These texts for grades 3–5 focus on the changes and new life that springtime brings.
The days are growing longer and warmer. Birds are chirping, and plant buds are beginning to appear. Spring is a wonderful, exciting time for students (and their teachers!) after a long winter.
Check out these poems, short stories, and informational texts for grades 3–5 from CommonLit about the beginning of spring!
“April” by Bobbi Katz (4th Grade)
In this poem, the author describes the beginning of April from a child’s point of view. The speaker marvels at the new sensations of spring. The descriptive imagery in this poem helps students picture what April looks, sounds, and feels like.
Consider pairing this text with “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, a poem about a sidewalk that represents the path from childhood to adulthood. Ask students to discuss how the child’s point of view in each poem conveys the authors’ messages. Then, ask students if they think children have unique views on the world and have them use evidence from the texts to support their thinking.
“Purple Water” by Milan Sandhu (4th Grade)
In this text, the author describes the Indian festival Holi. Holi celebrates the defeat of evil and is a tribute to everlasting love and springtime.The festival happens every year in early spring and is a joyous time in India, full of color and life.
This text provides students with an opportunity to think about how the coming of spring is celebrated differently around the world. Ask students to share how they celebrate spring.
“Athena and the Dandelions” by Leeann Zouras (3rd Grade)
In this short story, a young girl learns to embrace her heritage. Athena is embarrassed that her Greek-American family eats dandelions and begrudgingly joins them as they pick buds for a dinner party. When Athena’s new neighbor Brigid tries the dandelions and enjoys them, Athena decides to be more open-minded about her culture.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes about how Athena feels about the dandelions. Then, have students discuss how her feelings change over the course of the story.
“Art on an Egg” by Mariam C. Orme (5th Grade)
In this informational text, the author describes a special Ukrainian tradition. Viktor’s family decorates traditional eggs called pysanky in the spring. Long ago, the eggs represented new life and were used in special ceremonies to honor the sun. Today, the eggs are made for Easter celebrations, and the tradition of making pysanky is practiced around the world.
As students read, have them follow the annotation task, which asks them to take notes on the different reasons why people decorate eggs. Then, have students discuss what makes the tradition special. They can even make connections to their own cultural traditions!
“Dragonfly” by Bill Johnson (3rd Grade)
In this short poem, a speaker describes observing a dragonfly, using strong imagery to bring the dragonfly to life. The speaker’s fascination with the animal will remind readers of their own experiences connecting with nature, like listening to a bird’s song or watching a butterfly flutter about.
Before reading this poem, have students learn more about how dragonflies fly by watching the video “Investigating the Secrets of Dragonfly Flight” under Related Media. Then, ask students to discuss how dragonflies’ wings differ from other insects they’ve seen.
“Basant Birthday” by Maya Kanwal (5th Grade)
In this short story, a young girl in Pakistan breaks cultural norms by going kite fighting on her birthday. The narrator’s brother helps her learn how to fly a kite. Then, she is able to knock her brother’s kite out of the sky with her new skills!
Consider assigning CommonLit’s Guided Reading Mode to your students while they read this text. The Guiding Questions will help students understand how the narrator persevered to learn an activity usually reserved for boys.
“Life in a Vernal Pool” by Lori Wollerman Nelson (4th Grade)
Vernal pools are temporary ponds that fill up in the spring and dry out in the summer. In this informational text, Lori Wollerman Nelson describes how vernal pools change throughout the seasons and their importance to the animals that rely on them.
Show students the video “Vernal Pools Spring to Life” under Related Media to provide them with additional information about vernal pools. Students can list the animals that they see in the video and describe why vernal pools are good homes for these animals.
“After the Rain” by Caryl S. Ulrich (3rd Grade)
In this short poem, the speaker describes the world after it rains. The evocative imagery describes how rain brings early spring to life.
After reading the poem, provide students with the opportunity to make text-to-self connections. Ask students Discussion Question 1, “How does the world look and smell after it rains? Do you enjoy the time after it rains? Why or why not?”
“Dancing for Mamá” by Joanna Lukens (4th Grade)
In this short story, Margarita is chosen to dance in the Festival of Flowers in El Salvador. Margarita wishes her mom, who is far away in the United States, could watch her dance on this special day, so she pictures her mother with her while she dances. After the festival, Margarita’s mother is thrilled to see Margarita’s picture in the newspaper.
Before reading, show students the video “Feria de las Flores” under Related Media to build background knowledge.Though the video shows the Festival of Flowers in Colombia, students will see examples of dances similar to Margarita’s.
“Earth Day Birthday” by Jody Jensen Shaffer (3rd Grade)
In this heartwarming short story, April declares that she no longer wants to share her birthday with the Earth. April’s birthday falls on Earth Day, and every year, she has a themed party focused on taking care of the environment. This year, April is determined to have her own day, but when she gets to the parking lot of her party venue, she sees that it is full of trash. She decides that sharing a birthday with the Earth is not so bad and cleans up the trash with her friends.
After reading, have students make text-to-self connections. Ask students Discussion Question 3, “April and her parents protect the environment because they care about it. What is something that you do for the environment to protect it? Why is it important for humans to take care of the environment?”
“Great Splashes” by Joan Bone (4th Grade)
In this short story, Fa is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the festival of Songkran. She hopes that she can be the first person to pour scented water from the lek into her Grandmother’s hands. Fa’s father allows her to go first this year, and the family enjoys the special celebration.
After reading, have students reflect on their experiences growing up. Ask Discussion Question 3, “Fa describes how she hopes she is old enough to pour the first drops of water on her grandmother. Are there any family traditions that you have to wait until you are old enough to take part in? What are they? How does waiting to be able to take part in them make you feel? Do you think having to wait until you are a certain age makes the tradition more special? Why or why not?”
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