supports ideas or fails to consider them. This is one of the most obvious links to critical pedagogy. What is absent from the text? This becomes just as important as what they text says explicitly.