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Basal Alignment Project Lessons - Grade 3

Grade 3

What it is: 300 free, teacher-developed Common Core-aligned lessons for Basal reading series in grade 3.

Why it matters: These lessons can be used immediately in the classroom and for professional development

Who creates these materials? Hundreds of teachers worked collaboratively to develop these replacement materials, following deep training on the Common Core by Student Achievement Partners. Each lesson has been authored, edited, and reviewed by a team of teachers.



In this work of fiction, Rooster and his eager friends set out to make strawberry shortcake, a recipe from Little Red Hen’s cookbook. Rooster is glad to have help, but none of his friends know how to cook, so Rooster forges ahead to teach the helpers the basics of cooking and baking, with very funny results

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What Do Illustrators Do?

This narrative nonfiction story sequences the steps an illustrator follows when creating pictures for a story. The author tells the story through two artists as they personalize an old favorite, Jack and the Beanstalk, from rough sketches to the finished artwork.

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The Jones Family Express

This realistic fictional story is about Steven and his Aunt Carolyn. The two have always shared a special bond; each time Aunt Carolyn takes a trip, she sends a special postcard to Steven. Now, Aunt Carolyn is coming for the family block party and Steven wants to find a special gift for her.

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Saving The Sand Dunes

This nonfiction text discusses how a fourth grade class at Union Avenue School worked hard to protect the New Jersey shoreline by planting recycled Christmas trees in the sand. The trees prevent high tides from flooding sand dunes, which serve as animal habitats and also protect people’s homes.

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One Riddle, One Answer

This story is a folktale about a princess named Aziza who chooses her husband based on his answer to a math riddle. After traveling the kingdom, many suitors (a scholar, a merchant, and a soldier) try to answer her riddle but to no avail. A simple farmer is able to easily solve the riddle and that is who she chooses as her husband.

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Stone Soup

This folktale is about three monks who visit a village filled with unhappy people. The villagers do not welcome the monks, so the three monks decide to make stone soup to teach the villagers a lesson in happiness.

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Author, A True Story

The author, Helen Lester, traces her writing career from the age of three to adulthood. She shares her struggles with writing in elementary school and even later as a successful writer. Helen’s story demonstrates that even the most challenging struggles can be overcome with persistence and a good sense of humor.

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The Planets in Our Solar System

This informational, nonfiction text introduces the solar system and its many parts – the sun, the eight planets, the satellites of the planets, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. It includes models that show sizes of the planets relative to the Earth and their distances from the Sun.

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This fantasy tells the story of a wolf who learns to read to gain the respect and friendship of farm animals.

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The Strongest One

This is a Zuni play about an ant in the search to find out who is strongest of all. The ant talks with numerous characters to find out who is the strongest. At the end, he learns the lesson that everything is stronger than something else.

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The Perfect Pet

Elizabeth was very determined to convince her parents to get her a pet. No matter what she did, her parents did not agree. Unexpectedly, she finds the perfect pet (a bug!) right under her nose, and her parents relent.

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Penguin Chick

In this nonfiction selection, an Emperor penguin lays an egg in the bitter cold of Antarctica. The penguin parents battle the harsh environment to protect the egg and nurture the chick to maturity.

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Dear Juno

Juno receives a letter from his grandmother who lives in Seoul, Korea. Even though he cannot read the Korean-language text, she is able to communicate with her grandmother through letters that include pictures and objects.

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Life On the Ice

In this nonfiction story, readers learn how and why scientists brave the extreme conditions of both poles in order to do research that will help us learn more about our world

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The Albertosaurus Mystery

This informational text describes how paleontologists continue to investigate unanswered questions about dinosaurs.

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A Mr. Rubbish Mood

Judy Moody is on a mission to save the rain forest. Not only has she chosen to make this her mission, she is also determined to make it the mission of her unknowing family.

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The Extra Good Sunday

Beverly Cleary tells the story of a family on a rainy Sunday in a household full of bad moods. Ramona’s father suggests they all go out to dinner. While out, an old man pays for their dinner because he believes they are a nice family and he misses his own family.

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Yonder Mountain

Chief Sky, the beloved leader of the Cherokee tribe, is growing old. He decides it is time to find a new leader to take his place. He calls three young men to his side and tells them that one of them will become chief, but must first be “put to the test.”

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The Science Fair

A third grade girl named Beany creates a science fair project with her partner, Kevin. Beany is not confident that their project is the best since it does not include flashy props. Beany learns that good science is enough to win the science fair, and she regains her self-esteem through winning.

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The Journey

This Informational text focuses on the migration habits of the grasshopper/locust and the gray whale.

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HMH Reading

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Ramona and Beezus, two sisters, get into trouble for not eating their dinner. As punishment, they must cook dinner for the family.The girls learn how difficult it is to prepare a family dinner.

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Poppa's New Pants

Poppa buys himself some new pants that need hemming. The women of his family are too tired to hem the pants before church the following morning. During the night, “ghosts”—really the women in the family—each remove material from the pants so that the pants are ultimately too short for Papa.

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Yunmi and Hamonie's Trip

Yunmi's first trip to Korea with her grandmother introduces her to family she’s never met. She has to share her grandmother with all her Korean cousins. Yunmi learns new things about her Korean culture, her extended family, and herself.

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Across the Wide Dark Sea

A boy and his family endure a difficult nine-week journey across the ocean and survive the first winter at Plymouth. Based on true events, "Across the Wide Dark Sea" poetically narrates a young boy’s account of risking the ocean to find religious freedom in a new land.

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Two Days in May

Sonia, her father, and a group of their neighbors launch a peaceful protest to help 5 deer that have wandered into their city neighborhood in search of food.

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Seal Surfer

Ben goes to the beach and watches a seal being born. Over the next few seasons, Ben develops a special bond with this seal, a bond that Ben knows will last the rest of his life.

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The Garden of Abdul Gasazi

A little boy loses his neighbor’s dog inside the mysterious garden of Abdul Gasazi, who tells the boy that he has turned the dog into a duck. But when the boy returns home he finds the dog waiting for him on the porch. Gasazi was playing a trick on the boy - or was he?

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Raising Dragons

A young girl raises a dragon on her family’s farm. The young girl takes the dragon to Dragon Island, but returns to the farm with a new batch of eggs.

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The Mysterious Giant

In this folktale, the town of Barletta faces destruction until Zia Concetta asks the town’s giant statue for help. With a clever idea, help from the townspeople and an onion, the giant outwits the army and restores peace

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Dogzilla is a fantasy story of mice who protect their city, Mousopolis, from being destroyed by Dogzilla. The mice come up with a plan to give Dogzilla a bath, which scares him away.

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Dancing Rainbows

Curt, a young Tewa Indian, and his grandfather, Andy, prepare for Feast Day. They enjoy the good food, beautiful dances, colorful costumes – and the time they spend together celebrating the traditions of their ancestors

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Anthony Reynoso

Nine-year old Anthony is proud of his history, culture, and family tradition of Mexican rodeo-style roping and riding. He also enjoys various aspects of his modern life such as school, basketball, friendships, swimming, and exploring.

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The Keeping Quilt

Patricia’s Great-Grandmother comes to America as a child from Russia. She creates a quilt that is passed on from generation to generation. The quilt becomes an important symbol and is used in many of the family’s traditional Jewish celebrations.

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The Waterfall

A boy on a family backpacking adventure discovers an amazing waterfall and decides he wants to climb to the top. The boy becomes a leader and the family bonds when the boy challenges them all to climb it

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The Ballad of Mulan

When war breaks out in Mulan’s land and her father is drafted into the army, Mulan makes a great sacrifice when she disguises herself as a male to take her father’s place.

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The Lost and Found

Two students hide in the bathroom in order to avoid taking the math test, eventually telling their teacher they were trapped yb a giant squid. While waiting to speak to the principal, they go in to the lost and found, where they enter an imaginary world hidden in the lost and found bin.

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Trapped by the Ice!

A crew of sailors captained by Sir Ernest Shackleton is trying to reach the South Pole’s ice cap when their ship, Endurance, is blocked by the ice and is crushed by moving ice a month later. The crew camps on the ice and then Shack decides they should travel in lifeboats to Elephant Island and from there to the whaling station on South Georgia Island.

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Centerfield Ballhawk

Young Jose’ Mendez is a terrific centerfielder but a weak hitter. Jose’ wants his father to be proud of him. When his father calls him a "Born Outfielder," Jose’ realizes that his father is proud of his abilities on and off the field.

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The Stories That Julian Tells

Julian meets Gloria, a new girl in his neighborhood. Together they make a wish kite, with wishes fastened to its tail; both wish for lasting friendship.

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Rosie, A Visiting Dog's Story

Rosie is a Tibetan terrier whose friendly nature makes her a perfect visiting dog. After a lot of training, she brings comfort to people in nursing homes and hospitals.

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Little Grunt and the Big Egg

Life in the Grunt tribe changes when a baby dinosaur hatches from the huge egg that Little Grunt drags home for brunch.

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Turtle Bay

A boy named Taro helps Jiro-San, a wise old man, clean up the beach for the giant sea turtles that swim ashore to lay their eggs. While he waits, he learns about the rewards that come from being calm and observing the world around you.

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Wild Shots, They're My Life

A wildlife photographer describes her love for animals and how she took some of her favorite up-close photos of them.

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The Talent Show

Benny is nervous about the upcoming talent show. After a talk with her parents, Beany realizes that the most important thing is doing what makes her feel happy and not letting herself get pressured by her friend.

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Diphtheria has broken out in Nome, Alaska. Teams of sled dogs carry medicine 800 miles over snow and ice to prevent an epidemic. Everyone was brave but one dog, Balto, made the difference between failure and success.

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Allie's Basketball Dream

Allie has a new basketball. She has a hard time finding someone to play with her because they believe basketball is a boys’ game. Allie continues to practice and play, despite their opinions.

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Nate The Great

Detective Nate the Great searches San Francisco for a lost joke book. He discovers that the wrong place can be the best place to look for a lost item.

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Pepita Talks Twice

Pepita stops speaking Spanish because she is tired of being the neighborhood translator. However, when a disaster nearly occurs, Pepita realizes that speaking two languages is best.

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Imagine It!

Since Hannah Moved Away

This poem describes the feelings of a girl whose best friend, Hanna, has moved away. The little girl feels that nothing will be the same again since her friend left.

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Beauty and The Beast

A Prince must find a girl who will love him, in spite of his frightening curse.

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Rugby and Rosie

In this story, a boy has a dog named Rugby with whom he is great friends. One day a puppy named Rosie joins the family. Rugby does not want to be friends with Rosie. But a friendship finally develops, even though Rosie is destined to leave and become a guide dog.

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Open Court

Uncle Jed's Barbershop

Despite obstacles in his life such as a family illness and the Great Depression, Uncle Jed achieved his dream of opening a barbershop at age 79.

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Angel Child, Dragon Child

During her first days at school in America, Ut experiences alienation and separation. Later, she finds understanding and acceptance. With his first encounters with a child from Vietnam, Raymond sees only her differences. Later, through closer encounters, he is able to see similarities in their needs and feelings.

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Cows in the Parlor

"Cows in the Parlor: A Visit to a Dairy Farm" is an expository article about the daily running of a dairy farm. Students learn about a day in the life of a cow, Maggie, including what she eats, how she’s milked, and other interesting facts.

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Just Plain Fancy

“Just Plain Fancy” is the story of a young Amish girl, Naomi, who longs to have something fancy in her life. But when an she finds an unusual egg that hatches into a peacock, she ends up learning a valuable lesson about an acceptable and admired kind of fancy.

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Leah's Pony

This story takes place in the 1930s in the Great Plains region of the United States devastated by a great drought. Leah had been given a pony by her father when times were good and crops were growing. Leah sells her pony to Mr. B to help her father. At the end of the story, Mr. B gives the pony back to Leah.

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Aunt Flossie's Hats

Sarah and Susan are sisters who enjoy spending Sunday afternoons with their great-great Aunt Flossie. Aunt Flossie entertains her great-grandnieces by letting them explore her collection of hats, each of which has a story of its own.

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The Go Around Dollar

“The Go-Around Dollar” is a selection that combines two genres: realistic fiction and expository text. It provides an entertaining look at the journey of a dollar as it passes through the hands of various characters.

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A Story, A Story

This African folk tale explains how many African tales came to be known as “Spider stories.” In this tale, Ananse, the Spider man, travels up to the sky to offer to buy Nyame, the Sky God’s, stories. Nyame asks Ananse to bring him Osebo the leopard-of-the-terrible-teeth, Mmboro the hornets-who-sting-like-fire, and Mmoatia the fairy-whom-men-never-see. Ananse agrees to the price but Nyame believes that Ananse is too small and weak to accomplish such a task. Ananse uses his intelligence and cunning to trick all three creatures. He returns to Nyame with payment for his stories. Nyame calls his court together to sing the praises of Ananse and declares his stories “Spider stories.”

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Four Dollars and Fifty Cents

In this tall tale story, deadbeat Shorty Long has to avoid the people to whom he owes money. He tries to trick Widow Macrae out of $4.50, but actually created more problems for himself.

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In this realistic fiction story, young children’s powers of imagination create the town of Roxaboxen filled with houses, buildings, and stores. Years later, these friends reflect on the memories of their special town.

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This excerpt from a biography explains how Pablo Picasso’s painting style changed over the twentieth century. It describes his Blue Period, Rose Period, and the period of Cubism.

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Reading Street

Two Bad Ants

Two ants, along with others from their nest, set out to gather crystals for their queen. Initially staying and keeping crystals for themselves, the two ants eventually learn to be happy in their familiar nest.

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Gertrude Ederle

In this story Gertrude Ederle overcomes obstacles, both physical and social, in order to prevail at her lifelong dream of being the first women to swim the English Channel.

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Rocks In His Head

As a child, the author’s father was fascinated by rocks.This interest consumed the young boy as he collected them in all of his spare time. People told him that he had rocks in his pockets and in his head. But he never allowed their criticism to detour him. Finally, a museum offers him a great job because a man with "rocks in his head" was just what they needed.

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Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest

“Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest” takes the reader on a journey around the world to various continents found on Earth that contain unique natural features.

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In the story Wings, Ikarus Jackson is shunned and tormented by his peers, as well as community members because of his unique physical appearance.

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A Symphony of Whales

Glashka uses her innate connection and intuition with nature to help bring together the community in hopes of trying to save the lives of the trapped Beluga whales, who have swam into the freezing channel

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Tops and Bottoms

In this trickster tale, Bear and Hare are involved in a gardening partnership. Industrious, clever Hare makes a deal with Bear— Hare and his family work Bear's land and split the crops in half. In the end, Bear learns that he has to do hard work to be rewarded.

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A Day's Work

After his grandfather comes to America from Mexico, Francisco helps him find work. Francisco finds his grandfather work as a gardener even though the old man cannot speak English and was a carpenter by trade. This lie leads to them doing incorrect work. The grandfather teaches Francisco a valuable lesson about honesty and integrity.

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If You Made a Million

This text explains the nuts and bolts of how different types of coins, bills, and checks; how they are connected; and how your dollars can earn money through the bank.

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Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday

The story is about a little boy who tries in vain to save, but unfortunately makes poor decisions and squanders his money.

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Prudy's Problem

Most kids collect something. Prudy collects everything! Rocks, stamps, foil, worn-out toothbrushes, pretty paper napkins, tufts of hair from different breeds of dogs --everything! It is a delightful examination of a common affliction.

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My Rows and Piles of Coins

This is a story about Saruni, a young boy, and his family, who are both consumers and sellers in a market in Tanzania. There are many enticing items at the markert, but Saruni decides to save his money so he can buy a bike to help his mother take heavy loads to sell at the market.

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What About Me?

This fable is about a boy’s search for knowledge. To achieve his goal, the boy barters with characters ranging from a carpet maker to a merchant. At the end of the fable, the Grand Master offers two moral lessons and helps the young man realize that he already has knowledge.

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Cocoa Ice

"Cocoa Ice" is set in the early 1800s and describes the exchange that occurs when a trading ship from Maine travels to the Caribbean village of Santo Domingo. The story is told in two parts, each part narrated by a girl who lives in one of these locations.

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Coyote Places the Stars

In this story, Coyote builds a ladder to the Heavens and moves the stars to make pictures of himself and his animal friends. After viewing the constellations, the animals decree that Coyote is the most clever and crafty of them all.

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Half Chicken

The folktale “Half-Chicken” is about a chicken hatched with only half a body, one leg, one wing, one eye, and only half as many feathers as the other chicks.

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One Small Place in a Tree

This expository nonfiction text is about how an oak tree may become vulnerable to disease from its bark being damaged by a bear clawing it.

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A Pen Pal for Max

This realistic fiction story is about a young boy, Max, who is growing up on a large fruit farm in Chili and how he wants to find a friend in a faraway place

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How Animals Talk

“How Animals Talk” is an informational, nonfiction selection describing how various animals communicate or send messages. Animals communicate with each other to warn of danger, to share feelings, to attract a mate, and even prove dominance.

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Aero and Officer Mike

This nonfiction story is about a partnership between a policeman, Officer Mike, and his partner, a police dog named Aero. Information about daily routine (work and breaks), Aero’s special talents and Officer Mike’s training and care of Aero is included.

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The Babe and I

This historical fiction story takes place in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression in New York City. Baseball was king and Babe Ruth was at the top of his game. In this story, a young boy and his father become a team as they both work to support their family.

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Ellen Ochoa, Astronaut

This is a biography of Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman astronaut.

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Schools Around The World

This informational, nonfiction selection describes how schools are different in various parts of the world and includes “amazing facts” about these schools. Even though schools are different there is one common thread: school is a place to learn.

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The Day Eddie Met the Author

The students at Riverside Elementary School are excited about a visit from a real author. The class has been reading books by the author to get ready for her visit. No one was as excited as Eddie.

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Ruby The Copycat

Ruby wants to fit in with her new class, so she imitates everything her friend Angela does. The teacher, Miss Hart, encourages Ruby to just be herself. At first, Ruby struggles with this idea, but then discovers that she has a special gift to share.

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CA Treasures

Here's My Dollar

Angel Arrellano, a nine-year-old girl from Fresno, CA. spearheaded a campaign to raise money to be donated to the local zoo. Her enthusiasm and altruism generated an overwhelming response from the Fresno community and beyond, which allowed for much needed upkeep and improvements for the zoo and its animals.

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Home Grown Butterflies

This nonfiction piece tells about Barbara del Colorado, a village in Costa Rica. People needed a way to make money; a scientist suggested that they grow butterflies. The town now sells 250 pupae a month, making enough money to buy what they need.

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Boom Town

A family moves into an unpopulated area. With the ingenuity of one young girl, a town is established and grows. The idea of supply and demand is evident in this story. The businesses in town grow to include a tanner, a cooper, a miller, a blacksmith and a laundry.

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Join the Basal Alignment Project


Basal Readers for which BAP offers free lesson revisions:

  • HMH Collections

  • HMH Journeys

  • HMH Medallion/Reading

  • HMH Nation’s Choice

  • HMH StoryTown

  • HMH Trophies

  • MH Imagine It!

  • MH Open Court

  • MH Treasures

  • MH Treasures (CA)

  • Pearson Reading Street

Join the Basal Alignment Project

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3. Find Basal Alignment Project materials in Folders

For more information on how to use the BAP materials:

After joining the EdModo Group, see the Folder titled: "An Introduction to the Basal Alignment Project".

Help Author the Basal Alignment Project

If your school or district would be interested in helping to author these resources, we welcome your help! The EdModo Group features information on participating.