November 2013The English Language Arts and Literacy portion of the Common Core Standards are a culmination of an extensive effort to create the next generation of K-12 standards, thereby ensuring that all students are college and career ready by the end of high school. The standards offer an integrated model of literacy with key features including reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. They are research and evidence based, aligned with college and work expectations, both rigorous and internationally benchmarked. These standards create a vision of what it is to be a literate person in the twenty-first century.
The Standards address requirements not only for English Language Arts but also for literacy in history, social studies, science, and technical subjects. They address literacy in a variety of content areas. The literacy standards for grades 6-12 help students meet the challenges of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in multiple disciplines. It is important to note that the 6–12 literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are not meant to replace content standards in those areas but rather to supplement them. This structure recognizes that while English Language Arts teachers are responsible for developing literacy skills, teachers in other content areas have a role to play, as well. As most of the required reading in college and the workforce is informational and challenging, this interdisciplinary approach ensures that students are proficient in reading complex informational text and writing in a variety of content areas.
In kindergarten through grade 8, the English Language Arts and Literacy Standards are grade specific. They balance the reading of literature with the reading of informational text including history and social studies, science and technical subjects. The standards for grades 9-12 use two-year
bands to allow maximum flexibility in designing high school course work. The standards require an emphasis on literature and literary nonfiction, as well as reading informational texts across the content areas.
The student who masters the ELA Common Core standards:
- demonstrates independence
- builds strong content knowledge
- responds to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose and discipline
- comprehends as well as critiques
- values evidence
- uses technology and digital media strategically and capably
- comes to understand other perspectives and cultures