CommonLit Elementary Classrooms 10 Fascinating Informational Texts for Elementary

These texts about famous figures, sports, art, and more are sure to engage your students!

It can be challenging to find really engaging, exciting informational texts to hook your students and help them practice key nonfiction reading skills. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ten great informational texts for students in grades 3–5!

This set includes texts about historical figures, sports, art, animals, different cultures, and more. Your students are sure to learn new facts, broaden their background knowledge, and make strong connections.

These Pumpkins Sure Can Kick!” by Patricia Cuff (4th Grade)

In this text, the author describes how a teacher and a determined group of girls started the first girl’s soccer team in Namibia, Africa. The team practiced hard and made it to the final round of a big tournament, serving as an inspiration to other girls around the world.

Consider pairing this text with “Should Girls Be Allowed to Play High School Football?” to further explore gender equality in sports. Have students make connections by asking them how they think the Pumpkins would respond to being told that they were a distraction for male athletes.

She Dreamed of Dresses” by Ann Dorer (4th Grade)

In this biography, the author describes how Ann Lowe overcame obstacles during the Jim Crow era to become a famous fashion designer. Lowe loved making dresses and her creations were sensations in Tampa and New York. She even designed Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown, but only later was credited for her work.

Consider assigning the Guiding Reading Mode as students read through this text. The Guiding Questions will help students monitor their comprehension of the text and understand the challenges Ann faced throughout her career.

How Pixar Tells a Story” by Rachel Slivnick (4th Grade)

Many students have watched Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Coco. This text describes how Pixar creates their kid-loved and world-renowned movies. Students will learn to recognize that these movies have many components in common, all designed to tug at people’s heartstrings.

A text about movies provides the perfect opportunity to show one! Show students “Pixar in a Box: Introduction to Storytelling” under the Related Media tab. Then, give students the chance to be creative by designing their own story, either in writing or through images.

Screenshot of Related Media for CommonLit text "How Pixar Tells a Story"
The Related Media links with each CommonLit lesson are a great way to build background knowledge or extend students’ learning.

Creating Colorful Collectibles” by Sneed B. Collard III (4th Grade)

Alebrijes are colorful sculptures of folk figures made by artists in Oaxaca, Mexico. In this text, the author describes how artist Zeny Fuentes uses his experience and imagination to create these lively figures from wood. Alebrijes are unique crafts that Zeny’s whole family enjoys making.

This text provides a great opportunity for students to think about their roles in their own families. Ask Discussion Question 1, “The article describes how the Fuenteses make alebrijes as a family. What is something that your family, or the people that take care of you, does together? How do you feel when you work with the people you live with?”

Finding 42” by Gretchen Griffin (5th Grade)

This informational text examines the life and accomplishments of Jackie Robinson, the first Black baseball player to play in the major leagues. Robinson overcame racial barriers and paved the way for other Black athletes to shape the future of the sport.

After reading, show students “Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball” under the Related Media tab, which provides an overview of Jackie Robinson’s career. Have students describe how what they learned from the text and the video contribute to their understanding of why Robinson’s career was so important.

The Plastic Problem” by Jacqueline Pratt-Tuke (5th Grade)

In this text, the author explains how plastic is harming the planet and the new solutions scientists are working on to address this issue. Nearly 9 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year, causing serious harm to marine life. Scientists have come up with creative ways to solve this problem, including biodegradable alternatives to plastic.

As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on the author’s point of view on plastics. Then, have students share their own views on plastic using evidence from the text to support their thinking.

A Touch of Genius” by Highlights for Children (5th Grade)

In this biography, the author describes how Michael Naranjo became a well-known sculptor despite losing his sight during the Vietnam War. When recovering in the hospital after his injury, Michael relied on his memories to make small clay sculptures. As he worked on his talent, Michael became famous and won many awards for his creations.

After reading, encourage students to make text-to-self connections. Ask Discussion Question 1, “Michael Naranjo expresses himself through his art. Is there a type of art that you like to do, like drawing, sculpting, music, or dance? How does it help you express yourself?”

Taming Threats to the World’s Largest Cats” by Jacqueline Pratt-Tuke (5th Grade)

In this text, the author describes efforts to save Siberian tigers from extinction. Siberian tigers are the largest wild cat, but also one of the most critically endangered because of poaching. Scientists and governments are working hard to help this majestic animal by discouraging the use of tiger parts and the operation of tiger farms.

Consider pairing this text with “Saving Snow Leopards” to extend students’ learning about endangered big cats. After reading both texts, students can create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the threats tigers and leopards face and how people are working to protect them.

Screenshot of Paired Texts for CommonLit text "Taming Threats to the World's Largest Cats"

A Totem Pole Comes Home” by Kathleen Curry (5th Grade)

In this compelling text, the author describes the mystery of the Haisla people’s missing totem pole and how it came home to them. A Haisla elder realized the totem pole had been given away to Sweden by the Canadian government. The Haisla people gave the Swedish people an identical totem pole in exchange, then planned a special celebration for the totem pole’s return.

After reading, consider showing students the short film “Totem: Return and Renewal” under the Related Media tab. The film explores the Haisla people’s incredible efforts to bring their totem pole home. After the video, have students discuss what the totem pole represents to the Haisla people.

Spies in Petticoats” by Judith E. Harper and Andrew Matthews (5th Grade)

This text will have your students on the edge of their seats as the author describes how many women served as spies on both sides of the Civil War. These brave women risked their lives to provide important information that shaped the conflict.

After reading, show students “Women in the Civil War” under the Related Media tab. Ask students if they are surprised to learn what a significant role women played in the war. Then, have students describe why these women’s jobs were important.

Next Steps

Looking for more great informational texts or text sets on CommonLit? Browse the CommonLit Library!

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