4th Grade - 4th Grade Writing

4th grade writing
Write responses to literature: Demonstrate an understanding of the literary work; support judgments through references to both the text and prior knowledge.
The ability to write responsive connections to literature. The writing should show comprehension as well as evaluation supported by references to the text and to personal background.

Sample Problems


What is a literary response? (how you feel about a text and why, what you think about a text and why)


What are judgments? (evaluations, decisions, opinions, thoughts, feelings, etc.)


What are references, or justifications? (proof through connections)


What is prior knowledge? (background information, things we know from experience, etc.)


What are different ways to connect to text? (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world, etc.)

Learning Tips


The more you understand the author’s purpose for writing, the better you comprehend the text. Categorize the following forms of writing in the different purposes (listed in the top row). [Answers shown for demonstration purposes.] Once you have categorized them, try to add more to each list!






Report Research

a specific person, place, or event

how to do something

a personal experience

to portray an opinion or point of view

to fix a problem

about a very specific topic


fractured fairytales


oral histories


Make connections between different texts, or even books and movies made from them.

Some recent examples:

  • Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia by C. S. Lewis

  • Horton Hears A Who! and Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss I

  • Spiderwick Chronicles and The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

  • I Am Legend and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

  • Bridge to Terabithia and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • Nancy Drew and the Nancy Drew series of books by Carolyn Keene

Ponder these questions: What similarities did the book and movie have? What were the differences particular to the book or film? Why did these things change?


Do a “book walk” before reading a text out loud or together. Look at the covers, the illustrations and/ or photographs, browse the chapter titles, etc. Ask: What do you think this book is about? What clues can you find in the pictures about the characters and setting? What possible conflicts could arise? As you read together, refer back to your predictions to see how correct they were!


KWL charts are great for recording information and tracking ideas to be able to evaluate them. Before reading a book, write down your initial observations, ideas, and details you notice in the first column. For example, you can often tell what the setting is just from browsing through the pictures. But be sure to only write down the facts you are sure you know, not your opinion. The second column is for questions and concerns you have about the story – what are you curious about? The last column is to be filled out after you have read the story. Write key details from the story and see how the entire chart encompasses the essence of the story.

What We Know (K)

What We Want to Know (W)

What We Learned (L)


While watching a movie or television show, practice the skill of predicting – make predictions about what will happen next in the story, including what will happen to the character, how the problem will be solved, etc. How does this help you relate to, or understand the story? Write about it!

Extra Help Problems


How much of a story should you read before you decide it is or is not matching your needs and interests? (at least 10 pages, depending on the number of pages in the book – if it is a novel, then try a chapter)


What is a moral of a story? (the lesson learned in a story)


What is addressing misconceptions in prior knowledge during reading? (while reading, acknowledging or realizing that something you thought previously about a text is not true)


What is having a firsthand experience prior to reading? (actually doing what happens in the text beforehand in real life)


What is making predictions and accumulating details before reading? (doing a book walk first – looking at parts and pictures; learning about others’ perspectives about the book, etc.)


What does predict mean? (forecast, foresee, expect, guess, foretell, etc.)


What is a book walk? (browsing the story’s bolded words, pictures, the copyright page, front and back covers of the book, etc.)


What does the KWL acronym stand for? (what do we Know?, What we Want to know, and what we Learned)


How do authors connect with the texts they write? (often they use their own life experiences or experiences of those close to them to create stories)


How can texts be connected to other texts? (by authors, in series, by illustrators, by genre, by topic, etc.)


What is a synopsis? (a brief summary)


How can prior knowledge help you understand a story? (you can connect to/with events, characters, feelings, thoughts in the story if you have had them before)


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