English-Language Arts & Literacy

The new Common Core Standards address reading and writing instruction not only in a student's Language Arts class, but also across other content areas.  You will notice in the Standards that reading and writing literacy is addressed in the areas of Science, Social Studies, and other technical subjects.

Key Features of English-Language Arts Standards

  • Reading: Text complexity and the growth of comprehension
  • Writing: Text types, responding to reading, and research
  • Speaking and Listening: Flexible communication and collaboration
  • Language: Conventions, effective use, and vocabulary

Anchor Standards
The Common Core State Standards for English-Language Arts are rooted in College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.  With the College and Career Readiness Standards as the end goal, the ELA Standards begin in Grade 12 and work backwards through the grade levels to identify the skills and knowledge students at each prior grade would need in order to attain college and career readiness by the end of Grade 12.  These Anchor Standards are divided in to K-5 and 6-12 grade level spans and address Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language.  There is little difference between the K-5 and 6-12 Anchor Standards, though you can see additional information in the "Note on range and content" section to the right side of each page in the link below.  

How to Read the Standards
Each set of Language Arts and Literacy standards is based off College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards (see above).  You can trace the Anchor Standards through each grade level following each number (e.g. Reading Standard 1 is based on Reading Anchor Standard 1 and can be traced through all grade levels, beginning at Kindergarten and adding depth and complexity as it moves toward 12th grade).  

The document below gives an example of this progression in Reading Literature Standard 3.   The College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard is listed at the top (R.CCR.3), and each descending row moves down the grade levels to the very beginning stages at Kindergarten.  Standards are labeled in the following format:  Domain.Grade.Standard#  For example, RL.4.3 is the label for Reading Literature, Grade 4, Standard 3. 

Reading Literature Standard 3

English-Language Arts Appendices
The appendices of the Common Core provide additional explanation, resources, research-based rationale, and a bibliography of literature used in designing the Standards.

Appendix A contains supplementary material on reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language as well as a glossary of key terms. 

Appendix B consists of text exemplars illustrating the complexity, quality, and range of reading appropriate for various grade levels with accompanying sample performance tasks.

Appendix C includes annotated samples demonstrating at least adequate performance in student writing at various grade levels.