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English Language Arts and Reading

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  • Overview

    The Division of Teaching and Learning is committed to the successful implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards. This curriculum promotes high expectations for its teachers and students and results in meaningful student learning. The vision guiding these standards emphasizes that all students must have the opportunities and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life’s goals and to participate fully as informed, productive members of society.

    The ability to read on grade level is the single most important factor for academic success. A Lexile measure is valuable information that provides students with readability levels and text complexity guidance. The Lexile measure is shown as a number with an “L” after it—880L is 880 Lexile. Lexile levels are printed on a student’s individual score report from a state assessment and may be used with the Lexile.com website to identify appropriate text choices for both students and teachers.
    The English language arts and reading curriculum focuses on reading and literature, reading across the curriculum, writing, conventions of writing, listening, speaking, and viewing.
    Students engage in reading across the curriculum standards comprised of the following literacy activities:
    • students will read the equivalent of twenty-five books per year across the curriculum
    • students will write weekly
    • students will use reading and writing strategies to help them understand and use the content of all classes
    • students will write a minimum of one research paper and develop one research-based project each year


    Assessment is a crucial component of the Reading-ELA curriculum. Periodic assessments are administered and are intended to measure student progress during units of study. District-level end-of-semester assessments give schools cumulative data to assess student mastery of the Georgia Performance Standards. Students who are not meeting standards are eligible for intervention programs and services provided by the reading specialist or other designated support personnel. End-of-semester assessments, along with other data sources such as student work, provide schools with information to utilize interventions for students in need of focused support.

    StoryTown resources from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are utilized to teach the Georgia Performance Standards. All students have a consumable student practice book to use during class time. For students in need of additional support, StoryTown resources include intervention materials such as the Strategic Intervention Resource and the Intervention Station. Intervention station materials are utilized during Early Intervention Program (EIP) instruction. Information for the online access to the textbook is available through the local school sites.

    Students in grades K-3 also use the Handwriting Without Tears series to learn the art of handwriting.

    For the middle grades language arts courses, the primary resource material is the Holt, Rinehart, and Winston series, Elements of Literature. Information for the online access to the textbook is available through the school.

    The Extended Learning Time (ELT) class period is utilized to provide additional support for students who are in need of more instruction in order to meet state standards.

    High schools utilize the Pearson Prentice Hall Literature (Penguin Edition) textbook series. Supplemental for high school courses vary. Information for online access to textbooks is available through the school. The following courses are offered through the high school English-language arts department:
    • 9th Grade Literature/Composition
    • 10th Grade World Literature/Composition
    • 11th Grade American Literature/Composition
    • 12th Grade British Literature/Composition
    • AP Literature/Composition
    • AP Language/Composition
    • Speech and Communication
    • Drama
    • Creative Writing
    • Sheltered English
    • Reading Courses (Basic Reading and Writing to Advanced Reading)


    The Division of Teaching and Learning distributes information on various contests and competitions for schools throughout the school year. Yearly national, state, and local contents and competitions include:

    • the DeKalb County Schools Spelling Bee
    • the Georgia Department of Education Young Georgia Author’s Writing Competition
    • the DCSS Governor’s Honors Program
    • the Coca Cola Share the Dream Essay Contest
    • the Clean Water Campaign Art and Essay Contest