Grade 5 Writing

Discover grade 5 writing standards.

5th grade writing requirements

Fifth grade writing requires young writers to be confident with all the fundamental language arts skills . They should now have a strong foundation in spelling , grammar , punctuation , and reading comprehension, and should also be broadening their vocabulary with ease.

Now is the time for fifth graders to make a leap towards writing articles where they display critical and creative thinking skills, whilst writing with a pace and fluency to interest and excite their reader. This is a difficult leap for most children to make, and it’s therefore important that you provide your child with plenty of opportunities to practice and hone their writing skills .

Here are some ways you can ensure your child’s writing progression in fifth grade:

  • Create a permanent writing station at home where your child can write whenever the inspiration grabs them.
  • Encourage reading whenever possible. Your child will pick up invaluable tips and tricks from other authors.
  • Model good writing habits. You can sit down and write a story alongside your child and then read your drafts to one another.

Mother and child, writing together.

To meet fifth grade writing expectations, your child should be able to:

  • Write a strong narrative with a clear structure.
  • Use a broad range of interesting and technical vocabulary.
  • Write informative articles and express clear opinions in their work.
  • Use parts of speech accurately, such as adverbs, conjunctions, adjectives, and pronouns.
  • Write with a clear purpose.
  • Complete research projects and insert key facts into their articles.
  • Understand the key differences between writing styles (Opinion, Narrative, Informative).
  • Write clear introductions and conclusions within their articles.
  • Follow a writing process such as: Plan > Draft > Edit > Redraft > Publish
  • Provide critical commentary on writing produced by a peer.

The Writing Process

This writing process is universally used when teaching children how to produce a high quality written piece at this grade level. It provides a simple method to ensure that children are comfortable with a more complex approach to writing!

Here are the stages that make up the process:

Stage 1 - Planning and Research

This includes everything from researching facts about a specific topic, to brainstorming and organizing ideas in order to create a clear plan.

Stage 2 - Creating a First Draft

Once all the research and planning have been completed, it’s now time to draft the first version of the writing piece! Ensure that your child has clear instructions on the type of writing piece they’re expected to complete, as the type will determine lots of characteristics about the piece. Drafting their daily routine, for example, will be very different from drafting a narrative writing piece!

Stage 3 - Review and Edit

After your child has finished drafting their piece of writing, it’s always good to proofread it and make any corrections, changes or additions that will improve the quality of the text. Once these are completed, we recommend reviewing these changes with your child, and editing (your child, or together) the draft accordingly.

Stage 4 - Write the final edit

Now your child is ready to finalize their text by writing it in full, using all the previous steps to help them create a better informed and structured piece of writing!

Practice Tip

Get your child to discuss their ideas out loud before writing them down. Sometimes when we speak, ideas flow in a more natural way, which can really help!

Opinion Writing

Fifth graders are expected to give their opinion on different topics and texts. They should give reasons for their point of view and include supporting details. Opinion writing will be most effective when structured clearly with information organized into groups.

In opinion pieces, it’s very important to start with a clear introduction on the topic at hand, as it will help the reader understand the writer’s stance.

The introduction should then be followed by the writer’s opinion, supported by reasons, facts, and details.

Young writers are expected to link their opinions and reasons using a variety of words, phrases, and clauses. In fifth grade, children should understand the differences between facts and opinions .

When their introduction is perfected, their opinion is clearly stated, and their reasons are given and supported with details, children need a winning concluding statement:

  • Mention the main topic discussed
  • Summarize the most important points made
  • Finish with an impactful statement

Children debating in classroom.

Informative Writing

Informative writing should be factual and accurate. When examining a topic, young writers need to organize their material logically so it supports their purpose.

Topics in informative texts should be developed to include facts, definitions, details, and quotations . The facts, definitions, details, and quotes that are included in informative writing need to be linked using a variety of words, phrases, and clauses. These links between sentences and paragraphs help to organize the writer’s ideas.

In Grade 5, using topic-specific language and structural techniques are important features of informative texts. Drafting a clear introduction, followed by paragraphs demonstrating factual knowledge about the topic and using correct terminology, and finishing with a strong conclusion will set your child up for success!

Narrative Writing

The following narrative writing techniques should help students think creatively about this writing process, as well as provide them with a clear structure to follow:

Sequence of events

The story should follow a logical sequence of events. This doesn’t mean that all stories your child writes must be in chronological order of events, but the actions should make sense to the reader and guide them to a clear conclusion.

It’s important to have a clear introduction, main body (which should consist of structured paragraphs) and a conclusion or resolution.

Literary devices

Encourage your child to try out different techniques such as dialogue , imagery, figurative language , similes and metaphors!

Similar to other forms of writing, the events within a narrative should be linked using a variety of words, phrases and clauses. These help the reader to understand when different events are happening.

Using language that incorporates the senses is a technique that helps readers to understand experiences and events within a story. Focus particularly on adjectives that relate to the senses - these words can then be used within your child’s narrative writing.

How Night Zookeeper can help is a language arts program that has been designed to provide fun ways for your fifth-grade child to practice writing skills. Our award-winning content has been developed by expert elementary school teachers to support your fifth grader in their learning journey. There are thousands of different activities and resources available on the program, including writing assignments and lessons, printable writing worksheets, challenges, creative writing prompts , and much more!

Start your free trial today to make writing fantastically fun for your child!

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5th grade writing

by: Jessica Kelmon | Updated: August 4, 2022

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Your fifth grader’s writing under Common Core Standards

By now, your child knows that writing is a process that requires research, feedback, and revision. This year, kids are expected to respond to others’ prompts for improvement and learn how to evaluate their own work, too.

Super study skills

In fifth grade, taking notes becomes an essential academic skill. Fifth graders use books, periodicals, websites, and other sources to do short research projects. Kids learn to use several sources to investigate a topic from different angles — both on their own and as part of group work with peers. Your child should keep track of all the sources they use and note what they learn, the name of the source, and the page number or url so they can find it again to create a source list or bibliography later. A big step in your child’s research process this year: taking the time to review, categorize, and summarize or paraphrase the information they’ve learned. What did your child find out about the animal’s habitat from each source? Sorting evidence into categories and summarizing information will help your fifth grader with the planning, writing, and revising stages of their writing project.

Can your 5th grader get organized to write an essay?

YouTube video

Revise, rewrite

By now, your child should understand that writing is a process requiring several steps: planning, first draft, revisions, editing, and publishing or sharing work. Your child’s planning work should include reading and rereading, taking notes, finding additional sources, discussing how new knowledge fits into what your child knew before, visually organizing the information they plan to include, and determining the best way to clearly present their evidence as a cohesive set of points. After the first draft is written, the teacher and other students will offer feedback: asking questions to elicit new details, suggesting ways to clarify an argument, or pressing for new sources of information. Don’t be surprised if there are a few rounds of revisions this year: it’s how your child’s writing gets stronger. If revisions aren’t enough to improve your child’s writing, then this year your child may be required to rewrite the piece or try a new approach . Once the structure and contents are set, final edits are the time to perfect spelling and grammar. All this work on one writing assignment is meant to help your child think of writing as a multistep process so they can evaluate their work and see that — if it’s not up to snuff — they should keep trying until it is.

Fifth grade writing: opinion pieces

Your child’s opinion pieces should start by clearly stating an opinion about a topic. Then, kids should set up and follow a logically ordered structure to introduce each reason they’ll offer in support of their opinion. Their reasons should be supported by facts and details (a.k.a. evidence), and your child should use linking words, such as additionally, consequently , and specifically to connect evidence-backed reasons to their opinion. Finally, kids should close their argument with a well-articulated conclusion that supports their original opinion.

Fifth grade writing: informative writing

Logic reigns when evaluating your fifth grader’s informative writing. The purpose of this type of writing is to convey facts and ideas clearly. So a logically ordered presentation of supporting points is, well… quite logical. Your child should clearly introduce the topic and present related information in the form of a few clear, well-thought-out paragraphs. Kids should draw on facts, definitions, concrete details, quotes, and examples from their research to thoroughly develop their topic. To clearly connect their research, fifth graders should use advanced linking words (e.g. in contrast, especially ) to form compound and complex sentences that convey their points. Remember that your child’s presentation matters: making use of subject headings, illustrations, and even multimedia to illustrate points is encouraged whenever they make your child’s work more logical and clear. Then, to wrap it up, your child should have a well-reasoned conclusion.

Check out these three real examples of good 5th grade informational writing: •” How to save water ” •” Saving a Resource ” •” Water Saveing ”

Can your 5th grader write an informational essay?

YouTube video

5th grade writing: narrative writing

A narrative is a story. Whether inspired by a book, real events, or your child’s imagination, your child’s story should start by introducing a narrator, characters, or a situational conflict. Fifth graders will be asked to use classic narrative devices like dialogue, descriptive words, and character development. Your child should be able to show how characters feel and how they react to what’s happening. Finally, the events should unfold naturally, plausibly bringing the story to a close.

Grammatically correct

By now, your fifth grader should have a solid understanding of the parts of speech. This year, your child should learn to use and explain the function of conjunctions (e.g. because, yet ), prepositions (e.g. above, without ), and interjections (e.g. Hi, well, dear ). Kids should also start using correlative conjunctions (e.g. either/or, neither/nor ). What’s more, students learn to form and use the past, present, and future perfect tenses ( I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked. ). With this tense mastered, fifth graders will be expected to use various verb tenses to convey a sequence of events and to recognize and correct any inappropriate shifts in tense.

Check out this related worksheet: •  Active and passive sentences

More sophisticated language

This year your child will: • Regularly refer to print and online dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries to spell challenging words correctly. • Use academic vocabulary words in writing. • Use more nuanced descriptions (think advanced synonyms and antonyms). • Master homographs (e.g. understand that bear means the animal and to support or carry). • Employ common idioms, adages, and proverbs (e.g. “born yesterday”; “the early bird gets the worm”; “failure teaches success” ) • Interpret figurative language like similes (e.g. “light as a feather” ) and metaphors ( “it’s a dream come true” ).

This year, your child will learn to use commas after a sentence’s introductory segment (e.g. Earlier this morning, we ate breakfast .), to set off the words yes and no in writing (e.g. Y es, we will ; and no, thank you ), to set off a question from the rest of a sentence (e.g. It’s true, isn’t it? ), and to show direct address. (e.g. Is that you, Mike? ) Your child will also use commas to separate items in a series. (e.g. I want eggs, pancakes, and juice .)

Your child should also be taught how to consistently use quotation marks, italics, or underlining to indicate titles when citing sources in reports and papers.

Check out these related worksheets: •  Punctuating a paragraph • Simile or cliche? •  Homophones and homographs

And it’s live!

The final step in writing this year? Publishing! Once all the hard work (the research, planning, writing, revisions, edits, and rewrites) are finished, your fifth grader’s ready to publish. Many classes will experiment with printing work or publishing it on a blog, website, or app. While teachers should be there for support, your child should be doing the work. The point is to learn keyboarding skills (2 full pages is the goal for fifth graders) and to interact and collaborate with peers. This could mean, for example, that your child reads a classmate’s published work online and either comments on it or references it when answering a question in class.

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Common Core State Standards Initiative

English Language Arts Standards » Language » Grade 5

Standards in this strand:, conventions of standard english:, knowledge of language:, vocabulary acquisition and use:.

  • Key Design Consideration
  • Students Who are College and Career Ready in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, & Language
  • How to Read the Standards
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language
  • Introduction for K-5
  • Kindergarten
  • Introduction for 6-12
  • Grade 11-12
  • Introduction
  • Language Progressive Skills
  • Measuring Text Complexity: Three Factors
  • Range of Text Types for K-5
  • Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Range of Student Reading K-5
  • Staying on Topic Within a Grade & Across Grades
  • Range of Text Types for 6-12
  • Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Range of Student Reading 6-12
  • English Language Arts Appendix A
  • English Language Arts Appendix B
  • English Language Arts Appendix C

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The Guide to 5th Grade: Reading and Writing

Review reading and writing curricula for 5th grade, including what to expect and the books and activities you can use to support learning..

Your child is about to enter what’s often considered the last year of elementary school — and will soon be exploring middle school curriculum! That’s why 5th grade is an extremely important time for students to cement the skills they have gained throughout the upper grades and lay a solid foundation for the years ahead.

In short, this year is all about helping students practice, refine, and grow their skills. Students build on what they learned in 4th grade by analyzing material in deeper ways, and write structured, clear, and detailed pieces about a variety of subjects. They are encouraged and expected to be more independent in their learning, and to require less guidance and support from teachers and other adults. For instance, when a student is asked to research a topic, they should know what to do to accomplish that (even if they need a little help from a teacher along the way).

Read on for what to expect this year, and shop all fifth grade resources at The Scholastic Store . 

For more book and reading ideas,  sign up  for our Scholastic Parents newsletter!

Fifth Grade Reading

Most of the 5th grade reading curriculum focuses on teaching students to understand and develop ideas about the texts they read. Fifth graders learn to support their ideas using specific details from books, and are expected to think carefully about (and ultimately use) quotes, facts, and events to develop opinions about a text and explain it. Students practice this as they read texts together as a class and independently, and their teachers often show them specific strategies they can use to do this. Fifth graders also expand these skills as they write extensively about what they read in every subject.

To build reading skills, your fifth grader :

  • Begins to use direct quotes from texts to explain and prove ideas about the reading.
  • Reads a variety of genres including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
  • Uses details from the text to summarize it, identity the main idea or theme, compare characters or events, or compare different texts of the same genre.
  • Interprets and understands metaphors and comparisons made in a text.
  • Identifies an author or narrator’s point of view and explains how this affects the content of a text.
  • Compares multiple perspectives on the same event, idea, or theme.
  • Uses the context of a text to determine the meaning of unknown words.
  • Uses technology and digital media to further their understanding of a topic and to find answers to their questions.
  • Gathers information about a topic from multiple sources.

Fifth Grade Reading Activities

Start a Book Club : It can include family members, your child’s friends and their parents, or just the two of you. Select a book together and establish small reading assignments (perhaps one or two chapters per week). Talk about the book's themes, using concrete examples you find in the text. After you finish one book, pick another by the same author about a similar topic (or in the same genre) and compare the two.

Gain Perspective : Read two different texts about an event you and your child attended (or you can each write your own personal account of it). Ask your child to compare the differences in the perspectives they are written from.

Read and Research : Help your child come up with a question about a topic of interest, and work together to explore a variety of sources for the answer. Use technology, books (such as the Scholastic Children’s Dictionary !), magazines, newspapers, and, if relevant, poetry and fiction.

Fifth Grade Writing

Fifth graders build on the skills they learned in 4th grade to become clearer and more developed writers. They pursue many different kinds of pieces covering a variety of topics, and use details and organization to strengthen their writing. As they work on pieces in class, students are taught to use writing to share their own unique ideas and perspectives — not just those of others.   

To build writing skills, your fifth grader :

  •  an introduction and conclusion
  • a logical and clear structure
  • evidence that supports the author’s opinion
  • explain a topic using details such as definitions, quotations, and facts
  • include an introduction and conclusion
  • introduce and describe an event in a logical way
  • use details such as dialogue, thoughts, and emotions
  • provide a conclusion
  • Plans, revises, and edits their writing.
  • Thinks about the best way to approach their writing and tries different ways to do so — such as writing in a different tense, or from a different perspective.
  • Uses technology (under adult supervision) to publish writing, research, and communicate with others.
  • Types at least two pages of text in one sitting.
  • Uses multiple sources to write and create a research project.
  • Takes notes on information and cites the sources used.
  • Writes pieces that take long periods of time (a few weeks) and short periods of time (one sitting or a couple of days).

Fifth Grade Writing Activities

Practice Typing : Experiment with the many different ways your child might do this — for instance, they can play typing games, type something they have written, or transcribe a conversation you have together.

Edit, Edit, Edit : You and your child can both write your own pieces, or your child can choose a short piece of writing from another source. Whatever they choose, ask your child to “revise” or “edit” the text, aiming to improve it by adding more detail and descriptions.

Pick a New Perspective : Use a piece you or your child wrote or pick a text written by someone else, like a short story or article. Ask your child to rewrite the piece from a different perspective, like that of another character in the story or a person who witnessed the event. Talk to your child about the differences in those perspectives.

Shop the best resources for fourth grade below! You can find all books and activities at  The Scholastic Store . 

Explore other grade guides: 

  • Kindergarten
  • First Grade
  • Second Grade
  • Third Grade
  • Fourth Grade  
  • Sixth Grade
  • Seventh Grade
  • Eighth Grade

Your 5th Grade Book Checklist

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