English Language Arts Learning Standards

Contact Information

Heidi Aijala, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Secondary English Language Arts

Carey Kirkwood
Associate Director of Elementary English Language Arts

Maja Wilson
English Language Arts Assessment Specialist

In 2011, Washington formally adopted the Learning Standards (Common Core State Standards) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The Washington Learning Standards for ELA 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.

Washington State ELA Learning Standards

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

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

Learning Standards Review Project

The ELA (along with the parallel SLA standards used in Spanish literacy instruction in Spanish-English dual-language programs), Math, and Science learning standards will be reviewed starting in the 2022–23 school year! Learn more about the goals and timeline of this project.

Menu of Best Practices & Strategies

The ELA menu offers best practices for students in grades for K-4 (2022) and K–12 (2020). At the heart of the menu is a focus on accelerating student ELA performance. The practices align with Washington State K–12 Learning Standards for English Language Arts (Common Core State Standards).

Best Practices for Instruction

Understanding Culturally Responsive Literacy Specific Concepts

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.

Understanding the Science of Reading

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