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Common Core Standards: ELA

Grades 9-10

Reading RL.9-10.10

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

RL.9-10.10. By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, 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 literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 9–10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Review time! The final literature standard expects that students will be able to use the skills they’ve learned while practicing the previous standards in order to tackle age-appropriate works competently, and to discuss and write about them. Use the review activities below, or focus on areas where your students need some extra help.

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example 1

1. Vocabulary

Create or have students create vocabulary flashcards in order to test each other’s memory of major terms in literature and literary analysis. Some of the terms you may wish to include are:

idiom
personification
metaphor
simile
exposition
rising action
climax
falling action
denouement
MacGuffin
surprise element
deus ex machina
in medias res
flashback
thesis
main idea
details
supporting evidence
ellipsis
dream sequence

Example 2

2. Practice Reading

Have students review and discuss the following extract from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. Ask them to focus on: its main elements, its supporting details, what may happen next, where in the plot of the story it’s likely to fall, and what literary devices seem to be in play and why.

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o'clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 2th. but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o'clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play. and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix-- the villagers pronounced this name "Dellacroy"--eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys. and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Soon the men began to gather. surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother's grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.

Quiz 1 Questions

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

  1. In “Sleeping Beauty,” the evil fairy curses the baby princess to prick her finger on a spindle and die. This event MOST likely appears in which part of the plot?

    Correct Answer:

    rising action

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - This raises the stakes in the story and sets the events in motion, which will ultimately lead to the climax


  2. Which of the following uses the underlined phrase as an idiom?

    Correct Answer:

    Jordan and his father argue all the time, but when Jordan decided to sneak out of the house, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - All the other answer choices use the underlined words literally. Here, “the straw that broke the camel’s back” means “an action that had a huge consequence.”


  3. You are writing a short story. You want to imply that the main character is terrified of spiders, but you don’t want to say it or put a spider scene in the story. One literary device that can let you reveal the fact that the main character is scared of spiders without saying or showing it is:

    Correct Answer:

    ellipsis

    Answer Explanation:

    (e) - This is when the author deliberately leaves out some information, either because the author trusts that the reader can fill it in or because the story is made stronger by what isn’t said.


  4. If the fact that the main character’s terror of spiders is important in understanding the ultimate challenge the character faces in the story, you should MOST likely reveal the character’s fear of spiders in which part of the plot?

    Correct Answer:

    the exposition or rising action

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - Putting this fact somewhere in the beginning of the story will ensure that your readers pay attention to it and understand that it is important.


  5. A character who swoops in at the last second to squash the spider and save the main character is probably embodying which kind of literary device?

    Correct Answer:

    deus ex machina

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - This refers to a force (a character, event, or object) that wasn’t previously in the plot but that suddenly swoops in and makes everything right, usually because the characters can’t do it themselves anymore.


  6. To write the story about the character who is terrified of spiders, you realize that you’re going to have to look up spiders. Your research leads you to the following paragraph:

    “Venomous spiders found in the United States include the black widow, brown recluse, and hobo spiders. They can be dangerous to outdoor workers including farmers, foresters, landscapers, groundskeepers, gardeners, painters, roofers, pavers, construction workers, laborers, mechanics, and any other worker who spends time outside.... It is important for employers to educate their workers about their risk of exposure to venomous spiders, how they can prevent and protect themselves from spider bites, and what they should do if they are bitten.”
    (Source http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders/)

    The main idea of this paragraph is:

    Correct Answer:

    Because poisonous spiders can bite people with all kinds of jobs, it’s important for employers to make sure that their employees know what to do if they are bitten.

  7. Which of the following details supports the main idea you identified in Question 6?

    Correct Answer:

    People who work in construction jobs might see a venomous spider, and they can be hurt if they don’t know what to do about it.

  8. One way to incorporate the main idea of the passage into your short story about the character who is terrified of spiders is to:

    Correct Answer:

    Show the main character learning about poisonous spider bites from her employer.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - This would be the smoothest way to incorporate this information without changing the entire plot of this story.


  9. In your story, there is one particular spider that everyone is trying to catch, or to steal from one another once it is caught. The spider is probably serving as what type of literary device?

    Correct Answer:

    none of the above

    Answer Explanation:

    (e) - it’s a MacGuffin


  10. If the main idea of your short story is “spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them,” which of the following details BEST supports that main idea?

    Correct Answer:

    The main character almost steps on a spider, but the spider runs away from her in time to escape being crushed.

    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - This action is evidence of the above statement.


Quiz 2 Questions

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

Questions 1-10 are based on the following extract from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God:

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.

So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment.

The people all saw her come because it was sundown. The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.

Seeing the woman as she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive, Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.

  1. The first paragraph uses the ships in order to convey what idea?

    Correct Answer:

    That dreams can seem a long way off, and sometimes they happen and sometimes they don’t.

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - The ships are being used as metaphors for dreams.


  2. Which of the following details indicates that the woman has just come back from surviving a natural disaster?

    Correct Answer:

    The dead people the woman left behind had died suddenly in the middle of their lives.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - “She had come back from...the sudden dead....


  3. The phrase “the sun had left his footprints in the sky” uses which of the following literary devices?

    Correct Answer:

    personification

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - Personification gives human traits to non-human objects.


  4. As the story begins, the woman is coming back to her hometown after a terrible event, but with the rest of her life before her. This is most likely an example of which kind of literary or plot device?

    Correct Answer:

    in medias res

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - It begins “in the middle of things.”


  5. If the story continues with the woman remembering what she’s just lived through as if it’s actually happening, the story will be using which kind of literary or plot device?

    Correct Answer:

    flashback

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - This is the term for when the present action of a story stops so that the character or narrator can reflect on the past. The events of the past are usually presented as a story-within-a-story.


  6. Which of the following details supports the inference that the people in the town don’t like the woman who has just come back?

    Correct Answer:

    When the people talk about the woman’s return, they are described as sitting in judgment.

    Answer Explanation:

    (e) - Sitting in judgment implies they don’t like something about the woman.


  7. Which of the following details supports the inference that the woman isn’t likely to tell the townspeople what happened to her?

    Correct Answer:

    She just got back from burying people who have died suddenly and is still in shock.

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - This is the detail that is supported by the text and is most relevant to the sentence above.


  8. The description of the townspeople as “tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences” implies that they do what kind of work during the day?

    Correct Answer:

    They work quietly, without fussing.

  9. The sentence “they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish” MOST likely means which of the following?

    Correct Answer:

    They mulled over their memories of the woman and enjoyed discussing them.

  10. The statement that the townspeople “made killing tools out of laughs” is what kind of literary or language device?

    Correct Answer:

    idiom

    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - They didn’t literally make killing tools out of laughter, but they used laughter to injure the feelings of the woman who has returned to town.


Aligned Resources