Having built an elementary foundation in reading, writing, literature, history, and science, fifth-grade students are ready to start tackling complex literature and ideas. The fifth-grade units present a series of ideas related to the life of the mind: play, invention, clues, conflict, exploration, and coming of age. In the unit on playing with words, students explore the delight of literary language, exemplified in works such as Richard Wilbur’s The Disappearing Alphabet and William Blake’s “The Echoing Green.” This leads into a unit on inventive thinking, where students learn about scientific, artistic, musical, and literary inventors. As the year progresses, students learn how literature can provide insight into culture and history. The units provide many connections with history, science, and the arts; students listen to Renaissance music, examine art from the Civil War, and consider how illustrations contribute to a text. While building vocabulary and learning multiple meanings of words, students begin to study etymology, thus gaining insight into the relationships among languages. Students develop their writing within many genres: reflective essays, reports, journals, stories, responses to literary and artistic works, and more. In their essays, they are able to articulate a central idea and illustrate it with examples, integrate information from several texts, and discuss literary themes. As they continue to learn grammatical concepts and refine their style, students at this level should demonstrate some command of standard English grammar and usage. By the end of fifth grade, students are ready for deeper study of literature and the origins of words.