Common Core English and Language Arts Standards

Common Core Key Vocabulary (English / Language Arts)

Here are some key words that will help you understand the new standards we are using on the report cards

English/Language Arts Standards

Reading – Literature

In the Reading for Literature Common Core standards, the term “literature” is used to refer to works of the imagination, including works of poetry, drama, and fiction. Through extensive reading of stories, drama, 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.

Reading - Informational Text

Informational text is designed to communicate factual information rather than to tell a story. Common examples of informational text include: diaries, cookbooks, websites, informational picture storybooks, field guides, and how-to books. The organization, graphic features, and writing styles found in informational texts are often content-specific and require children to “read to learn.”

Key Ideas and Details

To appreciate literature or learn new information, the reader has to be able to gain an understanding of printed text by identifying the central meaning and facts of the text. “Key Ideas and Details” emphasizes the importance of understanding the specifics that are stated in a text. Before gaining deeper meanings, such as making logical inferences or drawing conclusions, readers must grasp the central details, characters, events, and ideas from the text.

Craft and Structure - Literature

Appreciation of literature requires the reader to recognize choices authors make about text structure and various elements within that structure, and to understand how these choices contribute to content and meaning.

Young readers begin this process by recognizing common types of texts (e.g. storybooks, poems), by understanding the difference between narrative and informative text, and by recognizing the beginning, middle, and ending of stories. They also learn how to ask and answer questions that help them understand unknown words and how words in text supply rhythm and meaning.

Older students can identify the purpose of text and recognize various points of view within a text; they can assess how these elements influence content and tone. Young readers, however, must first learn not only to recognize the author and the illustrator, but also to determine who is telling the story at various points and from what perspective.

Craft and Structure – Informational Text

A young reader might naturally assume that every novel, cookbook, newspaper article, and how-to-manual would be written in the same style using words and phrases that conveyed the same meaning. Close observation across different genres reveals that this is not at all the case. To be successful, readers must selectively differentiate reading strategies and prior understandings associated with a particular type of reading and the topic of the text.

A non-fiction text’s layout influences how students obtain meaning from a piece of informational text. Informational text features may include captions, illustrations, bold and italicized print, and tables and diagrams and has a particular style of writing. When readers learn how to identify the text’s structure based on how the information is organized, they can apply comprehension strategies that are appropriate for a particular type of text. Understanding the pattern of the text helps readers to efficiently organize, synthesize, interpret, and summarize information.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas - Literature

Appreciation of literature requires the reader to gain an understanding of printed text by: (1) understanding the central meaning and facts of the text; (2) interpreting the structure and purpose of the text; (3) integrating the central meaning and facts into other knowledge, settings, and texts; and (4), extending to gradually more complex text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas – Informational Text 

Students at early grade levels are beginning to develop the ability to understand and evaluate content presented through various formats and media. Students can recognize an argument and evaluate specific claims, including whether the reasoning makes sense and is complete enough to back an argument. By using multiple texts that address similar themes or topics, they develop foundational skills needed to analyze texts so as to build knowledge and compare the approaches and views of different authors.

Range of Reading and Level of Complexity

To enjoy school success while building a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging texts.

Through extensive reading of biographies and autobiographies; books about history, social studies, science, and the arts; technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps; and digital sources on a range of topics students gain knowledge in various informational areas.

Students build expertise in narrative reading 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.

Reading Foundational Skills

The standards within the Reading Foundational Skills strand are directed toward developing students’ understanding and working knowledge of concepts of print, the alphabetic principle, and other basic conventions of the English writing system. These foundational skills are necessary and important components of an effective, comprehensive reading program but are only a small part of reading instruction that is needed to develop proficient readers.

Print Concepts

Through regular and active interactions with print, young students develop an understanding of how print works. The ability to distinguish print features, including the fact that print (rather than pictures) carries the meaning of the story is essential to the development of beginning reading skills. Examples of print concepts are:

  • Following words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page,
  • Recognizing that spoken words are represented in written language by letters
  • Understanding that words are separated by spaces in print, and
  • Recognizing and naming all upper-and lowercase letters of the alphabet


Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between the sounds of spoken language, and the letters and spellings that represent those sounds in written language. Successful decoding occurs when a student uses his or her knowledge of letter-sound relationships to read a word correctly.

Phonological Awareness

The goal of phonological awareness instruction is for students to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words. To build phonological awareness children may clap sounds, use “say it and move it” cubes, match sounds heard to pictures, and segment and blend sounds in CVC words.


Fluency is defined as being able to read orally with a reasonable rate of speed, with a high degree of accuracy, and with the proper expression. Fluency is one of several critical factors necessary for reading comprehension.


Text Types and Purposes

The Common Core Writing standards outline three primary types of text that students are expected to produce: argument, informational/explanatory, and narrative texts. Students are expected to produce each of these text types and to understand the purpose for each.

Production and Distribution of Writing

Students will learn to appreciate that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar, audience. They will begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to communicate effectively.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Students in elementary school learn about basic research techniques and how to apply these skills through the preparation of simple reports.

Through research projects, students take good notes, connect new knowledge to what is already known, organize information into sensible layouts for a report, cite their sources, and avoid anything that approaches plagiarism. Correct spelling and proper grammar are central to the writing and editing process.

Range of Writing

The Range of Writing standard, Standard 10, begins in grade 3. This standard places importance on both the types of writing students’ produce (range) and the writing process.

Writers are expected to begin to understand the difference in the writing processes for various purposes (providing information or explanation; writing stories or about stories; writing for academic subjects such as math and science). By the end of third grade, students should be able to know the difference of each writing task and use the appropriate writing process for each task (including research and revisions).


Speaking and listening standards require students to develop a range of oral communication and interpersonal skills. Students must learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, and integrate information from various sources, (e.g., oral, visual, quantitative, and media). Students must also gain skills in evaluating what they hear, use various sources to support what they are communicating, and adapt their speech to the content and the task at hand.

Comprehension and Collaboration

Students are able to build on others’ ideas and express their own clearly. Older students come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required materials. They are able to ask and answer relevant questions about what they have heard, can both describe and talk about key details, and can link their comments to the remarks of others. They understand and follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and other activities.

Students in kindergarten and first grade also participate in discussions with peers and adults about grade level topics and texts that have been read aloud or presented orally or through other media. They learn and practice rules of discussion such as taking turns and listening to others. They ask and answer questions about key details in texts and other information presented orally. They also use questioning to acquire additional information and to clarify something that is not understood.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Students develop basic research techniques and learn how to apply their research skills to generate simple reports. Effective research at any grade level rests on the ability to select appropriate information sources and apply basic reading comprehension skills. Students learn to speak in clear, complete sentences and add visual displays or illustrations to their presentations.

Students in later grades (3-5) are able to research and present on a variety of grade level topics and texts that have been read aloud, presented orally and through other media, or understood through independent reading. They learn to include relevant details and organize information, while avoiding plagiarism. They speak in complete, coherent sentences and know how to provide additional details and clarification upon the listener’s request.


Language standards include the rules of standard written and spoken English as well as the use of language as craft and informed choice among alternatives. The vocabulary standards focus on understanding words and phrases and acquiring new academic and content-specific vocabulary.

Conventions of Standard English

By the end of the third grade, students gain control over many conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics. In early grades students learn to recognize upper and lower case letters and when to use capital letters in writing. They also demonstrate they can use basic punctuation marks, singular and plural nouns, and verbs in the past, present and future tense. More mature students gain control over proper use of pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and other parts of speech, produce simple, compound, and complex sentences, and demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language

Students are able to understand how language works in different contexts and how the context can influence the formality of language used. Students use their knowledge of language to make effective choices for meaning and style in their own speaking and writing. They also understand language more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Students determine or clarify the meaning of grade-appropriate words encountered through listening, reading, and media use. Students identify or clarify unknown words and multiple meaning words at their grade level. They should also be able to make real-life connections for new words learned.

Students use clues such as inflections, common affixes, and context clues to determine the meaning of an unknown word. In upper grades sentence context is used to determine word meaning. These learners use root words and more difficult affixes to help them determine the meaning of new words. They use beginning dictionaries and glossaries, both print and digital, to form more precise definitions of words.

Common Core Mathematical Standards

Common Core Key Vocabulary (Math)

Here are some key concepts being assessed on the new report card

Mathematical Standards

Counting and Cardinality

The Counting and Cardinality standards focus on the development of a deep and fundamental understanding of, and proficiency with, counting, numbers, and arithmetic, as well as an understanding of number systems and their structures.

Operations & Algebraic Thinking

The Operations and Algebraic Thinking Standards is based on relationships among quantities, including functions, patterns, ways of representing mathematical relationships, and analyzing change. Algebra is a style of mathematical thinking for formalizing patterns, functions, and generalizations. Students are encouraged to use algebraic reasoning as they study numbers and operations and as they investigate patterns and relations among sets of numbers. In these standards, the connections of algebra to numbers and everyday situations are extended in the later grade bands to include geometric ideas.

Number & Operations in Base Ten

In the early grades, students begin to understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems. This domain also focuses on students learning to add and subtract numbers through their knowledge of composing (+,×) and decomposing (-, ÷) those numbers.

Students in third through fifth grade are expected to be fluent in multiplying and dividing within 100 and adding and subtracting within 1000. An understanding of place-value is key to accomplishing this goal.

Number & Operations—Fractions

Fractions are numbers that can be represented as divisions of whole numbers or as parts of a unit whole. They are often used for comparison of parts to a whole. The understanding of fractions as numbers helps students understand that quantities are not restricted to being whole numbers. It prepares them for working with percentages, proportions, and pie charts in the higher grades.

Measurement & Data

Measurement is the assignment of a numerical value to an attribute of an object, such as the length of a pencil or the degrees in an angle. Students should become proficient in using measurement tools, techniques, and formulas in a range of situations. Telling time and solving problems with elapsed time are also experiences that use measurement in the lower elementary grades. Measurement also includes working with area and perimeter in geometry.In later grades, measurement is expanded to include volume, mass, and weight. Fractions again play an important role with measurement in standard units.

Another focus is for students to learn to formulate questions that can be answered using data and understand what is involved in gathering and using the data wisely.

Geometry helps people describe the world around them through the study of geometric shapes, structures, and their characteristics and relationships. Through the study of geometry, students will learn about shapes and dimensions around them and how to analyze spatial relationships in everyday life. Spatial visualization—building and manipulating mental representations of two-and three-dimensional objects and perceiving an object from different perspectives—is an important aspect of geometric thinking.

Students develop an initial understanding of a family of shapes, such as quadrilaterals. They apply their prior knowledge as well as new knowledge of the attributes that certain shapes possess. This will help students describe the properties of geometric objects. They can give reasons and make informal arguments about how certain shapes are related.

Common Core State Standards

Here is a link to the Common Core State Standards