sample reading lesson plan 5th 4th grade

Sample Reading Lesson Plan for Fourth and Fifth Grade (#2)

Based on the book Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Grades: Fourth grade, Fifth Grade

Overview: This lesson introduces students to the book Island of the Blue Dolphins and sets the stage for more in-depth coverage of the topics of adversity, hardship, and courage.


  • Copies of the novel (preferably one for every 2 students)
  • Map of the coast of California
  • A collection of small pebbles, rock, and feathers
  • Pad of sticky notes
  • Paper and writing tools

Lesson-Specific Vocabulary Concepts:

  • Syllabication: forlorn, beckon, cormorant, adversity, hardship
  • Homophones/homonyms: awl, prey, haul, rite
  • Vowel study: parley, mesa, ravine, intruder, befall, surge, abound, portion, decree, ponder, lair, league
  • Consonant study: carcass, scurry, gorge, nettle, concealed, ceasing

Preparation: Place the materials on a table to engage students’ interest in the lesson.

Instructions for Conducting the Lesson:


What to do

Component Addressed


Have each student take one of the small items and write a simile or a metaphor about the item on a slip of paper. Provide some examples from the story.

Oral Language Development, Comprehension


Take 4–5 slips to show on a document camera and have the class chorally read them. Discuss whether the samples are metaphors or similes.

Fluency, Oral Language Development, Comprehension


Divide the class into three groups and ask each group to define one of these words: “courage,” “adversity,” or “hardship.” Students can use dictionaries or they can discuss the words in their groups to come up with their own definitions. Have each group member then get with one other member from the other 2 groups and read them their definition.

Oral Language Development, Comprehension


Group students into pairs. Each pair should “whisper read” the first chapter (about 15 minutes) together. Move about the room to help with correct pronunciation and pacing. Give each student some sticky notes, and as they come across a word they can’t read or don’t know the meaning of, have then write it on a sticky note.

Fluency, Vocabulary, Phonics


Take words from the sticky notes or the vocabulary list and spend 10–15 minutes on word study, focusing in on the skills suggested above or on one your student’s needs. Have students write down the words as you discuss them to reflect upon later.

Vocabulary, Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Oral language development


Have each student write a 2–5-sentence opinion whether they would like to continue reading the book or not. As a class, discuss students’ opinions. If the general consensus is to continue reading, have students find a new partner and repeat steps 4 and 5.

Comprehension, Oral Language Development, Fluency

Starter Discussion Questions:


Blooms Level / DOK Level

Where is the setting of this story? What characters are introduced in the first chapter?

Remember / Recall & Reproduction

What point of view does the author use? How do you know? Why did Karana continue to dig roots as the Aleut ship approached?

Understand / Recall & Reproduction

How do we learn about Karana’s character? What words describe the environment?

Apply, Analyze / Skill & Concept, Strategic Thinking

Describe a time when you or someone you know were courageous or overcame a hardship. Did you or this person change as a result? How?

Analyze / Strategic Thinking

What feelings does Karana have in the first chapter? Describe a time you had those feelings. Do you prefer male or female lead characters? Why?

Evaluate / Extended Thinking

If you wrote this chapter from the third person point of view, how would it change? Why?

Create / Extended Thinking