© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy See All Teacher Resources

Grade 9-10

Reading RH.9-10.10

RH.9-10.10. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Not-Arrested Development

Reading is like swimming in a public pool. Every text you jump into is different in depth, shape, and content (if it’s full of little kids don’t get in), yet the job is the same: don’t drown. It is never a good idea to let the information and requirements pull you under. Try to keep your head above water in the midst of the flowing pages. If someone pushed you in before you were ready, don’t worry, there are always a couple of Shmoop flotation devices to help you along. Notes are good water wings, and you may even graduate to an annotated text floaty. While you’re treading the waters of comprehension keep in mind that you’ve been working on this stuff your entire cannon-ball-jumping career; it’s time to swim it alone.

Teach With Shmoop

Tag! You're it.

The links in this section will take you straight to the standard-aligned assignments tagged in Shmoop's teaching guides.

That's right, we've done the work. You just do the clickin...

Teaching Guides Using this Standard


Book and Recreation

This standard simply asks you to take all that good stuff we’ve been teaching you and show that you can go solo. Reading independently and proficiently can seem like a never-ending chore, but let’s face it, you’re college-bound in just a few short years, and you’ve got to be ready to tackle those tough texts on your own, so start training now. Rather than give you the same old “how to read” advice, here are some other strategies you may find useful:

  • Work and Play: After every half hour to an hour of work (like the heavy reading involved in specific subject areas), take a break and do some tweeting, Facebooking, spelunking, swimming, knitting, maybe even play a video game for 15-30 minutes. Don’t get caught up in the fun time, and only do this if you find yourself getting into a rut and reading the same line over and over again, or just staring…
  • Check yourself: Make sure you actually understand what you’re reading. When reading independently this may be difficult because you haven’t been given the guiding questions or prompts from your teacher. Instead, look for opinion editorials on the topic you are reading. Reading valid, informed opinions on the topics you are trying to understand may help you check your understanding, like asking your buddy from class what he thinks. If you choose to take this advice, always be wary of your own opinion being swayed; don’t just follow the crowd.
  • Find the joy: Even if you hate history, there has to be something that you can connect to. Do yourself a favor and figure out an event, a topic, an idea, a person, something you find interesting and read about it. This may lead to other readings that you find interesting, and then another, and then… you get the idea.

Curb Your Enthusiasm…. For Reading

Moment of truth: are you already bored reading this? Do you need to borrow my knitting needles? It comes down to the fact that it’s your brain swimming around up there and this standard wants you to own it. Take care of your brain and it will take care of you.


Choose a novel or play from the following list and read it independently (you may want to pre-read your questions before reading to give yourself a purpose).

  • The Invisible Man
  • The Jungle
  • Death of a Salesman
  • The Crucible
  • Utopia
  • Candide
  • Things Fall Apart
  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • The Great Gatsby

Answer the following questions or complete the following tasks as they relate to the novel of your choice.

1. Write a detailed outline of the work’s major plot points or key events, using quotes from the text to illustrate the events. [Easy]

2. What lasting idea or point is presented by the culminating final events or actions in the work? Does this incite a call to action or realization in the reader? How does the entire work lead to this moment and resolution? [Medium]

3. Explain how the work is a representation of a time period. Describe the time period in detail and connect the major plot points or key events to actual occurrences or cultural trends in history. [Easy]

4. Write a two to four page analysis explaining the following items as they relate to your novel/play: [Hard]

a. What is the central idea presented in the work? How does this theme develop over the course of the text?
b. Identify at least one event in the beginning of the work that is a direct cause of a later event. How did this cause and effect relationship occur and why?
c. How does the structure of the work help to emphasize the key ideas in the text? What specific examples can you cite from the text regarding the structure?

5. Locate a primary source article relating to the topic presented in this novel. Read and annotate this article for points related to the novel. Write a two to three paragraph response integrating the two sources, with support from each, for specific points of comparison. [Medium]