1) Regular practice with complex text and their academic language:
Rather than just focusing solely on the skill of reading and writing, the ELA/literacy standards highlight the growing complexity of the text students must read to be ready for the demands of college, career, and life. The standards call for a staircase of increasingly complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college-and career-level reading no later than the end of high school.
The standards also call students to grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversation, direct instruction, and reading. They ask students to determine word meaning, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their range of words and phrases. Vocabulary and conventions are treated in their own strand not because skills in these areas should be handled in isolation, but because their use extends across reading, writing, and speaking, and listening.
2) Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational:
The Common Core emphasizes using evidence from text to present careful analyses, well-defined claims, and clear information. Rather than asking students questions they can answer solely from their prior knowledge and experience, the standard calls for students to answer questions that depend on their having read the text with care.
3) Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction
In K-5, requires a 50-50 balance between informational and literary reading. Information reading includes context-rich nonfiction in history/social studies, sciences, technical studies, and the arts.
In grades 6-12, there is much greater attention on the specific category of literary nonfiction, which is a shift from traditional standards.
English Language Arts/Literacy: Expectations for Students and Ideas for Parents
ELA Grade Specific Family Roadmaps
The Council of the Great City Schools has developed content and grade-specific parent roadmaps that provide detailed information for parents about the expectations of the Common Core in English Language Arts and Literacy. These roadmaps include examples of grade-level focus.