Exploring instructional shifts in English language arts and literacy
Instructional shifts for English and literacy-based subjects raise the bar for students by challenging them to read and understand more complex texts, build vocabulary, and extract details from texts to use as supporting material in essays and other written work:
- Emphasizing important nonfiction writings: More nonfiction and informational texts are used and are a point of emphasis in classes such as science and social studies. Literature (such as classic short stories, novels, poems, and plays) is still an important part of English and reading classes, but nonfiction plays an important role as students prepare to read texts of similar complexity to those they will encounter after they graduate from high school.
- Citing evidence from fiction and nonfiction texts: An emphasis on citing evidence from texts requires readers to pay close attention to details and supporting statements. Building readers who are accountable to the text and the details within the text is a key component of these standards and also makes for more effective writers.
- Reading complex texts and building vocabulary: Increasing reading comprehension and literacy skills requires consistent practice reading texts that are appropriately complex for the student's reading level. Vocabulary also plays a central role in this process, as a reader's ability to discern the meaning of words is a critical part of understanding a text and writing effectively when using complex texts as resources.