Common Core Standards: Grades 11-12 Reading Literature and Informational Texts
The Common Core Standards require your student to have a firm grasp of reading skills, which apply to literature and informational texts. The expectations for students’ reading abilities in Grades 11-12 include an extension of the citation skills from Grades 9-10.
In addition, students critique the clarity of texts. They also identify multiple main ideas and how those ideas emerge throughout a text in order to give a detailed and objective summary. In literature, students continue to examine an author’s decisions about character development and other parts of a story.
When using informational texts, students spend more time looking into the effects of certain people and events on the outcome of the event or topic being studied.
When reading literature or informational texts, students continue trying to understand the reasons behind the choice of certain words. The standards mention reading the works of William Shakespeare but don’t refer to specific writings. The informational-text standards make reference to the writings of James Madison in the Federalist Papers, specifically Federalist No. 10, as an example of a text in which the meaning of an important term is developed.
Students continue to examine the impact of a text’s structure on meaning and begin to tackle the use of satire, irony, and other literature styles that require discerning the meaning of a text. When reading informational texts, students look critically at the impact of the language the author chooses and how it contributes to the effectiveness of the message being conveyed.
Students experience multiple versions of a piece of literature and think critically about the presentation of each version as it relates to the original. The standards specify that a play by Shakespeare and a play by an American writer should be used, but the actual plays to be used are left to the discretion of teachers, schools, and districts.
The standards also point out that students should read important writings from the eighteenth though the twentieth centuries and indicate how certain subjects are addressed in more than one piece of literature.
When reading informational texts, students continue to review sources with a critical eye and use evidence from sources, whether in a written, visual, or quantitative form, to find the answer to a specified problem. To support students’ abilities to assess the reasoning of important documents in United States history, the standards suggest U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the Federalist Papers, and presidential speeches as examples of documents that make worthy topics.
The standards for informational texts in this grade band recommend important historical documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, which should be studied for their inherent historical importance and the use of noteworthy rhetoric.
Don’t forget to take a look at the resources available in the appendixes to the English language arts standards. Appendix B has samples of appropriate literature and texts for each grade level. Remember, these aren’t selections that students have to read. They are only examples of reading materials that are appropriately complex for each grade level.