Professional Development


Common Core Reading: Literature


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What’s the best way to assign appropriately complex literary texts? Are your students really mastering academic and domain-specific vocabulary? What kinds of sources belong in a deep and diverse literature program? Why should students dive deeply into what they read?

Get the most out of your Common Core training with this scaffolded professional development course and interactive workshop. This course will help you optimize your existing Reading: Literature lesson plans to meet the Common Core standards for your grade. You’ll learn how the Common Core shifts the focus of instruction onto vocabulary in context, text evidence, and craft and structure. Finally, our hands-on workshop will guide you through creating a new lesson plan that you can use immediately.

Product Description

This course reviews the basics of teaching literature under the Common Core State Standards. ELA teachers in Common Core states will find this session useful, but it is relevant to any ELA teachers who want their students to engage deeply with texts, have a solid vocabulary foundation, and expand their worldview through literature.

The course begins with a lesson that analyzes 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. 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 literature 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.

More Information

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: Use Complex Texts
        Resource: Appendix A of the Common Core ELA Standards
    Shift 1: Teach Complex Texts and Academic Vocabulary
    Shift 2: Focus on Craft and Structure
    Shift 3: Build Knowledge through Integration of Ideas
    Shift 4: Use Text Evidence

Lesson 2. Learn how to integrate Common Core Standards into your instruction
    Add More Complex Texts (Shift 1)
        Resource: Appendix B of the Common Core ELA Standards
    Choose Appropriately Complex Texts (Shift 1)
    Use Complex Texts (Shift 1)
        Engage: Begin a lesson plan centered around a complex text
        Resource: Appendix B of the Common Core ELA Standards
        Resource: Common Core Reference Guide
        Resource: Choosing Complex Text Template
        Resource: Choosing Complex Text Model
        Resource: Lesson Plans and Planning Guides
    Teach Academic Vocabulary with Complex Texts (Shift 1)
        Engage: Create vocabulary activities for your lesson
    Focus on Craft
        Resource:     GLPD Common Core Writing course
    Focus on Structure
    Focus on Craft and Structure
        Engage: Use questioning strategies to organize critical thinking activities for your lesson
    Build Knowledge through Integration of Ideas
        Engage: Incorporate visuals, ancillary texts, and digital resources to expand students’ understanding throughout the lesson
        Resource: Digital Resources Guide
    Highlight Use of Text Evidence
        Engage: Review your lesson plan and create or refine assessments to require students’ use of text evidence.
        Resource: Close Reading Guide
        Resources: Close Reading Process Models for Grades 1, 3, and 7
Hands-on Reading Literature Workshop     Review and Finalize Your Lesson Plan
    Upload Your Lesson Plan
    Reflect on Your Lesson and Make Improvements for Next Time