Just as Front Row's math program is standards-aligned, so is our ELA program! The focus of Front Row ELA is allowing students to read and practice at their level. Each ELA article is available at multiple grade levels so that, no matter their reading level, every student can access the material -- whether that's reading about Rosa Parks, jazz music, or stem cells.
Similarly, each ELA article is also aligned with 2-3 anchor skills, so that no matter what level a student is reading a given article at, he or she can practice the same anchor skills as his or her peers.
How did we come up with the anchor skills?
The Front Row anchor skills correlate with the Common Core standards for Reading: Informational Text. We looked at the CCSS at every grade level, and we identified 9 distinct skills that students should master when reading nonfiction text. These skills are vertically aligned and build on one another from one grade level to the next.
Let's take a look at some of the 4th grade ELA standards for Reading: Informational Text (also found here):
As you can see, RI.4.1 asks students to pull details from the text and answer questions based both on what they read and what they infer from the text.
Now, let's take a look at some of the 6th grade ELA standards for Reading: Informational Text (also found here):
As you can see, RI.6.1 asks students to cite textual evidence to support their analysis of both what they read and what they infer from the text. Clearly, RI.4.1 and RI.6.1 are tied to one another, but the 6th grade standard is a bit more complex than the 4th grade standard. If you compare RI.4.2 and RI.6.2 or RI.4.3 and RI.6.3 (or any of the standards between grade levels, for that matter), you'll notice the same thing. By closely reading the standards, we were able to summarize each of the strands into 9 anchor skills.
So, what are the Front Row ELA anchor skills?
The 9 ELA anchor skills you'll see on Front Row are:
1. Explicit Information - Ask and answer explicit questions about the text, making logical inferences when necessary. Determine key details from the text, and cite textual evidence to support ideas.
2. Summarizing & Main Ideas - Determine the main idea(s) and track how they develop over the course of a text. Identify how key details support central ideas or themes. Summarize a text drawing on important information.
3. Analyzing Connections - Analyze the connections between people, events, ideas, and/or steps in a process. Follow how these relationships develop and influence one another over the course of a text.
4. Word Meaning & Choice - Determine the meaning of unknown words and phrases in a text by using context clues and knowledge of roots, affixes, and synonyms/antonyms. Analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone.
5. Text Structure & Development - Analyze the structure of a text (chronological, compare/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution) and the relationships between certain sentences, paragraphs, and sections as well as how they contribute to the whole text.
6. Author's Intent - Evaluate the author’s purpose in writing a text and the point of view conveyed. Determine how the author’s intent influences the text.
7. Presentation of Content - Interpret content presented in diverse media and evaluate how it contributes to the overall understanding of a text. Draw on information from multiple sources and in various formats.
8. Claims & Evidence - Describe and evaluate the claims in a text as well as the validity of the reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
9. Multiple Texts - Analyze multiple texts to find similarities and differences in the information presented as well as integrate that information for a complete understanding of the topic. Recognize diverse information as different interpretations of facts.
How can I ensure my students are practicing the correct anchor skills?
Have a particular standard you are working on with your class (i.e. RI.3.2 - identifying the main idea)? You can use the ELA article search feature to filter by anchor skill.
Since every article covers 2-3 anchor skills, you can find out the specific anchor skills the article covers by looking right under the article title and genre.
Depending on the level of the text a student reads, he or she will answer anchor skill aligned questions that are also at the same level. In this way, comprehension questions on Front Row are leveled just like the articles.