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English Language Arts

Developing literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening is a collaborative responsibility of all educators. Classroom learning experiences should enhance and expand the communication and critical thinking skills that allow students to develop resiliency and positive attitudes as they grow into effective readers, writers, communicators and life-long learners. The Pennsylvania Department of Education embraces effective literacy teaching and learning through a system that includes a comprehensive, research-based approach that supports teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
Given the expectations for students graduating from Pennsylvania schools in the 21st century and the need for all students to be “future-ready” at the end of grade 12, educators will need to rethink the ways by which they approach literacy instruction at all levels, including early learning for students ages birth through five years of age. Students must be able to read more challenging and complex text; moreover, they will need experiences that enable them to use literacy as a tool for learning the content in each of the academic disciplines (i.e., science, social studies, math, and English language arts). The availability of technology has created a need for new ways of thinking about how students learn, as students of today have access to many different technological devices and social media. At the same time, many do not know how to use technological resources critically or effectively (Castek & Gwinn, 2012). Furthermore, although Pennsylvania has always valued and supported early learning initiatives, much more has been learned about how to incorporate language and literacy into early childhood programs. Likewise, the importance of literacy across curricula has begun to assume more importance with the recognition that literacy skills are important for learning academic content.
Vision. All students in Pennsylvania from birth through Grade 12 will become well educated
citizens with a command of literacy that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st
century and enables them to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Mission. The Pennsylvania State Literacy Plan (PaSLP) will provide guidance to
stakeholders about their roles in developing an integrated, aligned, and comprehensive set of
literacy experiences for students. The plan will identify and describe (1) essential evidence-based notions about the content of literacy (birth-Grade 12) and (2) processes by which all stakeholders (e.g., parents, care-takers, educators, community members, etc.) involved in students’ literacy learning can facilitate that learning in a coherent and consistent manner.

The Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS) is a collaborative product of research and good practice that identifies six distinct elements which, if utilized together, will provide schools and districts a common framework for continuous school and district enhancement and improvement. Much research has been conducted regarding what makes a great school. There are many intangible components; however, research supports the notion that great schools and school systems tend to have six common elements that ensure Student Achievement: Standards, Assessment, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials & Resources, and Safe and Supportive Schools.

English Language Arts for 21st Century students will be guided by the Pennsylvania Core Standards in every Pennsylvania public school classroom. Pennsylvania educators and educational experts have created a thorough, rigorous, aligned and articulated Pennsylvania Core Standards unique document.

The English Language Arts Standards will continue to provide parents and community members with information about what students should know and be able to do as they progress through the educational program to graduation. With a clearly defined target provided by the standards, parents, students, educators and community members become partners in learning.