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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

Grades 9-10

Reading RI.9-10.10

Standard 10: By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Breakin’ it Down:

This standard doesn’t mean much unless you have example texts for each complexity level -- and categorizing texts isn’t an exact science. But in the next section, English scholars have compiled a list of texts that you can use as guides when picking your own class readings.

Below are examples of text categories that can help students master the above 9 informational reading standards. Try to pull a wide variety of texts like:

  • personal essays
  • speeches
  • opinion pieces/ journalism pieces
  • essays about art or literature
  • biographies/ memoirs
  • historical, scientific, technical, or economic accounts (including digital sources) written for a broad audience

Remember: The purpose of this standard is to make sure that students are reading appropriate texts for their grade so that when they get to the advanced English classes, they are ready for the challenging readings they will encounter.

Example 1

Teacher Feature: Ideas for the classroom

By the end of 10th grade, students should be able to read and answer questions about these texts, or similar texts, without much support from you.

Examples of Informational Texts for 9th-10th grade:

  • “Speech to the Second Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry (1775)
  • “Farewell Address” by George Washington (1796)
  • “Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln (1863)
  • “State of the Union Address” by Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1941)
  • “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. (1964)
  • “Hope, Despair and Memory” by Elie Wiesel (1997)

Quiz Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. Read Elie Wiesel’s “Hope, Despair, Memory” (1997), and answer the following questions:

    Which statement best describes Wiesel’s main idea in this speech?

    Correct Answer:

    Even though we’d like to forget terrible things (like the Holocaust), we must strive to remember in order to never repeat them.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Yes. Good job! This is the best summary statement of the speech from among the four that we have here.
    • (b) - Nope. While Wiesel does say this, it is not a complete summary of his main ideas in this speech.
    • (c) - This answer is incorrect. The Holocaust was undoubtedly terrible, but Wiesel wants us to remember it, not forget it.
    • (d) - This statement is possibly true, but it is not an accurate summary statement of the main ideas in this speech.

  2. In order to ensure that he has his listeners’ attention, how does Wiesel open his speech?

    Correct Answer:

    He tells a story that illustrates the key theme of his speech.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Nope. He discusses these terms later in the speech, but not in the very beginning.
    • (b) - Right! The old Hasidic legend that he narrates is about the “power of memory,” which he then goes on to speak about in greater detail.
    • (c) - Wiesel does not ask questions in the opening section of his speech. The only questions present are those asked by a character in the story he narrates.
    • (d) - While he does tell a story that his audience might find entertaining, it is not a “funny” story.

  3. After reading this speech, what can we infer about Wiesel’s experiences during the Second World War?

    Correct Answer:

    His family died at the hands of the Nazis, and he himself was a prisoner at a concentration camp, specifically Auschwitz.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - This is probably true, but there are more specific details in the speech about his experiences.
    • (b) - Nope.
    • (c) - Wiesel didn’t just hear about these things – he actually witnessed them, so this answer is incorrect.
    • (d) - Great job! This can be tricky to figure out. When Wiesel mentions that his family was killed, he talks about himself in the third person: “The time: After the war. The place: Paris. A young man struggles to readjust to life. His mother, his father, his small sister are gone. He is alone.” And his description of the concentration camp is full of figurative language, which can make it hard to figure out exactly what he means. This section begins with the line, “For he has just returned from a universe where God, betrayed by His creatures, covered His face in order not to see,” and continues from there. This description concludes with the specific detail of which camp it was: “All found their ultimate expression in Auschwitz.”

  4. According to Wiesel, how would survivors of the Nazi concentration camps react to the current state of our world?

    Correct Answer:

    They would react with utter disbelief to the fact that human beings have so soon forgotten about the terrible violence the world experienced during the Second World War, and that they are once again waging wars due to religion and fanaticism.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Nope. He says the current state of the world will be inexplicable and unbelievable to them, but he doesn’t mention stress or trauma.
    • (b) - Right! Wiesel says: “If someone had told us in 1945 that in our lifetime religious wars would rage on virtually every continent, that thousands of children would once again be dying of starvation, we would not have believed it. Or that racism and fanaticism would flourish once again, we would not have believed it.”
    • (c) - This is the complete opposite of what he says.
    • (d) - Nowhere does Wiesel say this.

  5. Which of the following statements would Wiesel disagree with?

    Correct Answer:

    Hope can only exist when we forget the terrible past.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Yes! Wiesel would disagree with this. He doesn’t think that forgetting the past leads to hope. He says: “If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future. Does this mean that our future can be built on a rejection of the past? Surely such a choice is not necessary. The two are not incompatible.”
    • (b) - Wiesel would strongly agree with this. In fact, one of the most famous lines of this speech is: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
    • (c) - He would agree with this. He says: “War leaves no victors, only victims.”
    • (d) - According to Wiesel, this is true. He says: “And yet real despair only seized us later. Afterwards. As we emerged from the nightmare and began to search for meaning.”

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