5th grade nonfiction writing samples

by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: July 23, 2016

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5th grade writing samples

When it comes to writing, fifth grade is a red-letter year. To prepare for the demands of middle school and high school writing, fifth graders should be mastering skills required for strong nonfiction writing . Learn more about your fifth grader’s writing under Common Core . All students should be learning three styles of writing:

Informative/explanatory writing

Reports that convey information accurately with facts, details, and supporting information.

Narrative writing

Stories, poems, plays, and other types of fiction that convey a plot, character development, and/or personal stories.

Opinion writing

Writing in which students try to convince readers to accept their opinion about something using reasons and examples.

Fifth grade writing sample #1

Bipolar Children

This student’s report starts with a decorative cover and a table of contents. The report has eight sections, each clearly labeled with a bold subhead, and includes a bibliography. At the end, this student adds three visuals, two images from the internet with handwritten captions and a related, hand-drawn cartoon.

Type of writing: Informative/explanatory writing

Fifth grade writing sample #2

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Dylan’s report is thorough and well organized. There’s a cover page, an opening statement, and four clear sections with subheads, including a conclusion. You’ll see from the teacher’s note at the end that the assignment is for an opinion piece, but Dylan clearly writes a strong informational/explanatory piece, which is why it’s included here.

Fifth grade writing sample #3

The Harmful Ways of By-Catch and Overfishing

This student includes facts and examples to inform the reader about by-catch and overfishing. Then, at the end, the student tries to convince the reader to take a personal interest in these topics and gives example of how the reader can take action, too.

Type of writing: Opinion writing

See more examples of real kids’ writing in different grades: Kindergarten , first grade , second grade , third grade , fourth grade .

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Humanities LibreTexts

8.15: Sample Student Literary Analysis Essays

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  • Page ID 101141

  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

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The following examples are essays where student writers focused on close-reading a literary work.

While reading these examples, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the essay's thesis statement, and how do you know it is the thesis statement?
  • What is the main idea or topic sentence of each body paragraph, and how does it relate back to the thesis statement?
  • Where and how does each essay use evidence (quotes or paraphrase from the literature)?
  • What are some of the literary devices or structures the essays analyze or discuss?
  • How does each author structure their conclusion, and how does their conclusion differ from their introduction?

Example 1: Poetry

Victoria Morillo

Instructor Heather Ringo

3 August 2022

How Nguyen’s Structure Solidifies the Impact of Sexual Violence in “The Study”

Stripped of innocence, your body taken from you. No matter how much you try to block out the instance in which these two things occurred, memories surface and come back to haunt you. How does a person, a young boy , cope with an event that forever changes his life? Hieu Minh Nguyen deconstructs this very way in which an act of sexual violence affects a survivor. In his poem, “The Study,” the poem's speaker recounts the year in which his molestation took place, describing how his memory filters in and out. Throughout the poem, Nguyen writes in free verse, permitting a structural liberation to become the foundation for his message to shine through. While he moves the readers with this poignant narrative, Nguyen effectively conveys the resulting internal struggles of feeling alone and unseen.

The speaker recalls his experience with such painful memory through the use of specific punctuation choices. Just by looking at the poem, we see that the first period doesn’t appear until line 14. It finally comes after the speaker reveals to his readers the possible, central purpose for writing this poem: the speaker's molestation. In the first half, the poem makes use of commas, em dashes, and colons, which lends itself to the idea of the speaker stringing along all of these details to make sense of this time in his life. If reading the poem following the conventions of punctuation, a sense of urgency is present here, as well. This is exemplified by the lack of periods to finalize a thought; and instead, Nguyen uses other punctuation marks to connect them. Serving as another connector of thoughts, the two em dashes give emphasis to the role memory plays when the speaker discusses how “no one [had] a face” during that time (Nguyen 9-11). He speaks in this urgent manner until the 14th line, and when he finally gets it off his chest, the pace of the poem changes, as does the more frequent use of the period. This stream-of-consciousness-like section when juxtaposed with the latter half of the poem, causes readers to slow down and pay attention to the details. It also splits the poem in two: a section that talks of the fogginess of memory then transitions into one that remembers it all.

In tandem with the fluctuating nature of memory, the utilization of line breaks and word choice help reflect the damage the molestation has had. Within the first couple of lines of the poem, the poem demands the readers’ attention when the line breaks from “floating” to “dead” as the speaker describes his memory of Little Billy (Nguyen 1-4). This line break averts the readers’ expectation of the direction of the narrative and immediately shifts the tone of the poem. The break also speaks to the effect his trauma has ingrained in him and how “[f]or the longest time,” his only memory of that year revolves around an image of a boy’s death. In a way, the speaker sees himself in Little Billy; or perhaps, he’s representative of the tragic death of his boyhood, how the speaker felt so “dead” after enduring such a traumatic experience, even referring to himself as a “ghost” that he tries to evict from his conscience (Nguyen 24). The feeling that a part of him has died is solidified at the very end of the poem when the speaker describes himself as a nine-year-old boy who’s been “fossilized,” forever changed by this act (Nguyen 29). By choosing words associated with permanence and death, the speaker tries to recreate the atmosphere (for which he felt trapped in) in order for readers to understand the loneliness that came as a result of his trauma. With the assistance of line breaks, more attention is drawn to the speaker's words, intensifying their importance, and demanding to be felt by the readers.

Most importantly, the speaker expresses eloquently, and so heartbreakingly, about the effect sexual violence has on a person. Perhaps what seems to be the most frustrating are the people who fail to believe survivors of these types of crimes. This is evident when he describes “how angry” the tenants were when they filled the pool with cement (Nguyen 4). They seem to represent how people in the speaker's life were dismissive of his assault and who viewed his tragedy as a nuisance of some sorts. This sentiment is bookended when he says, “They say, give us details , so I give them my body. / They say, give us proof , so I give them my body,” (Nguyen 25-26). The repetition of these two lines reinforces the feeling many feel in these scenarios, as they’re often left to deal with trying to make people believe them, or to even see them.

It’s important to recognize how the structure of this poem gives the speaker space to express the pain he’s had to carry for so long. As a characteristic of free verse, the poem doesn’t follow any structured rhyme scheme or meter; which in turn, allows him to not have any constraints in telling his story the way he wants to. The speaker has the freedom to display his experience in a way that evades predictability and engenders authenticity of a story very personal to him. As readers, we abandon anticipating the next rhyme, and instead focus our attention to the other ways, like his punctuation or word choice, in which he effectively tells his story. The speaker recognizes that some part of him no longer belongs to himself, but by writing “The Study,” he shows other survivors that they’re not alone and encourages hope that eventually, they will be freed from the shackles of sexual violence.

Works Cited

Nguyen, Hieu Minh. “The Study” Poets.Org. Academy of American Poets, Coffee House Press, 2018, https://poets.org/poem/study-0 .

Example 2: Fiction

Todd Goodwin

Professor Stan Matyshak

Advanced Expository Writing

Sept. 17, 20—

Poe’s “Usher”: A Mirror of the Fall of the House of Humanity

Right from the outset of the grim story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Edgar Allan Poe enmeshes us in a dark, gloomy, hopeless world, alienating his characters and the reader from any sort of physical or psychological norm where such values as hope and happiness could possibly exist. He fatalistically tells the story of how a man (the narrator) comes from the outside world of hope, religion, and everyday society and tries to bring some kind of redeeming happiness to his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher, who not only has physically and psychologically wasted away but is entrapped in a dilapidated house of ever-looming terror with an emaciated and deranged twin sister. Roderick Usher embodies the wasting away of what once was vibrant and alive, and his house of “insufferable gloom” (273), which contains his morbid sister, seems to mirror or reflect this fear of death and annihilation that he most horribly endures. A close reading of the story reveals that Poe uses mirror images, or reflections, to contribute to the fatalistic theme of “Usher”: each reflection serves to intensify an already prevalent tone of hopelessness, darkness, and fatalism.

It could be argued that the house of Roderick Usher is a “house of mirrors,” whose unpleasant and grim reflections create a dark and hopeless setting. For example, the narrator first approaches “the melancholy house of Usher on a dark and soundless day,” and finds a building which causes him a “sense of insufferable gloom,” which “pervades his spirit and causes an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an undiscerned dreariness of thought” (273). The narrator then optimistically states: “I reflected that a mere different arrangement of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression” (274). But the narrator then sees the reflection of the house in the tarn and experiences a “shudder even more thrilling than before” (274). Thus the reader begins to realize that the narrator cannot change or stop the impending doom that will befall the house of Usher, and maybe humanity. The story cleverly plays with the word reflection : the narrator sees a physical reflection that leads him to a mental reflection about Usher’s surroundings.

The narrator’s disillusionment by such grim reflection continues in the story. For example, he describes Roderick Usher’s face as distinct with signs of old strength but lost vigor: the remains of what used to be. He describes the house as a once happy and vibrant place, which, like Roderick, lost its vitality. Also, the narrator describes Usher’s hair as growing wild on his rather obtrusive head, which directly mirrors the eerie moss and straw covering the outside of the house. The narrator continually longs to see these bleak reflections as a dream, for he states: “Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building” (276). He does not want to face the reality that Usher and his home are doomed to fall, regardless of what he does.

Although there are almost countless examples of these mirror images, two others stand out as important. First, Roderick and his sister, Madeline, are twins. The narrator aptly states just as he and Roderick are entombing Madeline that there is “a striking similitude between brother and sister” (288). Indeed, they are mirror images of each other. Madeline is fading away psychologically and physically, and Roderick is not too far behind! The reflection of “doom” that these two share helps intensify and symbolize the hopelessness of the entire situation; thus, they further develop the fatalistic theme. Second, in the climactic scene where Madeline has been mistakenly entombed alive, there is a pairing of images and sounds as the narrator tries to calm Roderick by reading him a romance story. Events in the story simultaneously unfold with events of the sister escaping her tomb. In the story, the hero breaks out of the coffin. Then, in the story, the dragon’s shriek as he is slain parallels Madeline’s shriek. Finally, the story tells of the clangor of a shield, matched by the sister’s clanging along a metal passageway. As the suspense reaches its climax, Roderick shrieks his last words to his “friend,” the narrator: “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door” (296).

Roderick, who slowly falls into insanity, ironically calls the narrator the “Madman.” We are left to reflect on what Poe means by this ironic twist. Poe’s bleak and dark imagery, and his use of mirror reflections, seem only to intensify the hopelessness of “Usher.” We can plausibly conclude that, indeed, the narrator is the “Madman,” for he comes from everyday society, which is a place where hope and faith exist. Poe would probably argue that such a place is opposite to the world of Usher because a world where death is inevitable could not possibly hold such positive values. Therefore, just as Roderick mirrors his sister, the reflection in the tarn mirrors the dilapidation of the house, and the story mirrors the final actions before the death of Usher. “The Fall of the House of Usher” reflects Poe’s view that humanity is hopelessly doomed.

Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Fall of the House of Usher.” 1839. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library . 1995. Web. 1 July 2012. < http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/PoeFall.html >.

Example 3: Poetry

Amy Chisnell

Professor Laura Neary

Writing and Literature

April 17, 20—

Don’t Listen to the Egg!: A Close Reading of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”

“You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,” said Alice. “Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called ‘Jabberwocky’?”

“Let’s hear it,” said Humpty Dumpty. “I can explain all the poems that ever were invented—and a good many that haven’t been invented just yet.” (Carroll 164)

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass , Humpty Dumpty confidently translates (to a not so confident Alice) the complicated language of the poem “Jabberwocky.” The words of the poem, though nonsense, aptly tell the story of the slaying of the Jabberwock. Upon finding “Jabberwocky” on a table in the looking-glass room, Alice is confused by the strange words. She is quite certain that “ somebody killed something ,” but she does not understand much more than that. When later she encounters Humpty Dumpty, she seizes the opportunity at having the knowledgeable egg interpret—or translate—the poem. Since Humpty Dumpty professes to be able to “make a word work” for him, he is quick to agree. Thus he acts like a New Critic who interprets the poem by performing a close reading of it. Through Humpty’s interpretation of the first stanza, however, we see the poem’s deeper comment concerning the practice of interpreting poetry and literature in general—that strict analytical translation destroys the beauty of a poem. In fact, Humpty Dumpty commits the “heresy of paraphrase,” for he fails to understand that meaning cannot be separated from the form or structure of the literary work.

Of the 71 words found in “Jabberwocky,” 43 have no known meaning. They are simply nonsense. Yet through this nonsensical language, the poem manages not only to tell a story but also gives the reader a sense of setting and characterization. One feels, rather than concretely knows, that the setting is dark, wooded, and frightening. The characters, such as the Jubjub bird, the Bandersnatch, and the doomed Jabberwock, also appear in the reader’s head, even though they will not be found in the local zoo. Even though most of the words are not real, the reader is able to understand what goes on because he or she is given free license to imagine what the words denote and connote. Simply, the poem’s nonsense words are the meaning.

Therefore, when Humpty interprets “Jabberwocky” for Alice, he is not doing her any favors, for he actually misreads the poem. Although the poem in its original is constructed from nonsense words, by the time Humpty is done interpreting it, it truly does not make any sense. The first stanza of the original poem is as follows:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

An the mome raths outgrabe. (Carroll 164)

If we replace, however, the nonsense words of “Jabberwocky” with Humpty’s translated words, the effect would be something like this:

’Twas four o’clock in the afternoon, and the lithe and slimy badger-lizard-corkscrew creatures

Did go round and round and make holes in the grass-plot round the sun-dial:

All flimsy and miserable were the shabby-looking birds

with mop feathers,

And the lost green pigs bellowed-sneezed-whistled.

By translating the poem in such a way, Humpty removes the charm or essence—and the beauty, grace, and rhythm—from the poem. The poetry is sacrificed for meaning. Humpty Dumpty commits the heresy of paraphrase. As Cleanth Brooks argues, “The structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations” (203). When the poem is left as nonsense, the reader can easily imagine what a “slithy tove” might be, but when Humpty tells us what it is, he takes that imaginative license away from the reader. The beauty (if that is the proper word) of “Jabberwocky” is in not knowing what the words mean, and yet understanding. By translating the poem, Humpty takes that privilege from the reader. In addition, Humpty fails to recognize that meaning cannot be separated from the structure itself: the nonsense poem reflects this literally—it means “nothing” and achieves this meaning by using “nonsense” words.

Furthermore, the nonsense words Carroll chooses to use in “Jabberwocky” have a magical effect upon the reader; the shadowy sound of the words create the atmosphere, which may be described as a trance-like mood. When Alice first reads the poem, she says it seems to fill her head “with ideas.” The strange-sounding words in the original poem do give one ideas. Why is this? Even though the reader has never heard these words before, he or she is instantly aware of the murky, mysterious mood they set. In other words, diction operates not on the denotative level (the dictionary meaning) but on the connotative level (the emotion(s) they evoke). Thus “Jabberwocky” creates a shadowy mood, and the nonsense words are instrumental in creating this mood. Carroll could not have simply used any nonsense words.

For example, let us change the “dark,” “ominous” words of the first stanza to “lighter,” more “comic” words:

’Twas mearly, and the churly pells

Did bimble and ringle in the tink;

All timpy were the brimbledimps,

And the bip plips outlink.

Shifting the sounds of the words from dark to light merely takes a shift in thought. To create a specific mood using nonsense words, one must create new words from old words that convey the desired mood. In “Jabberwocky,” Carroll mixes “slimy,” a grim idea, “lithe,” a pliable image, to get a new adjective: “slithy” (a portmanteau word). In this translation, brighter words were used to get a lighter effect. “Mearly” is a combination of “morning” and “early,” and “ringle” is a blend of “ring” and "dingle.” The point is that “Jabberwocky’s” nonsense words are created specifically to convey this shadowy or mysterious mood and are integral to the “meaning.”

Consequently, Humpty’s rendering of the poem leaves the reader with a completely different feeling than does the original poem, which provided us with a sense of ethereal mystery, of a dark and foreign land with exotic creatures and fantastic settings. The mysteriousness is destroyed by Humpty’s literal paraphrase of the creatures and the setting; by doing so, he has taken the beauty away from the poem in his attempt to understand it. He has committed the heresy of paraphrase: “If we allow ourselves to be misled by it [this heresy], we distort the relation of the poem to its ‘truth’… we split the poem between its ‘form’ and its ‘content’” (Brooks 201). Humpty Dumpty’s ultimate demise might be seen to symbolize the heretical split between form and content: as a literary creation, Humpty Dumpty is an egg, a well-wrought urn of nonsense. His fall from the wall cracks him and separates the contents from the container, and not even all the King’s men can put the scrambled egg back together again!

Through the odd characters of a little girl and a foolish egg, “Jabberwocky” suggests a bit of sage advice about reading poetry, advice that the New Critics built their theories on. The importance lies not solely within strict analytical translation or interpretation, but in the overall effect of the imagery and word choice that evokes a meaning inseparable from those literary devices. As Archibald MacLeish so aptly writes: “A poem should not mean / But be.” Sometimes it takes a little nonsense to show us the sense in something.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry . 1942. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1956. Print.

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass. Alice in Wonderland . 2nd ed. Ed. Donald J. Gray. New York: Norton, 1992. Print.

MacLeish, Archibald. “Ars Poetica.” The Oxford Book of American Poetry . Ed. David Lehman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. 385–86. Print.

Attribution

  • Sample Essay 1 received permission from Victoria Morillo to publish, licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International ( CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 )
  • Sample Essays 2 and 3 adapted from Cordell, Ryan and John Pennington. "2.5: Student Sample Papers" from Creating Literary Analysis. 2012. Licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported ( CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 )

sample literary essay 5th grade

Bell Ringers

Teaching literary analysis in middle school.

My literary analysis resources have basically been seven or eight years in the making.

I don’t know about you, but when I first realized I needed to be teaching literary analysis to a bunch of twelve and thirteen year-olds, I didn’t even know where to begin.

I had been teaching upper elementary in the three years prior, and we had done some on-demand literary analysis reading responses, but really digging into a literary analysis essay overwhelmed me.

Truth be told, my teaching strengths at the time were primarily reading and math. I had always had to dig deep to find my writing teacher voice.

But, I was now a seventh and eighth grade ELA teacher who could no longer hope her students picked up some writing skills along the way.

So I did what any good teacher would do…. I Googled how to teach…

I think I Googled something like, “Examples of middle school literary analysis essays.”

Nothing showed up in Google.

Then I Googled, “How do you teach literary analysis essays?”

I was able to find an example of a college-level literary analysis essay…

… and that was about it.

Because I couldn’t really find what I was looking for, I began creating and practicing each step of the literary analysis essay before I taught it.

This also created a ton of exemplars for my students.

sample literary essay 5th grade

I broke down each area of a literary analysis essay into lessons, chunks, chart papers, reference materials, and writing examples.

In the beginning, it was to get my brain wrapped around things, but not surprisingly it was exactly what my students needed too.

I literally learned how to write a literary analysis essay in front of them.

I would type my rough drafts as they were working and I could stop them as I came to struggles.

My mini-lessons were based on challenges I was having and again, not surprisingly the same challenges they were having.

I could also make reference pages (like the ones in your freebie) as we went along in the unit, because I could see what terms and concepts they needed constant reminders and help with.

Want to know what happened?

My student’s ELA proficiency scores increased 45% in one year and almost 70% in just two years. Those are not typos.

>>  CLICK HERE  << to download  the FREE Literary Analysis Reference Booklet.

sample literary essay 5th grade

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Literary analysis: sample essay.

We turn once more to Joanna Wolfe’s and Laura Wilder’s  Digging into Literature: Strategies for Reading, Writing, and Analysis  (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016) in order to show you their example of a strong student essay that has a strong central claim elucidated by multiple surface/depth arguments supported by patterns of evidence.

Paragraph 1

Sylvia Plath’s short poem “Morning Song” explores the conflicted emotions of a new mother. On the one hand, the mother recognizes that she is expected to treasure and celebrate her infant, but on the other hand, she feels strangely removed from the child. The poem uses a combination of scientific and natural imagery to illustrate the mother’s feelings of alienation. By the end of the poem, however, we see a shift in this imagery as the mother begins to see the infant in more human terms.

Paragraph 2

There are several references to scientific imagery in “Morning Song” that suggest that mother is viewing the baby in clinical, scientific terms rather than as a new life. The poem refers to magnification (4) and reflection (8), both of which are scientific methods. The word “distills” (8) refers to a scientific, chemical process for removing impurities from a substance. The baby’s cry is described as taking “its place among the elements” (3), which seems to refer to the periodic table of elements, the primordial matter of the universe. The watch in the first line is similarly a scientific tool and the gold the watch is made of is, of course, an element, like the baby’s cry. Even the balloons in the last line have a scientific connotation since balloons are often used for measurements and experiments in science. These images all serve to show how the speaker feels distanced from the baby, who is like a scientific experiment she is conducting rather than a human being.

Paragraph 3

Natural imagery also seems to further dehumanize the baby, reducing it to nothing more than its mouth. The baby’s breathing is compared to a moth in line 10, suggesting that the speaker feels the infant is fragile and is as likely to die as a moth dancing around candlelight. A few lines later, the baby’s mouth is compared to another animal—a cat—who greedily opens its mouth for milk. Not only does the speaker seem to feel that the baby is like an animal, but she herself is turned into an animal, as she arises “cow-heavy” (13) to feed the infant. These images show how the speaker sees both the baby and herself as dumb animals who exist only to feed and be fed. Even the morning itself seems to be reduced to another mouth to feed as she describes how the dawn “swallows its dull stars” (16). These lines suggest that just as the sun swallows up the stars, so the baby will swallow up this mother.

Paragraph 4

However, in the last few lines the poem takes a hopeful turn as the speaker begins to view the baby as a human being. The baby’s mouth, which has previously been greedy and animal-like, now becomes a source of music, producing a “handful of notes” (17) and “clear vowels” (18). Music is a distinctly human sound. No animals and certainly not the cats, cows, or moths mentioned earlier in the poem, make music. This change in how the speaker perceives the baby’s sounds—from animalistic cry to human song—suggest that she is beginning to relate the baby as an individual. Even the word “handful” in the phrase “handful of notes” (17) seems hopeful in this context since this is the first time the mother has referred to the baby as having a distinctly human body part. When the baby’s notes finally “rise like balloons” (18), the speaker seems to have arrived at a place where she can celebrate the infant. For the first time, the infant is giving something to the speaker rather than threatening to take something away. The mother seems to have finally accepted the child as an independent human being whose company she can celebrate.

Works Cited

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sample literary essay 5th grade

Literary Essay: Opening Texts and Seeing More, Bundle without Trade Pack, Grade5

By Katie Clements , Mike Ochs , Teachers College Reading & Writing Project , Lucy Calkins , Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Columbia University

About the Unit

This unit helps fifth graders meet sky-high expectations for writing literary essays. Members of the class begin by writing an essay about a shared story—a poignant video clip that they watch and discuss together. With that shared experience work as a foundation, fifth graders then learn to design, write, and revise interpretive essays about short stories. 

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This unit helps fifth graders meet sky-high expectations for writing literary essays. Members of the class begin by writing an essay about a shared story—a poignant video clip that they watch and discuss together. With that shared experience work as a foundation, fifth graders then learn to design, write, and revise interpretive essays about short stories. Throughout this work, the children—and you, their teachers—are given crystal-clear tips that convey the TCRWP’s latest thinking on this important topic. The unit ends by teaching kids to transfer all they have learned to new circumstances, including those posed by high-stakes tests.

Students learn to:

  • Write to grow ideas about a text
  • Read interpretively
  • Reread closely and carefully to identify evidence that best supports a claim
  • Support a thesis with a variety of evidence
  • Draft and revise thesis statements that capture the themes of a story and that forecast ways their essays will support their theses
  • Transfer and apply their essay writing to respond to prompts and real-world situations

This unit is best taught after students have some experience writing opinion texts. Several books in the Units of Study series support this work, including two fourth-grade writing units— Boxes and Bullets: Personal and Persuasive Essays and The Literary Essay: Writing About Fiction —and the fifth-grade reading unit, Interpretation Book Clubs: Analyzing Themes .

About the Four Additional Units

The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and Heinemann are proud to announce the release of four additional book-length units of study, each addressing an especially key topic from the Units of Study If...,Then… books.

These new book-length units have been written to fit tongue and groove into the original Units of Study, yet each can also work as a self-contained stand-alone unit, offering you a chance to try on the experience of teaching with the Units before moving to the complete series

Learn more about the  K–5 Writing Units

Note: All Additional Units include Anchor Chart Sticky Note Packs. Word Detectives also includes Read-Aloud Prompts Sticky Notes. Trade Packs for each of the new units are recommended and available separately. The How-To Guide for Nonfiction Writing requires no separate Trade Pack.

(click any section below to continue reading)

Purchase Recommendation

Choose the  Literary Essay Unit   with the Trade Book Pack  if your library does not already include the mentor texts referenced in the Unit. If you do not need the trade book pack, purchase the Literary Essay Unit without the Trade Book Pack (as shown in this product bundle).

Save  when you purchase related Units of Study cost-saving bundles, with or without trade book packs:

  • Elementary Series Bundle (K-5)  (with trade book packs)
  • Elementary Series Bundle (K-5)  (without trade book packs)

Middle School Series Bundle (6-8)

Select the  Grade-Level Writing Units  you need most, available both with and without the trade book packs:

With trade book packs:   Kindergarten  /  Grade 1  /  Grade 2  /  Grade 3  /  Grade 4  /  Grade 5

Without trade book packs:   Kindergarten  /  Grade 1  /  Grade 2  /  Grade 3  /  Grade 4  /  Grade 5  /  Grade 6  /  Grade 7  /  Grade 8

To learn more about the  Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing  series, visit  UnitsofStudy.com

Companion Resources

The  Literary Essay Trade Pack   includes age-appropriate trade books that are used in the units to model effective writing techniques, encourage students to read as writers, and provide background knowledge.

  • Every Living Thing  by Cynthia Rylant
  • Marshfiled Dreams  by Ralph Fletcher
  • Eleven and Papa  by Sandra Cisneros

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  • ELA G5:M2:U2:L11

Writing a Literary Analysis Essay: Conclusion

In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.

  • Technology and Multimedia

Supporting English Language Learners

Universal design for learning, closing & assessments, you are here:.

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  • ELA G5:M2:U2

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RF.5.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • RF.5.4a: Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
  • RF.5.4c: Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
  • W.5.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.5.2a: Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • W.5.2b: Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • W.5.2c: Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrast , especially ).
  • W.5.2d: Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • W.5.2e: Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • W.5.9a: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").
  • L.5.5: Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • I can work with a partner to write a conclusion for our literary analysis. ( W.5.2a, W.5.2b, W.5.2c, W.5.2d, W.5.9a )
  • I can read aloud an excerpt of The Most Beautiful Roof in the World with accuracy and fluency. ( RF.5.4a, RF.5.4c )
  • Entry Ticket: Guess the Focus Statement ( W.3.2a )
  • Conclusion of literary analysis essay ( W.5.2a, W.5.2b, W.5.2c, W.5.2d, W.5.9a )
  • Self-assessment on Reading Fluency Checklist ( RF.5.4a, RF.5.4c )
  • Based on students' progress in the previous lesson, determine any whole group teaching points. Address these points before students begin writing their conclusions.
  • Post: Learning targets, Literary Analysis Essay anchor chart, Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart, and Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A: For students who benefit from hearing the text read aloud multiple times, consider using a text-to-speech tool like Natural Reader , SpeakIt! for Google Chrome, or the Safari reader. Note that to use a web-based text-to-speech tool like SpeakIt! or Safari reader, you will need to create an online doc, such as a Google Doc, containing the text.
  • Work Time B: Students use a word processing document, such as a Google Doc, to write their conclusions.
  • Work Time B: Students write their conclusion using Speech to Text facilities activated on devices, or using an app or software like Dictation.io .
  • Closing and Assessment A: Record students reading the text aloud using software or apps such as Audacity  or GarageBand .

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.B.6a, 5.I.B.7, 5.I.C.10a, 5.I.C.11a, 5.I.C.12a, 5.II.A.1, 5.II.A.2b, 5.II.C.6

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to discuss and write a conclusion with another student, thereby creating an ideal context for language development. Students analyze a model conclusion to help them understand expectations. They will also profit from the oral processing in preparation for writing about the concrete language and sensory details evidence and what it helps them understand about the rainforest.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to begin writing the conclusion. Writing a conclusion using U.S. conventions may be unfamiliar. Support students by calling special attention to the name and purpose of each piece of the conclusion. Example: Highlight and label where the focus statement is restated and where the author reflects on the ideas in the essay. It may be particularly difficult for students to bring their ideas to the next level in English in the conclusion; consider allowing time for home language use. Discuss each of the checklist criteria and think aloud an example of each for the introduction. See the lesson for additional suggestions.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • Invite students to analyze the differences between the conclusion and the focus statement in the Entry Ticket: Guess the Focus Statement (answers, for teacher reference). Example: The author uses the phrase just a tiny part of the biodiversity in the rainforest in the focus statement and the phrase just one small part of that in the conclusion. (MMR) Ask:

"Why did the author change tiny part to small part?" (to vary the writing and make it more interesting by using a synonym)

"What does that refer to in the conclusion? (the amazing diversity of life in the rainforest)

"Which phrase in the focus statement is similar to the amazing diversity of life in the rainforest in the conclusion?" (the biodiversity in the rainforest)

"So, what did the author do with the language in the focus statement and the conclusion?" (The author changed the words and phrases but kept similar meaning.)

Tell students that this is a very common approach to writing a focus statement and conclusion.

For heavier support:

  • Display four bulleted blanks and ask students to help you label them with the structure for the concrete language and sensory details essay, i.e., Introduction with Focus Statement, Proof Paragraph 1, Proof Paragraph 2, Conclusion.
  • To build schema around the concept of a conclusion, read a quick story but omit the ending. When the students notice that the story was not finished, explain that it is just as frustrating when an informative essay does not have an ending. That is why conclusions are so important.
  • Provide ELLs who need heavier support with a cloze copy of the Literary Analysis Essay: Conclusion (example, for teacher reference). Leave out key words or phrases and invite students in pairs to fill in the blanks. Consider providing a word bank for them to choose from, too.
  • Reinforce the idea that students have persevered to reach particularly challenging learning targets in a language they are still mastering. Congratulate them: "Fantastic! You've written a draft of an entire essay in English! Your skills are getting even better."
  • Multiple Means of Representation: Some students may need additional support accessing the various skills and tools needed during the writing process. Visually capture the analysis of the model essay so that students can reference it as they write. As much as possible, provide varied representations for planning writing. Examples:
  • Allow students to orally plan their introduction with their partner before writing.
  • Model how to write a conclusion paragraph by thinking aloud.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression: To enable students to synthesize a large amount of information as they write, allow differentiated methods for writing their introduction paragraph. (Example: Invite students to use colored pencils to "paint" the different sentences as part of the checklist criteria. This will visually reinforce the key components of the introductory paragraph and also promote self-monitoring for students.)
  • Multiple Means of Engagement: During a writing activity, provide multiple formats of lined paper. (Examples: Skipping lines by giving lined paper with every other line highlighted or starred. Provide paper that has an empty box for sketching an idea before writing it.) Offer students a choice of format that best suits their learning needs. This will not only help them to accomplish the writing task but also to take ownership of their own learning. Build a supportive and accepting classroom culture during the revision process by reminding students that professional writers receive a great deal of feedback from their editors to improve their writing, too. 

Key:  Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • conclusion (L)
  • concrete language, sensory detail (W)
  • Entry Ticket: Guess the Focus Statement (one per pair and one to display)
  • Entry Ticket: Guess the Focus Statement (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Model Essay: Concrete and Sensory Language in The Great Kapok Tree (from Lesson 7; one per student and one to display)
  • Literary Analysis Essay anchor chart (begun in Lesson 8; added to during Work Time A; see supporting materials)
  • Literary Analysis Essay anchor chart (example, for teacher reference)
  • Informative Writing Planning graphic organizer (from Lesson 7; one per student and one to display)
  • Literary Analysis Essay: Partner Version (begun in Lesson 8; added to during Work Time B; one per student)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (from Lesson 8; added to during Work Time A; one per student)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (example, for teacher reference)
  • Informative Writing Planning graphic organizer (from Lesson 7; example, for teacher reference)
  • Literary Analysis Essay: Conclusion (example, for teacher reference)
  • Sticky notes (three per student)
  • Fluent Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Reading Fluency Checklist (from Lesson 8; one per student)
  • The Most Beautiful Roof in the World (one per student)

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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Enduring Echoes: how Anglo-Saxon Heritage Shapes Contemporary British Life

This essay about Anglo-Saxon culture outlines how the era from the 5th to the 11th century significantly influenced modern British society. It discusses the Anglo-Saxons’ contributions to the English language, revealing how Old English forms the basis of many words used today. The essay also examines literary impacts, particularly through the epic poem “Beowulf,” which reflects ancient themes of heroism and morality that resonate in contemporary literature. Additionally, it explores the origins of local governance through the systems of ‘shires’ and communal assemblies, which have evolved into today’s democratic practices. The piece touches on the influence of Anglo-Saxon art and social welfare concepts, noting how these have shaped modern aesthetics and societal norms. Overall, the essay demonstrates the profound and lasting impact of Anglo-Saxon cultural traditions on current British customs and values.

How it works

The Anglo-Saxon era, dating from the 5th to the 11th centuries, significantly molds many facets of today’s British culture and societal norms. This period, marked by the migration of tribes like the Saxons, Angles, and Jutes to Britain, established the bedrock for the English language, legal frameworks, art, literature, and the structure of society, leaving traces that are distinctly visible in the modern UK.

The Anglo-Saxons gifted us the roots of the English language. Old English, their tongue, has morphed across centuries into the English we speak now.

Though it has undergone extensive changes, a surprising number of everyday words (think “home,” “food,” and “family”) are direct descendants from Old English. This linguistic inheritance affects not just communication but also frames the worldview of English speakers today.

Anglo-Saxon literary contributions also continue to resonate. Take “Beowulf,” for instance—the venerable epic poem that paints a vivid picture of early English values and social structures. Its themes of heroism, destiny, and battling against existential threats still echo in modern Western literature, often celebrating individual courage and moral integrity, just as they did in Anglo-Saxon times.

The seeds of today’s governance can also be traced back to this era. The Anglo-Saxons introduced a system of ‘shires,’ a form of regional organization still perceptible in modern administrative divisions. This early form of governance facilitated local decision-making, somewhat akin to today’s community-led governance, which values local leadership and responsibilities. The ‘moot,’ or community assembly, of this period, is a precursor to contemporary democratic practices, underscoring a longstanding tradition of communal engagement in governance.

Artistically, Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship influences modern British aesthetics through its intricate metalworks and stone carvings, which continue to inspire today’s designs. The period’s artwork, with its detailed geometric patterns and balanced symmetry, influences current British art and architecture. This appreciation for craftsmanship and design underscores a broader, holistic view of nature and humanity, a perspective deeply embedded in modern British culture.

Furthermore, Anglo-Saxon societal structures laid foundational concepts of communal responsibility that mirror today’s social welfare ideologies. Their laws emphasized community support for the vulnerable, such as orphans and widows, and mandated provisions for the needy, which can be seen as early precursors to the modern social welfare system.

Reflecting on the Anglo-Saxon period offers more than a historical study; it reveals the enduring influence of these early settlers on contemporary British life. From language and literature to governance and social norms, the imprints of this era are a testament to the profound impact of cultural heritage on modern identities and societal values. Exploring these connections enriches our understanding of how ancient traditions shape contemporary practices, weaving a narrative of continuity amidst change in the rich tapestry of British life.

Such an exploration is not just academic—it’s a journey into the heart of how past legacies continue to mold present realities, reminding us of the lasting power of cultural inheritance in shaping who we are today.

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    Essay Example: In the vast tapestry of English literature, few tales resonate as powerfully as the epic poem "Beowulf." At its heart lies the timeless confrontation between the valiant hero Beowulf and the monstrous adversary Grendel. This iconic clash serves as a captivating exploration of

  22. The Birth of Edgar Allan Poe and the Rise of a Literary Icon

    Essay Example: Edgar Allan Poe, a figure of remarkable influence and inscrutability in American literary circles, came into existence on January 19, 1809, in the urban sprawl of Boston, Massachusetts. His birth marked the advent of a literary luminary whose eerie narratives and poetic compositions

  23. Maya Angelou: a Trailblazer in Literature, Activism, and Education

    Essay Example: Maya Angelou, neé Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, emerged as a towering luminary in the annals of American literature, civil rights advocacy, and academia. Her odyssey from a tumultuous upbringing marred by trauma and racial bigotry to

  24. Writing a Literary Essay: Proof Paragraphs

    In this lesson, students write Proof Paragraphs 1 and 2 of their essays. This is written in pieces with students saying each part aloud before writing ( RL.5.1, RL.5.3, W.5.2a, W.5.2b, W.5.4, W.5.9a ). Students have already written at least one, and possibly both, of the paragraphs either themselves or as a group write in the first half of unit ...

  25. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  26. Edgar Allan Poe: the Birthplace of a Literary Master

    This essay about Edgar Allan Poe focuses on the significance of his birthplace, Boston, Massachusetts, in shaping his literary career. Although Poe is more commonly associated with cities like Baltimore and Richmond, his early years in Boston—a major cultural hub during the early 19th century—played a crucial role in developing his themes of horror and psychological depth.

  27. Writing a Literary Essay: Conclusion

    W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. W.5.9a: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").

  28. The Role and Significance of the Protagonist in Literature

    Essay Example: Within the expansive realm of literary works, the protagonist emerges as a central, dynamic figure, orchestrating the narrative's momentum and connecting deeply with the audience. These characters transcend their roles as mere participants in the story; they are profound channels

  29. Writing a Literary Analysis Essay: Conclusion

    W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. W.5.9a: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").

  30. Enduring Echoes: How Anglo-Saxon Heritage Shapes ...

    The essay also examines literary impacts, particularly through the epic poem "Beowulf," which reflects ancient themes of heroism and morality that resonate in contemporary literature. Additionally, it explores the origins of local governance through the systems of 'shires' and communal assemblies, which have evolved into today's ...