Five Facts about ELA Common Core Standards
posted by: Melissa | January 04, 2013, 08:34 PM   

Previously, I addressed a myth about the English Language Arts Common Core Standards that had been circulating on the internet and in the news.  Today, I want to focus not on myths, but on facts.  If you know nothing else about the Common Core English Language Arts standards, you need to know these five things. Take a look:


  • Learning is done by reading and writing.  The authors of Common Core Standards want to see students complete more independent reading.  They believe it’s better for a student to learn about content areas by reading about them, rather than be lectured to.  Even in English class, teachers sometimes have a tendency to pass students without an actual reading requirement. In my experience, this practice “dumbs down” instruction and often makes excuses for non-readers. The Common Core Standards are seeking to reverse this trend.
  • The Common Core Standards focus on four different strands of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and research. These fairly self-explanatory strands are designed to develop well-rounded students.
  • As students learn, the texts they read should increase in complexity.  Complexity begins with the Lexile score that most ELA teachers are already familiar with. Under the standards, other factors are taken into account.  An example of how complexity can be measured can be found here.
  • The English Language Arts Standards supplement content areas. As mentioned in my previous blog entry, the non-fiction reading requirement is designed to be completed in other content areas.  Science and social studies teachers will need to be as familiar with the standards as English Language Arts teachers are, and they will need to change their instructional approaches in order to meet the standards.
  • The Common Core Standards leave room for differences in teaching style and content. Although the standards give examples of the types of literature that can be read at different grade levels, the reading list is just an example.  Teachers are still free to choose their own content.  While the standards give the end skills they want students to learn, no where do they dictate specific lessons or teaching styles.  Teachers have the same amount of flexibility and can use the same amount of creativity that they did before.


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