The English Language Arts Program Overview

The English Language Arts Program guides the framework for curricular and instructional practices in Reading and Language development in English across all content areas from kindergarten through the 12th grade, preparing students to be successfully literate in the 21st- century.  The curricular thrust is directed by the Common Core Standards and are adapted accordingly based on school resources and student needs.  Students who meet these standards readily undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding and enjoying complex works of literature.  Additionally, students will habitually perform the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print, digital and in multimedia formats.  Students actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens both local and worldviews.  Students who meet the standards develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language that are the foundation for both creative expression, purposeful and effective communication.  The content that students are expected to know and apply as well as the skills that they are to masterfully demonstrate have wide applicability that extends beyond the classroom.  The goal of the English Language Arts program is to prepare our students to be college and career ready.

 

English Language Arts Professional Learning Community

A professional Learning community is led by the English Language Arts Program Manager and is composed of highly qualified Language Arts teachers and reading resource personnel.  These teacher leaders assists in very substantial ways. It is through the auspices of these very committed individuals that much of the larger operations are maintained.  The professional learning community leads and participates in workshops, partakes in the review assessments and data analysis, provides mentoring for other teachers in the district, facilitates the dissemination of information to the general teaching corps, and fill substantial leadership roles in their respective schools.

 

Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant

The CNMI Public School System is a recipient of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant, a federal grant aimed at improving the reading and writing skills for children from birth through twelfth grade.  These flow-through funds will directly contribute to the improvement of overall literacy outcome for all students in the CNMI.  The funding has been utilized to provide training to enhance instruction that support English language learners as well as provide professional development to support writing instruction.  Technical assistance is also provide through the SRCL grant to support explicit, researched based reading and writing instruction.

English Language Arts Program Annual Report SY 2013-2014

English Language Arts Common Core Principles

1. Regular practice with complex text and its academic language

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

2. Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational

The Standards place a premium on students writing to sources, i.e., using evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Rather than asking students questions they can answer solely from their prior knowledge or experience, the Standards expect students to answer questions that depend on their having read the text or texts with care. The Standards also require the cultivation of narrative writing throughout the grades, and in later grades a command of sequence and detail will be essential for effective argumentative and informational writing.

Likewise, the reading standards focus on students’ ability to read carefully and grasp information, arguments, ideas and details based on text evidence. Students should be able to answer a range of text-dependent questions, questions in which the answers require inferences based on careful attention to the text.

3. Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

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

To be clear, the Standards do require substantial attention to literature throughout K-12, as half of the required work in K-5 and the core of the work of 6-12 ELA teachers

Common Core Shift in ELA/Literacy Practice

English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and CareerShifts in ELA/Literacy
 Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading

The K–12 standards on the following pages define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements—the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity—that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

 

Key Ideas and Details
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

 

Craft and Structure
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

 

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

 

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

 

Note on range and content of student reading

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. Through extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades. Students also acquire the habits of reading independently and closely, which are essential to their future success.

 

English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

The K-12 standards on the following pages define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements—the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity—that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

 

Text Types and Purposes1
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

 

Production and Distribution of Writing
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

 

Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

 

Range of Writing
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

 

Note on range and content in student writing

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They learn to appreciate that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar audience, and they begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to accomplish a particular task and purpose. They develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.

 

English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

The K–12 standards on the following pages define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements—the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity—that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

 

Comprehension and Collaboration
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

 

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

 

Note on range and content of student speaking and listening

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations—as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations requires that students contribute accurate, relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains.

New technologies have broadened and expanded the role that speaking and listening play in acquiring and sharing knowledge and have tightened their link to other forms of communication. Digital texts confront students with the potential for continually updated content and dynamically changing combinations of words, graphics, images, hyperlinks, and embedded video and audio.

 

English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

The K–12 standards on the following pages define what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade. They correspond to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards below by number. The CCR and grade-specific standards are necessary complements—the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity—that together define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate.

 

Conventions of Standard English
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

 

Knowledge of Language
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

 

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

 

Note on range and content of student language use

To build a foundation for college and career readiness in language, students must gain control over many conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics as well as learn other ways to use language to convey meaning effectively. They must also be able to determine or clarify the meaning of grade-appropriate words encountered through listening, reading, and media use; come to appreciate that words have nonliteral meanings, shadings of meaning, and relationships to other words; and expand their vocabulary in the course of studying content. The inclusion of Language standards in their own strand should not be taken as an indication that skills related to conventions, effective language use, and vocabulary are unimportant to reading, writing, speaking, and listening; indeed, they are inseparable from such contexts.

Grades K-2 Overview

Some student entering  kindergarten have benefited from rich experiences with literacy in their home environment, while others have had limited experiences with books and opportunities to express themselves. Regardless of background, children in their early years benefit from being immersed in authentic language activities that support individual risk-taking in their reading, writing, and speaking attempts.

Ongoing assessment of students’ needs and achievement is important to guide instructional strategies for the entire class as well as small-group and individual remediation. Frequent opportunities to ask and answer questions, read and write, recite poems, singsongs, and retell stories and information are essential in children’s acquisition of knowledge and language skills.

Students in kindergarten through second grade are reading and responding to both literature of high quality and informational text. The foundations of reading are laid in print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency. Through extensive reading of stories, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. By reading texts in social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas.

Students also learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They are learning to appreciate that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar audience, and they begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to accomplish a particular task. Even in these early years, they develop the capacity to build on knowledge of a subject through research projects. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.

To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations—as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations requires that students contribute accurate and relevant information and respond to what others have said. Students must also gain control over many conventions of Standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics and use language to convey meaning effectively. They must be able to determine or clarify the meaning of grade-appropriate words encountered through listening, reading, and media use and expand their vocabulary in the course of studying content. The inclusion of language standards in a separate strand does not indicate that they are separate from reading, writing, speaking, and listening; indeed, they are inseparable from these contexts.
KindergartenGrade 1Grade 2

 

Grades 3-5 Overview

In Grades 3-5, students continue to be concrete learners who are beginning the early phases of abstract thinking. Instruction involving collaboration among peers is important in these grades, particularly in group discussions and some writing activities. Also important is student collaboration with teachers in the planning of learning tasks. To better understand what they read and hear, students benefit from an inquiry- and discovery-based environment. Literacy growth is fostered by direct reading instruction guided by learning needs determined largely by regular formative assessment rather than dictated by textbook curriculum.

Students continue to develop foundational reading skills through Grades 3, 4, and 5; and reading standards for literature continue to be a major component of content instruction. Reading skill in informational text, however, is of equal importance as students understand and explain events, procedures, ideas, and concepts in historical, scientific, technical, and other texts. To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. Students gain the necessary foundation only when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades. Writing instruction is integrated with other strands as students write opinion pieces, informative texts, and narratives to meet highly specific expectations. Short research projects combine the reading and writing strands.

Speaking and listening skills continue to develop through collaboration, discussions, and reports. Being productive members of conversations requires that students compare, contrast, analyze, and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains. New technologies have broadened and expanded the role that speaking and listening play in acquiring and sharing knowledge and have tightened their link to other forms of communication. Digital texts confront students with the potential for continually updated content and dynamically changing combinations of words, graphics, images, hyperlinks, and imbedded video and audio.

In these activities as well as their writing, students demonstrate command of many conventions of Standards English, including use of relative pronouns, verb forms, prepositional phrases, and appropriate capitalization and punctuation. Vocabulary acquisition and use—both general academic and domain- specific—continue to be a critical component of language development that students apply to their reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Grade 3Grade 4Grade 5

 

Grades 6-8 Overview

Students in the middle grades undergo physical, social, emotional, and intellectual changes that affect their daily learning experiences. Individuals progress from preadolescence to adolescence at vastly different rates. With a great deal of sensitivity to the perceptions of peers, they are beginning to assert their independence when dealing with adults. This process, however, is neither sequential nor predictable and often includes periods of fluctuation between adolescence and preadolescence. As middle school students move from concrete thinking to abstract concepts, they begin to question others’ messages and points of view while learning to better express and justify their own. Like students in earlier grades, middle school students exhibit the full range of learning styles and require both differentiated instruction and assessment opportunities to reach their unique potential as learners.

Reading strategies applied to comprehension of texts in all content areas are essential and powerful tools. A broader literacy repertoire, advanced literary elements, and extended vocabularies and communication skills lead to increased critical-thinking abilities. Similarly, strengthened writing skills provide a means for expressing their knowledge and opinions to a variety of audiences. Many opportunities are provided for students to develop questioning and research strategies that assist them in organizing and presenting information in oral, visual, and written formats.

With both literature and informational text, students cite textual evidence to support their analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the texts. Among other expectations, students must analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, section, or scene fits into the overall structure and contributes to the development of ideas. They write arguments to support claims, explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, and narratives to develop real or imagined experiences. Particular attention is given to establishing a formal style, developing organizational structure, and using helpful transition words. In these middle years, students use their speaking and listening skills to engage in a range of collaborative discussions, follow rules for collegial discussions, interpret presented information, and delineate a speaker’s claims and evidence. High expectations are held for students’ language acquisition and use in speaking and writing experiences, including extending the simple subject-verb agreement concepts learned in the elementary grades, ensuring that pronouns are in the proper case, punctuating nonrestrictive and parenthetical elements, and maintaining consistency in style and tone. As in earlier grades, students acquire and use grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific vocabulary. They also learn to vary sentence structure for reader and listener interest and understand figurative language and nuances in word meanings.
Grade 6Grade 7Grade 8

 

Grades 9-12 Overview

High school students continue to develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually; and most make efforts to express their individuality and independence. Never-the-less, they need guidance in these endeavors and continued emotional and intellectual support to prepare for college and careers. While language skills are advanced beyond the middle grades, students require continued assistance in analyzing and interpreting advanced informational and literary text and continued development in the use of conventions of Standard English.

In designing instruction to help all students achieve success, careful consideration should be given to addressing the individual learning needs of students. This can be accomplished by including a variety of instructional strategies such as projects, demonstrations, and collaborative learning groups; by conducting formal and informal assessments to provide continual feedback regarding student progress; and by utilizing all available technology for both teacher and student use. These strategies are especially important during the high school years for preparing students to experience the independence and demands of higher education and careers.

To become college and career ready, students must grapple with works of exceptional craft and thought whose range extends across genres, cultures, and centuries. In addition to the analysis of literature at advanced reading levels, students analyze and interpret historical documents aligned to content in history or social studies classes—documents such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, Washington’s Farewell Address, and the Gettysburg Address. Shakespearean plays are studied in at least three of the last four years of high school, sometimes involving a comparison with language and literature from other countries and eras. The refinement and extension of reading skills include analyzing how characters in fiction develop over the course of time and advance the plot or theme and how authors of informational texts develop claims and use rhetoric to advance a point of view. Other reading skills include the examination of authors’ craft such as the effect of specific word choices and the use of satire and irony. Standards for informational text require that students evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats.

Writing and editing skills that will be needed in college and careers are refined as students develop claims and counterclaims, use precise language, and create a coherent whole with an appropriate tone. A command of formal English is demonstrated in both students’ writing and speaking. They must come to appreciate that language is as much a matter of craft as of rules and be able to choose words, syntax, and punctuation to express themselves and achieve particular functions and rhetorical effects. Students must integrate multiple sources of information in order to make informed decisions and solve problems. This requires that they evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source and note discrepancies among data. They must have the flexibility, concentration, and fluency to produce high-quality, first-draft text under a tight deadline as well as the capacity to revisit and make improvements to a piece of writing over multiple drafts when circumstances encourage or require it.
Grade 9Grade 10Grade 11Grade 12All ELA Course Descriptions K-12