• The Common Core State Standards Shifts in ELA / Literacy

    A summary of The Common Core State Standards Shifts in ELA/Literacy with resources to learn more and deeply understand each shift.

  • Complexity

    Regular Practice with Complex Text and its Academic Language 

    Rather than focusing solely on the skills of reading and writing, the Standards highlight the growing complexity of the texts students must read to be ready for the demands of college and careers. The Standards build a staircase of text complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college- and career-level reading no later than the end of high school. Closely related to text complexity—and inextricably connected to reading comprehension—is a focus on academic vocabulary: words that appear in a variety of content areas (such as ignite and commit).

      Text Complexity

      Tools to help with each step of determining text complexity and research to support teachers' understanding of text complexity.

      Academic Word Finder

      A digital tool for identifying academic vocabulary (Tier 2 vocabulary) by grade level within a text.

  • Evidence

    Reading, Writing and Speaking Grounded in Evidence from Text, both Literary and Informational 

    The Standards place a premium on students writing to sources, i.e., using evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Rather than asking students questions they can answer solely from their prior knowledge or experience, the Standards expect students to answer questions that depend on their having read the text or texts with care. The Standards also require the cultivation of narrative writing throughout the grades, and in later grades a command of sequence and detail will be essential for effective argumentative and informational writing. Likewise, the reading standards focus on students’ ability to read carefully and grasp information, arguments, ideas and details based on text evidence. Students should be able to answer a range of text-dependent questions, questions in which the answers require inferences based on careful attention to the text. 

      ELA / Literacy Lessons

      All of the lessons found in the Classroom Resources section include text-dependent questions and tasks.

      ELA / Literacy Student Writing Samples

      All of the student writing samples found in the Classroom Resources section include text-dependent questions and tasks.

      Text-Dependent Questions

      Access resources to create your own text-dependent questions.

    • Text-Dependent Questions

      David Coleman, John B. King, Jr., and Kate Gerson discuss evidence-based conversations between students. Eleven minute video selection.

    • The Importance of Good Questions

      David Coleman, President and CEO of the College Board, uses the Gettysburg Address to illustrate the importance of pairing good texts with good questions. Six minute video selection.

  • Knowledge

    Building Knowledge through Content Rich Non-Fiction 

    Building knowledge through content rich non-fiction plays an essential role in literacy and in the Standards. In K–5, fulfilling the standards requires a 50–50 balance between informational and literary reading. Informational reading primarily includes content rich non-fiction in history/social studies, science and the arts; the K–5 Standards strongly recommend that students build coherent general knowledge both within each year and across years. In 6–12, ELA classes place much greater attention to a specific category of informational text—literary nonfiction—than has been traditional. In grades 6–12, the Standards for literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects ensure that students can independently build knowledge in these disciplines through reading and writing. To be clear, the Standards do require substantial attention to literature throughout K–12, as half of the required work in K–5 and the core of the work of 6–12 ELA teachers. 

      Text Set Project

      The Text-Set Project provides classroom resources to build knowledge.

    • The Balance of Informational and Literary Texts in K-5

      A video emphasizing the importance in having a balance in informational and literacy texts in grades K-5.

  • The Common Core ELA/Literacy Shifts at a Glance

    A document explaining the biggest changes ELA / Literacy for the CCSS.

    Professional Development: Introduction to the ELA / Literacy Shifts

    Professional Development module that provides you with an introduction to the key shifts required by the Common Core State Standards for ELA / Literacy