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Home » Student Success » Resources by Subject Area » English Language Arts » Learning Standards and Best Practices for Instruction

Learning Standards and Best Practices for Instruction

In 2011, Washington formally adopted the Learning Standards (Common Core State Standards) for English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Washington Learning Standards for English Language Arts provide a rich depth of knowledge and skills that young people will need to succeed in technical school, college, careers, and life. The standards are vital to ensuring our students can be successful in their communities and global society.

"Our goal is clear – to become the highest performing public education system in the nation by supporting all students equitably toward the postsecondary pathway of their choosing. At a minimum, it will require these...strategic changes: A complete overhaul of early literacy."

-Superintendent Chris Reykdal

Washington State ELA Learning Standards

At the core of the Washington Learning Standards for English Language Arts, four shifts in practice were identified:

  • Range, Quality, and Complexity of Text
  • Regular practice with complex texts and academic vocabulary
  • Reading and writing and speaking grounded in evidence from the text both literary and informational
  • Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

Washington State K-12 English Language Arts Capacities & Habits of Mind 

The habits of mind “are not standards themselves but instead offer a portrait of students who meet the standards set out in this document. As students advance through the grades and master the standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, they are able to exhibit with increasing fullness and regularity these capacities of the literate individual.” 

Menu of Best Practices & Strategies

The ELA menu targets two groups: LAP students in grades K–12 and all students in grades K–4. At the heart of the menu is a focus on accelerating student ELA performance. This menu highlights when a strategy is for K–4 ELA core instruction and when it is for ELA LAP. The practices align to Washington State K–12 Learning Standards for English Language Arts (Common Core State Standards). For additional resources and references that expand upon the content in the menu, review the Menu of Best Practices and Strategies Resources and References Guide.

Best Practices for Instruction

In their report, The Power Of Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction, Achieve3000 outlined practical tips to help you navigate challenging issues and ensure you’re addressing the needs of all students while accelerating literacy growth. Achieve3000 brought together these best practices from three respected educators, Dr. Pedro Noguera, Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad, and Dwayne Reed.

The Science of Reading

“The Science of Reading is a vast, interdisciplinary body of scientifically-based* research about reading and issues related to reading and writing. This research has been conducted over the last five decades across the world, and it is derived from thousands of studies conducted in multiple languages. The science of reading has culminated in a preponderance of evidence to inform how proficient reading and writing develop; why some have difficulty; and how we can most effectively assess and teach and, therefore, improve student outcomes through prevention of and intervention for reading difficulties.” (The Reading League 2021)

The evidence is clear, explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension with a foundation of oral language, ensure students will excel in their literacy development. (National Reading Panel, 2000 and What Works Clearinghouse, 2016). Explicit skill development along with exposure to great literature and read alouds (ELA Standards: Appendix A, page 27), ensures that students will be able to access any type of reading, independently.

Additional Resources