This course reviews the basics of teaching reading informational texts under the Common Core State Standards. ELA teachers in Common Core states will find this session useful, but it is relevant to any teacher who wants their students to engage deeply with texts, have a solid vocabulary foundation, and effectively utilize technical and nonfiction texts.
The course begins by analyzing the major shifts in reading instruction with the Common Core. After introducing each shift, the course moves into a hands-on workshop format. In Lesson 2, teachers use our instruction, guidance, and downloadable resources to begin a new lesson plan that is centered on a grade-appropriate complex text. Teachers continue to work with this lesson plan throughout the remainder of the course, incorporating academic vocabulary, an analysis of the author’s craft and structure, ancillary texts, and digital resources that will expand students’ general understanding of the text as it relates to the genre and the outside world, and assessments that require students to use text evidence in authentic responses to what they’ve learned. See the Table of Contents tab for more detailed information.
At the end of the course, participants will have access to useful downloadable resources to which they can refer as often as needed, even after the course is complete. Teachers will gain a new outlook on teaching informational texts in the Common Core classroom. Participants will also leave the course with a new lesson plan made as part of our hands-on workshop. Upon upload of that finished lesson plan, we will issue a certificate that can be submitted to administrators as proof of completed professional development hours.
Designed with K–8 teachers in mind, but useful for all ELA instructors.
This course takes 1–3 hours to complete. Upon uploading a completed lesson plan, you will receive a certificate that can be submitted to your administrator as proof of time spent.
For Illinois teachers, ISBE clock hours will be provided upon request. Contact us
for more details.
See our Professional Development page
for information on our other online and in-person professional development offerings.
Introduction and opening video
Lesson 1. Identify “shifts” that make Common Core different from previous standards.
Shift 1: Teaching Complex Texts and Academic Vocabulary
Shift 2: New Focus on Craft and Structure
Shift 3: Building Knowledge through Integration of Ideas
Shift 4: Using Text Evidence
Lesson 2. Learn how to integrate Common Core Standards into your Instruction
Add More Complex Texts
Choose Appropriately Complex Texts
Use Complex Text
Engage: Begin a lesson plan centered around a complex text
Teach Academic Vocabulary
Engage: Create vocabulary activities for your lesson
Teach Craft and Structure
Engage: Use questioning strategies to organize critical thinking activities for your lesson
Build Knowledge through Content-Rich Nonfiction
Engage: Incorporate visuals, ancillary texts, and digital resources to expand students’ understanding throughout the lesson
Use Text Evidence
Engage: Review your lesson plan and create or refine assessments to require students’ use of text evidence.
Review and Finalize Your Lesson Plan
Upload Your Lesson Plan
Reflect on Your Lesson and Make Improvements
Close Reading Models
Close Reading Guide
Sample Unit Plan
Common Core Easy Reference Guide
Choosing Appropriate Text Handout
Curriculum Maps (Grades K–8)