Table of Contents

Unit 1: Understanding and Teaching the Common Core Writing Standards

1.4.1 Key Changes

The chart below outlines the three key shifts to the CCSS for ELA/Literacy. Notice that Shift 2 indicates a key change for writing:

Three Key Shifts in ELA/Literacy

Shift 1:
Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction
Students read a balance of informational and literary texts, moving from a 50/50 balance in K–5 to increasing emphasis on literary nonfiction (across content areas) in grades 6–12.
Shift 2:
Reading, writing and speaking grounded in evidence from text - both literary and informational
Writing from sources rather than relying solely on prior knowledge and experience. For example, using evidence from texts to present careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
Shift 3:
Regular practice with complex text and academic language
Building upon a "staircase of text complexity" to prepare students for the demands of college- and career-level reading; focus on academic vocabulary across content areas.


Why the increased focus on citing evidence from text?

Most college and career writing requires students to take a position or inform others by citing evidence rather than sharing personal opinion. Across the grades, students need to develop the skill of gathering evidence from text to support their claims.

Analyzing text does not mean banishing personal response to a text. Though not called for in the standards, there are times these responses and discussion are essential. They are best done however AFTER the text is fully analyzed. At this point students' personal responses will be enhanced by what the text has to offer.


Time to View

Take a few minutes to view a video clip that addresses this key shift and its implications. Watch through minute 5:10.

( New York State Education Department)

Time to Reflect

After viewing the video, reflect on the following questions:



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Sample responses