An Approach to the Common Core State Standards

Learn how to approach, chunk and digest the immense amount of material in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy (CCSS for ELA/Literacy), which are incorporated into the Maine Learning Results.

Step 1: Begin with Appendix A

  • Think of Appendix A as the preface to the ELA standards. It is a clarifying document, providing a great deal of research-based information that illuminates the thinking behind the organization of the standards as well as the language within. Appendix A also provides insight into how the other appendices should be used. You will find a more developed set of foundational reading skills than is currently in the K-5 reading standards. 
  • Appendix A includes information on:
    1. How to define or determine text complexity, recognize text types and prioritize text types by grade
    2. The complex relationship of argument vs. persuasion
    3. Approaches to reading and listening instruction
    4. An emphasis of the “hybrid” approach to grammar and conventions
    5. The progression of language skills development in chart form
    6. A very helpful synopsis of vocabulary development and strategies
  • A bibliography arranged by category is included, as is a glossary of key terms used in the document. The bibliography provides some helpful material and resources to consider for further professional learning in each content strand.

Step 2: Go to the Standards Document

The introduction to the standards document includes:

  • Explanation of grade levels and grade bands
  • General purpose of the standards
  • What is distinctly not covered in the documents
  • A summary of readiness as it applies to the discussion
  • Instructions for how to read the document, including the method of referencing a specific grade-level standard within a strand

Review the reading standards side-by-side with Appendix B, which provides text exemplars. Appendix B is so large that we are presenting it both in its entirety as well as in smaller parts so that it is easier to study and print. Pay particular attention to the sample performance tasks as they align to the standards and reflect the suggested text exemplars. Make sure you review the K-12 progression, as this may impact your understanding of the standard at your grade level or band.

Review the writing standards side-by-side with Appendix C, which includes authentic student writing samples. These samples demonstrate achievement of the standards appropriate to the grade level or band. 

Continue reviewing the standards, noting how language is recursive and embedded, as is technology and multimedia. 

Be sure to check this ELA website regularly. We will be updating information as it happens and providing the most recent resources available, including developing tools from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Stay informed and up-to-date by subscribing to the Maine Department of Education ELA listserv.