English/Language Arts Standards

Fourth Grade


  1. WORD ANALYSIS, FLUENCY, AND SYSTEMATIC VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT: Students understand the basic features of a reading. They select and know how to translate letter patterns into spoken language using phonics, syllabication, and word parts. They apply this knowledge to achieve fluent oral and silent reading.

    Word Recognition:

    1. Read narrative and expository text aloud with grade-appropriate fluency and accuracy and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression

    Vocabulary and Concept Development:

    1. Apply knowledge of word origins, derivations, synonyms, antonyms and idioms to determine the meaning of words and phrases

    2. Use knowledge of root words to determine the meaning of unknown words within a passage

    3. Know common Greek- and Latin-derived roots and affixes and use this knowledge to analyze the meaning of complex words (e.g., international)

    4. Use a thesaurus to determine related words and concepts

    5. Distinguish and interpret multiple meaning words

  2. READING COMPREHENSION: Students read and understand grade level appropriate material. They draw upon a variety of comprehension strategies as needed, including generating and Responding to essential questions, making predictions, and comparing information from several sources. The quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students are illustrated in The California Reading List. In addition to their regular school reading, by grade 4, students read one-half million words annually, including a good representation of narrative (i.e., classic and contemporary literature) and expository (e.g., magazines, on-line information) text appropriate for each grade.

    Structural Features of Informational Materials:

    1. Identify structural patterns found in informational text (e.g., compare and contrast, cause and effect, sequential-chronological order, proposition and support) to strengthen comprehension

    Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:

    1. Use appropriate strategies when reading for different purposes (e.g., full comprehension, locating information, and personal enjoyment)

    2. Make and confirm predictions about text by using prior knowledge and ideas presented in text itself, including illustrations, titles, topic sentences, key words, and foreshadowing clues

    3. Evaluate new information and hypotheses by testing them against known information

    4. Compare and contrast information on the same topic after reading several passages

    5. Distinguish between cause and effect and fact and opinion in expository text

    6. Follow multiple-step instructions from a basic technical manual (e.g., how to use computer commands or video games)

  3. LITERARY RESPONSE AND ANALYSIS: Students read and respond to a wide variety of significant works of children's literature. They distinguish between the structural features of text and the literary terms or elements (i.e., theme, plot, setting, and characters). The quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students are illustrated in The California Reading List.

    Structural Features of Literature:

    1. Describe the structural differences of various imaginative forms of literature, including fantasies, fables, myths, legends, and fairy tales

    Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:

    1. Identify the main events of the plot, their causes, and how each influences future action(s)

    2. Use knowledge of the situation and setting and of a character's traits and motivations to determine the causes for that character's actions

    3. Compare and contrast tales from different cultures by tracing the exploits of one character type and develop theories to account for similar tales in diverse cultures (e.g., trickster tales)

    4. Identify and define the presence of figurative language in literary works, including simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification


  1. WRITING STRATEGIES: Students write clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing considers audience and purpose. They successfully use the stages of the writing process (i.e., pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing successive versions).

    Organization and Focus:

    1. Select focus, organization, and point of view based upon purpose, audience, length, and format requirements

    2. Create a multiple paragraph composition that

      1. provides an introductory paragraph
      2. establishes and supports a central idea with a topic sentence at or near the beginning of the first paragraph
      3. includes supporting paragraphs with simple facts, details, and explanations
      4. concludes with a paragraph that summarizes the points
      5. is indented properly

    3. Use traditional structures for conveying information, (e.g., chronological order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a question)


    1. Write fluidly and legibly in cursive or joined italic, easily transcribing manuscript into cursive and vice-versa

    Research and Technology:

    1. Quote or paraphrase information sources, citing them appropriately

    2. Locate information in reference texts by using organizational features (e.g., prefaces, appendices)

    3. Use various reference materials as an aid to writing (e.g., dictionary, thesaurus, card catalog, encyclopedia, on-line information)

    4. Understand the structure and organization and use of, newspapers, and periodicals

    5. Demonstrate basic keyboarding skills and familiarity with the vocabulary of technology (e.g., cursor, software, memory, disk drive, hard drive)

    Revising and Evaluating Strategies:

    1. Edit and revise selected drafts to improve coherence and progression by adding, deleting, consolidating, and rearranging text

  2. WRITING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students write compositions that describe and explain familiar objects, events, and experiences. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard English and the drafting, research, and organizational strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

    Using the Grade 4 writing strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students:

    1. Write narratives on incidents that

      1. relate ideas, observations, and/or memories
      2. provide a context to enable the reader to imagine the world of the event or experience
      3. use concrete sensory details
      4. provide insight into why this incident is memorable

    2. Write responses to literature that

      1. demonstrate an understanding of the literary work
      2. support judgments through references both to the text and to prior knowledge

    3. Write information reports that

      1. frame a key question about an issue or situation
      2. include facts and details for focus
      3. draw from more than one source of information (e.g., books, newspapers, etc.)

    4. Write summaries that contain the main ideas of the reading selection and significant details

(English Language Conventions are integral to Writing and to Listening and Speaking. Thus, these standards have been placed between the other two.)

  1. WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS: Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions that are appropriate to each grade level.

    Sentence Structure:

    1. Use simple and compound sentences in writing and speaking

    2. Combine short, related sentences with appositives, participle phrases, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases


    1. Identify and use regular and irregular verbs, adverbs, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions in writing and speaking


    1. Use commas in direct quotations, apostrophes in possessives, contractions, and parentheses

    2. Use underlining, quotations, or italics to identify titles


    1. Capitalize names of magazines, newspapers, works of art, musical compositions, names of organizations, and the first word in quotations


    1. Spell correctly roots, inflections, suffixes and prefixes, and syllable constructions


  1. LISTENING AND SPEAKING STRATEGIES: Students listen and respond critically to oral communication. They speak in a manner that guides and informs the listener's understanding of key ideas, using appropriate phrasing, pitch, and modulation.


    1. Ask thoughtful questions and respond to relevant questions with appropriate elaboration in oral settings

    2. Summarize major ideas and supporting evidence presented in spoken messages and formal presentations

    3. Identify how language (e.g., expressions, usages) reflects regions and cultures

    4. Give precise directions and instructions

    Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication:

    1. Present effective introductions and conclusions that guide and inform the listener's understanding of key ideas and evidence

    2. Use traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a question)

    3. Emphasize points in ways that assist the listener/viewer in following key ideas and concepts

    4. Use details, examples, anecdotes, or experiences to explain or clarify information

    5. Use volume, pitch, phrasing, pace, and modulation, appropriately to enhance meaning

    Analysis and Evaluation of Oral Media Communication:

    1. Evaluate the role of the media focusing attention on events and in forming opinions on issues

  2. SPEAKING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students deliver brief recitations and oral presentations about familiar experiences or interests that are organized around a coherent thesis statement. Student speaking demonstrates a command of standard English and the organization and delivery strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.

    Using the strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0, students:

    1. Make narrative presentations on an incident that

      1. relate ideas, observations, and/or memories
      2. provide context that enables the listener to imagine the circumstances in which the event or experience occurred
      3. provide insight into why the selected incident is memorable

    2. Make informational presentations that

      1. frame a key question
      2. contain facts and details that help listeners focus
      3. incorporate more than one source of information (e.g., speakers, books, newspapers, television or radio reports)

    3. Deliver oral summaries of articles and books that contain the main ideas of the event/article and the most significant details

    4. Recite brief poems (i.e., two or three stanzas), brief soliloquies, or dramatic dialogues, using clear diction, tempo, volume, and phrasing)

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