common core state standards
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were adopted by the State of Illinois in 2010. These standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language attend to critical thinking through speech, reading and writing. The CCSS also speak to literacy skills as an integrated effort across the disciplines so that students develop their skills in context.
There are 10 anchor standards that identify what we want all students to know and do in terms of reading. They begin with expectations around literal understanding and simple inferring, and move to increasingly complex, higher order critical thinking within and across texts. One example of this increase in the rigor of expectations is in the course of literature discussions. Teachers ask students increasingly complex questions. Students compare characters, events, writing styles across multiple texts. They must use evidence from the text to support their thinking.
Additionally, in grades 6-12, the CCSS acknowledge that it is critical to build knowledge in history, science, and technical subjects, and that students must learn specific strategies inherent in the successful reading of this content--such as how to analyze primary and secondary sources and how to distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgement.
The writing standards describe what students should know and do as demonstrated through writing. The standards ask educators to plan instruction that is mindful of the modes of writing (narrative, informational/explanatory, argument), reasons to write, process of writing, and how to research and distill information to incorporate into the writing.
Click here to view the K-5 writing curriculum. Students write daily and produce a large volume of writing that includes book reviews, opinion pieces, memoirs, and feature articles. They also conduct research connected to science and social studies. Expectations for students grow from one unit to the next. Each unit focuses on grammar and revision.
Speaking and listening
Speaking and listening standards address how students interact, exchange, and build knowledge together. They also address how students prepare to present their learning in a formal manner. Teachers plan multiple opportunities throughout the day for students to engage in purposeful talk and deepen their understanding through the exchange of ideas.
The language standards address grammar and mechanics, the ability to discern when and how to use language in varied contexts, and how to build vocabulary. Click here to view the Common Core expectations for language. This document graphically represents the understanding that many literacy behaviors must be taught and retaught throughout the students’ development. This shows that becoming literate takes a great deal of practice.