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My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.


This module uses literature and informational text such as My Librarian Is a Camel to introduce students to the power of literacy and how people around the world access books. This module is intentionally designed to encourage students to embrace a love of literacy and reading.

In Unit 1, students will begin to build their close reading skills; students hear stories read aloud and read works in their entirety and excerpts of more challenging writing closely. Students examine the main message in literature about individuals and groups from world communities (including the United States) who have gone to great lengths to access education. Students will practice identifying the central message and taking notes in the provided categories.

Then in Unit 2, students will focus more on what it means to be a proficient and independent reader. They will continue to read literature about characters who are motivated to learn to read, overcome struggles to learn to read, or are passionate about books and words. Students will assess their strengths and needs as readers, set goals, and begin the yearlong journey of becoming proficient and independent readers who have their own “reading superpowers.” (The phrase “reading superpowers” is meant to help third-graders understand what is required to demonstrate mastery of the Common Core reading standards.) This unit includes a heavy emphasis on building reading fluency.

In Unit 3 (the longest), students will delve into geography, and how where one lives in the world impacts how one accesses books. They will continue building knowledge and vocabulary related to world geography as they study excerpts from My Librarian Is a Camel, which describes how librarians overcome challenges of geography to get books to people. They will apply their learning by writing a simple information report about how people access books around the world, focusing on the role of specific librarians or organizations they studied. This writing will be in the form of a bookmark, which students can then give to their school or local library. The bookmark performance task centers on ELA Standards RI.3.2, W.3.2, W.3.4, W.3.5, and L.3.1. 


Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • What is the power of education and reading?
  • How does where people live in the world affect how they access reading and books?
  • People across the world and throughout time have sought the power of reading to provide opportunities to themselves and others.
  • Powerful readers have and continue to develop a variety of skills.
  • Readers can learn about different places and people through a variety of texts.

Content Connections

  • This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies content that may align to additional teaching during other parts of the day. These intentional connections are described below.



Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
That Book Woman
by Heather Henson
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-1416908128, 1416908129
Nasreen’s Secret School
by Jeanette Winter
One per student
ISBN: 978-1416994374, 1416994378
Waiting for the Biblioburro
by Monica Brown
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-1582463537, 1582463530
The Boy Who Loved Words
by Roni Schotter
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-0375836015, 0375836012
The Incredible Book Eating Boy
by Oliver Jeffers,
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-0399247491, 0399247491
Thank You, Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-0399237324, 0399237321
The Librarian of Basra
by Jeanette Winter
One per student
ISBN: 978-0152054458, 0152054456
Rain School
by James Rumford
One per student
ISBN: 978-0547243078, 0547243073
My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children around the World
by Margriet Ruurs
Teacher copy only
ISBN: 978-1590780930, 1590780930

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
“Physical Environments around the World,”
by Expeditionary Learning
“One Boy’s Book Drive,” Boy’s Quest
by Loralee Leavitt


CCS Standards: Reading-LiteratureLong-Term Learning Targets

• RL.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

• RL.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

• RL.3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral, and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

• I can retell a story using key details from the text. • I can identify the main message or lesson of a story using key details from the text.

• RL.3.3. Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

• I can describe the characters in a story (their traits, motivations, feelings). • I can describe how a character’s actions contribute to the events in the story.

• RL.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

• I can distinguish between a narrator or character’s point of view and my own.

• RL.3.7. Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

• I can explain how an illustration contributes to the story (e.g., mood, tone, character, setting).

• RL.3.11. Recognize and make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, personal events, and situations. a. Self-select text based upon personal preferences.

• I can make connections between texts and ideas to comprehend what I read. • I can choose texts that interest me.

CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextLong-Term Learning Targets

• RL.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

• I can ask and answer questions about a text.

• RI.3.2. Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

• I can determine the main idea of an informational text. • I can retell key ideas from an informational text.

• RI.3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

• I can make connections between the events, ideas, or concepts in a text.

• RI.3.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

• I can use information from illustrations (maps, photographs) to understand informational texts. • I can use information from the words to understand informational texts.

CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets

• W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. a. Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension. b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details. d. Provide a concluding statement or section.

• I can write an informative/explanatory text. • I can write an informative/explanatory text that has a clear topic. • I can group supporting facts together about a topic in an informative/explanatory text using both text and illustrations. • I can develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details. • I can construct a closure on the topic of an informative/explanatory text.

• W.3.4. With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)

• I can produce writing that is appropriate to task and purpose (with support).

• W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.

• I can document what I learn about a topic by taking notes. • I can document what I learn about a topic by sorting evidence into categories.

• W.3.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

• I can write for a variety of reasons.

CCS Standards: Speaking and ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets

• SL.3.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion). d. Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

• I can effectively participate in a conversation with my peers and adults. • I can follow our class norms when I participate in a conversation. • I can explain what I understand about the topic being discussed.

• SL.3.5. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.

• I can demonstrate fluency when reading stories or poems for an audio recording.

• SL.3.6. Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

• I can speak in complete sentences with appropriate detail.

CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets

• L.3.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. – Capitalize appropriate words in titles. – Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness). – Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words. – Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

• I can use conventions to send a clear message to my reader. • I can capitalize appropriate words in titles. • I can spell words that have suffixes added to base words correctly. • I can use spelling patterns to spell words correctly. • I can use resources to check and correct my spelling.

• L.3.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on Grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

• I can use what the sentence says to help me to determine what a word or phrase means.

• L.3.6. Acquire and use accurate and grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).

• I can accurately use third-grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.

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