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English Language Arts

Friday, March 3, 2023

DCPS supports highly effective English Language Arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening) instruction through a research-based approach that aligns between schools and grade levels through standardized and Common Core State Standard (CCSS) aligned curriculum, district-wide teacher professional development, reading interventions and assessments.

Elementary Literacy

DCPS students in Kindergarten through Fifth grades receive 120 minutes of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) aligned English Language Arts (ELA) instruction daily. This block of time is dedicated to strengthening students’ foundational reading skills and content knowledge building through rich and engaging texts. The Elementary ELA curriculum provides students with experiences with various text types and disciplines, read for multiple purposes, and authentic learning experiences. The literacy block is broken into several components that ensure students have differentiated learning experiences to meet their specific literacy needs.

Secondary Literacy

Secondary English Language Arts classrooms in the District of Columbia Public Schools provide students with opportunities to engage with a wide variety of texts in a way that will help them better understand themselves and connect with the broader world, making them more confident and compassionate human beings. The purposeful infusion of critical consciousness and social activism in the units of study, as well, is meant to help students become thoughtful, reflective, active global citizens. Rigorous study and engagement with diverse texts and ideas will also help to prepare them for the demands of their postsecondary plans, whether college or career.

Below are the anchor novels for each unit, which are the primary focus of study. Students also read a variety of supplemental texts each unit – in a range of genres and formats – to support their engagement with the specific content in each unit.

Grade Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4
6 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred Taylor) Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt) Inside Out and Back Again (Thanhha Lai) Beowulf: A New Telling (Robert Nye)
7 Boy Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl) Warriors Don’t Cry (Melba Patillo Beals) Call of the Wild (Jack London) The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (Nancy Farmer)
8 A Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry) Chains (Laurie Halse Anderson) To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) 145th Street Stories (Walter Dean Myers)
9 Killer Angels (Michael Shaara) Fences (August Wilson) Passing (Nella Larsen) Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

The Other Wes Moore (Wes Moore)

The Distance Between Us (Reyna Grande)

Night (Elie Wiesel) The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien) Hamlet (William Shakespeare)
11 The Crucible (Arthur Miller)

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)

The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Autobiography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X) Autobiography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X)
12 Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)

1984 (George Orwell)

Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

Class Matters (correspondents of The New York Times)

Norton Anthology of Nonfiction (13th ed.)

Much Ado about Nothing (William Shakespeare)


Contact Information

Emily Hammett, Director, Elementary ELA & Social Studies

Abby Welsheimer, Director, Secondary ELA