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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

Grades 9-10

Writing W.9-10.9

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. 

  • Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literature.
  • Apply grades 9–10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction.

Support! Support! Support! How many times have you said that? It’s how we earn that reputation for loving the details. In this standard, students are asked to find textual evidence to support their claims and interpretations of a text. Train your students to back up all their thinking with proof from the text. This standard also provides a point of connection with the reading standards as students use their mad writing skills to compose well-written analyses of literary and informational texts.

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard


Assignment Example

It is Monday morning, and you’re a bit of a grump. Your curiosity gets the better of you though when you walk into your English class. There, lined along the window sill, are a number of odd looking fruits, some you’ve never seen before. What is your teacher thinking up now? You’re happy to hear that in today’s class, you’ll have to eat. You’re down for that!

The lesson for today is to imagine what it’s like to be an immigrant in America. You’ll be reading from both fiction and non-fiction texts to come up with an answer; in other words, you’ll take a look at how two different kinds of writing address that same topic. You’ll also do a little research for homework tonight as well. Lucky you! You will follow up your in-class work with an interview of someone who came to America from another country.

Your reporting form will be to write a two-column journal, using words and phrases from the text in the left-hand column and adding personal comments in the right-hand column. That’s easy, you think. Your elbow partner’s family came from Nigeria, so you can interview them. You settle in and wait to hear about that food business your teacher promised.

You read an autobiographical account of immigrant life: “How to Eat Guava,” part of a book called When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago. It’s a short, easy read, and the title is right on. The author explains what an unripe guava looks like: it’s “bumpy and firm… not quite ripe, still a dark green with a pale pink center, the seeds tightly embedded in the flesh.”

Eating a guava can be “quite tricky” since you can wind up with lots of seeds between your teeth. It takes some experience to become a guava-eating expert. A still-green guava is so “sour and hard” that the “skin, meat, and seeds crunch inside your head, while the inside of your mouth explodes in little spurts of sour.” GOBSTOPPERS come to mind. But a ripened guava is “juicy, almost red in the center, and so fragrant.” Santiago writes about how, as a child, she and her friend would not always wait until the guava ripened. Instead, they would eagerly “bite into the fruit” as they played “hop scotch under the mango tree.”

Santiago recalls the last day she was in Puerto Rico. Before coming to America, she treasured her last ripened guava so much that she didn’t even want to eat it. She wanted to savor its smell and texture. Now, she looks down at the guava in the fruit aisle of her New York City grocery store. She says they have not ripened, so she moves on to other kinds of fruits, the “apples and pears of my adulthood” instead. She wistfully remembers the guava of her home country, and says it is “bittersweet.” Obviously, the word means that something is bitter and sweet at the same time. As you look up the word bittersweet in the dictionary, you find the second definition, the hidden, connotative meaning: producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure.

What’s this mean for the author? You guessed it! As an immigrant, she has a longing for the old days of her home country; its ways, its customs, its food, its friends. When she thinks of that time and place, she experiences both the pain of missing them and the joy of remembering them.

Next, you’re asked to read literature to answer the same question. What is it like to be an immigrant in America? This time the piece is a poem called “Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay. Here, you think, the speaker of the poem is looking at the fruit on his windowsill. Uh huh, THAT’S where she got the idea! Some you’re familiar with; others you’ve never heard of: bananas, ginger root, cocoa in pods, alligator pears, tangerines, mangoes, grape fruit. As the speaker of the poem gazes at these on the windowsill, he recalls his boyhood days of “fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills…dewy dawns, and mystical skies.”

Here, the speaker, unlike Santiago who used a more roundabout way of writing, clearly expresses how he feels: “A wave of longing through my body swept,/And, hungry for the old, familiar ways/I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.” You make the connection between the two readings. Like Santiago, the speaker of the poem longs for his homeland, its culture, its customs, and its food.

Later, your teacher lets you experience the taste of guava and mangoes. You can see what the fuss is all about. That afternoon in the lunchroom, you slip in beside your Nigerian friend. You ask how it feels to be an immigrant in America. He says, “I like it just fine. It’s exciting and fast, and pizza and hamburgers are great. But sometimes, when I’m all alone, I miss my home, my friends, and my favorite foods.” From Santiago to McKay to your friend, it seems the theme here is that immigrants in America share a sense of longing and loss for their homeland. Simple things make them recall earlier times. That’s worth writing about, you think.

Drill 1

Use bulleted points to answer the following questions about this standard:

1. List three different types of evidence you might use to support an answer.
2. Name the two genres used in this standard.
3. Identify and define the three parts of the standard.



  • Summaries
  • Direct quotations
  • Paraphrases


  • Literature
  • Literary non-fiction


  • Analysis: To study the parts and see how their relationship adds up to the whole.
  • Reflection: To express carefully considered thoughts; to think seriously.
  • Research: A careful, close study; to inquire.

Aligned Resources