The K−8 English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) TEKS adopted in 2017 will be implemented in the 2019−2020 school year. The 2018−2019 school year is often thought of as the “learning year” during which educators dig in to the strands, the knowledge and skills statements, and the student expectations to ask critical questions that will guide the planning and delivery of instruction in 2019−2020 and beyond.

In a series of three blog posts, we’ll consider practical steps for reading and understanding the philosophies and intentions of the TEKS, allowing educators to create a vision for instruction in the coming years.

Reading within the strands.

The seven strands should first be considered individually to develop an understanding of the academic expectations of students in a particular area of focus.

Example: Reading Strand 3, “Response skills,” means reading the standards within the context of the knowledge and skills statement. Doing so leads to an understanding that students must engage in “listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking” as they encounter and consider “a variety of sources” (meaning, texts read, heard, and viewed) and generate a range of responses, from describing “personal connections” to demonstrating “understanding of texts, including comparing and contrasting ideas” to applying knowledge gained from texts by responding “using newly acquired vocabulary” . . .

Questions to ask as you understand the standards within a strand:

  • Why is it important to keep the standards within a strand nestled with their knowledge and skills statements (versus cutting them apart and treating them as individual standards)?
  • What opportunities for learning must be offered for students to understand, apply, and master the standards?
  • How might learning look and sound as students understand, apply, and master the standards?
  • How might reflecting on your current instructional approaches help you envision instruction of the new TEKS?

In the next blog post, we’ll explore the second step: Reading across the strands.