• CC-Basics pages 164 - 171



  • Identify the form and characteristics of a biography

Key Concept

  • A biography is the true story of a person’s life, written by another person.


Tier 2 Authorized
Tier 3 Biography
Test Words Examine

Writing Practice

  • Gather information from different media

  • Restate Language

  • Compare Biographies

Before Lesson

Ask students if they have read a biography, which is the true story of someone’s life. If so, ask: Who was it about? What information did it contain? Show students a brief biography of a world leader, such as Mahatma Gandhi. Point out that the biography contains facts about the person’s life. Then discuss the organization of the biography (for example, chronological order, list of accomplishments).


Tell students to remember that a biography is written not by the person it is about, but by another person. Have students take notes as they read each excerpt in the lesson. Notes should indicate which details or events the author emphasizes in each passage.

Guided Practice

  • Biography

Core Skill

Summarize Supporting Details: Point out to students that because nonfiction prose is based on real events and people, factual details are part of the content. Tell students to look for phrases such as “I think,” “I feel,” “in my opinion,” and “should be.” These phrases signal that an opinion is being stated, not a fact. When students summarize supporting details, they should focus only on the facts. Show students a paragraph from the biography they read in the Determine Student Readiness activity. Work with them to identify facts and opinions in the text.

Gather Information from Different Media: Show an example of each type of reference source and discuss its contents. Then draw a five-column chart on the board and label the columns Newspapers, Magazines, Encyclopedias, Almanacs, and Atlases. Have students copy the chart in their notebooks. After they have chosen a topic, have them fill in their charts with the information they could find in each reference source. Have students discuss their completed charts in small groups and adjust their charts as needed.


Restate Language: To help students identify opinions, create a list of opinion words and phrases on the board (think, feel, believe, perceive, seem, view, personal, understand, claim, admit, imagine, suppose). Read through some biographies to identify opinions, and list them on the board.

Compare Biographies: Have students work in small groups to compare two of the biographies to determine the organization and the details that are emphasized. Have them present their research to the class.

Lesson Review

Read Biographies: Tell students an anecdote about someone you know, or about a famous person. Then provide them with a list of accomplishments for the same or a different person. Discuss how these methods introduce the subject. Have partners work in pairs to research examples of anecdotes and lists of accomplishments.