What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education

What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385337311
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/27/2006
Series: Core Knowledge Series
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 308,975
Product dimensions: 7.18(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

E. D. HIRSCH, JR., is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and the author of The Schools We Need, The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and the bestselling Cultural Literacy. He is chairman of the board at the Core Knowledge Foundation and lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, Revised Edition

By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Random House

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0385497210

Chapter One


This chapter presents poems, stories, and sayings, as well as brief discussions of language and literature.

The best way to introduce children to poetry is to read it to them and encourage them to speak it aloud so they can experience the music of the words. A child's knowledge of poetry should come first from pleasure and only later from analysis. However, by fifth grade, children are ready to begin learning a few basic terms and concepts, such as metaphor and simile. Such concepts can help children talk about particular effects that enliven the poems they like best.

The stories in this book are excerpts, abridgments, and adaptations of longer works. If a child enjoys a story, he or she should be encouraged to read the larger work. Don Quixote and stories about Sherlock Holmes are available in child-friendly versions as part of the Foundation's Core Classics series. You can draw children into stories by asking questions about them. For example, you might ask, "What do you think is going to happen next?" or "What might have happened if . . . ?" You might also ask the child to retell them. Don't be bothered if the child changes events: that is in the best tradition of storytelling and explains why we have so many different versions of traditional stories!

The treatments of grammar and writing in this book are brief overviews. Experts say that our children already know more about grammar than we can ever teach them. But standard written language does have special characteristics that children need to learn. In the classroom, grammar instruction is an essential part, but only a part, of an effective language arts program. Fifth graders should also have frequent opportunities to write and revise their writing -with encouragement and guidance along the way.

For some children, the section on sayings and phrases may not be needed; they will have picked up these sayings by hearing them in everyday speech. But this section will be very useful for children from homes where American English is not spoken.

For additional resources to use in conjunction with this section, visit the Foundation's Web site: coreknowledge.org.


A Wise Old Owl
by Edward Hersey Richards

A wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?

The Eagle
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

From Opposites
by Richard Wilbur

What is the opposite of riot?
It's lots of people keeping quiet.

. . .

What is the opposite of two?
A lonely me, a lonely you.

. . .

The opposite of doughnut? Wait
A minute while I meditate.
This isn't easy. Ah, I've found it!
A cookie with a hole around it.

. . .

The opposite of a cloud could be
A white reflection in the sea,
Or a huge blueness in the air,
Caused by a cloud's not being there.

. . .

The opposite of opposite?
That's much too difficult. I quit.

The Road Not Taken
by Rober t Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Excerpted from What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know, Revised Edition by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste of money
ORGANICANN More than 1 year ago
My son will be starting fifth grade in the fall and I plan to use this book in conjunction with his regular class work and to augment topics that are not delved into as deeply as I would like. This series is great for ensuring that your child has a well rounded learning experience.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book out of frustration in helping my child with homework, when we couldn't answer questions by looking through his textbook. It has been a wonderful tool. We are reading stories nightly and using it a reference. I would highly recommend the whole series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Handy book to have at home for reference. Also helps the parent understand what material is being taught in the 5th grade. It is a condensed version of all subject matter, along with explanations and examples. A must for every 5th grader and parent!