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How Does Common Core Impact Language Arts?


What You Need to Know About the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy establish guidelines to ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy by the end of high school. The standards are divided into Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and Language, but use an integrated model of literacy.

The Common Core establish guidelines for ELA (English Language Arts) as well as for literacy across the content areas. Students are asked to read stories and literature, as well as non-fiction texts in content areas like science and social studies. Students must demonstrate critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills.

How Are the Common Core Standards Different?

While the Common Core builds on many quality standards already in place, there some shifts that affect the language arts curriculum.

Balancing Informational and Literary Texts

In grades K-6, 50 percent of texts read by students must be informational. It is recommended that texts be selected to support students in developing knowledge about the world.

Knowledge in the Content Area

In grades 6-12, content area teachers are expected to incorporate reading comprehension strategies into their subject instruction. The addition of literacy standards in each content area is meant to supplement, not replace, the core content standards.

“Staircase of Increasing Complexity”

The Common Core requires a progressive development in reading comprehension strategies as students move up through the grades. This also means a focus on academic content vocabulary. Vocabulary and language conventions have their own standards.

Text-Based Answers

Students are expected to read texts and find evidence to support arguments, as well as make inferences.

Evidence-Based Writing

In the past, K-12 writing has been largely narrative based on student experiences and opinions. The Common Core requires students to also use evidence to inform or make an argument.

The Common Core English Language Arts Standards represent a shift that requires a deeper level of thinking in literacy and across content areas. They are designed to prepare all students for success in college, career and life.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s Online Master of Science in Education in Reading.


Common Core State Standards Initiative

Colorin Colorado!: Common Core and ELLs: Key Shifts in Language Arts and Literacy (Part II)

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