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English Language Arts

ELA Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were built to ensure that all students are prepared for college and career. The English Language Arts Common Core Standards set requirements for not only students who take English courses but for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Students will learn to read, write, speak, listen, and use language effectively across all content areas. 


Links to Key English Language Arts Common Core Documents 

CCSS English Language Arts Standards

CCSS Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (The literacy standards begin on page 79):

Appendix A: Overview of key elements and research of the CCSS

Supplemental Material for Appendix A:

Appendix B: Text exemplars and sample performance tasks K-12

Appendix C: Samples of student writing K-12

Sacramento Office of Education CA to ELA Crosswalk: The crosswalk compares CA standards to the CCSS ELA/Literacy Standards




The Common Core State Standards are designed to go deeper in depth with fewer and clearer standards that are aligned to rigorous content and application of knowledge through critical thinking skills. To better understand the standards, the table below illustrates key shifts in the English Language Arts Common Core Standards:

shifts in ela _mhm.jpg


Shift # 1: Balance of Informational and Literary Text: Read a balance of informational and literary text.  

Balance of informational text.jpg

Shift # 2: Staircase of Complexity: The Standards are designed in an upward spiral where students revisit  key standards, concepts, and skills. They have the opportunity to gain proficiency over time by establishing a deeper understanding of content and developing performance and critical thinking skills year after year.

Shift # 3: Text-Based Answered: Students will have rich and rigorous conversations which are dependent on a common text. Students will cite textual evidence across content areas through discussions, constructed responses, and performance tasks.   

Shift # 4: Building Knowledge Across Disciplines: Students will build knowledge about the world across content areas through the use of text, research, and discussions.

Shift # 5: Writing from Sources: Students will use evidence from sources to inform and develop logical evidence based arguments.


Shift 6: Focus on Academic Vocabulary: Students constantly build academic and domain specific vocabulary by accessing grade level complex texts. This can be done effectively by spiraling like content in increasingly complex texts. 

Resources used: EngageNY, Achieve the Core, California Department of Education, Common Core Initiative Website, NAEP Framework

CCSS ELA Shifts Resource

Resource # 1: Provides viewers with a quick overview of the 6 shifts in ELA/Literacy 

Resource # 2: The Teaching Channel has over 170 videos on the Common Core. The videos provide viewers with a glimpse on what Common Core instruction looks like. The following link will take you directly to this free resource:

Resource # 3: Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE)  Provides educators with a wide range of common core resources.