Monthly Implementation Focus
Balancing Literary and Informational Text
Students read a true balance of informational and literary texts. Elementary school classrooms are, therefore, places where students access the world—science, social studies, the arts, and literature—through text. At least 50% of what students read is informational. At the secondary level, only 30% of what is read should be literature.
Knowledge in the Disciplines
Content area teachers outside of the ELA classroom emphasize literacy experiences in their planning and instruction. Students learn through domain-specific texts in science and social studies classrooms—rather than referring to the text, they are expected to learn from what they read.
Students have rich and rigorous conversations which are dependent on a common text. Teachers insist that classroom experiences stay deeply connected to the text on the page and that students develop habits for making evidentiary arguments both in conversation, as well as in writing to assess comprehension of a text.
Staircase of Complexity
In order to prepare students for the complexity of college and career ready texts, each grade level requires a “step” of growth on the “staircase”. Students read the central, grade appropriate text around which instruction is centered. Teachers are patient , create more time and space in the curriculum for this close and careful reading, and provide appropriate and necessary scaffolding and supports so that it is possible for students reading below grade level.
Writing from Sources
Writing needs to emphasize use of evidence to inform or make an argument rather than the personal narrative and other forms of decontextualized prompts. While the narrative still has an important role, student develop skills through written arguments that respond to the ideas, events, facts, and arguments presented in the texts they read.
Students constantly build the vocabulary they need to access grade level complex texts. By focusing strategically on comprehension of pivotal and commonly found words and less on esoteric literary terms, teachers constantly build students’ ability to access more complex texts across the content areas.