Common Core: Making ELA standards accessible

Last week we looked at the shifts CCSS shifts brought to math. This week lets look at the shifts in English Language Arts (ELA). Like with math, it’s easy to gloss over ELA and say, ‘I don’t teach English, this doesn’t apply to me.’ How untrue that thought would be. Built into the ELA standards is a deep-set notion that literacy is a cross curricular competency.

One of my assistant principal’s favorite statements is that every teacher is a reading teacher. You might not be focused on teaching phonics or contextual clues, but if your students can’t comprehend the text in front of them, chances are they won’t master your content. The ELA standards ask students to utilize literacy across curricular boundaries. Social studies, health, music, art, business, and science courses equip students with disciplinary literacy skills needed to read and gain information from content-specific nonfiction texts.

English Language Arts, like math, is an area that will be required of just about every college major or career path. Hence why ELA & Math were the first sets of standards rolled out by CCSS, a program focused on college and career readiness. The five key shifts in ELA include: using content-rich non fiction, reading grounded in evidence, argumentative writing, complex text, and building a strong academic vocabulary.

Check out the attached flyer for a summary of these shifts that can be used to explain ELA standards to staff and parents alike.




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