Sandra Stotsky Free Gift to States for ELA

Oct 4, 2017 by

An English Language Arts Curriculum Framework for American Public Schools:


A Model For use by any state or school district without charge


Chief Author: Sandra Stotsky
Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas

February 2013

Purpose and Sources of this Curriculum Framework                    3

Guiding Principles                                                                                 4

Overview of General Standards and Learning Standards              7

1. Discussion and Group Work                                                            10

2. Oral Presentation                                                                               12

3. Structure and Conventions of Modern English                            15

4. Vocabulary and Concept Development                                           17

5. Formal and Informal English                                                            21

6. Foundations of Reading and Spelling                                              24

7. Nonfiction                                                                                              31

8. Fiction                                                                                                     36

9. Poetry                                                                                                       39

10. Drama                                                                                                     41

11. Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature   43

12. The Research Process                                                                           48

13. Analytical Writing                                                                                  51

14. Persuasive Writing                                                                                54

15. Personal Writing                                                                                    56

Appendix A: Suggested Authors and Illustrators Who Reflect Our Common  Literary and  Cultural Heritage Appendix B: Suggested Authors and Illustrators of World Literature and Twentieth-Century American Literature Appendix C: Glossary of Terms Appendix D: A Perspective on the Goals and Content of English Language Arts Instruction in this Country Appendix E: The Limited English Proficient Student in the English Language Arts Classroom Appendix F: How Literature Can Be Related to Key American Historical Documents Appendix G:  Independent Evaluative Comments     Purpose of this Curriculum Framework

This curriculum framework provides standards designed to guide reading and English teachers in the development of a coherent English language arts curriculum from PreK to 12.  It is based on two premises: that learning in the English language arts should be cumulative and that the reading of increasingly challenging literary and non-literary works as well as the writing of increasingly extensive research papers are the basis for developing the independent thinking needed for self-government.


The four discipline-based strands in this framework—Listening and Speaking, Language Study, Reading and Literature, and Research and Composition—are interdependent. At all grade levels, a sound English language arts curriculum integrates concepts and skills from all four strands.


A sound reading and literature curriculum also expects students to apply their language skills to increasingly challenging material linked in ways that promote cumulative learning. A coherent sequence of reading, research, and writing assignments ensures that students both broaden and deepen their base of literary/historical knowledge. It is this broadening and deepening knowledge base that stimulates intellectual growth and enhances their capacity for independent critical thinking.


Sources of this Curriculum Framework

The four discipline-based areas reflected in 15 General Standards are broad statements of what students should know and be able to do in the English language arts.  They are then broken down into Learning Standards for each grade from PreK to 12.  These General Standards and Learning Standards come from a long-planned revision of the 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework. The final draft of the revised framework, completed in November 2009, reduced the 27 General Standards in the 2001 framework to 15 in order to eliminate repetition and call attention to more demanding reading and literary study in the high school grades; expressed the 2001 Learning Standards with greater clarity; and offered additional learning standards for beginning reading and spelling, a sequence of  new standards for nonfiction reading in the elementary and middle grades, and a richer sequence for vocabulary development.


This draft framework was never sent to the board of elementary and secondary education for a vote to send it out for public comment. It went to the board in July 2010 only as a working draft ( and simply for the board’s information. It accompanied Common Core’s final version of its English language arts standards and other materials expressly developed to support the board’s adoption of Common Core’s standards.


The ten Guiding Principles come from the 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework; they articulate a set of beliefs about the teaching, learning, and assessing of the English language arts. Appendix A is from the original, 1997 version of this framework; it is a suggested list of authors and illustrators who reflect our common literary and cultural heritage.  Its K-8 list was reviewed, organized, and approved by the editors of The Horn Book using, as requested in 1997, one criterion: literary quality; the 9-12 list was reviewed by literary scholars from diverse backgrounds. Appendix B is from the 2001 curriculum framework and is a suggested list of twentieth-century American authors and illustrators, as well as of past and present authors from other countries and cultures. Appendix C, a glossary explaining technical words and phrases, as well as Appendices D, E, and F, also come from the 2001 framework.  Appendix G, which contains an evaluation of the 2010 draft revision of the 2001 Curriculum Framework, is from the Fordham Institute’s 2010 review of state standards.

Guiding Principles

The following principles are philosophical statements to guide the construction and evaluation of English language arts curricula.

Guiding Principle 1

An effective English language arts curriculum develops thinking and language together through interactive learning.


Effective language use both requires and extends thinking. As learners listen to a speech, view a documentary, discuss a poem, or write an essay, they engage in thinking. The standards in this framework specify the intellectual processes that students draw on as they use language. Students develop their ability to remember, understand, analyze, evaluate, and apply the ideas they encounter in the English language arts and in all the other disciplines when they undertake increasingly challenging assignments that require them to write or speak in response to what they are learning.

Guiding Principle 2

An effective English language arts curriculum develops students’ oral language and literacy through appropriately challenging learning.


A well planned English language arts instructional program provides students with a variety of oral language activities, high-quality and appropriate reading materials, and opportunities to work with others who are reading and writing. In the primary grades, systematic phonics instruction and regular practice in applying decoding skills to decodable materials are essential elements of the school program. Reading to preschool and primary grade children plays an especially critical role in developing children’s vocabulary, their knowledge of the natural world, and their appreciation for the power of the imagination. Beyond the primary grades, students continue to refine all their language skills.


Guiding Principle 3

An effective English language arts curriculum draws on literature from many genres, time periods, and cultures, featuring works that reflect our common literary heritage.


American students need to become familiar with works that are part of a literary tradition going back thousands of years.  Thus, the curriculum should emphasize literature reflecting the literary and civic heritage of the English-speaking world. Students also should gain exposure to works from the many communities that make up contemporary America as well as from countries and cultures throughout the world.


Appendix A of this framework presents a list of suggested authors and illustrators who contribute to the common literary and cultural heritage of students attending public schools in this country. Appendix B presents lists of suggested twentieth-century American authors and illustrators, as well as past and present authors from other countries and cultures.  In order to foster a love of reading and prepare students for a meaningful high school diploma, English and reading teachers need to encourage a great deal of independent reading outside of class. School librarians play a key role in finding books to match students’ interests.

Guiding Principle 4

An effective English language arts curriculum emphasizes writing as an essential way to develop, clarify, and communicate ideas in expository, persuasive, narrative, and expressive discourse.


At all levels, students’ writing records their imagination and exploration. As students attempt to write clearly and coherently about increasingly complex ideas, their writing serves to propel intellectual growth. Through writing, students develop their ability to think, to communicate ideas, and to create worlds unseen.


Guiding Principle 5

An effective English language arts curriculum provides for the study of all forms of media.


Multimedia, television, radio, film, Internet, and videos are prominent modes of communication in the modern world. Like literary genres, each of these media has its unique characteristics, and students learn to apply techniques used in the study of literature and exposition to the evaluation of multimedia, television, radio, film, Internet sites, and video.


Guiding Principle 6

An effective English language arts curriculum provides explicit skill instruction in reading and writing. 


Explicit skill instruction can be most effective when it precedes student need. Systematic phonics lessons, in particular decoding skills, should be taught to students before they try to use them in their subsequent reading. Systematic instruction is especially important for those students who have not developed phonemic awareness — the ability to pay attention to the component sounds of language. Effective instruction can take place in small groups, individually, or on a whole class basis. Explicit skill instruction can also be effective when it responds to specific problems in student work. For example, a teacher should monitor students’ progress in using quotation marks to punctuate dialogue in their stories, and then provide direct instruction when needed.

Guiding Principle 7

An effective English language arts curriculum teaches the strategies necessary for acquiring academic knowledge, achieving common academic standards, and attaining independence in learning.


Students need to develop a repertoire of learning strategies that they consciously practice and apply in increasingly diverse and demanding contexts. Skills become strategies for learning when they are internalized and applied purposefully. For example, a research skill has become a strategy when a student formulates his own questions and initiates a plan for locating information. A reading skill has become a strategy when a student sounds out unfamiliar words, or automatically makes and confirms predictions while reading. A writing skill has become a strategy when a student monitors her own writing by spontaneously asking herself, “Does this organization work?” or “Are my punctuation and spelling correct?” When students are able to articulate their own learning strategies, evaluate their effectiveness, and use those that work best for them, they have become independent learners.



Guiding Principle 8

An effective English language arts curriculum builds on the language, experiences, and interests that students bring to school.


Teachers recognize the importance of being able to respond effectively to the challenges of linguistic and cultural differences in their classrooms. Sometimes students have learned ways of talking, thinking, and interacting that are effective at home and in their neighborhood, but which may not have the same meaning or usefulness in school. Teachers try to draw on these different ways of talking and thinking as bridges to speaking and writing in Standard American English.

Guiding Principle 9

An effective English language arts curriculum develops each student’s distinctive writing or speaking voice. A student’s writing and speaking voice is an expression of self.


Students’ voices tell us who they are, how they think, and what unique perspectives they bring to their learning. Students’ voices develop when teachers provide opportunities for interaction, exploration, and communication. When students discuss ideas and read one another’s writing, they learn to distinguish between formal and informal communication. They also learn about their classmates as unique individuals who can contribute their distinctive ideas, aspirations, and talents to the class, the school, the community, and the nation.

Guiding Principle 10

While encouraging respect for differences in home backgrounds, an effective English language arts curriculum nurtures students’ sense of their common ground as present or future American citizens in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and in civic life.


Teachers instruct an increasingly diverse group of students in their classrooms each year. Students may come from any country or continent in the world. Taking advantage of this diversity, teachers guide discussions about the extraordinary variety of beliefs and traditions around the world. At the same time, they provide students with common ground through discussion of significant works in American cultural history to help prepare them to become self-governing citizens of the United States of America. An English language arts curriculum can serve as a unifying force in schools and society.




General Standards

Listening and Speaking

1. Discussion and Group Work Group discussion can be effective when students listen actively, stay focused, consider the ideas of others, avoid sarcasm and personal remarks, take turns, and gain the floor in appropriate ways. Group discussion may lead students to a greater complexity of thought as they expand on the ideas of others, refine initial ideas, pose hypotheses, and work toward solutions to intellectual problems.


2. Oral Presentation Planning an effective presentation requires students to match their presentation purpose, medium, style, and format to their intended audience. Frequent opportunities to plan presentations for various purposes and to speak before various groups help students learn how to gain and keep an audience’s attention, interest, and respect.


Language Study

3. Structure and Conventions of Modern English The study of the structure of Modern English, as well as its oral and written conventions, gives students more control over the meaning they intend in their writing and speaking.


4. Vocabulary and Concept Development Our ability to think clearly and communicate with precision depends on the acquisition of a rich vocabulary. As students employ a variety of strategies for acquiring new vocabulary, their skill in using that perfect word can heighten interest in vocabulary itself.


5. Formal and Informal English Study of different forms of the English language helps students understand how to use different levels of formality in their own writing and speaking. It also enriches their understanding of regional and social dialects in their conversational language and in literature.




Reading and Literature

6. Foundations of Reading and Spelling Phonemic awareness, accurate and fluent decoding and word recognition, and an understanding of the basic features of written English texts are essential to beginning reading and writing.  These skills should be taught, continually practiced, and monitored until mastered.
7. Nonfiction Many students regularly read historical nonfiction and other nonfiction books, news articles, and websites on the Internet.  Learning to identify    and understand common expository organizational structures helps them read challenging nonfiction material.  Knowledge of textual and graphic features of nonfiction further extends a student’s control in reading and writing informational texts.
8. Fiction Stories are vehicles for a student’s development of empathy, moral    sensibility, and understanding.  The identification and analysis of          elements of fiction – plot, conflict, setting, character development, and foreshadowing – make it possible for students to think more critically       about stories, to respond to them in more complex ways, to reflect on         their meanings, and to compare them to each other.  A story is the         imagined world of the author into which the reader is invited.          Imaginative works are there to entertain and enlighten us.
9. Poetry In the study of poetry we learn to pay particular attention to rhythm

and sound, compression and precision, the power of images, and the

appropriate use of figures of speech. We also learn that poetry is playful

in its attention to language, where rhyme, pun, and hidden meanings are

pleasant surprises. The analysis of the figurative language associated with poetry—metaphor, simile, personification, and alliteration—has an

enormous impact on student reading and writing in other genres as well.

10. Drama Since ancient times, drama has entertained, informed, entranced, and transformed us as we willingly enter into the world created on stage. In reading dramatic literature, students learn to analyze the techniques playwrights use to achieve their magic. By studying plays, as well as film, television shows, and radio scripts, students learn to be more critical and selective readers, listeners, and viewers of drama.


11. Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature Young students enjoy the predictable patterns, excitement, and moral     lessons in traditional and classical stories. In the middle grades,        knowledge of the character types, themes, and structures of these stories enables students to perceive similarities and differences when they       compare traditional stories across cultures.  In the upper grades, students      can describe how authors through the centuries have drawn on traditional patterns and themes as archetypes in their writing, deepening their interpretations of  these and other authors’ works.

Research and Composition

12. The Research Process As the amount and complexity of knowledge increases, students     need to understand the features, strengths, and limitations of the   many digital and print resources, as well as people, available to    them. They must also know how to conduct an efficient and

successful search for accurate and credible information, and to cite   the sources they use.


13. Analytical Writing Analytical writing requires the development and use of logical

thinking processes, reading “between the lines,” and an ever-

growing knowledge base for the topic being analyzed. Beginning in grade grade 3, analytical writing should constitute at least half the writing

students do in school, and beginning in grade 9, three-quarters of

student writing assignments should require research and analysis.


14. Persuasive Writing Persuasive writing uses all the major components of effective communication for the goal of convincing someone of something or moving someone to a particular kind of action.  It requires a keen appreciation of the audience’s particular characteristics. Strong persuasive writing presents a position or claim, defends it with credible, precise, and relevant evidence, and uses language appropriate to the audience and purpose.


15. Personal Writing When we draw on our own or imagined experiences, observations,

and reflections for personal writing, we want to bring them to life through engaging language. Writing about our own experiences, observations, or reflections helps us to understand our lives and

can bring pleasure to our readers.
























       Listening and Speaking

1: Discussion and Group Work


Grade                                           Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.DG.1   Follow agreed-upon rules for discussion (e.g., raise hand before speaking).

P.DG.2   Participate in small group discussions or tasks.


K K.DG.1   Follow agreed-upon rules for class discussion (e.g., listen to others, wait until one’s turn to speak) and add one’s own ideas to small group discussions or tasks.


1 1.DG.1    Follow agreed-upon rules for class discussion (e.g., stay on topic when



2 2.DG.1    Demonstrate knowledge and use of class discussion rules.


3 3.DG.1    Identify and serve in different roles for small group discussions or projects

(e.g., leader, note-taker, or reporter).


4 4.DG.1    State ideas coherently and concisely in group discussions and projects.


5 5.DG.1     Summarize points made by others before presenting one’s own ideas.


6 6.DG.1    Contribute constructively to class discussion in order to develop ideas for a class project.

6.DG.2    Show courtesy and politeness when criticizing others’ ideas.


7 7.DG.1    Identify and apply basic rules for formal discussions and making decisions (e.g., Robert’s or Sturgis’ Rules of Order).


8 8.DG.1    Identify and demonstrate techniques for productive group discussions

(e.g., electing a leader, making and following an agenda, and setting time

limits for speakers and deadlines for decision-making).

8.DG.2    Identify and demonstrate understanding of basic rules for classroom or school



9.DG.1    Participate in formal debates on local or national issues for a school debating

club, We the People competition, or community-sponsored debate.


10 10.DG.1  Explain ways members of a  group can come to a decision (e.g., by proposing

motions and voting on them, by a vote of the majority, by implied consensus, by

a decision of the chair) after observing local board or committee meetings.

10.DG.2  Explain ways members of a group can express opposition to a proposed decision (e.g., by a minority vote, by proposing motions to amend the proposed decision, or by writing a minority report that dissents from a decision passed by majority vote) after observing local board or committee meetings.

11 11.DG.1   Explain the general purpose, goals, and resources needed for a particular

community project.

11,DG.2   Summarize in a coherent and organized way information and ideas generated in a focused community discussion (e.g., for the minutes of a meeting).


12 12. DG.1  Identify the kinds of resources (e.g., financial, administrative, intellectual)

needed to complete a community project, anticipate potential barriers to

completion, and pose solutions to barriers.

12. DG.2  Evaluate how well participants engage in discussions at a local meeting, drawing on one of the widely used professional evaluation forms for group discussion (e.g., guidelines developed by the National Issues Forum).



2: Oral Presentation


Grade                                               Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.OP.1   Orally describe personal interests or tell stories to classmates.


K K.OP.1   Orally describe personal interests, tell stories, or recite poems, facing the audience and speaking clearly.


1 1.OP.1     Orally explain personal interests, tell stories, or recite  poems, speaking clearly with adequate volume and keeping eye contact with the audience.


2 2.OP.1     Elaborate on personal interests and experiences, maintaining focus on

the topic.


3 3.OP.1     Present information from a text or film, organizing ideas clearly and giving details from the work.


3.OP.2     Use teacher-developed assessment criteria to prepare their presentations.


4  4.OP.1    Plan and make informal presentations that maintain a controlling idea and recognizable organization (e.g., a chronological sequence, topics by order of importance, comparison-contrast, or cause and effect).


5  5.OP.1   Present a brief analysis of a text, film, or video, using appropriate

gestures, vocabulary, pacing, and evidence from the text, film, or video.


6  6.OP.1    Employ purposeful diction and visual aids to make a clear and coherent  persuasive argument about a school-based issue.


7  7.OP.1    Orally explain the logic or lack of logic in a persuasive argument about a local issue in a local newspaper, supplying evidence from the text and using appropriate techniques of delivery for effect.


8  8.OP.1    Distinguish informal English from formal English and decide upon the level   of formality needed for talking to different audiences.


8.OP.2     Create a scoring guide based on categories supplied by the teacher (content,     presentation style) to prepare and assess a presentation on a local issue to a specific audience.


9  9.OP.1    Analyze a recorded, filmed, or videotaped speech (and a transcript, if available) to determine how the speaker organized the speech, reinforced main points, and used details, examples, particular vocabulary, pacing, repetition, and vocal expression to keep the audience’s attention and present a convincing position.


10 10.OP.1   Analyze the rhetorical features of well-known speeches from the “Golden Age” of American oratory (e.g. by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass).


11 11.OP.1   Deliver a formal speech using appropriate delivery and answer questions from the audience about main ideas or details of the speech.

11.OP.2   Create an appropriate scoring guide to prepare one’s own presentation and to assess others’ presentations.


12 12.OP.1   Deliver a formal speech adjusting the delivery as needed to maintain the  interest of the audience, and critique the formal speeches given by classmates using a scoring guide.

12.OP.2   Critique a formal speech given by a member of the local community at a  public meeting, using a professional scoring guide (e.g., a guide for Toastmasters International contests).



                           Language Study

All children have a sense of the basic grammatical structure of their conversational language by school age.  But they must be explicitly taught the language of formal education: its structure, its discourse patterns, and its rules of interaction.


While the structure (and sounds) of conversational English have changed over time, the structure of written Standard English has been quite stable for centuries. Students need to learn how writers and speakers arrange words orally and in writing to communicate meaning to broad audiences. To do this, they must learn how to use, and use, the conventions of grammar, usage, and writing in Standard American English—or Edited American English—the forms taught in schools and used by educated speakers and writers. Explicit instruction in sentence structure, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling, as well as practice in analyzing how speakers and writers put words together, enhances students’ command of the English language.


Students in successful English language arts classrooms also learn about the way the vocabulary of the English language has developed over time. The vocabulary of the English language reflects the influence of every language community with which English-speaking people have interacted. As a result, the English language today has the largest vocabulary of all the world’s languages. Furthermore, its lexicon is still growing because that is the nature of a living language. One way to motivate interest in vocabulary is to teach students about the origins of the English words we use today in educated speech and writing.


The most effective way for students to learn the words they need for adult life is through constant and plentiful reading. They develop their general academic vocabulary chiefly by reading increasingly more challenging literary and non-literary material and by using a dictionary. They develop their technical vocabularies by reading increasingly more challenging informational material in a technical area as part of a graduated curriculum and by referring to glossaries or technical dictionaries for the precise and international meanings of scientific, mathematical, and other technical terminology. Context-based strategies are useful for acquiring a general academic vocabulary; they can be misleading for technical vocabularies.


A well planned vocabulary program will contribute to students’ vocabulary development. It does so by focusing on words that help students understand the selection they are studying, as well as words they will find useful in other reading and writing. It can also teach students ways to guess at the meaning of unfamiliar words in their general reading through the use of context and knowledge of prefixes, suffixes, and roots.  It will also teach students how to use dictionaries and glossaries for reading, and a thesaurus for writing, as well as the kind of information these and other lexical resources provide.


The English language arts classroom provides a setting where students learn about and practice appropriate use of formal and informal English in writing and speaking. For example, when students write stories about the life of an animal for younger children, they choose sentence structures their audience can understand, and they explain special words their readers need to learn in order to understand the stories. When they write for peers or adults, they choose words and sentence patterns that presume these understandings. If given many opportunities to write for a variety of audiences, students learn to tailor their word choices and sentences to their own purposes and to the needs of their audience.

3: Structure and Conventions of Modern English


Grade                                          Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.SE.1    Use appropriate words to express spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., up, down, before, after).

P.SE.2    Identify the use of capital letters for names.


K K.SE.1    Use appropriate words to express actions.

K.SE.2    Identify correct capitalization for names and places.

K.SE.3.   Identify correct capitalization and commas in dates.


1 1.SE.1     Use appropriate words to name groups (e.g., children).

1.SE.2     Correctly use a period or a question mark at the end of a sentence.

1.SE.3     Correctly use a capital letter for the first letter of a name, the first word in a sentence, and the pronoun I.


2 2.SE.1    Identify and correctly use nouns and verbs in sentences.

2.SE.2    Identify and use simple and complete declarative sentences.

2.SE.3    Identify and correctly use exclamation marks.

2.SE.4    Distinguish a statement from a question or a command.

2.SE.5    Identify and demonstrate indentation for a paragraph.


3 3.SE.1    Identify nouns, adjectives, and verbs in sentences and explain their function.

3.SE.2.   Identify the subject-predicate relationship in sentences.

3.SE.3    Identify and demonstrate knowledge of a complete sentence.

3.SE.4.   Identify correct subject-verb agreement in sentences.

3.SE.5.   Identify and use ways to eliminate sentence fragments and run-ons.

3.SE.6     Use commas to denote a series of items.


4 4.SE.1     Identify adjectives, nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs in sentences

and explain their function.

4.SE.2    Identify and correctly use simple and compound sentences.

4.SE.3    Identify and correctly write quotation marks to denote spoken or quoted words.

4.SE.4    Identify and correctly write apostrophes in contractions.


5 5.SE.1    Identify nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, and

conjunctions in sentences and explain their function.

5.SE.2     Identify and correctly use past, present, and future verb tenses.

5.SE.3     Demonstrate ways to expand or reduce sentences by adding or deleting modifiers, by combining sentences, or by breaking long sentences into parts.

5.SE.4     Identify and use a variety of simple and compound sentences.

5.SE.5     Identify and correctly punctuate compound sentences.

5.SE.6     Identify and correctly write apostrophes in singular nouns to show possession.

5.SE.7     Use knowledge of correct spelling  for commonly used homophones.

6 6.SE.1     Identify nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions,

prepositions, and interjections in sentences and explain their function.

6.SE.2     Identify and correctly use verb phrases and the subjunctive tense (i.e., “If I were President Lincoln, I would have…”).

6.SE.3     Identify and correct run-on sentences or sentence fragments.

6.SE.4     Identify and use a variety of simple, compound, and complex sentences.

6.SE.6     Identify and correctly write apostrophes in plural nouns to show possession.


7 7.SE.1     Identify and correctly use prepositional phrases in sentences.

7.SE.2     Distinguish phrases from clauses in sentences.

7.SE.3     Identify ways to vary sentence structure by using opening phrases or clauses, modifiers, and closing dependent clauses or phrases.

7.SE.4      Identify, and correctly write with commas after, introductory phrases or clauses.

7.SE.5      Identify appropriate use of pronoun reference.

7.SE.6      Use standard English when speaking formally and writing.


8 8.SE.1      Distinguish and correctly use dependent and independent clauses in


8.SE.2      Identify and correctly use adverbial and adjectival phrases in sentences.

8.SE.3      Identify and use correct pronoun references and properly placed modifiers in   sentences.

8.SE.4      Identify how the placement of an idea in a dependent clause or in a main   clause affects the emphasis of a sentence and its meaning.


9 9.SE.1      Explain the function of, and correctly use, nominalized, adjectival, and

adverbial clauses in sentences.

9.SE.2      Identify the functions of, and correctly use, participles and gerunds.

9.SE.3     Analyze the structure of sentences (e.g., through diagrams or transformational  models).

9.SE.4     Identify and correctly use semicolons and colons, as needed.


10 10.SE.1   Explain the functions of, and correctly use, gerunds and infinitives.

10.SE.2   Identify and use  parallelism and properly placed modifiers for rhetorically effective sentence structures.

10.SE.3    Identify and correctly use dashes and hyphens.

10.SE.4    Identify and correctly use tense consistency.


11 11.SE.1    Identify and correctly use all conventions of written American English.


12 12.SE.1    Identify and correctly use all conventions of Standard American English in

formal speaking and in writing.




 4: Vocabulary and Concept Development


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.VC.1     Demonstrate understanding of concepts by sorting common objects into various categories (e.g., colors, shapes, textures).

P.VC.2     Describe common objects and events in general and specific language.


K K.VC.1    Predict the meaning of a new word from its context when listening to a text

being read aloud.

K.VC.2    Use new words acquired by listening to literary or informational texts read aloud.


1 1.VC.1     Predict the meaning of a new word from its context when reading a text or

listening to one read aloud.

1. VC.2    Demonstrate understanding of concepts by sorting written words and pictures into various categories (e.g., living things, animals, birds).

1.VC.3     Identify common words (e.g., look) and their inflected forms (e.g., looks, looked, looking).

1.VC.4     Identify the relevant meaning for a word with multiple meanings using its context  (e.g., He saw a cat/She cut the tree branch with a saw).

1.VC.5     Use knowledge of the meaning of individual words to predict the meaning of  unknown compound words (e.g., lunchtime, daydream).

1.VC.6     Use a beginning dictionary to find the meanings of words.


2 2.VC.1     Determine the meaning of a new word from its context when reading a text.

2.VC.2     Identify words with similar meanings (synonyms, e.g., look, glance, peek) and words with opposite meanings (antonyms, e.g., up/down, hot/cold).

2.VC.3     Identify and use words and phrases that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., behind, in front of, now, before, after).

2.VC.4     Explain the meaning of common idioms (e.g., I felt as if I were talking to a brick wall because my friend wouldn’t listen to me.).

2.VC.5     Use a beginning dictionary or a glossary in a textbook to find the precise meaning of key words in assigned geography, history, science, and mathematics curriculum materials.


3 3.VC.1    Identify the structural elements of a written word: prefixes, suffixes, and other

inflected endings (e.g., -ed, -ing, or tense, comparative, or plural endings).

3.VC.2    Determine the meaning of the new word when a known prefix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, happy/unhappy, tell/retell).

3.VC.3    Distinguish the literal and non-literal meanings of words and phrases in context (e.g., take steps).

3.VC.4    Identify and apply the meanings of the terms antonym, synonym, homograph (wind/wind), and homophone (to, two, too).

3.VC.5    Use a glossary in a textbook to find the meaning of key words in assigned geography, history, science, and mathematics assigned curriculum materials.


 4 4.VC.1     Determine the meaning of common proverbs (e.g., “A stitch in time saves


4.VC.2     Identify the meaning of common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin roots to determine the meaning of unfamiliar English words that use them (e.g., students discuss the meaning of the common Greek root, graph, to help them understand the meaning of the words telegraph, photograph, and autograph).

4.VC.3     Identify the meaning of grade-appropriate Latin and Greek prefixes (e.g., Latin bi- as in bicycle, Greek oct- as in octopus, tele- as in telescope, photo- as in photosynthesis, and auto- as in autobiography) and determine the meaning of words that use them.

4.VC.4     Determine a word’s part of speech from its suffix (e.g., the noun beauty, the adjective beautiful, and the adverb beautifully).

4.VC.5     Identify words from other languages that have been adopted into English (e.g., ballet, pizza, sushi, algebra).

4.VC.6     Identify and explain the meaning of figurative language (e.g., eager beaver).

4.VC.7     Use a dictionary to find pronunciations, meanings of words, and alternate word choices in general reading and writing.

4.VC.8.    Use a glossary in a textbook for key words in assigned curriculum materials.


5 5.VC.1     Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in context using definitions or


5.VC.2     Identify the meaning of grade-appropriate Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon roots,  prefixes and suffixes (e.g., Latin pro- as in pro-labor, Greek pseudo- as in pseudonym, and Anglo-Saxon mis- as in mislead) and determine the meaning of unfamiliar words that use them.

5.VC.3     Explain the meaning of similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture; a bridge over troubled water).

5.VC.4     Use a dictionary to find pronunciations, parts of speech, meanings of words, and alternate word choices in general reading and writing.

5.VC.5     Identify and use words and phrases that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition)

5.VC.6    Use a glossary in a textbook to find precise meanings of key words in assigned  curriculum materials.


6 6.VC.1     Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in context using analogies or conceptual relationships.

6VC.2      Identify the meaning of grade-appropriate Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon prefixes, suffixes, and roots and determine the meaning of unfamiliar words that use them.

6.VC. 3.   Identify singular and plural forms of Latin words often used in English (e.g., alumna, alumnae).

6 VC.3     Determine the meaning of grade-appropriate foreign words used frequently in written English (e.g., résumé, repertoire).

6.VC.4     Determine the meaning of common proverbs, adages, or sayings.

6.VC.5     Use a dictionary to find pronunciations, syllable breaks, parts of speech, meanings of words, and alternate word choices in general reading and writing.

6.VC.6.    Use a glossary in a textbook to find the precise meanings of key words in assigned curriculum materials.


7 7.VC.1     Determine the meanings of unfamiliar words in context using contrast or

cause and effect.  For example, students collect examples of sentences that

indicate contrast or cause and effect, such as, “Most organisms need oxygen

                 to survive, but many types of bacteria are anaerobic.”

7.VC.2     Use context to determine the meanings of unfamiliar words that use grade-appropriate Greek, Latin, or Anglo-Saxon roots, suffixes, and prefixes.

For example, while reading about men and women who pioneered in space and under the sea, students come across such words as astronaut and nautical and use their knowledge of Greek and Latin roots and the context to determine the meaning of these words.

7.VC.3    Determine the meaning of foreign words used frequently in various subject areas.

7.VC.4    Use a dictionary to find pronunciations, meanings, alternate word choices, parts of speech, and etymologies of words in general reading and writing.

7.VC.5    Use a glossary in a textbook to find precise meanings of key words in

assigned curriculum materials.


8 8.VC.1       Determine the meanings of unfamiliar words that use grade-appropriate

Greek, Latin or Anglo-Saxon roots, suffixes, and prefixes or combinations of

Greek roots (e.g., neurology, morphology).

8.VC.2       Identify the origin and explain the meaning of grade-appropriate foreign words

or phrases used frequently in written English (e.g., per se, passé, du jour).

8.VC.3       Use a dictionary, a specialized dictionary, or related reference to find

pronunciations, alternate pronunciations, parts of speech, meanings, alternate

word choices, and etymologies of words in general reading and writing

8.VC.4.       Use a glossary in a textbook to find the precise meanings of key words in

assigned curriculum materials.


9-12  9-12.VC.1  Identify and demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of idioms,

proverbs, sayings, and words/phrases with figurative meanings.

9-12.VC.2 Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different  meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy; conceive, conception, conceivable).

9-12.VC.3 Explain the meaning of phrases that contain literary, cultural, historical, Biblical, or mythological allusions (e.g., Dickensian characters, dark  Satanic mills, Harlem Renaissance, Socratic dialogue, Jacksonian democracy, Tower of Babel, or herculean task).

9-12.VC.4 Determine the meaning of words through study of analogies, or their                         relationship to other words.

9-12.VC.5 Determine the meaning of foreign words or phrases that are frequently used in academic English to indicate culture-specific concepts (e.g., glasnost, samurai, feng shui).

9-12.VC.6 Verify and analyze word meanings, alternate word choices, pronunciations,

parts of speech, and etymologies using a college-level dictionary.

9-12.VC.7 Identify the purpose and organization of a variety of references such as   specialized dictionaries (e.g., rhyming dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries) and  books of quotations or examples of syntax used in literature.

9-12.VC.8 Use glossaries in textbooks to find meanings of key discipline-specific words.


          Sample Grades 5–6 Integrated Learning Scenario:Dealing With Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes 

Learning Standards Taught: Language Strand:

Apply understanding of agreed-upon rules and individual roles in order to make decisions.


Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using knowledge of common Greek and Latin roots, suffixes, and prefixes.


Composition Strand:

Revise writing to improve level of detail and precision of language after determining where to add images and sensory detail, combine sentences, vary sentences, and rearrange text.


Use knowledge of correct mechanics, correct sentence structure, and correct standard English spelling when writing and editing.

Introduction: With their teacher, students study the meaning and function of common roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Students use their knowledge to analyze and learn English words supplied by the teacher, found in their reading, or heard in conversation, in movies, or on television (joyfulness, disadvantageous, hypertension).
Practice / Assessment: Students in small groups take on roles (group leader, recorder, timer). They create decks of playing cards displaying prefixes in green (anti-, micro-, sub-, re-, un-, poly-, hyper-), roots in black (bibl, phob, graph, script, spect), and suffixes in red (-ous, -ism, -ful, -ate, -oid, -ology).


Students combine the cards to create feasible but nonexistent words and definitions like: micro-/script/-ology, the study of small writing; anti-/graph/-ism, the state of being opposed to writing; hyper-/spect/-ate, to spend twenty hours a day watching sports.


Students check the dictionary to be sure the words they have put together do not exist.

Group members work together to choose the best five words to put into a class file of made-up words.

Culminating Performance and Evaluation: Students draft a dictionary entry for each made-up word, guided by a list of criteria for content, grammar, and mechanics supplied by the teacher and using a classroom dictionary as a model. Each entry includes pronunciation, word derivation, definition(s), an example of the word used in a sentence, and an illustration.


Students revise their dictionary entries to improve content, style, and sentence structure, and they edit their writing, checking for accurate spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.


They create their final entries on 5”x7” index cards.


Students challenge each other in pairs or teams to define each other’s made-up words and use them in sentences.


After evaluation by the teacher, the cards are alphabetized and filed in a class word box that becomes a reference for future review and fantasy writing.


Students revise their dictionary entries to improve content, style, and sentence structure, and they edit their writing, checking for accurate spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. They create their final entries on 5”x7” index cards.

     5: Formal and Informal English


Grade                                                Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.FI.1    Identify examples of formal and informal language spoken in the classroom and on the playground.


K  K.FI.1   Identify examples of formal and informal language in stories read aloud.


1  1.FI.1    Identify examples of formal and informal language in stories, plays, and poems.


2  2.FI.1    Recognize dialect in the conversational voices in American folktales.


3  3.FI.1    Recognize dialect and informal language in ads, films, videos, and songs.


4  4.FI.1    Demonstrate through role-playing appropriate use of formal and informal



5 5.FI.1    Identify differences in formal and informal language used in a film.


6 6.FI.1    Identify differences between oral and written language patterns in texts read in



7  7.FI.1    Identify forms of informal language and symbols that are commonly used in

texting and emails among friends and differentiate them from formal electronic



8 8.FI.1  Identify the language styles of different characters in literary works and determine their significance for understanding the characters.


9 9.FI.1    Identify differences in voice, tone, diction, and syntax used in media presentations (documentary films, broadcasts, taped interviews) and those elements in informal speech.


10 10.FI.1   Identify content-specific vocabulary, terminology, or jargon unique to particular social and professional groups.


11 11.FI.1  Analyze the value and place of Standard American English in speech and writing.


12 12.FI.1  Analyze how oral dialect can be a source of negative or positive stereotypes

among social groups and the purposes for using Standard American English in

spoken language.





Reading and Literature

In an effective English language arts program, students read a variety of literary and non-literary texts of increasing complexity and difficulty through the grades.  From a coherent reading and literature curriculum designed to lead to cumulative learning, students gain an understanding of the elements and structure of different genres.  They also develop a foundational knowledge of the literary context and literary history of significant works in the literary and civic heritage of an English-speaking nation, and develop their ability to read carefully and critically.


Choosing Books

Students at all grade levels need both breadth and depth in reading experiences. English language arts teachers should include classic works that reflect our common literary heritage (Appendix A), high quality contemporary works (Appendix B), and significant works from other countries and cultures (Appendix B). The substantive content of English language arts literature programs should be derived in large part from these appendices.  Teachers can use a number of factors in judging whether a text is appropriate and merits close study:


For imaginative/literary writing (fiction, poetry, and drama), important aspects include:

  • themes that provoke thinking and provide insight into universal human dilemmas;
  • authenticity in depiction of human emotions and experiences from diverse cultures and times;
  • excellence in use of language and richness of vocabulary; and
  • appropriate complexity of organization and sentence structure.

For expository/informational texts, important aspects include:

  • relevance of the text to the curriculum;
  • topics that provoke thinking and insight;
  • accuracy and completeness of information;
  • coherence of arguments;
  • excellence in use of language and richness in vocabulary; and
  • appropriate complexity of organization and sentence structure.


Designing Instruction

Teachers use a range of organizational structures for their units of study. Students might examine:

  • several works of an author to learn how style, voice, and ideas develop over time;
  • works of the same genre to acquire knowledge of a particular literary form;
  • a work in its historical context to understand its relationship to historical events or to other literary or artistic works of its time;
  • several works that explore similar themes to analyze different approaches to the theme; or
  • one short piece to examine in detail the author’s craft (diction, tone, imagery, sentence structure, topic development).

Useful Teaching Practices

Reading Aloud

When teachers read aloud, they demonstrate ways of responding to literature, broaden students’ reading interests, and build appreciation of the language and sounds of literature. Reading aloud is valuable at any grade level.


Classroom Reading Time

Students need to be given time for reading books of their own choice in school. Students have an opportunity to develop an appreciation of reading when teachers set aside class time for them to choose books and to read silently.


Teacher-Led Whole Class Discussion of Literature

Discussing books on a whole-class basis enables the teacher to provide models for appropriate questions and to make sure the important aspects of the book are explored. Whole class discussions enable students to clarify their understanding of a book that may be above their independent reading level.


Student-Led Small Group Reading and Discussion

After the primary grades, discussing books in small groups gives students increased opportunity to share impressions and ideas and to ask questions in a more personal setting than a whole class discussion. When the teacher establishes clear guidelines and goals for the discussion, students learn to listen to and learn from each other. Structuring reading in small groups may also allow students more choice in what they read and discuss with others.



Memorizing poetry, speeches, or dialogue from plays can engage students in listening closely to the sounds and rhythmic sequences of words. Young children delight in making a poem their own by committing it to memory. Because memorization and recitation or performance require repeated readings of a poem or speech, these techniques help students find layers of meaning that they might not discover in a single reading.



When students plan and dramatize scenes from a story, they are translating one genre or form into another. Through dialogue and movement, they show their interpretation of literary elements such as plot, character motivation, conflict, and tone without using the abstract vocabulary of literary analysis to communicate their insights. Clear criteria for performance help students focus on elements such as pacing, volume, use of gestures, and expressiveness.


Response through the Arts

Projects that combine reading and writing with art or music can help many students concentrate on the meaning of what they read. Drawing on individual interests and talents, group projects enable students to demonstrate their collective interpretation of a text and engage their classmates in discussion and analysis.


Using School-Wide and Community Resources

The school library/media center and the classroom library are essential resources in developing a strong and varied literature curriculum. Library teachers and public librarians can help classroom teachers support literary study through film, photographs, paintings, music, CD-ROMs, computer software, and larger public collections. Another excellent use of community resources is the practice of inviting authors into the classroom to describe the process of composing a literary work.

                           6: Foundations of Reading and Spelling


Phonemic awareness, accurate and fluent decoding and word recognition, and an understanding of the basic features of written English texts are essential to beginning reading and writing. These skills should be taught, continually practiced, and carefully monitored until mastered.


In addition, children need to be taught how to use their cognitive skills to comprehend written texts.  They first need to be taught to how to understand what is presented directly in a text; this requires their identification and recall of its main ideas and basic facts.  To go beyond what is directly stated in a text, children must be taught how to analyze a text, drawing on their own powers of reasoning and on what they have learned from other texts or sources of knowledge and information.


To critique or evaluate what is in an informational or persuasive text, children need to be taught how to determine the author’s purpose or message, how to analyze the coherence of the information in it and the logic of its conclusion, and how to locate alternative and reliable sources of information to double-check the text for accuracy, truthfulness, and comprehensiveness.  Finally, students need to learn how to argue a point of view of their own using evidence from the author’s text and other texts to support their point of view.


When we read a text carefully, we work carefully to discern the author’s main ideas and the particular facts and details that support them.  Good readers read thoughtfully and purposefully, constantly checking their understanding of the text against logic, their personal experiences, and broader sources of knowledge in order to construct a sound interpretation. Students who gain a strong grounding in the foundational skills of reading are ready to tackle comprehension of increasingly complex and unfamiliar literary and informational texts.


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.



Print Concepts

P.R.1     Read labels or signs in the classroom, school, or street. (e.g., a stop sign).

P.R.2     Identify the title of a book on the front cover.

P.R.3      Distinguish alphabet books from counting books.

P.R.4      Demonstrate how to handle a book and turn pages.

P.R.5      Identify some upper-case and lower-case alphabet letters.

P.R.6      Print some upper-case alphabet letters.

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

P.R.7      Link an initial sound to a picture of an object that begins with that sound. (e.g., given a picture of a ball, identify the initial sound as /b/).

P.R.8      Recognize and produce rhyming words (e.g., identify words that rhyme with /cat/ such as /bat/ and /sat/).

P.R.9      Segment the words in a simple sentence.


Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

P.R.10    Identify sight words in common labels or signs (e.g., stop on a stop sign).


K Print Concepts

K.R.1      Determine the purpose of a text (i.e., to provide information, tell a story, or provide language play, as in nursery rhymes, riddles, etc.).

K.R.2      Demonstrate how to handle a book and turn the pages.

K.R.3      Locate the title and name of the author of a book.

K.R.4      Point to show that English print moves left to right across the page and from top to bottom.

K.R.5      Point to show that written sentences are made up of separate words.

K.R.6      Point to show that written words are made up of separate letters.

K.R.7      Identify and name all uppercase and lowercase letters.

K.R.8      Rapidly name the letters of the alphabet in order.

K.R.9      Point to identify spacing between words.

K.R.10    Print one’s own first name and all upper- and lower-case letters.


Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

K.R.11    Segment the parts of a compound word (e.g. base + ball → baseball).

For example, students clap to show that they understand the syllables of a word.

K.R.12    Orally blend and segment words into syllables (e.g. /ta/ + /ble/ → table).

K.R.13    Identify and produce rhyming words (e.g., mop as a word rhyming with top).

K.R.14    Orally blend the onset (e.g., the initial sound) and the rime (e.g., the vowel and ending sound) in words (e.g., /c/ + /at/ → cat).

K.R.15    Identify the initial sound in spoken words (e.g., /f/ as the first sound in fish).

K.R.16    Identify words that have the same initial sound (e.g., Given pat, put, sat, indicate that the first two words begin with /p/).

K.R.17    Orally blend individual sounds in simple one-syllable words (e.g., /c/ /u/ /p/ → cup).

K.R.18    Segment the individual sounds in simple one-syllable words (e.g., put → /p/ /u/ /t/).


Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

K.R.19    Name a printed letter that matches a sound (e.g., The teacher says /t/, and the student points to the /t/ letter tile).

K.R.20    Match spoken words to printed words (e.g., The teacher pronounces /pat/, and the student selects pat from a set of three word cards.

K.R.21    Blend letter sounds to decode simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) or VC (vowel-consonant) words with two or three letters (e.g., man, cat, up).

K.R.22    Read some common high frequency words by sight (e.g., a, the, I, my, you, is, are).

K.R.23    Use letter-sound knowledge to write simple messages and words, which accurately represent at least the initial sounds (e.g., soap written as sop).




K.R.24   Make predictions about text content using the illustrations.

K.R.25   Identify important elements of the text (e.g., characters, events, topics).

K.R.26   Retell main ideas from text heard or read.


1 Print Concepts

1.R.1      Use a table of contents to identify chapters or parts of a book.

1.R.2       Print one’s own first and last name, address, telephone number, and words and sentences legibly, using upper- and lower case letters and leaving spaces between words.


Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

1.R.3       Produce a series of rhyming words.

1.R.4       Identify the number of words in a sentence.

1.R.5       Identify the number of syllables in a spoken word.

1.R.6       Isolate the medial and final sounds of spoken words, determining when two words have the same final or medial sounds.

1.R.7       Identify the individual sounds in one-syllable words.

1.R.8       Orally blend the sounds in one-syllable words that have 3-4 letters and 4-5 phonemes.

1.R.9       Segment the individual sounds in one-syllable words that have 3-4 letters and 4-5 phonemes).

1.R.10     Add, delete, or substitute sounds to change words (e.g., delete the /s/ in smallmall).


Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

1.R.11     Use letter-sound knowledge of single consonants, short and long vowels, consonant blends and digraphs, vowel blends and digraphs, and r-controlled vowels to decode phonetically regular words (e.g., cat, go, black, boat, her) independent of context.

1.R.12     Decode one-syllable words in the major syllable patterns (CVC/CVr, V, VV, VCe) independent of context (e.g., bat, car, me, goat, fame).

1.R.13     Decode phonetically regular words having the same consonant but with two different common sounds (e.g., hard and soft /c/ and /g/ as in cent/cat and gem/gun).

1.R.14     Read words in common word families (e.g., -at, -ate).

1.R.15     Read common, irregularly-spelled sight words (e.g., have, said, where).

1.R.16     Read grade-appropriate root words and affixes including plurals, verb tense, and comparatives (e.g., look, -ed, -ing, -s, -er, -est).

1.R.17     Read simple compound words (e.g., birthday, anything) and contractions (e.g., isn’t, aren’t, can’t, won’t).

1.R.18     Correctly spell grade-appropriate, highly decodable words and common irregularly-spelled sight words (e.g., cup, sit, cart, the).

1.R.19     Demonstrate use of decoding skills and context when reading new words in a text.



1.R.20     Orally read grade-appropriate text smoothly and accurately with expression that connotes comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension, benchmark fluency).



1.R.21     Make predictions about what will happen in texts using prior knowledge and text features.

1.R.22     Answer questions to clarify or confirm their understanding of a story.

1.R.23     Restate main ideas in sequence.


2 Print Concepts

2. R.1       Print family names, words, and sentences legibly, using upper- and lower-case letters and leaving spaces between words.

Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

2.R.2       Decode two-syllable words using letter-sound knowledge of consonants, consonant blends and digraphs, short and long vowels, and vowel digraphs and r-controlled vowels independent of context.

2.R.3       Use knowledge of the six major syllable patterns (e.g., CVC, CVr,, V, VV, VCe, Cle) to decode two-syllable words  independent of context.

2.R.4       Read words in common word families (e.g., –ale, -est, -ine, -ock).

2.R.5       Read multi-syllabic words composed of roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

2.R.6       Read common, irregularly spelled sight words (e.g., through, tough)

2.R.7       Read common abbreviations (e.g., Dr., Mr., AM, PM).

2.R.8       Correctly spell grade-appropriate, phonetically regular and irregularly-spelled sight words (e.g., said, does).

2.R.9       Correctly spell the plural of grade-appropriate nouns by adding -es to nouns ending in –s, -ss, -sh, -ch, or -x.

2.R.10     Identify nouns that change their spelling in plural form (e.g., man, men; woman, women; tooth, teeth).

2.R.11     Demonstrate use of decoding skills and context to identify new words in a text.


2.R.12     Orally read grade-appropriate text smoothly and accurately with expression that connotes comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension, benchmark fluency).


2.R.13    Make predictions about the content of texts using prior knowledge and text features (e.g., headings, table of contents, key words in informational texts, story events in literary texts), explaining whether they were confirmed or disconfirmed and why.

2.R.14     Retell a story’s beginning, middle, and end.

2.R.15     Locate details to support main ideas in text.

2.R.15     Distinguish cause and effect.

2.R.16     Restate main ideas.


3 Print Concepts

3.R.1      Write upper- and lower-case cursive letters, and use them in words and

sentences, leaving spaces between words.


Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

3.R.2       Decode multi-syllabic words using letter-sound knowledge of all major letter-sound correspondences including those that are less familiar (e.g., /ph/ = /f/ as in graph).

3.R.3       Read multi-syllabic words composed of one or more of the six syllable patterns: VC, VR, V, VV, VCe, Cle (e.g., caterpillar).

3.R.4       Read aloud words in common word families (-ight, -ump).

3.R.5       Read multi-syllabic words composed of roots and related prefixes, suffixes, contractions, possessives, and compounds.

3.R.6       Read aloud grade-appropriate irregularly spelled sight words.

3.R.7       Read and correctly spell grade-appropriate words that have blends (walk, play, blend), contractions (isn’t, can’t), compounds, common spelling patterns (qu-; doubling the consonant and adding –ing as in win/winning; changing the ending of a word from –y to –ies to make a plural, such as cherry/cherries), and common homophones (words that sound the same but have different spellings, such as hair/hare).

3.R.8       Arrange words in alphabetical order (e.g., given a list of words, such as apple, grapefruit, cherry, banana, pineapple, and peach, put them in alphabetical order).

3.R.9       Demonstrate use of decoding skills and context to identify new words in a text.


3.R.10     Orally read grade-appropriate text smoothly and accurately with expression that connotes comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension, benchmark fluency)



3.R.11     Read silently unfamiliar, grade-appropriate text with comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension).

3.R.12    Apply Grade 3 standards for comprehension of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature.


4 Print Concepts Writing

4.R.1       Write legibly in cursive, leaving spaces between words.

Phonics, Word Recognition, and Spelling

4.R.2       Use knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multi-syllabic words.

4.R.3       Read and correctly spell grade-appropriate roots (e.g., unnecessary, cowardly), prefixes and suffixes (mis-, un-, -ful, -ing), and important words from all grade-specific content curricula.



4.R.4       Orally read grade-appropriate text smoothly and accurately with

expression that connotes comprehension at the independent level (e.g.,

95% comprehension, benchmark fluency).



4.R.5      Read silently unfamiliar, grade-appropriate text with comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension).

4.R.6      Apply Grade 4 standards for comprehension of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and  Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature.


5 5.R.1       Read and spell correctly all key words from grade-specific content curricula and hyphenate them correctly.

5.R.2       Read and spell correctly grade-appropriate words with prefixes (understood/misunderstood, excused/unexcused) or suffixes (final/finally, mean/meanness) and contractions (will not/won’t, it is/it’s, they would/they’d)



5.R.3       Orally read grade-appropriate text smoothly and accurately with

expression that connotes comprehension at the independent level (e.g.,

95% comprehension, benchmark fluency)



5.R.4      Read silently unfamiliar, grade-appropriate text with comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension).

5.R.5      Apply Grade 5 standards for comprehension of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and  Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature.


6 6.R.1       Read and spell correctly Latin plurals (e.g., alumnus/alumni) in assigned curriculum materials.

6.R.2       Correctly spell frequently misspelled words (e.g., license, recommendation, exaggerate).


6.R.3      Orally read grade-appropriate literary and expository text smoothly

and accurately with expression that connotes comprehension at the

independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension, benchmark fluency)




6.R.4       Read silently unfamiliar, grade-appropriate text with comprehension at the independent level (e.g., 95% comprehension).

6.R.5      Apply Grade 6 standards for comprehension of Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature


7-12 Students continue to address earlier standards as they apply to more difficult texts.




 7: Nonfiction


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.N.1   Identify the topic of a nonfiction text read aloud.

P.N.2   Identify steps to follow after hearing a simple list of instructions.


K K.N.1    Identify important elements of the text (e.g., events, topics, concepts) and answer questions about them.

K.N.2   Identify textual and graphic features of a nonfiction text (e.g., title, author, table of contents, illustrations, and index).

K.N.3   Restate and follow two-step directions.


1 1.N.1   Answer questions to clarify or confirm understanding of a text.

1.N.2   Identify words in a text that indicate logical relationships (e.g., because, therefore, in order to).

1.N.3   Explain and follow two-step directions.


2 2.N.1   Identify the author’s purpose in a nonfiction text.

2.N.2   Identify and explain the main idea and supporting facts.

2.N.3   Explain the topic of each paragraph in a multi-paragraph nonfiction text.

2.N 4.  Identify the words and phrases that connect paragraphs and explain the logical relationship they signal.

2.N.5   Identify common textual and graphic features (e.g., font type and size, diagrams) and explain how they help a reader understand a text.

2.N.6   Restate and follow simple multi-step directions.

2.N.7   Distinguish cause from effect in the events laid out in a nonfiction text.


3 3.N.1  Identify the introduction in a multi-paragraph nonfiction text and  locate the main idea of the whole text in that introduction.

3.N.2   Identify the topic sentence and the gist of each paragraph.

3.N.3   Identify how the nonfiction text is organized (e.g., chronological, problem-solution, topical organization).

3.N.4    Identify common textual features (e.g., paragraphing, topic sentences, words in bold or italics, glossary) and graphic features (e.g., charts, graphs, maps).

3.N.5  Identify texts written to provide information about a particular topic, expository texts written to examine or analyze  particular event, discovery, invention, or natural phenomenon, and biographies written to tell the story of a person’s life.

3.N.6    Distinguish fact from fiction or opinion.


4 4.N.1   Distinguish between expository texts written to examine or analyze a particular event, discovery, invention, or natural phenomenon, and persuasive texts written to urge the reader to adopt a belief or take a particular course of action.

4.N.2   Explain the author’s precise purpose in a piece of analytical or persuasive writing, using evidence from the text.

4.N.3   Identify the topic of a multi-paragraph expository text, its introductory material, the main idea of the text, the topic sentences and details in the paragraphs that make up the body of the text, and the gist of its concluding paragraph.

4.N.4  Identify the claim or argument made in a multi-paragraph persuasive text and explain how each paragraph supports the claim.

4.N.5  Identify the connectives between paragraphs and the logical relationships they indicate.

4.N.6  Identify the organizational structures (e.g., order of importance, time and space; cause-and-effect; comparison-contrast) in expository or persuasive texts.

4.N.7   Identify textual structures (e.g., subheadings, appendices, links, sidebars, and site maps for websites) and graphic features, (e.g., timelines, page or website design, and website video/audio clips) and explain how they help readers to comprehend text.


5 5.N.1   Identify and analyze the introduction, controlling (main) idea, supporting facts, and conclusion of an expository text.

5.N.2   Identify and analyze the stated main claim, supporting premises and evidence, and conclusion of a persuasive argument.

5.N.3  Identify the type of evidence used to support a claim in a persuasive text (e.g., scientific research evidence, anecdotal evidence based on personal knowledge, or the discipline-based opinion of experts).

5.N.4   Identify selected types of informational texts: biographies, autobiographies, newspaper articles, encyclopedias, travelogues, political commentary,  research reports, personal writing (memoirs, chronicles), and procedural or practical texts explaining how to accomplish a task.

5.N.5   Use reasoning to determine the logic of an author’s conclusion in a persuasive text and provide evidence from the text to support reasoning.


6 6.N.1   Identify the controlling idea, even when not explicitly stated, of an expository text, and explain how details and conclusion support this idea.

6.N.2   Identify and explain how key ideas in a text are logically related to each other.

6.N.3   Distinguish between an argument in an expository text (e.g., the information and relationships an author wants the reader to grasp) and an argument in a persuasive text (e.g., the position an author holds and the action he or she urges the reader to take).

6.N.4   Interpret straightforward factual and/or quantitative information presented in maps, charts, graphs, timelines, and diagrams.


7 7.N.1    Demonstrate understanding of the difference between causality and probability when used in arguments:

·         causality: that the truth or occurrence of one thing can necessarily imply something else;

·         probability: that the truth or occurrence of one thing can make  other things likely or unlikely.

7.N.2    Identify classification as an organizational structure in expository text.

7.N.3    Identify claims, arguments, counterarguments, and refutation of counterarguments in a persuasive text.

7.N.4    Identify and analyze how an author’s choice of words, organization, examples, and graphics contributes to the purpose of an expository or persuasive text.


8 8.N.1   Identify and distinguish among major subgenres of nonfiction: exposition (e.g., biography, autobiography, political, historical, scientific, literary essays and documents, research reports, book or arts reviews, news or features articles, textbooks, trade books, encyclopedia entries, informational website articles); persuasive texts (e.g., editorials, letters to the editor, speeches, journals, commentaries, position papers, advertisements, and political campaign literature); and procedural texts or documents (recipes, directions, manuals, schedules, application forms, contracts and other legal documents).

8.N.2   Identify and describe the structure of a multifaceted argument with a main claim (thesis statement), supporting premises, explicit words indicating connections (e.g., therefore, because), and a conclusion.

8.N.3   Identify and analyze the use of overstatement, understatement, ambiguity, incongruity, and irony in a persuasive text.


9 9.N.1   Analyze texts written in English that have world-wide historical and literary significance  (e.g., Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” or excerpts from Darwin’s On the Origin of Species) with respect to their purpose, central arguments, relationships among ideas, and supporting details.

9.N.2    Analyze implicit premises of an argument and determine if the conclusions reached are logically justified by the facts presented earlier in the text.


10 10N.1    Analyze foundational documents written in the 19th or 20th century that have

historical and literary significance in American culture (e.g., Martin Luther

King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”) with respect to their

premises, central arguments, and supporting evidence.

10.N.2   Explain what a logical fallacy is (i.e., language or an argument that retards or

inhibits rational thinking, such as a false dilemma, red herring, blanket

generalization, or post hoc ergo propter hoc).


11 11. N.1 Analyze foundational documents written in the 18th or 19th century that have

historical and literary significance in American culture (e.g., George

Washington’s Farewell Address, The Federalist Papers, or the Declaration of

Independence) with respect to their purpose, setting, central argument,

supporting details, and the logic of their conclusion.

11 N.2  Synthesize information from texts written in the 18th or 19th century or earlier

to address ideas in foundational texts written in the 18th or 19th century: e.g.,

read selections from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government,

Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, and Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional

            Convention and trace the history of the ideas presented in the Constitution of

             the United States.

11.N.3  Analyze the evidence and logic given to support or oppose a persuasive



12 12.N.1   Analyze texts with world-wide historical and literary significance (e.g., Mary

Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women or John Ruskin’s “The

Stones of Venice,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature

speech, or Vaclav Havel’s 1999 speech on civil society) with respect to their purposes,

central arguments, and social, political, and cultural contexts.

12.N.2   Evaluate how the organization and word choice in business and procedural

documents affect their clarity.


 Sample Grade 9 Integrated Learning Scenario:Reading Informational Material


Learning Standards Taught : Language Strand:

• Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using context-based definition or examples.


Reading and Literature Strand:

• Identify and analyze main ideas, supporting ideas, and supporting details.

• Evaluate how an author’s choice of words advances the theme or purpose of a work.


Composition Strand:

• Write brief summaries of information gathered through research.

Students read and interpret newspaper columns bi-monthly in their English class to review and practice skills related to reading and summarizing informational material.

Introduction: Students read and interpret newspaper columns bi-monthly in their English class to review and practice skills related to reading and summarizing informational material.


The teacher prepares students to read “Earth’s Big Fix Is in the Bacteria,” by Chet Raymo (published in The Boston Globe, April 25, 2000) in class. He identifies two words they will meet in the article (inert, sequestered) and reviews with them two ways the context of a sentence can help them understand words: the explanation of a word can follow its appearance in a sentence, and punctuation (a semi-colon) can signal this kind of explanation.

Practice / Assessment: Then the teacher arranges students in small groups to read the article together, discuss its meaning, and take note of the author’s word choices. He tells them that they will write and present to the class a group summary of the important points in the article and an explanation of how the author’s vivid images help to communicate his ideas. The teacher leads an oral review of the criteria for a good summary (states only main ideas, logically ordered ideas, smooth transitions between ideas . . .). He indicates that he will check periodically with the groups as the class period progresses.


Students read the article aloud as the teacher circulates. They discuss the meaning of the title, interpret confusing words (fix), and identify key points as they read and plan their summary. They check each other’s word pronunciations. The teacher prompts them to look at the images (snapping a sugar pea or holding a hefty homegrown tomato in the hand) and discuss how they help further the reader’s understanding of the article.


Each student lists the main ideas that should be included in a summary and then shares them with the other members of their group. They discuss the important images Raymo uses in the article.

Performance and Evaluation: Groups write a brief summary of their ideas on chart paper to present to the class and hand in for teacher evaluation. Then students critique and analyze the summaries, decide which are the most effective, and explain why.








Earth’s Big Fix Is in the Bacteria

By Chet Raymo


It’s planting time. Rototilling. Hoeing. Sticking in the seeds. Onions. Radishes. Lettuce. Beans. No real need to do it. We can buy our vegetables at the store for a lot less money than we send to Smith & Hawken for all those upscale garden tools.

But money’s not the point, is it? What’s really going on here is a love affair with seeds, with the soil, with the sweet tactile pleasures of snapping a sugar pea or holding a hefty homegrown tomato in the hand.

The vegetable garden is our annual homage to the leafy green things we cannot do without.

Let me explain.

My 165-pound body consists of about 16 pounds of hydrogen, 110 pounds of oxygen, 30 pounds of carbon, 6 pounds of nitrogen, and 3 pounds of everything else. Basic stuff, mostly. The stuff of water and air. You’d think we could get almost everything we need by taking a deep breath and a sip of water.

But it’s not that simple. Consider, for a moment, those six pounds of nitrogen in my body.

Nitrogen is an essential ingredient of proteins. About 30 pounds of me is proteins—tissue, bone, cartilage, hair, enzymes, protein hormones, and a diverse host of other key parts and products. Our cells build proteins by stringing together 20 different kinds of small chemical units called amino acids, and every amino acid contains a nitrogen atom.

We need nitrogen to make proteins. So what’s the problem? The atmosphere is 80 percent nitrogen. We suck in a lungful of nitrogen with every breath.

But the nitrogen in the atmosphere (and in our lungs) is useless. The two nitrogen atoms in a nitrogen gas molecule are bound together so tightly that they are essentially inert; they hardly react with anything else. We live in a sea of nitrogen, and it does us not a bit of good. At least not directly.

To build amino acids, we need to get nitrogen as part of organic molecules from the food we eat—from other animals and plants. Even then, there are 10 amino acids that we can’t manufacture ourselves—the so-called essential amino acids—and for these we must rely on plants, which alone have the ability to make all 20 kinds of amino acids. Without plants—without those essential amino acids—we’re up a creek without a paddle.

And where do the plants get their nitrogen? Some is recycled from dead plants and animals. Microbes in the soil break down dead tissue into nitrate and ammonia, which can then be used by plants. But the microbes also release some nitrogen gas to the atmosphere, where it is lost. Sooner or later, the whole process would come to a screeching halt as all the nitrogen in the soil ended up as inert atmospheric gas.

And now the wonderful thing.

Bacteria that live in conjunction with certain plants have the ability to do what we can’t do and what plants can’t do: Take nitrogen from the atmosphere, break those devilish bonds, and turn the nitrogen into a useful form that plants can use. This process is called “nitrogen fixation.”

It’s a happy alliance. The bacteria have an energy source in the photosynthesizing plants. The plants get useful nitrogen.

So, ultimately, the whole grand pageant of life on Earth depends on nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in or around the roots of plants. My 6 pounds of nitrogen was sequestered from the air by invisible bugs.

Well, maybe not all of it. In 1909, a German chemist named Fritz Haber invented a way to use high temperatures and pressures in the presence of a catalyst to make atmospheric nitrogen react with hydrogen to form ammonia—artificial fertilizer for agriculture.

Of course, artificial fertilizer has problems of its own—run-off of excess nitrates from fields poisons lakes and streams—but it all comes down to the melancholy fact that we have made so many of ourselves that the human need for food far outstrips the ability of bacteria to supply us with nitrogen. Almost all the fixed nitrogen in the fields of Egypt, Indonesia, and China comes from synthetic fertilizer—100 million tons of it a year. If it weren’t for the Haber process, lots of folks would be starving.

Or, to put it another way, if it weren’t for the Haber process, there wouldn’t be so many of us.

In our backyard gardens, these global problems of feeding the billions can be blissfully ignored. Instead, we plunge our hands into the warming soil and celebrate a delightful intimacy with the ancient miracle of sun, seed, leaf, root—and those unseen but indispensable nitrogen-fixing bacteria that make it all possible.


Reprinted in 2001 Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework with permission from Chet Raymo, professor of physics at Stonehill College, newspaper columnist, and the author of several books on science.

8: Fiction


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.F.1    Listen actively to stories or poems read aloud.

P.F.2   Describe a favorite story or poem by a particular author/illustrator.


K K.F.1    Make predictions about what will happen in a story as it is read aloud.

K.F.2    Identify lessons learned by characters in a story or fable.

K.F 3    Identify words in a text related to the senses (e.g., touch, hear, see, smell, and taste).


1 1.F.1     Identify and describe the elements of plot, character, and setting in a favorite story.

1.F.2     Identify the moral lesson of a fable or story and relate it to a personal experience if possible.

1.F.3     Identify the sense (touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell, and taste) implied in words appealing to the senses.

1.F.4     Identify differences between a story and a poem, and between a story and an encyclopedia entry.


2   2.F.1    Identify the major characters, setting, and plot of a story

2.F.2    Explain the problem to be solved in a story.

2.F.3    Identify dialogue as words spoken by the characters, usually enclosed in quotation marks.

2.F.4     Categorize sensory details and images by sense.

2.F.5     Retell the major events in a story.

2.F.6     Describe differences between fables, folk tales, legends, and myths.


3 3.F.1     Identify elements of fiction (character, setting, problem, and solution) and analyze how major events in a story lead from problem to solution.

3.F.2     Identify personality traits of characters from the thoughts, words, and actions that reveal their personalities.

3.F.3     Identify foreshadowing clues as hints from the author about characters’ destinies or what will happen later in a story.

3.F.4     Identify the meaning of similes and metaphors.

3.F.5     Identify themes as the moral lessons in folktales, fables, and Greek myths for children.


4 4.F.1    Identify and describe how main characters in a story or novel change as  a result of events.

4.F.2     Identify the narrator of a story or novel (e.g., a character in the story, the author, someone else).

4.F.3     Identify and analyze imagery and figurative language (e.g., the roar of traffic and the hum of human beings).

4.F.4    Identify the theme of a passage, story, or novel and provide evidence for the interpretation.

4.F.5    Identify differences between American tall tales, mysteries, science fiction, and adventure stories.


5 5.F.1     Identify and describe how the main characters in a story or novel change over time.

5.F.2     Identify and describe conflict in a story or novel and its resolution.

5.F.3     Identify the differences between fantasies (e.g., Mary Poppins), historical fiction, true adventure stories.

5.F.4     Apply knowledge of the concept that theme refers to the main idea or meaning of a story.

5.F.5     Identify how the author uses descriptions of settings to create a mood.


6 6.F.1     Identify and analyze three different points of view (i.e., first-person, third-person omniscient, and third-person limited) in stories or novels.

6.F.2     Apply knowledge of the concept that theme refers to the main idea and meaning of a selection, whether it is stated or implied..

6.F.3     Identify the imagery, symbolism, and figurative language in a story and explain how they contribute to its meaning.

6.F.4     Identify and analyze characteristics of the following fiction genres: adventure stories, historical fiction, contemporary realistic fiction, folktales, legends, fables, tall tales, myths, fantasies, science fiction, and mysteries.


7 7.F.1    Identify the main plot and subplots in a story and novel and explain how they are related.

7.F.2    Analyze the ways in which main characters change or interact throughout a story or a novel.

7.F.3     Identify the theme of a story, or novel, whether stated or  implied, using evidence from the text.

7.F.4    Analyze how figurative language and imagery in a story create its mood.

7.F.5    Identify and analyze the characteristics of a parody.


8 8.F.1    Identify qualities, beliefs, and assumptions of central characters in a story or novel and analyze how these influence relationships among characters and the resolution of the conflict.

8.F.2    Analyze how a story unfolds when it is told by alternating narrators or multiple narrators with different points of view.

8.F.3    Distinguish theme from topic or topic sentence.

8.F.4    Analyze how an author’s choice of words helps create tone and mood.

8.F.5    Identify and analyze the characteristics of a satire.


9 9.F.1     Analyze the function of character types (e.g., antagonist, protagonist, foil, tragic hero).

9.F.2     Explain how the theme of a story or novel represents a comment on life.

9.F.3     Compare stories or novels with similar themes but from different literary traditions and historical periods.

9.F.4     Relate a story or novel to its literary context and literary history.

9.F.5     Determine what makes a work of fiction satiric, whimsical, tragic, or suspenseful.


10 10.F.1  Analyze and explain elements of fiction (e.g., moral and ethical dilemmas, point of view, ambiguity, irony, flashbacks, and foreshadowing).

10.F.2  Compare themes as comments on life across several texts from different time periods or settings (e.g., compare themes in Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea).

10.F.3   Identify and describe how an author’s choice of words advances the theme or purpose of a work

10.F.4   Relate a story or novel to its literary context and literary history.

For example, after students read Guy de Maupassant’s “String of Pearls,” they explore the influence of other short story writers, particularly Edgar Allan Poe, on the development of this genre in the 19th century.)


11 11.F.1   Demonstrate familiarity with major authors of fiction and/or their fictional works in each major literary period in American literature.

11.F.2   Relate a 19th century story or novel by a major American author, such as The Scarlet Letter, or Huck Finn, to its literary context and its literary history.

11.F.3   Relate a 19th or 20th century story or novel by a major  American author to the seminal ideas of its time.

11.F.4   Apply knowledge that a text can contain more than one theme, either stated or implied.

11.F.5  Interpret figurative language, such as personification, symbolism, allusion, and allegory.


12 12.F.1  Demonstrate familiarity with major authors of fiction and/or their fictional works in each major literary period in British literature.

12.F.2  Relate a story or novel by a British writer to its literary context and its literary history (e.g., Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway).

12.F.3  Relate a novel by a British author to the seminal ideas of its time (e.g., Dickens’ Great Expectations or Bleak House).

12.F.4  Analyze how authors use elements of fiction for rhetorical and aesthetic purposes.

12.F.5  Identify characteristics of genres (e.g., satire, parody, allegory, pastoral) that cut across the lines of genre classifications such as fiction, poetry, and drama.









9: Poetry


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


P.P.1     Identify a regular beat in Mother Goose rhymes and children’s songs.
K K.P.1    Identify and demonstrate the regular beat in Mother Goose rhymes and other

rhymes and songs for children.


1 1.P.1     Identify similarities in ending sounds in children’s poems and songs. 1.P.2     Identify repetition in phases or refrains in children’s poems and songs.
2 2.P.1     Identify and respond to the rhythm in children’s poems. 2.P.2     Memorize and recite lines and verses in poems and songs.
3 3. P.1    Identify poetic elements (e.g., rhyme, rhythm, repetition, sensory images) and basic forms of poetry (e.g., a couplet).

3. P.2    Identify stanza and verse as terms for groups of lines in poetry.

3. P.3    Memorize and recite appealing children’s poems and songs.


4 4. P.1    Identify rhyme elements, such as consonance (i.e., repetition of consonant only sounds) and assonance (i.e., repetition of vowel only sounds).

4. P.2    Identify forms of poetry (e.g., the limerick or haiku).

4. P.3    Identify similes, metaphors, and sensory images.


5 5. P.1    Identify sound elements (e.g., alliteration and rhyme scheme, couplets, ABAB) and visual elements (e.g., unusual patterns of punctuation or capitalization).

5. P.2    Identify forms of poems (e.g., dramatic poems with dialogue and action).

5.P.3     Explain how poets use sound effects in humorous poems.


6 6. P.1        Analyze sound (e.g.,onomatopoeia and rhyme scheme) and graphics (e.g., line length and word placement), and figurative language (e.g., hyperbole). 6.P.2       Analyze various poetic forms (e.g., quatrain or cinquain).
7 7. P.1   Analyze sound (e.g., changes in rhythm), graphics (e.g.,  changes in font type and size, line length, word position), or figurative language (e.g., personification). 7.P.2    Analyze various forms (e.g., sonnet, epic).
8 8. P.1   Analyze sound (e.g., rhymes with identical sounds or similar sounds) and figurative language (e.g., symbolism). 8.P.2    Distinguish free verse from rhymed verse and explain its purposes.
9 9. P.1    Analyze the characters, structure, and themes of epic poetry.

9. P.2    Identify and analyze sound, form, figurative language, graphics, and poetic techniques in fairly complex poems.


10 10. P.1  Analyze how authors create multiple layers of meaning and/or deliberate ambiguity in a poem.


11 11.P.1   Analyze the theme, allusions, diction, imagery, and flow of a poem.

11.P.2   Demonstrate familiarity with major American poets and their works in each literary period in American literature.

11.P.3  Relate poems by major American poets to their literary context and literary history.


12 12.P.1  Analyze and evaluate the appropriateness of diction and imagery (controlling images, figurative language, understatement, overstatement, irony, paradox).

12.P.2  Demonstrate familiarity with major British poets and some of their poems in each period of British literary history.

12.P.3  Relate the poems of major British poets to the seminal ideas or events of their times (e.g., Tennyson’s “Ulysses” or “Charge of the Light Brigade”).





 10: Drama


Grade Student Learning Standards                                      Students address earlier standards as needed.
P.D.1   Play characters in informal plays.


K K.D.1   Act out dialogue from a familiar story.


1 1.D.1    Identify characters and dialogue in a puppet play or performance by actors.


2 2.D.1    Identify characters, setting, dialogue, acts, scenes in a play.

2.D.2    Perform informal plays for an audience, speaking clearly with adequate volume and maintaining eye contact with the audience or other characters.


3 3.D.1    Identify elements of plot and character presented through dialogue and/or action in scripts that are read, viewed, listened to, or performed.

3.D.2    Plan and perform readings for an audience, using appropriate expression, clear diction, and adequate volume.


4 4.D.1   Identify and analyze how characters change from the beginning to the end of a play or film.


5 5.D.1    Compare structural elements of dramatic literature (e.g., act, scene, cast of

characters, stage directions) and of a story.

5.D.2    Identify similarities and differences between a story or novel and its film or play adaptation.


6 6.D.1   Identify conflict, rising and falling action, climax, and resolution in a play.


7 7.D.1    Identify and describe relationships among elements of setting, plot, points of view, and characterization.

7.D.2    Identify and explain with detail the theme, either explicit or implied, of a play.


8 8.D.1    Identify the use of theatre or film/video production techniques (e.g., camera shots, sound, and lighting) to establish narrative elements such as mood, character, plot, or to create special effects in a film.


9 9.D.1    Analyze the roles of types of characters (e.g., antagonist, protagonist, hero, chorus, narrator).

9.D.2    Identify the structure and elements of different genres of dramatic literature (e.g., the characters, structure, and themes of a play by Shakespeare or of a classical Greek drama).


10 10.D.1  Analyze how dramatic conventions (such as monologue, soliloquy, aside) support, interpret, and enhance the play.

10.D.2   Analyze the dramatic structure of a play by Shakespeare.


11 11.D.2  Analyze the theme, structure, and dramatic elements in a play by a major American playwright and relate it to its literary context and literary history.


12 12.D.1   Analyze the themes, structure, and dramatic elements of a play by a major British playwright in any literary period and relate it to its literary context and literary history.




 11: Myth, Legend, Traditional Narrative, and Classical Literature


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.M.1     Identify examples of nursery rhymes and folktales.
K K.M.1     Identify and predict recurring phrases (e.g., Once upon a time) in traditional literature.

K.M.2     Retell or dramatize a favorite folktale.


1 1.M.1       Identify common characteristics of folktales and/or fairy tales, such as animals who speak, magic, a setting that is “anytime/anyplace.”

1.M.2       Identify the use of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition in folk- and fairy tales.


2 2.M.1       Identify and describe the characters and plotlines of well-known folk- and fairy tales.

2.M.2       Identify the functions of myths (e.g., their attempt to explain the forces of nature or the nature of the after-life)

2.M.3       Identify the meaning, theme, or moral lesson in folk- and fairy tales, myths, and fables.

2.M.4       Compare versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella tales, fables) from different cultures.


3 3.M.1       Identify phenomena explained in origin myths (e.g., Prometheus/fire; Pandora/evils).

3.M.2       Identify and compare the adventures or exploits of a character type in the traditional literature of different cultures (e.g., trickster tales such as the Anansi tales from Africa, the Iktomi stories of the Plains Indians, the Br’er Rabbit tales, and the pranks of Til Eulenspiegel).

3.M.3       Identify the meaning of figurative phrases used today that come from Greek mythology (e.g., the Midas touch).


4 4.M.1       Identify characteristics of legends (e.g., Robin Hood or King Arthur).

4.M.2       Identify culturally significant characters and places in Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology (e.g., Athena, Apollo, Pan, Zeus, Jupiter, Mercury, Hades, Thor, Woton, Mt. Olympus, Valhalla, the river Styx).

4.M.3       Identify English words that come from Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology (e.g., names of days of week, months, constellations).


5 5.M.1       Identify common structures such as the rule of three (e.g., three wishes); magic helpers (e.g., talking animals, genies, or elves); or transformations (e.g., a frog who turns into a prince).

5.M.2       Identify common stylistic elements, such as exaggeration (hyperbole), repeated refrains, and similes.


6 6.M.1       Compare traditional literature from different cultures.

6.M.2       Compare myths about constellations, showing how each culture configured and explained a group of stars, and why they were important for travel and navigation.

6.M.2       Identify character types, such as the heroic figure, the fool who comes out on top, and others.


7 7.M.1      Identify conventions in epic tales (e.g., extended simile, the quest, the hero’s tasks, special weapons or clothing, or helpers).


8 8.M.1       Identify and analyze similarities and differences in mythologies from different cultures (e.g., ideas of the afterlife, roles and characteristics of deities, and types and purposes of myths).


9 9.M.1       Analyze the characters, structure, and themes of classical Greek or Roman epic poetry  (e.g., The Aeneid, The Iliad, and The Odyssey).


10 10.M.1     Analyze the characters, structure, and themes of classical Greek plays (e.g., Antigone, The Trojan Women).


11 11.M.1     Trace and analyze the influence of mythic, traditional, or classical literature on later American literature and film.


12 12.M.1     Trace and analyze the influence of mythic, traditional, or classical literature on later British or other world literature and film.





















Research and Composition

We write both to communicate with others and to focus our own thinking. When we write for an audience, we try to judge each situation and compose an appropriate response for a particular purpose and reader. For example, in informal letters we share experiences with family and friends, but our letters to prospective employers are far more formal in tone. When we compose a poem, we attend to the images, sounds, and rhythms of language. In contrast, when we write a research paper, we concentrate on making our thesis clear, the development of our ideas logical, and our supporting detail pertinent and accurate.


The General Standards in this strand present expectations for student writing, revision, and research. In order to teach students to become versatile writers, teachers emphasize three kinds of assignments: extended compositions, short pieces written on demand, and informal reflective writing. In addition, they teach students how to conduct research and use new technologies for obtaining information.


Extended Composition Assignments

Students need to write frequently in a variety of forms and for a variety of purposes and audiences. Just as they learn about the conventions demanded by different genres of literature, they also learn that different aims of discourse, such as persuasion or narration, entail different modes of thinking and expression. Students learn to write well when they are taught strategies for organizing a first draft, writing successive versions, revising, and editing. They learn to polish their compositions by reorganizing sentences or paragraphs for clarity, adding or deleting information, and finding precise words. They learn to correct grammar, spelling, and mechanics. Collectively, these steps are sometimes referred to as “the writing process” and often take place over several sessions or days. By critiquing one another’s work, students discover how composing differs from conversing and how composing is a craft that can become an art.


Writing on Demand

There is, of course, no single writing process used by every writer. Not every piece of writing needs to go through several drafts and revisions or be exquisitely polished. Practice in writing on demand, without benefit of time for extensive revision, prepares students for occasions when they are required to write quickly, clearly, and succinctly in response to a question. In such instances students apply their organizational and editing skills as they write, with the goal of producing a concise and comprehensible first draft.


Informal Writing

Informal reflective writing can be an invaluable tool for exploring and clarifying ideas. Not intended to be revised or polished, such writing is a link between thinking and speech. Students can use informal reflective writing productively in all content areas to record their observations, experiences, and classroom discussions, or to comment on their reading. Getting thoughts on paper informally in journals and notes can also help students gain confidence in their abilities as writers.


Conducting Research

To become independent learners, students need to engage in research throughout their school years. As the amount and complexity of knowledge increases, students need to understand the features, strengths, and limitations of the many digital and print resources, as well as people, available to them. They must also know how to conduct an efficient and successful search for accurate and credible information, and to cite the sources they use.

Expository writing becomes particularly important in middle and high school, and students are frequently asked to generate questions, find answers, and evaluate the claims of others. Teachers of all disciplines in a school should develop and use common guidelines for research papers, teach the research process consistently, and evaluate students’ written work using the standards in this framework.  All students in their senior year should complete a 4,000-5,000-word extended essay, with endnotes and bibliography, on an academic topic in one of the major subjects they are studying.

Using New Technologies in Composition and Research

The availability of computers offers teachers many opportunities to enhance the teaching of composition. Because computers allow for easy manipulation of text, their use can motivate students to review their work and make thoughtful revisions. When students are engaged in a research project, electronic media provide easy access to multiple sources of information. Even the beginning user of the Internet and CD-ROM technology has access to the collections of major research libraries and museums, the full texts of literary works and periodicals, scientific reports, databases, and primary source historical documents. Indeed, the greatest challenge these electronic media present may be the sheer volume of data they offer. Therefore, students need to learn criteria for evaluating the quality of on-line information as well as standards for ethical use of the resources they find.


The Writing Process


Strategies Stages Processes
Accessing prior knowledge

Establishing purpose

Identifying audience

Formulating questions

Understanding criteria for task


Focusing and Planning Discussing

Listing, Mapping, Webbing

Drawing, Role playing

Free writing

Organizing, Classifying


Rereading with audience, purpose, focus questions, and criteria in mind

Identifying ambiguities and logical fallacies

Noting lack of organization, clarity, details


Assessing and Revising Adding facts, details

Eliminating unnecessary details and redundancies


Rephrasing for clarity, tone, style, and coherence

Rereading with standard English conventions in mind. Assessing and Editing Editing for sentence variety and for correct sentence structure, mechanics, usage, spelling
Reviewing criteria, purpose of task, and needs of audience

Planning and preparing final product

Reflecting and planning for future writing tasks


Publishing and Evaluating Designing


Rehearsing and presenting

Evaluating final product



12: The Research Process


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.RP.1     List topics of interest about preschool and decide who can answer questions about their topics.


K Students generate topics of interest about their school or community and decide who or what can answer questions about their topics.

K.RP.1    Identify relevant pictures, charts, grade-appropriate texts, or people as sources of information on a topic of interest.


1 Students generate questions about  their community, and

1.RP.1    Consult local experts to locate or gather information.

1.RP.2    Organize information found during group or individual research, using graphic organizers or other aids.

1. RP.3   Make informal presentations of information gathered.


2 Students generate a list of topics of interest and individual questions about one specific topic of interest and

2.RP.1     Use their own questions to find information on their topic.

2.RP.2     Identify the location and purpose of various visual and text reference sources in the school library media center or classroom library.

2.RP.3     Use quotation marks to denote direct quotations when recording specific words and sentences from a source.

2.RP.4     Summarize and present their information in written and oral reports or displays.


3 Students generate a list of topics of interest and their individual questions about one specific topic of interest and

3.RP.1     Locate information in reference texts, electronic resources, or through interviews.

3.RP.2     Determine the accuracy and relevance of the information for their specific questions.

3.RP.3      Record relevant information  in their  own words.

3.RP.4     Organize and present the information in a report or annotated display.


4 Students generate topics of interest and their own questions about a specific topic and

4.RP.1    Identify and read through a variety of relevant sources (e.g., digital, print, and/or interviews with local authorities).

4.RP.2    On the basis of these sources, decide on one major research question to address.

4.RP.3    Use organizational features of print and digital sources (e.g., table of contents, indices, glossaries, website headings and links) efficiently to locate further information.

4.RP.4     Determine the accuracy of the information gathered.

4.RP.5    Record pertinent source information and follow an established format.

4.RP.6     Summarize and organize information using a variety of tools (e.g., note cards, spreadsheets, outlines, graphic   organizers).

4.RP.7     Cite all quoted words, introducing them in one’s own words, and identify sources for illustrations, graphs, or video clips copied or imported from print or digital sources.

4.RP.8     Present the research project and evaluate how completely, accurately, and efficiently the major research question was explored or answered.


5-8 5-8.RP.1  Apply steps for obtaining information from a variety of sources:

·         Formulate one open-ended researchable question.

·         Identify and acquire information from at least three sources (digital and print resources, surveys, and/or interviews with authorities).

·         Select relevant resources efficiently, using organizational features of print reference texts; knowledge of public and school libraries and their classification systems; knowledge of properties of Internet search engines; knowledge of how information is structured and linked on websites; and knowledge of the differences between primary and secondary sources.

·         Follow ethical and legal guidelines for collecting and recording information.

·         Assess accuracy and reliability of information in print and electronic sources (e.g., author or organization credentials, formality of presentation, date of publication, publisher, title of journal, cross-references in websites).

5-8.RP.2    Apply steps for recording and organizing ideas.

·         Record pertinent main ideas/important information and supporting details in brief note form, citing the source of information in an established format.

·         Quote specific phrases and sentences or incorporate illustrations, graphics, sound or video clips as needed, recording their source and following an established and consistent format for citations.

·         Restate information found in one’s own words, using summarizing or paraphrasing techniques.

·         Organize and interpret information, using a variety of tools (e.g., spreadsheet, database, outlining software).

5-8.RP.3     Report findings in a clear, concise way.

·         Identify an appropriate approach to organizing a group or individual written report, an annotated display, or oral presentation that will fit one’s audience and purpose.

·         Differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism when incorporating the ideas of others.

·         Evaluate the research project as a whole using teacher-generated criteria.


9-12 9-12.RP.1   Apply steps for obtaining information from a variety of sources.

·         Formulate an original open-ended research question and a plan for gathering information that addresses that question.

·         Demonstrate a systematic and efficient search for information through literature searches, searches of public records, surveys, and/or interviews, as needed (e.g., identifying multiple sources of information written by authorities for an informed audience; writing concise and relevant survey questions whose responses can be readily summarized or quantitatively compiled).

·         Assess the accuracy and reliability of information in print, electronic, or interview sources (e.g., author credentials, formality of presentation, date of publication, publisher, title of journal, cross references in scholarly journals or web sites, appropriateness for goals of the research project, absence of conflicting information, and point of view or lack of bias).

9-12.RP.2     Apply steps for organizing information, documenting resources, and presenting research in individual or group projects:

·         Record primary, secondary, and tertiary terms related to an identified topic to guide one’s search.

·         Follow ethical guidelines for conducting interviews and reporting results and for obtaining permission to use images, spoken words, or music from websites.

·         Record pertinent ideas and supporting details briefly in one’s own words and quote choose relevant quotations selectively for inclusion in a report, annotated display, or oral presentation.

·         Document information, quotations, graphics, photos, music, and other media sources, using a consistent format for footnotes or endnotes and a standard bibliographic format from an authoritative style guide (e.g., Modern Languages Association [MLA] Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, Publication Manual of the American Psychological  Association [APA Style Guide],  Associated Press [AP] Style Guide, or Chicago Manual of Style).

·         Use relevant quotations, graphic presentations of data, or illustrations to support claims made in one’s own words.

·         Use an appropriate approach, form, and organizational structure in individual or group research projects for an intended audience and purpose.

·         Develop criteria and rubrics for research projects and use them to evaluate the project as a whole.




13: Analytical Writing 


Analytical writing requires the development and use of logical thinking processes, reading “between the lines,” and an ever-growing knowledge base for the topic being analyzed. Beginning in grade 3, analytical writing should constitute at least half the writing students do in school, and beginning in grade 9, three-quarters of their writing assignments should require research and analysis.  Students should be expected to revise and edit their writing.


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.WA.1    Record and discuss observations of the natural world (e.g., observe the weather each day and draw pictures or make a chart of cloudy, rainy, foggy, snowy, or sunny days and explain how the weather affects what people wear to school).


K K.WA.1   Develop and use a topic sentence or a controlling (main) idea when discussing observations on topics related to the curriculum.

For example, students look at pictures of animals from the same species. Starting with the main idea that animals of the same species can be alike and different, they speak or write full sentences on their observations. 

K.WA.2   Describe orally patterns of change (e.g., changes in weather day to day and over the seasons).


1 1.WA.1   Develop and use a topic sentence or controlling idea to compare and contrast observations of the natural world around them.

For example, students make a list of what they see outdoors and in the sky during the day and another list of things seen outdoors and in the sky at night. They use these lists to create multiple sentences that connect logically to compare day and night.  


2 2.WA.1    Develop and use a topic sentence or controlling idea for writing up their observations of cause and effect in the world around them.

For example, students plant seeds and draw and make notes on the growth of plants under different lighting conditions. They use their notes and drawings to write logically connected sentences to explain the effect of light of varying intensity and duration on the plants they grew.


3 3.WE.1    State the topic in the title, develop a controlling idea for an introductory

paragraph, and use a topic sentence for each of the other paragraphs in a

multi-paragraph composition.

For example, students interview adults in their community to answer the question, “What are the three most important things to know about your work?”  They write a composition, stating their controlling idea in the introduction and providing pertinent examples and details in several logically connected paragraphs.  




4.WE.1    Write a multi-paragraph composition on a subject studied in school with a topic in the title, introductory paragraph with a clear controlling idea, paragraphs that have topic sentences and a logical organization (e.g., order of importance, time and space, cause and effect, comparison-contrast), and an effective conclusion.

4.WE.2    Provide facts, specific details, and examples that support ideas and extend explanations.

4.WE.3    Use language and level of formality that is appropriate to the audience and purpose of  the composition and connect ideas and events using relatively simple transition words (e.g., first, second, and, but).


5 5.WE.1    Organize sentences and paragraphs logically, using an organizational form that suits the topic (e.g., chronological order for a biography).

5.WE.2    Employ sufficient imagery and examples to give clear support for topics and include relevant transition words to clearly connect ideas within and between paragraphs.

5.WE.3    Use language and sentence variety to convey meaning, for effect, and to support a tone and formality appropriate to the topic, audience, and purpose.


6 6.WE.1    Develop possible topics for a multi-paragraph composition based on what is studied in mathematics, science and technology/engineering, history/social science, health, or the arts.

6.WE.2    Organize information with a controlling statement in the introduction, supporting relevant details and clarifying examples in the body of the composition, and a reiteration of the controlling idea in the conclusion.

6.WE.3    Make choices of words, syntax, and level of formality that are appropriate to the topic, audience, and purpose.

6.WE.4     Use a thesaurus to find the right word for the intended meaning.


7 7.WE.1    Write on topics drawn from what is studied in mathematics, science and technology/engineering, history/social science, foreign languages, or the arts, using an organizational form that is appropriate to the topic (e.g., sequence, description, categorization, problem-solution, cause and effect, comparison-contrast), logical topic development, and supporting details, reasons, examples and data.

7.WE.2    Ensure that word choice is precise, that there is a variety in sentence structure, and that the level of formality is appropriate to the topic, audience, and purpose.


8 8.WE.1    Write an interpretation of a literary text that includes a controlling idea,

logical development, supporting details and examples from the text, and

concluding statements.

8.WE.2    Write a research report that includes a controlling idea, logical development, supporting details and examples from multiple sources, a conclusion, footnotes or endnotes, and a bibliography.


9 9.WE.1. Write literary analyses or research-based reports that show consistent topic development, logical organization, use of detail, appropriate vocabulary, varied sentence structure, and bibliographic information.

For example, students in a science class conduct an experiment and write a report that includes an abstract, the procedures they followed, a discussion of their results, and a conclusion.

9.WE.2    Write clear practical texts (e.g., directions, emails, or notes) that use accurate and  accessible vocabulary for an identified audience.


10 10.WE.1  Write literary analyses, essays, or research reports that present a thesis statement, have a logical organization appropriate to the subject, and that develop an academic argument through the use of quotations, paraphrasing, commentary, relevant charts, graphs, or illustrations and bibliographic information, as needed.

10.WE.2  Make precise word choices and choices about rhetorical structure to create a tone that adds depth to the message and is fitting for the topic, audience, and purpose.

10.WE.2  Write clear practical texts (e.g., instructions or minutes of a meeting) that use accurate and  accessible vocabulary for an identified audience.


11 11.WE.1  Write literary analyses, essays, and research reports that have a clear thesis and topic development and that synthesize information from multiple sources.

11.WE.2  Write practical documents (e.g., project plans or applications) that present ideas and data clearly and concisely.


12 12.WE.1 Write literary analyses, essays, and research reports that have a clear thesis and logical topic development, that accurately synthesize information from multiple sources, and that anticipate and refute misconceptions or counterarguments.

12.WE.2  Write practical documents (e.g., memos, proposals, visual presentations using business software) that  communicate policies, findings, or data concisely and clearly.


















 14: Persuasive Writing


At all grade levels, persuasive writing should constitute less than one-quarter of the writing students do.  In the elementary grades, at least half of their writing should be analytic in nature, and another one quarter personal writing.  From grade 9 onward, about three-quarters of student writing should be analytic, and personal and persuasive writing no more than one quarter of their assigned writing.


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.WP.1   Make a suggestion or request to an adult or a peer and explain why they should follow that suggestion.

For example, a student says the class should go outside for recess because the weather is sunny and warm.


K K.WP.1   Give logical reasons for suggesting that others follow a particular course of action.

For example, some students say that the teacher should allow more time for music because the class needs to practice for an upcoming assembly. 


1 1.WP.1   Write letters with logically connected sentences to make a proposal to a particular audience and give reasons why the proposal should be considered.

                 For example, students write a letter to the school’s parent-teacher organization to explain that the first grade should take a field trip to a farm because they are studying where food comes from.


2 2.WP.1    Write letters with logically connected paragraphs and multiple reasons to explain to a particular audience why a certain course of action should be followed.

For example, second graders write a letter to the principal to   persuade her that the school library should be kept open after school because students would like extra time to browse through books and the librarian is willing to work with them to start a library helpers’ club. 


3 3.WP.1    Write multi-paragraph persuasive compositions in a variety of forms, choosing an appropriate level of formality for a particular audience.

For example, students write a speech to persuade others at their school to volunteer in the school’s clean-up campaign.  Because they will deliver the speech as part of the school’s morning announcements broadcast, they use language, reasons, and a song chosen to appeal to their peers.


 4 4.WP.1    Identify an audience and purpose for a letter, speech, pamphlet, or

editorial and write text that clearly states a position, supports it with

reasons, and has a clear conclusion.

For example, after visiting an animal shelter, students write and illustrate pamphlets to persuade families of the benefits of adopting a pet from a shelter.


5 5.WP.1    Present a position to an identified audience and use relevant examples or quantitative information in support of one’s position.


6  6.WP.1    Present a position to an identified audience and use relevant facts,

quantitative information, or anecdotes in support of one’s position to

persuade the reader.


7 7.WP.1    Write persuasive arguments to an identified audience that clearly present a position and that acknowledge other positions.


8 8.WP.1    Write persuasive arguments that begin with an engaging introduction (i.e., a “hook”), include sufficient commentary in the body of the argument, and end with a compelling conclusion.


9 9.WP.1    Write persuasive arguments that acknowledge counterarguments equivalent to one’s arguments and provide evidence to refute them.


10 10.WP.1  Write persuasive arguments to convince one’s peers  and adults to take action on an issue, using accurate and relevant evidence from credible sources to support one’s position.

10.WP.2  Acknowledge counterarguments and present counterarguments that indicate understanding of the complexity of the issue.


11 11.WP.1  Write persuasive arguments for a general audience that take a position and recommend action on a controversial issue.

11.WP.2   Employ extensive evidence and make connections between evidence and counter-evidence.


12 12.WP.1  Write persuasive speeches, essays, articles, and editorials for a general audience that

·   make a substantive claim about a controversial issue;

·   link the claim to accurate, relevant, and sufficient evidence from a credible source or sources; and

·   acknowledge competing claims and refute them with evidence.


      15: Personal Writing

In elementary school, about one-quarter of students’ writing will be for this purpose, gradually decreasing in middle school as analytical writing becomes even more prominent.  In high school, much less than one-quarter of students’ writing assignments should call for personal or persuasive writing. After developing their work, students should be expected to revise and to edit their writing.


Grade Student Learning Standards

Students address earlier standards as needed.


PreK P.WE.1    Make drawings to tell real or imagined stories.

P.WE.2    Describe orally what they see in the classroom.


K K.WE.1   Tell a story about an experience the student has had or has imagined.

K.WE.2    Arrange ideas of a story in order.

K.WC.3    Identify words and phrases that convey meaning expressively.


1 1.WE.1    Develop topics for stories and poems based on the student’s experience or imagination.

1.WE.2    Organize ideas into a beginning and ending.

1.WE.3    Write full, simple sentences with precise words that describe characters and actions.


2 2.WE.1    Develop topics for friendly letters, stories, and poems on familiar subjects.

2.WE.2    Begin and end imaginative stories with familiar words and phrases (e.g., Once, One time, In the end).

2.WE.3    Use conversational language in stories and poems.


3 3.WE.1    Develop stories, poems, and scripts with real or imagined characters and topics.

3.WE.2    Write specific descriptive details, use conversational language for dialogue, and a title that reflects the meaning of the piece of writing.

3.WE.3    Connect ideas and events using straightforward introductory and transition words (e.g., once, then, and).


4 4.WE.1    Write personal narratives, letters, and poems that recall personal experiences and that have a beginning, middle, and end.

4.WE.2    Describe characters’ actions in ways that reveal their personalities and feelings.

4.WE.3    Employ vocabulary with sufficient sensory detail to give clear pictures of key events.

4.WE.4    Organize writing using meaningful paragraphing and connecting ideas and events using relatively simple transition words, such as first, before, and, but.


5 5.WE.1   Write stories, poems, and scripts with real or imagined characters whose actions, words, and appearances are distinctive.

5.WE.2    Describe a significant moment through the use of precise and expressive vocabulary and figurative language for effect (e.g., strong verbs and specific details) as needed.

5.WE.3   Connect ideas and events using transitions such as when, then, however.


6 6.WE.1    Write stories or scripts that contain the basic elements of fiction (sustained characters, setting, dialogue, conflict, plot, resolution).

6.WE.2    Organize narrative writing with flashbacks, and/or foreshadowing.

6.WE.3    Use vocabulary that gives vivid pictures of key settings, characters, and events.


7 7.WE.1   Develop characters, settings, and plots for stories, scripts, and poems that are somewhat removed from student’s immediate experience (e.g., write from the point of view of a character from the past).

7.WE.2    Employ sufficient sensory detail and figurative language or poetic techniques selectively to convey settings, characters, and events.


8 8.WE.1    Develop topics for stories, scripts, and poems that provide insight into relationships among characters, settings, and events.

8.WE.2    Maintain consistency of character/voice throughout a narrative or expressive piece, selecting vocabulary to convey meaning and using figurative language for effect.


9 9.WE.1   Develop topics in stories, scripts, and poems using varied approaches (e.g., first-person, third-person limited, third person omniscient narrator) and techniques (e.g., transitions and logical connections).


10 10.WE.1  Write well-organized reflections, stories, scripts, and poems that use changes in point of view, tone and mood


11 11.WE.1  Write well-organized reflections, stories, scripts, and poems that address abstract concepts.


12 12.WE.1  Apply knowledge of theme, expressive detail, varied syntax, and expressive and precise language to a well-organized reflective personal essay for a college application.


                   Sample Grades 9–10 Integrated Learning Scenario:
Introduction to Shakespeare: Language and Character


Learning Standards Taught:


Reading and Literature Strand:

• Identify, respond to, and use effects of sound, form, figurative language, and dramatic structure of poems.

• Identify and analyze elements of characterization that are viewed, written, and/or performed.

• Develop, communicate, and sustain consistent characters in improvisational, formal, and informal productions, and create scoring guides with categories and criteria for assessment of presentations.


Composition Strand:

• Write well-organized essays that have clear focus, logical development, effective use of detail, and variety in sentence structure.

Introduction: The teacher guides students through a series of exercises to help them understand how Shakespeare shapes language to convey meaning and how actors translate their interpretation of Shakespeare’s meaning into action on the stage.


Given Mark Antony’s speech (Act III, scene 1 of Julius Caesar), students march to the rhythm of Shakespeare’s poetry as they read it aloud, changing direction as they come to a period or semicolon. They discuss how variations in rhythm and sentence length help to communicate Antony’s underlying emotions and motivations.


In another exercise, they identify and illustrate images in the speech and discuss how they help to convey Antony’s feelings and thoughts as he speaks. Finally, they practice conveying different emotions and meanings as they say an everyday phrase like “Please pass the butter,” using a variety of inflections and gestures.

Practice / Assessment: Students and teacher create a list of criteria for assessing an oral performance. Students in groups cut Antony’s speech to ten lines while preserving the meaning of the whole, develop a performance, and present the abbreviated speech to the class, using the criteria to assess the performances.
Culminating Performance and Evaluation: Each student writes an essay that explains in detail how Shakespeare’s use of rhythm, punctuation, and imagery helps convey the motives, thoughts, and feelings of the speaker.


Using the above exercises and criteria, students cut, practice, perform, and assess speeches from the Shakespeare play they go on to study in class.


Appendix A: Suggested Authors and Illustrators Who Reflect Our Common Literary and Cultural Heritage

All American students must acquire knowledge of a range of literary works reflecting our common literary heritage. It is a heritage that goes back thousands of years to the ancient world. In addition, all students should become familiar with some of the outstanding works in the rich body of literature that is their particular heritage in the English-speaking world. This includes a literature that was created just for children because its authors saw childhood as a special period in life. It was also the first literature in the world created for them.

The suggestions below constitute a core list of those authors and illustrators (and a few specific works) that comprise the literary and intellectual capital drawn on by those who write in English, whether for novels, poems, newspapers, or public speeches, in this country or elsewhere. Knowledge of these authors and illustrators in their original, adapted, or revised editions will contribute significantly to a student’s ability to understand literary allusions and participate effectively in our common civic culture.

A curriculum drawing on these suggested lists will also provide significant support for the major reason statewide learning standards were developed—to ensure equity and high academic expectations for all students. A literature curriculum should include works drawn from this list and contemporary works of similar quality, drawn from cultures around the world from many historical periods. It is then possible to assure parents and other citizens that all students will be expected to read at a high level of reading difficulty. By themselves, even the most carefully crafted learning standards cannot guarantee that expectation for all students.

Effective English language arts teachers teach all students to comprehend and analyze a variety of significant literature. To ensure that all students read challenging material, teachers may choose to present excerpts of longer works, or vary the amount of class time devoted to a specific work or cluster of works. As all English teachers know, some authors have written many works, not all of which are of equally high quality. We expect teachers to use their literary judgment as they make selections.

In planning a curriculum, it is important to balance depth with breadth. As teachers in schools and districts work with this curriculum framework to develop literature units, they will often combine works from the two lists into thematic units. Exemplary curriculum is always evolving.  We urge districts to take initiative to create programs meeting the needs of their students.

The suggested lists of Appendices A and B are organized by the grade-span levels of PreK-2, 3-4, 5-8, and 9-12.  A few authors are repeated in adjoining grade-spans, giving teachers the option to match individual students with the books that suit their interests and developmental levels. The decision to present a Grades 9-12 list (as opposed to Grades 9-10 and 11-12) stems from the recognition that teachers should be free to choose selections that challenge, but do not overwhelm, their students.




For reading, listening, and viewing

Mother Goose nursery rhymes, Aesop’s fables, Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, Selected Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, Selected French fairy tales


The Bible as literature

Tales including Jonah and the whale, Daniel and the lion’s den, Noah and the Ark, Moses and the burning bush, the story of Ruth, David and Goliath

Picture book authors and illustrators
Ludwig Bemelmans, Margaret Wise Brown, John Burningham, Virginia Lee Burton, Randolph Caldecott, Edgar Parin and Ingri D’Aulaire, William Pène du Bois, Wanda Gág, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Kate Greenaway, Shirley Hughes, Crockett Johnson, Robert Lawson, Munro Leaf, Robert McCloskey, A. A. Milne, William Nicholson, Maud and Miska Petersham, Alice and Martin Provensen, Beatrix Potter, H. A. and Margaret Rey, Maurice Sendak, Vera Williams

John Ciardi, Rachel Field, David McCord, A. A. Milne, Laura Richards

Grades 3-4*

The Bible as literature

Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, David and Jonathan, the Prodigal Son, the visit of the Magi, well-known psalms (e.g., 23, 24, 46, 92, 121, and 150)

Greek, Roman, or Norse myths; Indigenous American myths and legends; stories about King Arthur and Robin Hood

British authors
Frances Burnett, Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, Dick King-Smith, Edith Nesbit, Mary Norton, Margery Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, P. L. Travers

American authors and illustrators
L. Frank Baum, Beverly Cleary, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Mary Mapes Dodge, Elizabeth Enright, Eleanor Estes, Jean George, Sterling North, Howard Pyle, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Carl Sandburg, George Selden, Louis Slobodkin, E. B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder


Stephen Vincent and Rosemarie Carr Benét, Lewis Carroll, John Ciardi, Rachel Field, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, Myra Cohn Livingston, David McCord, A. A. Milne, Laura Richards

*Authors and titles were reviewed by the editors of The Horn Book.

Grades 5-8*

Selections from
Grimm’s fairy tales, French fairy tales, Tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Rudyard Kipling, Aesop’s fables, Greek, Roman, or Norse myths, Indigenous American myths and legends, Stories about King Arthur, Robin Hood, Beowulf and Grendel, St. George and the Dragon

The Bible as literature
Old Testament: Genesis, Ten Commandments, Psalms and Proverbs
New Testament: Sermon on the Mount; Parables

British and European authors or illustrators
James Barrie, Frances Burnett, Lucy Boston, Lewis Carroll, Carlo Collodi, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Daniel Defoe, Leon Garfield, Kenneth Grahame, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Edith Nesbit, Mary Norton, Philippa Pearce, Arthur Rackham, Anna Sewell, William Shakespeare, Johanna Spyri, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift, J. R. R. Tolkien, P. L. Travers, T.H.White

American authors or illustrators
Louisa May Alcott, Lloyd Alexander, Natalie Babbitt, L.Frank Baum, Nathaniel Benchley, Carol Ryrie Brink, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Esther Forbes, Paula Fox, Jean George, Virginia Hamilton, Bret Harte, Irene Hunt, Washington Irving, Sterling North, Scott O’Dell, Maxfield Parrish, Howard Pyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Ellen Raskin, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Elizabeth Speare, Anna Sewell, Booth Tarkington, Mark Twain, James Thurber, E. B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder, N. C. Wyeth


Stephen Vincent and Rosemarie Carr Benét, Lewis Carroll, John Ciardi, Rachel Field, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Edward Lear, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, David McCord, Ogden Nash

*Authors and titles were reviewed by the editors of The Horn Book.

Grades 9-12: American Literature

Historical documents of literary and philosophical significance
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
The Declaration of Independence
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech
John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech
William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Lecture

Major writers of the 18th and 19th centuries
James Fenimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Thomas Jefferson, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman

Major writers of the early-to-mid 20th century
Henry Adams, James Baldwin, Arna Bontemps, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Countee Cullen, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Jessie Fauset, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Gilman, James Weldon Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, O. Henry, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Sarah Orne Jewett, Flannery O’Connor, Ayn Rand, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, James Thurber, Jean Toomer, Booker T. Washington, Edith Wharton, Richard Wright

Lorraine Hansberry, Lillian Hellman, Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson

Major poets
Elizabeth Bishop, e e cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Robinson Jeffers, Amy Lowell, Robert Lowell, Edgar Lee Masters, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Edward Arlington Robinson, Theodore Roethke, Wallace Stevens, Allen Tate, Sara Teasdale, William Carlos Williams

The European, Asian, Caribbean, Central American and South American immigrant experience (e.g., O. E. Rolvaag, Younghill Kang, Abraham Cahan), the experiences of Native Americans, and slave narratives ( e.g., Harriet Jacobs)

Grades 9-12:  British and European Literature

The Bible as literature
Genesis, Ten Commandments, Psalms and Proverbs, Job, Sermon on the Mount, Parables

A higher level rereading of Greek mythology
Selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Major poets

Epic poets: Dante and John Milton
Sonnets: William Shakespeare, John Milton, Edmund Spenser
Metaphysical poets: John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell
Romantic poets: William Blake, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth
Victorian poets: Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Modern poets: W. H. Auden, A. E. Housman, Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats



Classical Greek dramatists
William Shakespeare
Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde



British: Joseph Addison, Sir Francis Bacon, Samuel Johnson in “The Rambler,” Charles Lamb, George Orwell, Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf
From the Enlightenment: Voltaire, Diderot, and other Encyclopédistes, Jean Jacques Rousseau



Selections from early novels: La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes, Don Quixote, Joseph Andrews, The Vicar of Wakefield
Selections from Pilgrim’s Progress
Selections from satire and mock epic, verse, or prose: Lord Byron, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift
19th century novels: Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Victor Hugo, Mary Shelley, Leo Tolstoy

20th century novels: Albert Camus, André Gide, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, D. H. Lawrence, Jean Paul Sartre, Virginia Woolf



Appendix B: Suggested Authors and Illustrators of Twentieth Century American Literature and of World Literature

Students should be familiar with American authors and illustrators of the twentieth century as well as important writers from around the world, both historical and contemporary. The following lists are organized by grade clusters PreK–2, 3–4, 5–8, and 9–12, but these divisions are far from rigid, particularly for the elementary and middle grades. Many authors write stories, poetry, and non-fiction for young children, those in the middle grades, and adults as well. As children become independent readers, they often are eager and ready to read authors that may be listed at a higher level.


The lists below are necessarily incomplete, because excellent new writers appear every year. As all English teachers know, some authors have written many works, not all of which are of equally high quality. We expect teachers to use their literary judgment in selecting any particular work. It is hoped that teachers will find here many authors with whose works they are already familiar, and will be introduced to yet others. A comprehensive literature curriculum balances these authors and illustrators with those found in Appendix A.


Grades PreK-2

Aliki, Mitsumasa Anno, Edward Ardizzone, Molly Bang, Paulette Bourgeois, Jan Brett, Norman Bridwell, Raymond Briggs, Marc Brown, Marcia Brown, Margaret Wise Brown,

Eve Bunting, Ashley Bryan, Eric Carle, Lucille Clifton, Joanna Cole, Barbara Cooney, Joy Cowley, Donald Crews,Tomie dePaola, Leo and Diane Dillon, Tom Feelings, Mem Fox, Don Freeman, Gail Gibbons, Eloise Greenfield, Helen Griffith, Donald Hall, Russell and Lillian Hoban, Tana Hoban, Thacher Hurd, Gloria Huston, Trina Schart Hyman, Ezra Jack Keats, Steven Kellogg, Reeve Lindberg, Leo Lionni, Arnold Lobel, Gerald McDermott, Patricia McKissack, James Marshall, Bill Martin, Mercer Mayer, David McPhail, Else Holmelund Minarik, Robert Munsch, Jerry Pinkney, Patricia Polacco, Jack Prelutsky, Faith Ringgold, Glen Rounds, Cynthia Rylant, Allen Say, Marcia Sewall, Marjorie Sharmat, Peter Spieg, William Steig, John Steptoe, Tomi Ungerer, Chris Van Allsburg, Jean van Leeuwen, Judith Viorst, Rosemary Wells, Vera Williams, Ed Young, Margot and Harve Zemach, Charlotte Zolotow


Grades 3–4

Joan Aiken, Lynne Reid Banks, Raymond Bial, Judy Blume, Eve Bunting, Joseph Bruchac, Ashley Bryan, Betsy Byars, Ann Cameron, Andrew Clements. Shirley Climo, Eleanor Coerr, Paula Danziger,Walter Farley, John Fitzgerald, Louise Fitzhugh, Paul Fleischman, Sid Fleischman, Mem Fox, Jean Fritz, John Reynolds Gardiner, James Giblin, Patricia Reilly Giff, Jamie Gilson, Paul Goble, Marguerite Henry, Johanna Hurwitz, Peg Kehret, Jane Langton, Kathryn Lasky, Jacob Lawrence, Patricia Laube, Julius Lester, Gail Levine, David Macaulay, Patricia MacLachlan, Mary Mahy, Barry Moser, Patricia Polacco, Daniel Pinkwater, Jack Prelutsky, Louis Sachar, Alvin Schwartz, John Scieszka, Shel Silverstein, Seymour Simon, Mildred Taylor, Ann Warren Turner, Mildred Pitts Walter


Grades 5–8

Isaac Asimov, Avi, James Berry, Nancy Bond, Ray Bradbury, Bruce Brooks, Joseph Bruchac, Alice Childress, Vera and Bill Cleaver, James and Christopher Collier, Caroline Coman, Susan Cooper, Robert Cormier, Bruce Coville, Sharon Creech, Chris Crutcher,  

Christopher Paul Curtis, Karen Cushman, Michael Dorris, Paul Fleischman, Russell Freedman, Jack Gantos, Sheila Gordon, Bette Greene, Rosa Guy, Mary Downing Hahn,

Joyce Hansen, James Herriot, Karen Hesse, S. E. Hinton, Felice Holman, Irene Hunt, Paul Janeczko, Angela Johnson, Diana Wynne Jones, Norton Juster, M. E. Kerr, E. L. Konigsburg, Kathryn Lasky, Madeleine L’Engle, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Lipsyte, Lois Lowry, Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Patricia McKissack, Margaret Mahy, Albert Marrin, Milton Meltzer, Jim Murphy, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Naomi Shihab Nye, Richard Peck, Daniel Pinkwater, Philip Pullman, Ellen Raskin, J. K. Rowling, Cynthia Rylant, Louis Sachar, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Gary Soto, Mildred Taylor, Theodore Taylor, Yoshiko Uchida, Cynthia Voigt, Yoko Kawashima Watkins, Janet Wong, Laurence Yep, Jane Yolen, Paul Zindel


Authors for Grades PreK–8 have been reviewed by the editors of The Horn Book.

Grades 9–12: Twentieth-Century American Literature


James Agee, Maya Angelou, Saul Bellow, Pearl Buck, Raymond Carver, John Cheever

Sandra Cisneros, Arthur C. Clarke, E. L. Doctorow, Louise Erdrich, Nicholas Gage, Ernest K. Gaines, Alex Haley, Joseph Heller, William Hoffman, John Irving, William Kennedy, Ken Kesey, Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jon Krakauer, Harper Lee, Bernard Malamud, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O’Brien, Edwin O’Connor, Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Reynolds Price, Annie Proulx,  Richard Rodriguez, Leo Rosten, J. D. Salinger, William Saroyan, May Sarton, Jane Smiley, Betty Smith, Wallace Stegner, Amy Tan, Anne Tyler, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Alice Walker, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Thomas Wolfe, Tobias Wolff, Anzia Yezierska



Claribel Alegria, Julia Alvarez, A. R. Ammons, Maya Angelou, John Ashberry, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Bly, Louise Bogan, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sterling Brown, Hayden Carruth, J. V. Cunningham, Rita Dove, Alan Dugan, Richard Eberhart, Martin Espada, Allen Ginsberg, Louise Gluck, John Haines, Donald Hall, Robert Hayden, Anthony Hecht, Randall Jarrell, June Jordan, Galway Kinnell, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Levine, Audrey Lord, Amy Lowell, Robert Lowell, Louis MacNeice, James Merrill, Mary Tall Mountain, Sylvia Plath, Anna Quindlen, Ishmael Reed, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Karl Shapiro, Gary Snyder, William Stafford, Mark Strand, May Swenson, Margaret Walker, Richard Wilbur, Charles Wright, Elinor Wylie


Essays/Nonfiction (contemporary and historical)

Edward Abbey, Susan B. Anthony, Russell Baker, Ambrose Bierce, Carol Bly, Dee Brown, Art Buchwald, William F. Buckley, Rachel Carson, Margaret Cheney, Marilyn Chin, Stanley Crouch, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, W. E. B. Du Bois, Gretel Ehrlich, Loren Eiseley, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Doris Goodwin, Stephen Jay Gould, John Gunther, John Hersey, Edward Hoagland, Helen Keller, William Least Heat Moon, Barry Lopez, J. Anthony Lukas, Mary McCarthy, Edward McClanahan, David McCullough, John McPhee, William Manchester, H. L. Mencken, N. Scott Momaday, Samuel Eliot Morison, Lance Morrow, Bill Moyers, John Muir, Anna Quindlen, Chet Raymo, Richard Rodriguez, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Sagan, William Shirer, Shelby Steele, Lewis Thomas, Walter Muir Whitehill. Malcolm X



Edward Albee, Robert Bolt, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Archibald MacLeish, David Mamet, Terrence Rattigan, Ntozake Shange, Neil Simon, Orson Welles

Grades 9–12:  Historical and Contemporary World Literature


Chinua Achebe, S. Y. Agnon, Ilse Aichinger, Isabel Allende, Jerzy Andrzejewski, Margaret Atwood, Isaac Babel, James Berry, Heinrich Boll, Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, Dino Buzzati, A. S. Byatt, Italo Calvino, Karl Capek, Carlo Cassola, Camillo Jose Cela, Julio Cortazar, Isak Dinesen, E. M. Forster, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nikolai Gogol, William Golding, Robert Graves, Hermann Hesse, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Aldous Huxley, Kazuo Ishiguro, Yuri Kazakov, Milan Kundera, Stanislaw Lem, Primo Levi, Jacov Lind, Clarice Lispector, Naguib Mahfouz, Thomas Mann, Alberto Moravia, Mordechai Richler, Alice Munro, Vladimir Nabokov, V. S. Naipaul, Alan Paton, Cesar Pavese, Santha Rama Rau, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ignazio Silone, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Niccolo Tucci, Mario Vargas-Llosa, Elie Wiesel, Emile Zola



Bella Akhmadulina, Anna Akhmatova, Rafael Alberti, Joseph Brodsky, Constantine Cavafy, Odysseus Elytis, Federico García Lorca, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Czeslaw Milosz, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, Jacques Prévert, Alexander Pushkin, Salvatore Cuasimodo, Juan Ramon Ramirez, Arthur Rimbaud, Pierre de Ronsard, George Seferis, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Wole Soyinka, Marina Tsvetaeva, Paul Verlaine, Andrei Voznesensky, Derek Walcott, Yevgeny Yevtushenko



Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Steven Hawking, Arthur Koestler, Margaret Laurence, Michel de Montaigne, Shiva Naipaul, Octavio Paz, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Alexis de Tocqueville, Voltaire, Rebecca West, Marguerite Yourcenar



Jean Anouilh, Fernando Arrabal, Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Camus, Jean Cocteau, Athol Fugard, Jean Giraudoux, Eugene Ionesco, Molière, John Mortimer, Sean O’Casey, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Luigi Pirandello, Racine, Jean-Paul Sartre, Tom Stoppard, John Millington Synge


Religious Literature

Analects of Confucius. Bhagavad-Gita, Koran, Tao Te Ching, Book of the Hopi, Zen parables, Buddhist scripture



Appendix C:  Glossary of Terms


Adjectival phrase   A phrase that modifies a noun or a pronoun. Infinitive phrases (He gave his permission to paint the wall), prepositional phrases (I sat next to a boy with red hair), and participial phrases (His voice, cracked by fatigue, sounded eighty years old) can all be used as adjectival phrases. See Adjective


Adjective   A word that describes somebody or something. Old, white, busy, careful, and horrible are all adjectives. Adjectives either come before a noun, or after linking verbs (be, seem, look). See Adverb, Noun, Verb, Adjectival phrase


Adverb   A word that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. An adverb tells how, when, where, why, how often, or how much. Adverbs can be cataloged in four basic ways: time, place, manner, and degree. See Adjective, Noun, Verb, Adverbial phrase


Adverbial phrase   A phrase that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Infinitive phrases (The old man installed iron bars on his windows to stop intruders) or prepositional phrases (The boys went to the fair) can be used as adverbial phrases. See Adverb


Allegory   A story in which people, things, and actions represent an idea or generalization about life; allegories often have a strong moral or lesson. See Symbol, Symbolism


Alliteration   The repetition of initial consonant sounds in words. For example, rough and ready.


Allusion   A reference in literature, or in visual or performing arts, to a familiar person, place, thing, or event. Allusions to biblical figures and figures from classical mythology are common in Western literature.


Archetype   An image, a descriptive detail, a plot pattern, or a character type that occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore and is, therefore, believed to evoke profound emotions.


Argumentation   A speech or writing intended to convince by establishing truth. Most argumentation begins with a statement of an idea or opinion, which is then supported with logical evidence. Another technique of argumentation is the anticipation and rebuttal of opposing views. See Persuasion, Persuasive writing


Aside   A dramatic device in which a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud, in words meant to be heard by the audience but not by the other characters. See Soliloquy


Assonance   The repetition of vowel sounds without the repetition of consonants. For example, lake and fake. See Consonance


Ballad   A poem in verse form that tells a story. See Poetry, Refrain


Character   A person who takes part in the action of a story, novel, or a play. Sometimes characters can be animals or imaginary creatures, such as beings from another planet.


Characterization/Character development   The method a writer uses to develop characters. There are four basic methods: (a) a writer may describe a character’s physical appearance; (b) a character’s nature may be revealed through his/her own speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions; (c) the speech, thoughts, feelings, or actions of other characters can be used to develop a character; and (d) the narrator can make direct comments about a character.


Chorus   In ancient Greece, the groups of dancers and singers who participated in religious festivals and dramatic performances. In poetry, the refrain. See also Refrain.


Clause   A group of related words that has both a subject and a predicate. For example, ‘because the boy laughed.’ See Phrase


Cliché   A trite or stereotyped phrase or expression. A hackneyed theme, plot, or situation in fiction or drama. For example, ‘it rained cats and dogs.’


Climax   The high point, or turning point, in a story—usually the most intense point near the end of a story. See Plot, Conflict, Rising action, Resolution


Cognates   Words having a common linguistic origin. For example, café and coffee derive from the Turkish, kahve.


Conflict   In narration, the struggle between the opposing forces that moves the plot forward. Conflict can be internal, occurring within a character, or external, between characters or between a character and an abstraction such as nature or fate. See Plot, Climax, Exposition, Rising action, Resolution


Connotation   The attitudes and feelings associated with a word. These associations can be negative or positive, and have an important influence on style and meaning.

See Denotation


Consonance   The repetition of consonant sounds within and at the ends of words. For example, lonely afternoon. Often used with assonance, alliteration, and rhyme to create a musical quality, to emphasize certain words, or to unify a poem. See Assonance, Alliteration, Rhyme


Controlling image   A single image or comparison that extends throughout a literary work and shapes its meaning. See Extended metaphor, Metaphor


Denotation   The literal or dictionary definition of a word. Denotation contrasts with connotation. See Connotation


Denouement   See Resolution


Description   The process by which a writer uses words to create a picture of a scene, an event, or a character. A description contains carefully chosen details that appeal to the reader’s senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste. See Narration, Exposition, Persuasion


Dialect   A particular variety of language spoken in one place by a distinct group of people. A dialect reflects the colloquialisms, grammatical constructions, distinctive vocabulary, and pronunciations that are typical of a region. At times writers use dialect to establish or emphasize settings as well as to develop characters.


Dialogue   Conversation between two or more people that advances the action, is consistent with the character of the speakers, and serves to give relief from passages essentially descriptive or expository. See Description, Exposition, Drama


Diction   An author’s choice of words based on their correctness, clearness, or effectiveness.

See Style, Imagery


Digraph   Two successive letters that make a single sound. For example, the ea in bread, or the ng in sing.


Diphthong   Speech sound beginning with one vowel sound and moving to another vowel sound within the same syllable. For example, oy in the word boy.


Discourse   Formal, extended expression of thought on a subject, either spoken or written.

See Rhetoric


Drama/Dramatic literature   A play; a form of literature that is intended to be performed before an audience. Drama for stage is also called theatre. (See Massachusetts Arts Framework) In a drama, the story is presented through the dialogue and the actions of the characters. See Script


Edit   Replace or delete words, phrases, and sentences that sound awkward or confusing, and correct errors in spelling, usage, mechanics, and grammar. Usually the step before producing a final piece of writing. See Revise


Epic   A long narrative that tells of the deeds and adventures of a hero or heroine. See Poetry, Hero/Heroine


Epigraph   A quotation on the title page of a book or a motto heading a section of a work, suggesting what the theme or central idea will be.


Epithet   An adjective or phrase used to express the characteristic of a person or thing in poetry. For example, ‘rosy-fingered dawn.’


Essay   A brief work of nonfiction that offers an opinion on a subject. The purpose of an essay may be to express ideas and feelings, to analyze, to inform, to entertain, or to persuade. An essay can be formal, with thorough, serious, and highly organized content, or informal, with a humorous or personal tone and less rigid structure. See Exposition, Non-narrative nonfiction


Exposition/Expository text   Writing that is intended to make clear or to explain something using one or more of the following methods: identification, definition, classification, illustration, comparison, and analysis. In a play or a novel, exposition is that portion that helps the reader to understand the background or situation in which the work is set. See Description, Narration, Persuasion


Extended metaphor   A comparison between unlike things that serves as a unifying element throughout a series of sentences or a whole piece. An extended metaphor helps to describe a scene, an event, a character, or a feeling. See Controlling image, Metaphor


Fable   A short, simple story that teaches a lesson. A fable usually includes animals that talk and act like people. See Folktale, Traditional narrative


Fairy tale   A story written for, or told to, children that includes elements of magic and magical folk such as fairies, elves, or goblins. See Folktale, Traditional narrative


Falling action   In the plot of a story, the action that occurs after the climax. During the falling action conflicts are resolved and mysteries are solved. See Narration, Exposition, Rising action, Climax, Resolution


Fiction   Imaginative works of prose, primarily the novel and the short story. Although fiction draws on actual events and real people, it springs mainly from the imagination of the writer. The purpose is to entertain as well as enlighten the reader by providing a deeper understanding of the human condition. See Exposition/Expository text, Nonfiction, Informational text, Novel, Short story


Figurative language   Language that communicates ideas beyond the ordinary or literal meaning of the words. See Simile, Metaphor, Personification, Hyperbole


Figure of speech   Literary device used to create a special effect or feeling, often by making some type of comparison. See Hyperbole, Metaphor, Simile, Understatement


Fluency   Automatic word recognition, rapid decoding, and checking for meaning.


Folktale   A short narrative handed down through oral tradition, with various tellers and groups modifying it, so that it acquired cumulative authorship. Most folktales eventually move from oral tradition to written form. See Traditional narrative, Tall tale


Foreshadowing   A writer’s use of hints or clues to indicate events that will occur in a story. Foreshadowing creates suspense and at the same time prepares the reader for what is to come.


Genre   A category of literature. The main literary genres are fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.


Gerund   A verb form that ends in –ing and is used as a noun. For example, Cooking is an art.’


Grammar   The study of the structure and features of a language. Grammar usually consists of rules and standards that are to be followed to produce acceptable writing and speaking.


Hero/Heroine   A mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent who is endowed with great strength or ability. The word is often broadly applied to the principal male or female character in a literary or dramatic work. See Protagonist


Heroic couplet   Two rhyming lines written in iambic pentameter. The term “heroic” comes from the fact that English poems having heroic themes and elevated style have often been written in iambic pentameter. See Iambic pentameter, Poetry, Meter


Homograph   One of two or more words spelled alike but different in meaning and derivation or pronunciation. For example, the noun conduct and the verb conduct are homographs. See Homonym, Homophone


Homonym   One of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning. For example, the noun quail and the verb quail. See Homograph, Homophone


Homophone   One of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling. For example, the words to, too, and two. See Homonym, Homograph


Hyperbole   An intentional exaggeration for emphasis or comic effect.


Iambic pentameter   A metrical line of five feet or units, each made up of an unstressed then a stressed syllable. For example, ‘I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.’ (Macbeth, II.1.44) See Meter, Poetry


Idiom   A phrase or expression that means something different from what the words actually say. An idiom is usually understandable to a particular group of people. For example, using ‘over his head’ for ‘doesn’t understand.


Image/Imagery   Words and phrases that create vivid sensory experiences for the reader. Most images are visual, but imagery may also appeal to the senses of smell, hearing, taste, or touch. See Style, Sensory detail


Imaginative/Literary text   Fictional writing in story, dramatic, or poetic form. See Informational/Expository text


Improvisation   A work or performance that is done on the spur of the moment, without conscious preparation or preliminary drafts or rehearsals. See Drama


Independent clause   Presents a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence. For example, ‘When she looked through the microscope, she saw paramecia.’ See Subordinate clause, Sentence


Infinitive   A verb form that is usually introduced by to. The infinitive may be used as a noun or as a modifier. For example, an infinitive can be used as a direct object (The foolish teenager decided to smoke); as an adjective (The right to smoke in public is now in serious question); or as an adverb (It is illegal to smoke in public buildings). See Verb


Informational/Expository text   Nonfiction writing in narrative or non-narrative form that is intended to inform. See Imaginative/Literary text


Internal rhyme   Rhyme that occurs within a single line of poetry. For example, in the opening line of Eliot’s Gerontion, ‘Here I am, an old man in a dry month,’ internal rhyme exists between ‘an’ and ‘man’ and between ‘I’ and ‘dry’. See Rhyme, Poetry


Irony   The contrast between expectation and reality. This incongruity has the effect of surprising the reader or viewer. Techniques of irony include hyperbole, understatement, and sarcasm.

See Hyperbole, Understatement


Jargon   Language used in a certain profession or by a particular group of people. Jargon is usually technical or abbreviated and difficult for people not in the profession to understand.


Literacy   The ability to read, write, speak, and understand words.


Main character   See Protagonist


Main idea   In informational or expository writing, the most important thought or overall position. The main idea or thesis of a piece, written in sentence form, is supported by details and explanation. See Theme, Thesis


Metaphor   A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things that are basically different but have something in common. Unlike a simile, a metaphor does not contain the words like or as. For example, in the evening of life. See Figurative language, Figure of speech, Simile


Meter   In poetry, the recurrence of a rhythmic pattern. See Iambic pentameter


Monologue   See Soliloquy


Mood   The feeling or atmosphere that a writer creates for the reader. The use of connotation, details, dialogue, imagery, figurative language, foreshadowing, setting, and rhythm can help establish mood. See Style, Tone


Moral   The lesson taught in a work such as a fable; a simple type of theme. For example, ‘Do not count your chickens before the are hatched’ teaches that one should not number one’s fortunes or blessings until they appear. See Theme


Myth   A traditional story passed down through generations that explains why the world is the way it is. Myths are essentially religious, because they present supernatural events and beings and articulate the values and beliefs of a cultural group.


Narration   Writing that relates an event or a series of events; a story. Narration can be imaginary, as in a short story or novel, or factual, as in a newspaper account or a work of history. See Description, Exposition, Persuasion


Narrator   The person or voice telling the story. The narrator can be a character in the story or a voice outside the action. See Point of view


Nonfiction   Writing about real people, places, and events. Unlike fiction, nonfiction is largely concerned with factual information, although the writer shapes the information according to his or her purpose and viewpoint. Biography, autobiography, and news articles are examples of nonfiction. See Fiction


Non-narrative nonfiction   Nonfiction written to inform, explain, or persuade that does not use narrative structure to achieve its purpose.


Noun   A word that is the class name of something: a person, place, thing, or idea. See Adjective, Adverb, Verb


Novel   An extended work of fiction. Like a short story, a novel is essentially the product of a writer’s imagination. Because the novel is much longer than the short story, the writer can develop a wider range of characters and a more complex plot. See Fiction, Short story


Onomatopoeia   The use of a word whose sound suggests its meaning, as in clang, buzz, twang.


Onset   The part of the syllable that precedes the vowel. For example, /h/ in hop, and /sk/ in scotch. Some syllables have no onset, as in un or on. See Rime


Oral   Pertaining to spoken words. See Verbal


Overstatement   See Hyperbole


Palindrome   A word, phrase, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.

For example, Able was I ere I saw Elba.


Paradox   A statement that seems to contradict itself, but, in fact, reveals some element of truth. A special kind of paradox is the oxymoron, which brings together two contradictory terms. For example, cruel kindness and brave fear.


Parallel structure   The same grammatical structure of parts within a sentence or of sentences within a paragraph. For example, the following sentence contains parallel infinitive phrases: He wanted to join the swim team, to be a high diver, and to swim in relays.


Parody   Imitates or mocks another work or type of literature. Like a caricature in art, parody in literature mimics a subject or a style. Its purpose may be to ridicule, to broaden understanding of, or to add insight to the original work.


Participle   A verb form ending in –ing or –ed. A participle functions like a verb because it can take an object; a participle functions like an adjective because it can modify a noun or pronoun. For example, in a glowing coal and a beaten dog, glowing and beaten are participles.


Pastoral   A poem presenting shepherds in rural settings, usually in an idealized manner. The language and form are artificial. The supposedly simple, rustic characters tend to use formal, courtly speech, and the meters and rhyme schemes are characteristic of formal poetry.

See Poetry, Epic


Personification   A form of metaphor in which language relating to human action, motivation, and emotion is used to refer to non-human agents or objects or abstract concepts: The weather is smiling on us today; Love is blind. See Metaphor, Figure of speech, Figurative language


Perspective   A position from which something is considered or evaluated; standpoint.

See Point of view


Persuasion/Persuasive writing   Writing intended to convince the reader that a position is valid or that the reader should take a specific action. Differs from exposition in that it does more than explain; it takes a stand and endeavors to persuade the reader to take the same position.

See Description, Exposition, Narration


Phonemic awareness/Phonological awareness   Awareness that spoken language consists of a sequence of phonemes. This awareness is demonstrated, for example, in the ability to generate rhyme and alliteration, and in segmenting and blending component sounds.

See Phoneme, Phonics


Phoneme   The smallest unit of speech sound that makes a difference in communication. For example, fly consists of three phonemes: /f/-/l/-/`i/.


Phonetic   Representing the sounds of speech with a set of distinct symbols, each denoting a single sound. See Phonics


Phonics   The study of sounds. The use of elementary phonetics in the teaching of reading.

See Phonetic


Phrase   A group of related words that lacks either a subject or a predicate or both. For example, by the door and opening the box. See Clause


Plot   The action or sequence of events in a story. Plot is usually a series of related incidents that builds and grows as the story develops. There are five basic elements in a plot line: (a) exposition; (b) rising action; (c) climax; (d) falling action; and (e) resolution or denouement.

See Climax, Conflict, Exposition, Falling action, Resolution, Rising action


Poetry   An imaginative response to experience reflecting a keen awareness of language. Its first characteristic is rhythm, marked by regularity far surpassing that of prose. Poetry’s rhyme affords an obvious difference from prose. Because poetry is relatively short, it is likely to be characterized by compactness and intense unity. Poetry insists on the specific and the concrete. See Prose, Meter


Point of view   The vantage point from which a story is told. In the first-person or narrative point of view, the story is told by one of the characters. In the third-person or omniscient point of view, the story is told by someone outside the story. See Perspective


Prefix   A word part that is added to the beginning of a base word that changes the sense or meaning of the root or base word. For example, re-, dis-, com- are prefixes. See Suffix, Root


Prose   Writing or speaking in the usual or ordinary form. Prose becomes poetic when it takes on rhythm and rhyme. See Poetry


Protagonist   The main character or hero of a story. See Hero/Heroine


Pun   A joke that comes from a play on words. It can make use of a word’s multiple meanings or a word’s rhyme.


Refrain   One or more words repeated at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza, such as the last line of each stanza in a ballad. Used to present different moods or ideas, as in Poe’s, ‘Nevermore’. See also Chorus.


Resolution   Also called denouement, the portion of a play or story where the problem is solved. The resolution comes after the climax and falling action and is intended to bring the story to a satisfactory end.


Revise   To change a piece of writing in order to improve it in style or content. As distinct from editing, revising often involves restructuring a piece rather than simply editing for word choice, grammar, or spelling. See Edit


Rhetoric   The art of effective expression and the persuasive use of language. See Discourse


Rhyme scheme   In poetry, the pattern in which rhyme sounds occur in a stanza. Rhyme schemes, for the purpose of analysis, are usually presented by the assignment of the same letter of the alphabet to each similar sound in the stanza. The pattern of a Spenserian stanza is ababbcbcc.


Rhythm   The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. Poets use rhythm to bring out the musical quality of language, to emphasize ideas, to create mood, to unify a work, or to heighten emotional response.


Rime   The vowel and any consonants that follow it. For example, in scotch, the rime is /och/.

See Onset


Rising action   The events in a story that move the plot forward. Rising action involves conflicts and complications, and builds toward the climax of the story. See, Conflict, Climax, Exposition, Falling action


Root (Root word)   A word or word element to which prefixes and suffixes may be added to make other words. For example, to the root graph, the prefix di- and the suffix –ic can be added to create the word, digraphic. See Prefix, Suffix


Rubric   An authentic (close to real world) assessment tool for making scoring decisions; a printed set of guidelines that distinguishes performances or products of different quality. See Scoring guide


Rule of three    (See Learning Standard 16.8)The number three (3) recurs especially in folk literature and fairy tales. For example, three characters, three tasks, repetition of an event three times.


Satire   A literary technique in which ideas, customs, behaviors, or institutions are ridiculed for the purpose of improving society. Satire may be gently witty, mildly abrasive, or bitterly critical and often uses exaggeration for effect.


Scoring guide   List of criteria for evaluating student work. See Rubric


Script   The text of a play, motion picture, radio broadcast, or prepared speech that includes dialogue and stage directions.


Sensory detail   See Imagery, Style


Sentence   A group of words expressing one or more complete thoughts.


Setting   The time and place of the action in a story, play, or poem.


Short story   A brief fictional work that usually contains one major conflict and at least one main character.


Simile   A comparison of two unlike things in which a word of comparison (often like or as) is used. For example, ‘She stood in front of the alter, shaking like a freshly caught trout.’ (Maya Angelou) See Metaphor


Soliloquy   A speech in a dramatic work in which a character speaks his or her thoughts aloud. Usually the character is on the stage alone, not speaking to other characters and perhaps not even consciously addressing the audience. (If there are other characters on the stage, they are ignored temporarily.) The purpose of a soliloquy is to reveal a character’s inner thoughts, feelings, and plans to the audience.


Sonnet   A poem consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. See Iambic pentameter, Poetry


Standard American English conventions   The widely accepted practices in English punctuation, grammar, usage, and spelling that are taught in American schools and employed by educated speakers and writers. See Standard American English


Standard American English   The variety of English used in public communication, particularly in writing. It is the form taught in American schools and used by educated speakers. It is not limited to a particular region.  See Standard American English conventions


Stanza   A recurring grouping of two or more verse lines in terms of length, metrical form, and, often, rhyme scheme. See Poetry, Rhyme scheme, Verse


Style   The particular way a piece of literature is written. Not only what is said but how it is said, style is the writer’s unique way of communicating ideas. Elements contributing to style include word choice, sentence length, tone, figurative language, and use of dialogue. See Diction, Imagery, Tone


Subordinate (dependent) clause   A clause that does not present a complete thought and cannot stand alone as a sentence. For example, ‘The boy went home from school because he was sick.’ See Independent clause, Sentence


Suffix   A word part that is added to the ending of a root word and establishes the part of speech of that word. For example, the suffix -ly added to immediate, a noun, creates the word, immediately, an adverb or adjective. See also Prefix, Root


Symbol   A person, place, or object that represents something beyond itself. Symbols can succinctly communicate complicated, emotionally rich ideas.


Symbolism   In literature, the serious and extensive use of symbols. See Symbol


Synonym   A word that has a meaning identical with, or very similar to, another word in the same language. For example, in some situations, right is a synonym of correct.


Syntax   The way in which words are put together to form constructions, such as phrases or sentences.


Tall tale   A distinctively American type of humorous story characterized by exaggeration. Tall tales and practical jokes have similar kinds of humor. In both, someone gets fooled, to the amusement of the person or persons who know the truth. See Traditional narrative, Folktale


Theme   A central idea or abstract concept that is made concrete through representation in person, action, and image. No proper theme is simply a subject or an activity. Like a thesis, theme implies a subject and predicate of some kind—not just vice for instance, but some such proposition as, “Vice seems more interesting than virtue but turns out to be destructive.” Sometimes the theme is directly stated in the work, and sometimes it is given indirectly. There may be more than one theme in a given work. See Main idea, Thesis, Moral


Thesis   An attitude or position taken by a writer or speaker with the purpose of proving or supporting it. Also used for the paper written in support of the thesis. See Theme, Main idea


Tone   An expression of a writer’s attitude toward a subject. Unlike mood, which is intended to shape the reader’s emotional response, tone reflects the feelings of the writer. Tone can be serious, humorous, sarcastic, playful, ironic, bitter, or objective. See Mood, Style


Topic   The meaning a literary work refers to, stated in a phrase or word. For example, in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, the topic is “dissatisfaction with reality.” See Theme


Traditional narrative   The knowledge and beliefs of cultures that are transmitted by word of mouth. It consists of both prose and verse narratives, poems and songs, myths, dramas, rituals, fables, proverbs, riddles, and the like. Folk literature exists side by side with the growing written record. See Folktale, Tall tale


Transformation    (See Learning Standard 16.8)The change of a character in appearance or form by magic. For example, Cinderella was transformed by her godmother after midnight.


Trickster tale   Story relating the adventures of a mischievous supernatural being much given to capricious acts of sly deception, who often functions as a cultural hero or symbolizes the ideal of a people.


Understatement   A technique of creating emphasis by saying less than is actually or literally true. Understatement is the opposite of hyperbole or exaggeration, and can be used to create humor as well as biting satire. See Hyperbole


Verb   A word, or set of words, that expresses action or state of being.


Verbal   A word that is derived from a verb and has the power of a verb, but acts like another part of speech. Like a verb, a verbal may take an object, a modifier, and sometimes a subject; but unlike a verb, a verbal functions like a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Three types of verbals are gerunds, infinitives, and participles. Also, pertaining to words, either written or spoken. See Oral


Verse   A unit of poetry such as a stanza or line. See Poetry, Stanza


Voice   Indicates whether the subject is acting or being acted upon. Active voice indicates that the subject is acting—doing something. (Benjamin Franklin discovered the secrets of electricity.) Passive voice indicates that the subject is being acted upon (The secrets of electricity were discovered by Benjamin Franklin). Also, a writer’s unique use of language that allows a reader to perceive a human personality in his or her writing. The elements of style that determine a writer’s voice include sentence structure, diction, and tone. The term can also be applied to the narrator of a selection. See Diction, Tone



Appendix D: A Perspective on the Goals and Content of English Language Arts Instruction in This Country

In the 1640s Massachusetts officials acknowledged the importance of literacy by passing a series of laws establishing schools in America.

It being one chief object of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the scriptures,. . . it is therefore ordered, that every township . . . after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty householders, . . . shall . . . appoint one within their town to teach all children as shall resort to him to read and write. It is further ordered, that where any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families . . . they shall set up a grammar school, the master thereof being able to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for the university. –from the Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647

The ability to read and write was seen as vital to maintaining the religious culture based on the scriptures. Beginning reading materials consisted of the Lord’s Prayer, selections from the Bible, and other doctrinal religious material. Grammar schools mandated by the Old Deluder Satan Act were called Latin schools because their students also studied classical languages to prepare them for entrance into Harvard where they were trained for the ministry or the law.

The rise of commerce in New England required people who could work with business documents. The increased demand for secular skills contributed to the growth of “English” schools designed to teach all children to read, write, and compute. After the American Revolution, there was renewed demand for widespread literacy. As stated in The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, “Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the people . . . [are] necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties.”

By the end of the eighteenth century, reading textbooks began to shed religious selections and by the middle of the nineteenth century contained few overtly religious materials. They continued to stress the notion of personal responsibility and other desirable civic traits, but they did so through such material as short speeches, historical narratives, or moral lessons. They also featured selections to increase children’s scientific knowledge in order to capitalize on the growing interest in scientific information accompanying the industrial development of this country.

Many educators were concerned about nation-building and the creation of a distinctive American identity in a markedly heterogeneous people. Until the American Revolution, civic identity reflected membership in the local community and the colony in which it was located. The cause of nation-building was served in part by reading materials that focused on the history of this country and on the lives of the Framers of the Constitution and other national heroes. Nation-building was also served by a uniform pronunciation and spelling system. These were the achievements of Noah Webster’s spelling book, first published in 1783. Webster also provided moral selections, American placenames, and American historical events in place of religious preaching and English placenames and events. By 1790 his spelling book was the best-selling American reading text, remaining so for almost a half-century.

Nineteenth-century forces of industrialization, urbanization, and immigration posed new challenges to American society. The common school movement responded to these challenges with efforts to improve public education and assimilate growing numbers of immigrants into our civic culture. Horace Mann, first secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, expressed the vision of those supporting the common schools when he said, “To ensure prosperity, the mass of the people must be both well-informed and upright.” In 1874 the U.S. Office of Education declared that the goal of the common school was “to give the pupil the great arts of receiving and communicating knowledge.”

Throughout the century, reading and writing instruction relied on textbooks such as the McGuffey Readers which increasingly featured good literature. They helped shape a national character through selections stressing individual virtue, hard work, and moral development. One reason the McGuffey Readers were so moralistic is that they were designed to teach values more than to teach reading. They did introduce the idea of graded readers, a useful innovation in the nineteenth century because they were used in classrooms where children were reading at various levels.

To a large extent, the growth in children’s fictional literature in the nineteenth century fueled changes in the content of elementary school readers. This was a literature written directly for children, unlike the fairy tales, fables, and legends that reflected an oral tradition. Its authors saw childhood as a special time in a child’s life, not solely as preparation for adulthood. In part, it reflected the rise of a prosperous middle class and a way of looking at childhood that middle class parents found appealing and could afford to support. Talented authors such as Charles and Mary Lamb, Rudyard Kipling, Washington Irving, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Mapes Dodge, and Hans Christian Anderson wrote for children as well as adults. Authors began to provide children with a literature depicting a child’s world as one of fantasy and whimsy, adventure, and courageous deeds.

Public libraries began to maintain collections of this flourishing children’s literature. One of the first children’s room in a public library opened in 1890, in Brookline. Among the “Not Fiction” books in the “100 Good Books for Boys and Girls” recommended in its December 1894 Bulletin were The American Boy’s Handy Book, The American Girl’s Handy Book, Historic Boys, Historic Girls, Spare Hours Made Profitable for Boys and Girls, Boys and Girls of the Revolution, Boys’ Book of Famous Rulers, Queens of England, Lives of Girls Who Became Famous, and Poor Boys Who Became Famous.

In 1893 the Committee of Ten issued its landmark report. This report called for four-year high schools to provide a compulsory and continuous four-year course in English meeting five hours a week, with three of those five devoted to the study of literature. The objectives of English study, according to the report, were “to enable the pupil to understand the expressed thoughts of others and to give expression to thoughts of his own” and “to cultivate a taste for reading, to give the pupil some acquaintance with good literature and to furnish him with the means of extending that acquaintance.” The report stated that English teachers should motivate students to read exemplary literature even when their school days were over. It called for the reading of whole works and denounced manuals of literary history. It warned that the “committing to memory of names and dates should not be mistaken for culture.” The report recommended that some books be read in class, others “cursorily,” and that students give written and oral reports about their reading. The report vigorously favored one English course for all students and saw no reason to have a “two or three track system of literature instruction.”

During the next sixty years, the elementary and secondary school populations grew exponentially to accommodate an unprecedented increase in immigration of new peoples to this country. In 1890, only 4% of fourteen-to-seventeen-year-olds attended high school, with 65% of the graduates being female. By 1952, 65% of the fourteen-to-seventeen-year-olds attended high school, and 53% of the graduates were women. During this period, literature programs in elementary and secondary schools continued to stress exemplary literature and the cultivation of literary taste. Twentieth century forces now challenge educators to equip with literary understanding and the power of the English language an even greater variety of learners than those in our schools at the turn of the century. An effective English language arts curriculum must continue to reflect sound learning principles and high academic expectations as it prepares today’s students to participate in a civic culture that embraces citizens who come from every part of the world.

Appendix E: The Limited English Student in the English Language Arts Classroom

In order to give equal educational opportunity to the growing number of students entering Massachusetts classrooms with a first language other than English, some accommodations need to be made in teaching the English language arts. These students may be newly arrived from another country, they may have been enrolled in a bilingual program where the language of instruction was not English, or they may speak a non-standard dialect of English. An effective English language arts curriculum helps them develop English language skills so they can participate fully in all academic subjects.


We must always bear in mind that being limited in English is a temporary situation. Students can attain full fluency in English. All teachers need to be aware of the process of second language acquisition. Teachers should be sensitive to the efforts of limited English proficient students to understand and use English. At first, these students may not be as fluent as their native English speaking peers. But their capacity to become fluent will be greatly enhanced by being able to use English within the context of curriculum in the classroom.


Basic Principles for Teachers

Use English that is understandable to the student. Second language learners may have difficulty understanding oral or written language if they are unfamiliar with the essential vocabulary or grammatical structures used. Preliminary activities should introduce and explain key vocabulary. Visual aids such as pictures, gestures, and dramatizations work well with students of all ages.


Build on the learners’ background knowledge. Language about familiar things is more comprehensible than language about unfamiliar things. Adaptations of texts and the use of simpler, slower speech (especially in the first few months of the school year) can help, as long as the content remains challenging and is at the appropriate cognitive level.


Provide more explanations for abstract concepts. All students can benefit from meaningful class discussions and working with older students who are fluent in both the native language and English. Classroom resources should include bilingual dictionaries. Second language learners’ English fluency indicates their present level of proficiency in the English language, not their ability to understand academic subject matter.


Give second language learners many opportunities to practice the language in learning subject matter content. Learners become more confident when they are encouraged to experiment and use the English language in all classroom situations—social as well as academic—without constant interruptions for corrections. As fluency in English develops, corrections of pronunciation, grammar, and other language features should be provided tactfully but consistently.


Who are English Language Learners?

Students who have emigrated to the United States from other countries, can read and write in their first language according to age level and have grade level knowledge of subject matter. (They are most likely to make a rapid transition from first to second language, and they have the capacity to learn subject matter taught in English.)


Students who are refugees may have missed years of schooling and lived through traumatic experiences, and may not yet have learned to read and write in any language. (They may take longer to develop literacy in English due to limited academic backgrounds.)


Students born in the United States in families where English is not the language of the home, may be enrolled in bilingual programs, or may not have received any special help with English. (They tend to have gaps in their language development, i.e., vocabulary items, synonyms, homonyms, works with multiple meanings, idioms, grammatical structures, and pronunciation.)


Classroom Tips for Teachers

Learn the background and English language ability of English language learners before planning lessons.


Allow English language learners opportunities for joining in large group discussions but do not force participation. It takes time to adjust to an all English language environment. Most English language learners are hesitant to participate in large group discussions at first because they lack fluency and confidence.


Try to provide small group activities and cooperative learning projects, especially in the early weeks.


Give clear and simple directions to limited English students. Ask students to retell directions. Do at least one example with the students before giving them the task.


Assign peer tutors or buddies to help limited English students understand directions, work on certain projects, and practice language skills through puzzles, and other games.


Expect steady growth in English language skills. However, all students do not progress at the same pace. Expect limited English proficient students to be full participants in English language arts activities with modifications at the beginning of the school year.


Use bilingual classroom resources such as bilingual dictionaries, picture dictionaries and one volume English language encyclopedias designed for English learners.


Obtain storybooks with accompanying tapes for students to listen and “read along” from the school librarian or library/media specialist. Borrow ideas and materials from ESL staff.


Vocabulary Development

Teach vocabulary in context to assure better retention of meaning. A vocabulary unit built around a social studies or science text or a literary text provides a coherent foundation for meaningful word study.


Provide a language environment that invites student participation: use stories with repetition, rhyme, predictability, a clear story line, and illustrations that relate to the text. Songs, poems, nursery rhymes, and games will also build vocabulary.


Occasionally give a limited English student or a small group of such students different activities from those given to the rest of the classroom. These students will develop better self confidence if they are given a task they can accomplish and if they understand the teacher’s expectations. Encourage peer tutors, parent volunteers, or older students (cross-age tutoring) to serve as scribes, story-tellers, or conversation partners for limited-English students.


Provide practice on more advanced speech forms, such as homonyms, synonyms, antonyms, words with multiple meanings, idiomatic phrases, prefixes and suffixes, similes, metaphors, and different forms of the same word (e.g., know, knowledge, knowledgeable; trust, trusting, trusted, trusty, trustworthy).


The suggestions and examples described above are in no way meant to be comprehensive or definitive. Teachers of English language arts know that planning must be flexible to accommodate difficult learning situations at different times in the school year. Curriculum and teaching strategies will necessarily be different each school year. Consideration of such factors as the number of limited English students in the classroom, the variety of language backgrounds, and their English literacy skills or lack thereof will determine the particular strategies teachers will employ.


The suggestions under Classroom Tips for Teachers and Vocabulary Development are taken from a teacher training unit created by a group of English as a Second Language teachers and bilingual teachers in the Newton, Massachusetts Public Schools. They have been used in workshops for classroom teachers (not specialists) with limited English students.


Appendix F: How to Relate Literature to Key Historical Documents

Grades PreK – 4: Relating to the Bill of Rights

After the teacher reads Molly’s Pilgrim, second graders discuss why there is freedom of religion in this country and how it is guaranteed.

After reading and discussing The Bill of Rights, students relate Zibby Oneal’s A Long Way To Go to the freedom of assembly and Alane Ferguson’s Cricket and the Crackerbox Kid to the right to a jury of peers and write a short composition on why they think these are important rights to protect.

Grades 5-8: Relating to the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence

After reading Yoshiko Uchida’s Journey to Topaz and Sook Nyul Choi’s Year of Impossible Goodbyes, students examine the effects on people when they are deprived of their individual rights as citizens and analyze why reparations were eventually made in one situation but not the other.

Grades 9-10: Relating core ideals in representative self-government such as justice and honesty to the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.

Students relate this country’s seminal historical documents to the central events and characters in such works as To Kill a Mockingbird, All the King’s Men, and The Last Hurrah.

Grades 11-12: Relating political issues in this country and elsewhere to The U.S. Constitution and selected readings from The Federalist Papers.

Students relate their reading of the Constitution, Lincoln’s Lyceum Address, and selected papers in The Federalist Papers on factions and the separation of powers to selections from Machiavelli’s The Prince and to the dramatic depiction in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Coriolanus of the tragic tensions that develop between a self-ruling populace and the powerful individuals who arise in its midst.


Appendix G:  Independent Evaluative Comments

From: Sheila Byrd Carmichael ,W. Stephen Wilson, yesKathleen Porter-Magee, and yesGabrielle Martino, The State of State Standards—and the Common Core—in 2010, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, July 21, 2010. (



The 2010 draft ELA standards have improved upon already clear and rigorous expectations without losing any of the essential content that was included in the original. The organization of the draft standards is clearer, and most of the few gaps that existed have been addressed.”





The organization of the 2010 draft is dramatically improved. Grade-specific standards are now presented for all grades in a single, coherent document.


By more clearly delineating grade-specific standards, the 2010 draft has also more clearly defined the progression of content and rigor across all strands. While many states slip into repetition across grades, this draft makes mean­ingful distinctions in every strand from one grade to the next.


The 2010 draft also includes several small enhancements that further strengthen Massachusetts’s already-excellent expectations. For example, while the 2001 document included standards addressing “discussion and presentation” within the Language strand, the 2010 draft devotes a separate strand to “discussion and presentation.” Within this strand, the state has more clearly and rigorously defined standards for discussion, group work, and oral presenta­tion.


Each genre of writing is also now addressed in its own sub-strand, making genre-specific expectations even clearer, more detailed, and rigorous.


Finally, the draft standards have addressed the two minor weaknesses that were noted (above) in the 2001 docu­ment. They now include expectations that specifically address foundational U.S. documents, and they require students to write a coherent paragraph in third grade.


No Change

All of the strengths that existed in the 2001 document remain, or have been improved and enhanced, in the 2010 update. For example, the standards continue to include helpful examples to clarify the intent and rigor of the stan­dards, as in these from various strands:


Identify the sense (touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell, and taste) implied in words appealing to the senses (fiction, grade 1)

Analyze the function of character types (e.g., antagonist, protagonist, foil, tragic hero) (fiction, grade 9)

Identify the type of evidence used to support a claim in a persuasive text (e.g., scientific research evidence, anecdotal evidence based on personal knowledge, or the discipline-based opinion of experts) (nonfiction, grade 5)


In addition, the reading, writing, grammar, and research standards remain clear, specific, and rigorous.


The one gap that remains in the 2010 draft is the continued absence of exemplar student writing samples that could further clarify writing expectations across grade levels.


The Bottom Line

The 2001 edition of the Massachusetts ELA standards were already among the best in the nation. The 2010 draft manages to further strengthen these standards without losing any of the essential content or clarity. These stan­dards are a model of clear, rigorous K-12 ELA content and expectations.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.