Literacy Learning Resources

Connections to the Common Core State Standards

The ten college and career readiness anchor standards and the grade 6-12 standards for reading define the skills and understandings that all students must demonstrate (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010, p. 35). The Disciplinary Literacy CEM provides information for teachers and leaders on how they can prepare students with varying abilities and needs to meet these rigorous standards. The CEM explains how explicit instruction in reading complex text and understanding the unique demands of the different disciplines supports reading comprehension for all students and directly addresses the Common Core State Standards.

Click on each heading to see this CEM’s connection to the Common Core State Standards

Key Ideas and Details

1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure

4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently. In recognition of the importance of reading in the disciplines, the CCSS contain standards developed for reading and writing in history, social studies, science and technical subjects. The introduction to these standards states:

Students must be able to read complex informational texts in these fields (i.e., History/Social Studies, Science, Technology) with independence and confidence because the vast majority of reading in college and workforce training programs will be sophisticated nonfiction. It is important to note that these Reading standards are meant to complement the specific content demands of the disciplines, not replace them. (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010, p. 60).

Teaching students the skills required to read complex disciplinary text will enable them to access more of the content as well as learn to read with comprehension. Students who develop these skills are more likely to attain the rigorous standards identified in the Common Core State Standards.

Anchor Presentation

The central resource in the Course Enhancement Module is a six-hour Anchor Presentation, Close Reading of Complex Text in the Disciplines. The presentation is designed as part of a pre-service educator preparation class or a professional development program for teachers and leaders. The presentation includes a Power Point with verbatim Speaker Notes, links to videos and podcasts, activities for participants to complete during the presentation, follow-up application activities, and suggested readings. All handouts referenced in the facilitator notes are compiled in the zip file below. Resources from the presentation are also available in the resources section of the Course Enhancement Module. In addition to the anchor presentation, the Course Enhancement Module includes links to relevant websites, a comprehensive list of references, multimedia resources, and the Evidence-Based Reading Instruction Innovation Configuration, which is under development. This framework, which includes elements of disciplinary literacy, is used to ensure that practices addressed in teacher/leader preparation programs are evidence based.

teacher with students

CEMs provide professors and professional development providers with useful resources to effectively equip teachers.

Sample Course and Professional Development Activities

These sample activities are appropriate for a university class or for completion outside of class. They are also appropriate for professional development application with practicing teachers and leaders. The activities can be used during professional learning teamwork, applied with students in the classroom, or used to guide coaching and peer conversations. Model: Talking to the Text Old Man In order for students to understand what good readers do, careful thought has to be taken to note the strategies used and then say them aloud, making invisible thinking visible through a metacognitive think aloud. Click here to view a teacher modeling a structured think-aloud–talking to the text. She has planned what she wants students to focus on rather than doing an authentic modeling of a complex text she has not read before. An annotated version of the poem (Download here) and a think-aloud assessment (Download here) are provided. After viewing the model, complete the think-aloud assessment and reflect on the process either independently or with a peer. Lesson Planning for the Mixed-Ability Class Disciplinary Literacy Sample Lesson Plan: History Lesson planning for the mixed-ability class can be a challenge. It is important for teachers to consider a range of abilities and needs while attending to the content standards being addressed. Review the sample lesson plan (Download here) and consider the following:

  • Are the needs of struggling readers appropriately met?
  • Does the lesson plan include effective accommodations/modifications for students with Learning Disabilities?
  • Have appropriate supports been included for English Language Learners? Now use the lesson plan assessment (Download here) to determine how well the lesson plan provides opportunities for students to use disciplinary literacy skills to access and comprehend the content?


Downloads are embedded within the module, but you can access them here, too.