NYCCLS: Literature & Informational Text Instruction

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a teacher in New York, you are probably interested in aligning your reading instruction with the New York Common Core Learning Standards. This lesson focuses is what the standards say about literature and informational text.

The NYCCLS ELA Standards

In grades 5-9, the New York Common Core Learning Standards focus on certain anchor issues in reading and writing. When students enter high school, what they have learned in late elementary and middle school will prepare them to work toward the college and career readiness standards. The ELA standards focus in equal parts on reading and writing literature and informational texts. This lesson will offer you an overview of what the standards say about each of these kinds of texts. By becoming more familiar with the standards, their requirements, and their approach to literacy development, you will be better equipped to align your curriculum and instruction.

NYCCLS and Literature

Students in New York will be exposed to a wide variety of literature over the course of their education. In this case, literature includes all subgenres of fiction as well as poetry and drama. The following issues are especially valued by the NYCCLS standards in relation to teaching your students about literature:

Close Reading

Students should learn to read, reread, and reread again so that they can understand both the explicit wording of the texts and all of their implications and connotations. The more students learn to read closely, the better they will be able to cite specific evidence when making arguments or generating theories about literature.

Themes

Your students should learn to discern the major themes or motifs from literature. They should learn about how themes can change and develop over the course of specific texts, and they should develop a sense of some of the major themes that repeat across diverse works of literature.

Character

It is important for our students to learn how to analyze character development in literature. This means understanding major character traits, motivations, and what characters represent. It also means thinking about how characters change over time and how different characters are similar to and different from each other.

Word Choice

Students should learn about literary language and specifically the different authorial choices writers make when constructing works in different genres of literature. This also includes developing your students' vocabularies and helping them understand how word choice can impact the tone or mood of a work of literature.

Structure

Your students should learn about a wide variety of structures and organizations of different literature. This means learning about different subgenres within literature as well as how particular works tend to be structured. It also means learning to compare and contrast different textual structures and the structural moves different authors make.

Informational Texts

The NYCCLS Standards also put a great deal of emphasis on familiarizing students with informational texts. By teaching your students to be strong readers of nonfiction, you prepare them for deeper reading in the content areas and contribute to their college and career readiness. Here are some of the things NYCCLS emphasizes in relation to informational text:

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