NJASCS English Language Arts Curricula

The NJASCS English Language Arts curricula in grades 4-12 has undergone the revision process in the summer of 2014 in order to better serve our student population in achieving academic growth and goals to meet the rigor and challenges of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

These are living documents, offering opportunities for cross-curricular additions and modifications following collaboration across the disciplines and within our Professional Learning Community (PLC).


Literacy objectives within the CCSS must be met to better prepare students for PARCC assessments, college acceptance, and workforce readiness. Summary writing, analysis of rich and varied literature and non-fiction text, critical research skills, and opinions supported by text-based evidence are the cornerstone elements of the CCSS. As 21st Century learners, students require greater exposure to tools used for digital composition and revision. In turn, teachers need tools to allow them to effectively provide valid, immediate feedback in accordance with writing rubrics aligned to the rigors of the CCSS.

Elements of the Revised Program

  • Five novel-based, thematic units are the cornerstone in every grade level. There are three leveled novels per theme, allowing for literature circles/flexible skill grouping depending upon the reading levels of the students.
  • Increased non-fiction and mixed-media resources are embedded in curricula. Additional non-fiction, theme-based/web-based selections are easily accessible to the teacher via hyperlink to meet common core expectations of multiple authors’ perspectives. Research-based/citation enrichment is a specific focus in grades 9-12.
  • Writing styles are rich and varied; there is exposure and opportunities for practice in multiple genres. Digital monthly writing exams are administered, with a strong focus on summarization and text-based support. Computer-generated grading/coaching is provided prior or in addition to teacher conferencing/grading.
  • Academic vocabulary is clearly indicated in each unit, with text-based vocabulary being added to curricula as each group of students analyzes the text and identifies new vocabulary in context.
  • Digital assessment software paired with NWEA-style question banks will be used to develop benchmark exams, which are designed by a team of teachers and content specialists. These exams will align to specific skills identified within the CCSS. Performance-based, summative assessments are designed and administered at the end of each unit.

Focus on Digital Learning

One notable addition to the program is the purchase of a complete set of Chrome books per ELA classroom in grades 3-8; this will allow for the implementation of supplemental writing curricula, Pearson’s WriteToLearn program. This innovative program will also supplement our curricula for all students in grades 4-12, from emergent to advanced learners. Through web-based summary and essay writing activities that span the curriculum, students receive real-time, automated feedback on their reading comprehension and writing skills, enhancing the learning process so they see faster progress and improvement on their scores. With added content and built-in language support for English Language Learners, WriteToLearn offers increased support for ALL students.

Additionally, to best serve diverse learners, a digital library of books per grade level is being made available by the school. Through the teaching of thematic units, students will now be assigned a text from a variety of full-length texts, aligned to their independent reading levels, in order to better individualize instruction.

Because the selection of texts embedded within curricula is now increased to meet the needs of diverse learners, NJASCS has made the decision to move to the use of e-readers to allow for the tailored approach of ELA instruction to meet the needs of each student. E-readers allow for numbered pages, table of contents, pictures and graphics, exactly like a printed book. EBooks present many benefits and advantages; fonts in eBooks can be resized, making it easier to read for students with disabilities. With an additional software it is possible to turn some of the eBooks into audio books to again best serve our diverse learners.

Diagnostic Assessments

The administration of diagnostic assessments in order to best serve the needs of individual learners is paramount to the successful implementation of ELA curricula. The results of these exams allow teachers to design growth plans to support and accelerate the academic progress of every student.

STAR Reading assessments are administered in September, January, and June. These assessments typically require 20-30 minutes, are computer adaptive, include new skills-based test items and new in-depth reports for screening, instructional planning, progress monitoring, and standards benchmarking. Educators have immediate access to skill-specific, actionable data to target instruction and practice, select students for intervention, and predict state-test performance. STAR Reading’s research-based test items provide teachers data in four major skill areas:
  • Foundational Skills
  • Reading Informational Text
  • Reading: Literature
  • Language
Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessments create personalized assessment experiences by adapting to each student’s learning level, providing assessment data—and essential information about what each student knows and is ready to learn following a computer adaptive, 50-minute assessment. Teachers use this data to drive instructional planning in the classroom, ensuring each student is challenged and supported to meet or exceed grade-level expectations.

Digital Capstone Portfolio

Additionally, a Digital Capstone Portfolio will be completed by each student. This writing portfolio will be added to on a monthly basis, and will showcase each student’s very best writing throughout the year. At the end of the project, students will complete a self-analysis of their growth shown over the course of the year.

2014-2015 Academic Year – 4th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 5th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 6th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 7th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 8th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 9th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 10th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 11th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – 12th Grade ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – AP Literature ELA Curriculum Download
2014-2015 Academic Year – AP Language ELA Curriculum Download