Literacy for ME: Sample Learning Targets for
Students in Grades 3-5

This collection of literacy targets represents a set of skills that students are working on during this age or grade span. It is important to remember that these are learning and instructional targets that should serve as reference points. Each learner is unique and learns skills in different ways and at different times. Use the targets in this document to communicate with caregivers and educators and to support literacy at home and in the community.

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Reading Targets

When reading any text, students are learning to...

  • identify a theme or main idea.
  • use a text to answer questions and find evidence to support those answers.
  • figure out the meaning of unknown words.
  • tell how the parts of a text fit together to develop a main idea or theme.
  • read several texts describing the same event, idea or topic. Explain how each author presents that topic.
  • answer questions about a text using the features of the text (pictures, bold print, digital sources etc.).
  • use many texts to gather information about a topic.

When reading literature, students are learning to...

  • describe characters in a story and explain how they add to the actions or events.

When reading informational text, students are learning to...

  • summarize the main ideas and details of a text.
  • explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support their main ideas.


Reading Foundations Targets

While they are still learning to read, students are learning to…

  • decode words with multiple syllables and ones with Latin suffixes (e.g., -able, -tion).
  • recognize irregularly spelled words.
  • read grade appropriate texts fluently, with expression and purpose.
  • use self-correction techniques if they encounter an unfamiliar word.


Writing Targets

When writing, students are learning to..

  • write opinion pieces with a clear topic, ordered reasons to support it, linking words, and a clear conclusion.
  • write informational pieces with a clear topic, details, transition words, specific vocabulary, and a clear conclusion.
  • use headings and pictures to support writing.
  • write narrative pieces based on a real or imagined events.
  • use clear language and organization. Include a narrator, dialogue, transitions, and description.
  • revise and edit writing with support from peers or an adult.
  • use technology to write, to publish/share writing with others, and to collaborate with peers.
  • use keyboarding skills to write one and two page documents. 
  • conduct short research projects. Collect and organize relevant information and provide a list of sources.


Speaking and Listening Targets

When speaking and listening, students are learning to…

  • engage in discussions in various groups.
  • come to discussions prepared to contribute to the topic, ask and answer questions, and review key ideas.          
  • summarize information from presentations, media, or texts read aloud.
  • summarize the main points made by a speaker and explain how they support their opinions.
  • orally report on a topic using appropriate facts and details.
  • use multimedia or displays to support the development of ideas or themes.
  • determine when to use formal and informal English.


Language Targets

In the area of language, students are learning to…

  • recognize when the tense of a word, phrase, or sentence changes and correct it if needed.
  • use commas correctly.
  • use underlining, quotes, or italics to show a title of a text or other work.
  • use dictionaries to check and correct spelling.
  • spell grade level words correctly.
  • use words and punctuation for effect.
  • determine when to use formal English.
  • use reference materials (dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauruses) to determine the meaning of new words and phrases.
  • interpret figurative language, like similes and metaphors.
  • explain the meaning of common sayings and proverbs.
  • learn and use grade level vocabulary.