English Language Arts GuidanceResources for implementing and improving English Language Arts instruction, including content standards, frameworks, curriculum guides, and digital materials.
Resources covering the following topics are listed in the tabbed sections below. The sponsors and supporters of high-quality resources from outside the California Department of Education (CDE) are provided at the end of those citations.
California Department of Education (CDE) Web pages that focus on ELA and Literacy (ELA/Literacy) content standards and related standards.
California Common Core State Standards: English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (PDF), Adopted August 2010
The California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA Standards for ELA/Literacy) are the culmination of an extended, broad-based effort to create the next generation of standards from kindergarten through grade 12 to help ensure all students are literate at college and career ready levels no later than the end of high school. They are based on the national Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
California English Language Development Standards
The California English Language Development Standards (CA ELD Standards) help guide curriculum, instruction, and assessment to ensure English learners develop the English language skills needed to engage successfully with the CA Standards for ELA/Literacy.
Quality Professional Learning Standards
The Quality Professional Learning Standards identify characteristics of professional learning that are most likely to support educators in building individual and collective capacity to meet professional, school, and student performance expectations.
Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools
The School Library Standards support students’ learning to access, evaluate, use, and integrate information and ideas found in print, media, and digital resources, enabling students to function in a knowledge-based economy and technologically-oriented society.
Spanish Translation of the California Common Core State Standards: English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
Translated document describing what students need to know and be able to do in CCSS for ELA/Literacy, as well as providing support for a shared educational goal, literacy in Spanish.
CDE Web pages feature resources on the 2014 English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework (ELA/ELD Framework), curriculum guides, instructional materials for implementing standards for all students, and policy information.
2014 English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework (ELA/ELD Framework)
The 2014 ELA/ELD Framework supports as well as incorporates the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA Standards for ELA/Literacy) and the California English Language Development (CA ELD) Standards. It integrates five key themes across grade levels to accomplish these ground-breaking endeavors: (a) meaning making, (b) language development, (c) effective expression, (d) content knowledge, and (e) foundational skills.
CCSS and CA ELD Standards Resources
Provides links to a variety of CDE and CDE-reviewed outside resources to support teaching the CA ELD Standards.
CCSS English Language Arts Resources
Provides links to a variety of CDE and CDE-reviewed outside resources to support teaching the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy.
CCSS Literacy Resources
Provides links to a variety of CDE and CDE-reviewed outside resources to support teaching the CA CCSS for Literacy.
CCSS Professional Learning Modules for Educators
The CDE staff worked with experts in the field to develop professional learning modules that support educators in delivering curriculum aligned to the new standards for all students. The modules are housed on the Digital Chalkboard Web site and are available online 24/7. Presentation modes are flexible; modules can be used by educators independently or in face-to-face learning communities. The links below connect to the modules most closely aligned to ELA/Literacy and ELD.
- Reading Informational Text
- Writing to Inform, Argue, and Analyze
- Getting Started with the California English Language Development Standards
- A Deeper Dive into the California English Language Development Standards
- Content Literacy for Technical Subjects
- Multi-Tiered System of Supports
CCSS Resources for Parents and Guardians
Resources for parents and guardians interested in learning more about the CA Standards and how to support their child's attainment of these standards.
Common Core Resources for Special Education
Provides resources and guidelines for California teachers of students in the Special Education Community, which are especially useful since the CA Standards provide opportunities to improve access to quality ELA/Literacy standards for students with disabilities.
Common Core Search
Contains a searchable collection of hundreds of CDE-reviewed Web resources to support implementation of the CA Standards in ELA/Literacy. Use search terms such as “literacy” and “English Language Arts” and your grade level to locate resources of high value.
Collection of overviews and of highlights of the CA Standards in ELA/Literacy translated into multiple languages.
In 2015, the State Board of Education adopted several kindergarten through grade eight instructional programs aligned to the CA CCSS ELA/Literacy and the CA ELD Standards.
Multi-Tiered System of Supports
Information about implementing and sustaining the framework that aligns Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI²) so that educators and families can best support their students’ academic, behavioral, and social success in ELA/Literacy as well as all content areas.
Quality School Framework
Collection of reviewed, searchable tools, promising practices, and research within each of ten Quality School Framework elements that support students’ learning and thriving, including Assessment, Curriculum, Instruction, Professional Learning, Teachers, and Resource Alignment.
Recommended Literature for Pre-K Through Grade 12
Extensive, online, searchable list of literature, selected by educators around the state, to support students, teachers, and parents with finding books that will engage readers of varying skill levels in all content areas, including history-social science, mathematics, science, visual and performing arts, and general literature.
Specialized Media & Translations
Information and resources to help educators support students with disabilities’ access to texts in the general curriculum.
Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Plan: A Guidance Document (PDF)
The California Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Plan is intended as a guide for educators as they work to improve literacy instruction and practices in their districts and schools. The plan addresses learners from infancy through high school.
California Graduation and Admission Requirements: ELA
Provides the minimum number of ELA courses required for California high school graduation and for the University of California and the California State University systems’ uniform minimum number of courses required for admission as a freshman.
Every Student Succeeds Act: Letter
Provides updates to County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on the newly enacted federal law, Every Student Succeeds Act, to share what is ahead in the transition to a new state accountability system.
Web-based resources created by notable, national contributors for teachers and families striving to improve students’ ELA/Literacy learning are presented.
Achieve the Core ELA/Literacy
Provides resources for educators implementing the CCSS, including professional learning modules, handouts, presentations, sample lessons, lesson videos, and more. (Student Achievement Partners )
Achieve the Core ELA/Literacy Professional Development
Introduces the CCSS for ELA/Literacy through Internet modules that are ready to use in individual or group settings. Each module includes facilitator's instructions, presentations, video segments, and hands-on activities. (Achieve the Core )
Achieve the Core Instructional Practice Guide
Provides observation and lesson planning tools to help guide educators to know what the CCSS for ELA/Literacy look like in classroom planning and practice. (Achieve the Core )
Provides ELA/Literature resources for parents and educators of students in grades six to twelve on topics such as classroom strategies, college readiness, research and reports, book and author talks, and multimedia presentations. (WETA Public Television )
Provides video lessons illustrating the CCSS key shifts, videos of teachers discussing their lessons, editable lesson plans, and professional learning on assessing the quality of resources. (America Achieves )
America Achieves EQuIP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products
Designed to identify high-quality materials aligned to the CCSS, this process allows educators to “see” what implementation of the ELA/Literacy standards looks like in classroom settings. It includes a video of teachers learning through reflection and discussion based on EQuIP. (America Achieves )
Best Evidence Encyclopedia
Presents reliable, on-going, and easy-to-read Consumer Reports®-style reviews of various types of K-12 education programs. (Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education )
Provides thousands of reviewed grade three to twelve CCSS-aligned lessons created by Master Teacher Project classroom ELA teachers. (Better Lesson and National Education Association Master Teacher Project )
Aggregates and shares unique resources on Common Core for teachers of English language learners, including videos of teachers collaborating on instruction for ELLs. (WETA Public Television )
Common Core California
Provides multiple teaching and leading resources for CA Standards, notably: A Communications Toolkit for explaining the paradigm shift involved, This Is Common Core California Showcase, a collection of photos, descriptions, videos, student work, and other testimonials that demonstrate what Common Core looks like for California’s students, and The Digital Chalkboard, a Web page for California educators to collaborate and share their best practices, best resources, best strategies. (Californians Dedicated to Education )
Common Core State Standards Video Series: ELA
Supports states, schools, and teachers in the implementation of the CCSS. The videos designed for the third, sixth, and ninth grade levels focus on one or more specific standards and usually include examples/illustrations geared to enhancing understanding. (Southeast Comprehensive Center )
Core Knowledge Foundation
Provides pilot-tested resources for building students’ comprehension and vocabulary skills based on ELA/Literacy in the content areas of literature, history, and science for preschool through grade five. Free downloadable materials include student activity books, teacher guides, and lesson plans. (The Core Knowledge Foundation )
Doing What Works
Provides research results on instructional materials and Practice Guides with Related Resources based on programs that U.S. Department of Education researchers found to have high indicators of success. These resources can be accessed through WestEd’s “Box” Internet tool. Topics include literacy and English Language Arts. (WestEd )
Provides access to searchable evidence-based tools and resources to help middle and high school educators implement the CCSS, including iTunes U courses and literacy resources from the Basal Alignment Project. (EduCore )
Provides lessons, access to blogs, Web pages, organizations, articles, and other resources supporting all students’ mastery of the CCSS for ELA/Literacy from a wide variety of approaches. (George Lucas Foundation )
Provides educators across New York State with real-time, searchable professional learning tools and resources to support educators in reaching the state’s vision for a college and career ready education for all students. Topics especially relevant to California educators and families include: resources for parents and families, professional development, and a video library featuring CCSS instruction and learning. (New York State Education Department )
Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards
Outlines the underlying English language practices and uses found in the CCSS and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS); communicates to English language learner (ELL) stakeholders the language skills that all ELLs must acquire in order to successfully engage in the CCSS and NGSS. (The Council of Chief State School Officers )
The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC)
Incorporates literacy instruction into middle and high school content areas. Designed to make literacy instruction the foundation of the core subjects, LDC allows teachers to build content on top of a coherent approach to literacy. The LDC framework is used by teachers as common templates to create LDC tasks, modules, and courses designed to teach students to meet CCSS Literacy standards while engaging in demanding content. (A Team of Numerous National and State Educational Organizations )
Literacy in Learning Exchange
Identifies and shares the plans, practices, support systems, and assessments used by educator teams working to improve literacy learning. Provides models for advancing literacy learning in every subject and opportunities for educators to collaborate in identifying and pursuing critical research questions about literacy teaching and learning on a consistent, sustained basis.
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition
Provides multiple resources for promising practices, professional learning, data and demographics, newsletter, and information about federal grants to promote English language acquisition. (Office of English Language Acquisition )
Provides online quizzes and homework for students, automatically grades them, recommends appropriate videos as needed, and tracks students’ progress in custom databases. Filtering by “free” and “ELA” provides focused results. (OpenEd, Inc. )
Parent Roadmaps to the Common Core Standards–English Language Arts
Provides guidance to parents about what their children will be learning in ELA/Literacy and how they can support that learning in kindergarten through grade 8. Also in Spanish. (The Council of the Great City Schools )
Provides access to searchable, reviewed practices, activities, and professional learning resources based on the CCSS for reading and language arts instruction. Organized for access by both parents and educators. (International Literacy Association, National Council on Teachers of English )
Offers a wealth of research-based reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better through a national multimedia project through the Public Broadcasting System. It includes reading resources to assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. (WETA Public Television )
Teaching Channel Videos
Provides videos of lessons selected by committee on a variety of relevant ELA/Literacy topics. Offers opportunities for professional learning through video teams and other collaborative learning models. (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation )
Provides a variety of innovative and research-based strategies and tools to bring beginning and struggling readers to high levels of literacy through a variety of avenues, such as: free products and prototypes for student reading programs, teacher support resources and classroom reading activities, and by supporting and disseminating related research. (TextProject, Inc. )
Understanding Language Project
Aims to heighten educator awareness of the critical role that language plays in the CCSS and provides open-source teaching resources that support language development and learning, especially for English learners, in the content areas and English Language Arts. (Stanford University )
Using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to Implement Common Core
Encourages schools to embrace the needs of ALL students and recommends implementing the standards within a framework of MTSS that will help ensure that all students succeed. (The Council of Great City Schools )
What Works Clearinghouse
Provides educators with information about the quality of findings from the US Department of Education’s research studies on literacy and writing programs, products, practices and policies to help them make evidence-based decisions when implementing the CCSS for ELA/Literacy. (Institute of Education Sciences )
Curated Web sites with instructional materials and guidance from teachers and other experts on incorporating and improving literacy with digital resources are highlighted.
Table of Contents for Digital Literacy
- Searchable Collections
- Reviewed ELA Sites
- "Best of" Sites
- Assistive Technology
- Professional Learning
The quantity of quality Internet-based instructional materials has exploded over the past few years. For this reason, links to these searchable compilation Web sites of reviewed education-based digital resources are provided so that seekers may get an overview of quality possibilities, as well as the opportunity to narrow choices as needed. Use search or filtering terms such as “ELA” or “Literacy” with “Free” to obtain best results.
A collection of Web sites, mobile apps, desktop programs, and technology products for teaching and learning, curated by the educators who use the products. Can search by content area or by a multitude of relevant educational categories.
EdSurge Edtech Index
A compendium of searchable educational technology products driven by educator reviews. Viewers can search by many relevant topics, such as Language Arts, Language Learning, Assessment, Professional Learning, Learning Management Systems, Digital Textbooks, Digital Storytelling, Student Study Tools, Authoring Tools, Social Learning, Tutoring, and Video Instruction.
Educational App Store
Provides a curated listing of educational apps available for iOS, Android Blackberry, and Windows devices. A team of experts tests and reviews each application against specific criteria in order to arrive at an Educational App Store Certification Recommended mark of approval to provide parents, students and educators with high quality products.
Provides searchable links to thousands of web tools, with concise information on how these tools may be useful in the classroom setting, and offers educators ways to connect with one another, share their favorite links, and form Personal Learning Networks.
Provides ratings and reviews, blog articles, and Webinars helpful for making choices about educational technology. A free, searchable service from Common Sense Media, it is designed to help educators and families discover the best apps, games, and Web pages for improving learning.
Offers a teacher-curated library system accessible through a community technology. This unique platform allows educators to view, save, rate, and share the most relevant digitally available educational resources while discovering the personal learning ideas and questions from other teachers from around the world. (Multiple international technology companies )
Teachers with Apps
Provides apps that have been field-tested with a cross-section of students/teachers as part of the review process. This site is dedicated to the idea that quality mobile educational apps are the tools of the future but they need to be used responsibly.
Literacy Assessment Informs Instruction
A collection of Web resources on formative literacy assessment, including video examples, reports, podcasts, and professional learning opportunities. (National Council on Teachers of English )
Share My Lesson
Provides an online platform where educators can create and share their best CCSS for ELA/Literacy teaching resources, advice, and guides. (American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect )
Teaching the Core
A collection of classroom videos and associated lesson materials to help kindergarten through grade 12 educators implement the instructional shifts required by the CCSS. Each videotaped lesson includes descriptive annotations that identify lesson elements, plus teacher and student actions and behaviors that support learning of the new standards. The lessons have been reviewed and annotated by experienced educators and content experts. (Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust )
Tech2Learn: Success Stories of Technology Integration in the Classroom
A video series that goes inside the classrooms of educators who successfully integrate technology tools in their lessons every day. Learn from their challenges and share their resources in episodes that address student engagement, critical thinking, reading, writing, and storytelling. (Edutopia )
Provides links to and descriptions of digital resource Web pages that experts, including administrators, teachers, and students, have rated highly. Please Note: Because the lists’ criteria for inclusion vary, not all of these resources are free. The purpose of these lists are to acquaint seekers with resources that have documented evidence of effectiveness.
5 Great Videos for Clarity on Blended Learning and its Power
Presents five videos and accompanying resources selected as most likely to provide clarity on blended learning and its power. The videos include a mix of different learning methods brought together by experts in the field as well as classroom examples to meet a variety of learning objectives. (EdTechReview )
Best Websites for Teaching & Learning
Honors and presents Web sites, tools, apps, and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the American Association of School Librarians' Standards for the 21st-Century Learner . Includes topics such as digital storytelling, organizing, and communications. (American Association of School Librarians )
The Guide to Implementing Digital Learning
Provides multiple sources of guidance for district leaders to consider as they focus on ensuring smooth implementation of digital learning, including digital learning examples from across the nation. (State Educational Technology Directors Association )
K12 Leaders Pick Favorite Products
Presents winning products for 2014, including mobile products designed to keep kids engaged in lessons and software and devices to increase safety and efficiency, such as Learning Management Systems, in their schools. (District Administration Magazine )
SIIA CODiE Awards
Lists educational companies and products that are recognized for achieving excellence by peers. CODiE Awards serve as validation for a product’s innovation and industry impact. (Software & Information Industry Association )
Teachers Know Best Survey
Findings from a survey of 3,000 teachers and 1,200 students on over 500 existing digital instructional tools indicate which resources both teachers and students rate highly useful. (Teachers Know Best , presented by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation )
Digital technology provides new methods for accessing the ELA/Literacy core curriculum for students who have a variety of learning styles. The pages below provide vetted, searchable collections of assistive technology resources.
Assistive technology for kids with learning disabilities: An overview
A Web review for parents and educators about assistive technology tools that play to students’ strengths and work around their challenges. (GreatKids )
Web site offering searchable, reviewed collections for students with disabilities, such as free assistive technology on the Web, free or low-cost audiobooks, and indoor learning activities for hyperactive kids. (Understood)
Professional learning opportunities have changed dramatically with the recent flood of digital resources and offer exciting possibilities, if only educators had the time to learn about them. The resources below provide collections of innovative digital resources to help jump-start the process.
Creativity at the Core
Provides professional learning modules focused on many key topics that support arts learning and CA Standards, including Dance and the Common Core, Arts and the Four C’s, Lesson Study: Low and Middle Grades, Close Reading, and Culturally Responsive Arts Learning. (The California County Superintendents Educational Services Association )
From Pre Fab to Personalized: How Districts Are Retooling Professional Development
A collection of exemplary practices and tools in districts with successful personalized professional learning, such as tweeting questions, sharing videos of practice, joining community conversations via pages like edWeb and Voxer. (EdSurge )
The Instructional Practice Guide
Collection of coaching and lesson planning tools to help teachers and those who support teachers to make the key shifts in instructional practice required by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in ELA/Literacy. (Achieve the Core )
Micro-credentialing can provide ways to acknowledge an educator’s completion of work, whether it is a noncredit course, a seminar, or other professional learning. A collection of resources that explore various ways credentials, including digital badges, are being used by institutions of higher education are provided. (EDUCAUSE )
Professional Development Tools Created by Teacher for Teachers
Provides reviewed online professional learning tools that were created by teachers or have teachers on their advisory boards for educators to explore. (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning )
Raising the Bar on Instruction
Provides free, high-quality, research-based multimedia resources from nationally recognized content and pedagogy experts, tools for planning and delivering highly effective professional development and consultation to support standards implementation, and opportunities to collaborate, share ideas, and interact with peers and other content and teaching specialists. (WestEd )
Approaches and resources for professional learning, lesson sharing, instructional strategies, assessment approaches, and communications with families are featured.
20 Top Pinterest Tips
Provides twenty power tips frequently used in many areas of schools and classrooms. Pinterest may be the secret powerhouse of educational sharing. Teachers are all over Pinterest sharing ideas for lesson plans and using it with students for reading and writing. (Edutopia )
The largest education radio network in the world offering programming, ideas, research findings, descriptions, and resources from top education organizations and thought leaders to educators and parents. Channels include IRA Reading Radio, Professional Development, EdTech Radio, Parents Radio, and Teaching Strategies.
A reading community for K–8 students, their teachers and parents, designed to inspire book discovery and book talk. Includes support with reading levels and motivation.
The world's largest K–12 social learning community where teachers, students, and parents can connect safely and securely. Edmodo allows participants to collaborate on written assignments and projects together, communicate about progress, and discover professional development resources.
A site to facilitate discussions, replace paper newsletters, encourage student blogging, post videos, podcasts, and documents, create class publications, and explore the highest rated educator blogs, such as current highlights. Songs to Teach English and The Literacy Shed .
A professional social and learning network for educators, decision-makers, and influencers who want to create personal learning networks or professional learning communities to make it easier to collaborate, share ideas, and move forward faster with new ideas and initiatives, particularly those that leverage technology to accelerate improvement. Existing edWeb communities of particular interest are the following:
- Creating Multimedia Stories for Learning
Promotes learning environments and multimedia tools to help each student discover his/her voice and share individual stories.
- Exploring eBooks for K-12
Provides teaching ideas and discussions about the use of eBooks in schools and helps educators work together to speed their adoption.
- Real World Literacy and the Common Core
Provides standards-aligned teaching ideas and lesson plans.
- Using Technology for Language Instruction
Provides a place to explore all aspects of using technology to improve both world language learning and English language learning for English Language Learners.
English Companion Ning
A community dedicated to helping ELA teachers enjoy their work. Activity options include viewing/uploading exemplary lesson videos, joining book clubs or groups on topics of interest, such as Reading: Common Core Help, Teaching Writing, Teaching with Technology, Teaching Texts, The Free Learning Library, Teaching Shakespeare, and New Teachers.
Flipped Learning Network
Designed to provide educators with a community to support gaining the knowledge, skills, and resources to successfully implement Flipped Learning.
Connect with NCELA
Connect with others in the English Learners community on Facebook or Twitter, join the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition mailing list, check out their video library, YouTube channel, or read or submit to their series Innovations for English Learners. The Talking Stick community of practice is an online space for grantees from the Native American/Alaska Native grant program to discuss ideas.
A global community of students, educators, and parents who believe that meaningful cultural exchange should be a part of student’s education. Classes from around the world are paired up and each student is matched with a Pen Pal for a six-week exchange. Related, optional lessons are aligned to CCSS.
The basic (free) plan includes within-school, interactive discussion pages where a wide range of files (including documents, pictures, audio, and video files) can be attached to any post. Students and instructors can collaborate with each other and their peers by participating in live discussions, and sharing resources and ideas, in addition to the other basic services of Schoology.
Social Media in Education: Resource Toolkit
A collection of blogs, articles, and videos that aims to help educators deploy social-media tools to develop professionally, connect with parents and communities, and engage students safely in 21st-century learning.
A private and safe social networking site for schools where teachers sign up students and other teachers to share inspirations, ideas, reflections, as well as post deadlines, homework, written and multi-media collaborations, discussions, and coursework.
Twitter 101: 5-Step Guide for Social Media in Education
A guide through the Twitter landscape that shows how to find the best educational resources for educators, parents, and students. Twenty percent of tweets are on the topic of education. Edudemic Connecting Education & Technology . March 2015.