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College and Career Readiness Standards-in-Action Professional Development: English Language Arts and Literacy Foundational Units 1-4 (SIA)


This training consists of four units delivered as a day-long training (7 hours plus breaks). The following training units are delivered sequentially.

Foundational Unit 1: Connecting the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards to the Key Advances (2 hours)
The CCR Standards for Adult Education in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy embody three key advances in instruction inspired by the Common Core State Standards. This unit provides an overview of all three advances: increasing text complexity, prioritizing evidence when reading and writing, and building knowledge. It introduces participants to the CCR Standards and articulates the connections between them, the key advances, and how they define college and career readiness. It also explores the fundamental elements, structure, and meaning of the CCR standards.

Foundational Unit 2: Selecting Texts Worth Reading (2 hours)
This unit will allow participants to investigate in-depth Key Advance 1 embedded within the standards—the demand for greater complexity in the texts students read. A significant body of research links the ability to read complex text to significant gains in reading proficiency, making exposure to complex text a key component of college and career readiness. Participants will build a basic understanding of text complexity initially through a brief presentation on its quantitative and qualitative elements. They will learn how to determine levels of text complexity and become acquainted with tools to perform complexity analyses of texts. They also will examine the features of text that are the major sources of complexity and learn why they pose particular challenges to readers.

Foundational Unit 3: Identifying Questions Worth Answering (1.5 hours)
This unit focuses on the value of building students’ ability to draw evidence from texts and teachers’ ability to use text-based questions. It will allow participants to investigate in-depth Key Advance 2: drawing evidence from texts through sequences of text-dependent questions. Using the text investigated previously in Unit 2, participants will analyze a set of questions tied to that text by various criteria. They will learn how to identify: (1) on-text-dependent questions from text-dependent questions, and (2) text-dependent questions that are valuable and worth answering—questions that go beyond recall. Participants will learn the importance of text-dependent questions as a tool for developing students’ reading comprehension skills. This will help them make a direct link between text-dependent questions and the instructional scaffolding that such questions provide to students to successfully comprehend a text.

Foundational Unit 4: Creating High-Quality Writing Assignments (1.5 hours)
This final unit targets the importance of Key Advance 3 by highlighting how students learn from what they read. In Part 1 of this unit (Identifying High-Quality Writing Prompts), participants will learn how to identify strong writing prompts that will help students collect and articulate their learning. Through a brief presentation, participants will build a basic understanding of the value of high-quality writing prompts. They will evaluate two writing prompts to determine which writing prompt is aligned to the CCR Standards and would produce a richer and deeper response from students. In Part 2 of the unit (Generating a High-Quality Writing Prompt), participants will build a writing prompt tied to Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech to the members of the American Civil Liberties Union. From a set of previously identified high-quality, text-dependent questions, participants will be asked to pay close attention to the questions that would require students to go most deeply into Roosevelt’s speech to develop an answer. In both parts, participants will use the ELA/Literacy Anchor Standards to guide them in identifying which CCR Standards students would need to employ when responding to the prompt they are creating. Unit 4 activities are designed to help participants connect the earlier work of Unit 2 (Key Advance 1: Text Complexity) and Unit 3 (Key Advance 2: Evidence) to this culminating activity.

In-person Training Event