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English Language Arts

The APS ELA program seeks to develop students who are strategic readers, effective writers, engaging speakers, and critical thinkers.


English Language Arts (ELA) seeks to teach English language literacy skills, primarily expressed in the ability to effectively read, write, listen, and speak. Standards and objectives that describe grade-level expectations for teaching and learning these skills are found within the state of .

The ELA Office believes all children can learn to read skillfully, write expressively, and engage in higher-level discourse.


The focus in early elementary (grades preK-2) is the development and mastery of foundational literacy skills. Evidence-based instruction that emphasizes phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension is prioritized to meet the needs of students in the early stages of reading and writing acquisition.

The focus in upper elementary (grades 3-5) continues to build automaticity in decoding words accurately and with increased fluency. Students in these grades build knowledge of content, literature and the world.

The focus in middle school (grades 6-8) is a broader understanding of the world of literary genres. Students are encouraged to widen their reading lives and deepen their writing voices by exploring multiple genres, employing a variety of strategies, and considering multiple perspectives.

The focus in high school (grades 9-12) is an appreciation of literature in all its forms. Multiple paths of study are available to students including Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate courses. Courses guide and prepare students for post-secondary, higher educational settings as articulated in .

APS Literacy Plan

ELA Elementary Curriculum



APS Curriculum utilizes evidence-based high quality resources aligned to the science of reading for all students to reach the Virginia Standards of Learning. Scarboroughs Reading Rope highlights that students need both instruction in word recognition and language comprehension to become skilled and fluent readers.

  • Students in grades K-3 receive explicit and direct instruction in phonics through 95 Phonics Core Program or Fundations.
  • Students in grades K-5 receive explicit instruction in language comprehension to include vocabulary, background knowledge, and shared learning experiences with our newest resource CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts).

Specific Information by Grade

Kindergarten CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

First Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Second Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Third Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fourth Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fifth Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fifth Grade Writing Assessment Rubrics

ELA Secondary Curriculum

Updates from the ELA Office October 2023

  • In Secondary Literacy in the middle and high schools, APS is using a new reading screener this year in grades 6-9th and select students demonstrating need in 10-12th grades. This assessment is called the NWEA Map Growth Reading. This will enable teachers to flag students that need intervention in reading. Another new assessment this year is the Phonics Screener for Interventions. This is a diagnostic assessment to determine the students specific word recognition needs.
  • New reading supports are evidence-based strategies that are recommended by the Institute of Educational Services. These strategies are:
  • Build students vocabulary
  • Build students decoding skills?so they can read complex,?multisyllabic words
  • Use complex text
  • Use comprehension building?activities to help student?make sense of texts


  • Curriculum and Instruction is another area of focus this year. We are committed to providing all students with access to complex grade level text. The core resource, HMH Into Literature, provides complex text for every unit, every grade 6-12th, and accessibility features such as read aloud technology; a built in glossary; grammar lessons; and a workbook for annotations.
  • For interventions, APS has begun training and implementation using multisyllable routine instruction for students to read multisyllabic words.
  • Writing is another area of focus based on the ELAAC recommendations from 22-23SY. We are partnering with the office of Advanced Academics to provide writing tasks in the curriculum for every grade level. We are utilizing a resource called Document Based Questions (DBQ) to support students in writing in response to texts they read.? Writing performance tasks are currently being incorporated to each unit with the curriculum revisions taking place this year.
  • We are working with approximately 200 teachers with Professional Learning in adolescent reading. The online course they are taking is called Aspire. It is a graduate level course in teaching reading and writing to adolescent students.? This specialized training will support our secondary teachers that work mostly closely with students that have reading needs in the middle and high schools.

Slide Deck from October 4, 2023? ACTL meeting


thumbnail of ACTL Oct 4


ELA Writing Rubric from VDOE-VDOE High School Writing Scoring Rubrics (chart version)

Interventions in English Language Arts


APS has a variety of researched-based intervention programs and approaches available. It is our goal to provide reading intervention to any student who is in need of additional explicit instruction and support in one or more areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

Students participate in intervention based on individual needs to master specific literacy skills to become successful readers, as a supplement to core instruction.? Each intervention approach utilizes assessment to determine precise individual needs and allow teachers to provide explicit education, guided practice, and monitor student progress.

APS is committed to multiple tiers of support for all students which begins with quality classroom instruction involving whole group, small group, and individualized settings.

For more information on specific tiers of instruction, please visit the ATSS website.

Information on Dyslexia

ELA Resources


English Language Arts Office

Syphax Education Center
2110 Washington Boulevard
鶹, VA 22204

Laura Smith, Administrative Assistant

Elementary ELA

Gabriela Rivas, Elementary ELA Supervisor
703-228-8044 ?

Jennifer Clarke, Elementary ELA Specialist

Suzanne Boothby, Elementary ELA Coach




Secondary ELA

Sarah Cruz, Secondary ELA Supervisor

Laura O’Dea, Secondary ELA Specialist

Christopher McIntosh, Secondary ELA Coach