Wachusett Regional School District
Wachusett Mountain

 English/Language Arts
Principle 1-Critical Thinking Through Language Arts
Curriculum Frameworks K-12

Approved by School Committee 04/08/96

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Principle 2. Effective Communicating Through Language Arts
Principle 3. Lifelong Connections Through Language Arts
Principle 4. Global Understanding Through Language Arts

The outcome expectations of the students are listed within each of these categories and are classified under three grade level spans:  K - 4, 5 - 8, and 9 - 12.


Critical thinking encompasses the following skills: recalling, analyzing, comparing, inferring and evaluating. Language arts is the foundation for the development of these skills; in fact, critical thinking is an essential aspect of all processes of language arts instructions.

To become truly independent thinkers, students as readers, viewers, listeners, writers, and speakers need many curricular and non-curricular opportunities to interact with diverse texts in ways that stimulate them to reflect, challenge, appraise and create. For example, readers participate in all areas of critical thinking each time they engage in a reading activity and writers reflect on their own ideas throughout the writing process since writing is a discursive activity.

Students as readers or listeners are learning to speculate or draw cause and effect conclusions, which are important reasoning skills. As writers and speakers, students must analyze, categorize and evaluate experiences which will help students resolve complex problems in other areas requiring reasoning skills.

Grades K - 4

Students will:

  • Access prior knowledge, preview, and set purpose for tasks
  • Use illustrations, headings and patterns to generate questions and ideas and predict outcomes 
  • Use context, phonics, structural analysis, and common sense to decode, define, and use new words 
  • Monitor comprehension by questioning, reviewing text and using prior knowledge 
  • Use strategies such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, prior knowledge and personal experiences to produce and organize text 
  • Employ study skills to gain information 
  • Revise oral, written, and visual text to improve details and sequence in response to instruction 
  • Reflect on performance by choosing work for publication or portfolio 
  • Consider audience and purpose for reading, writing and presenting 
  • Edit writing for basic mechanics, usage, sentence structure and spelling 
  • Create presentations relative to text 
  • Recognize genres and understand the distinctive qualities of each 
  • Use knowledge of story conventions to discuss literary elements of text 
  • Extract information from text to establish and to support ideas in writing 
  • Follow simple oral and written directions 
  • Identify and begin to understand figurative language in text 
  • Respond to imagery, rhythm and rhyme in text 
  • Compare stories and relate different versions to various cultures 
  • Connect literature to personal experiences 
  • Understand and carry out assigned role in cooperative learning environment
Grades 5 - 8

Students will:

  • Use understanding of genre to establish purpose, predict outcomes and generate questions
  • Select and use the appropriate techniques from a variety of planning techniques, such as questioning, brainstorming, listing, webbing and charting ideas 
  • Monitor comprehension to confirm and to revise predictions 
  • Understand and use specialized vocabulary 
  • Apply study processes for management of information 
  • Revise work for improvement and respond to peer suggestions 
  • Make choices regarding appropriate genre for purpose and audience 
  • Edit writing for mechanics, usage, sentence structure and spelling 
  • Publish and present appropriate creative work for a variety of audiences 
  • Understand conventions of various genres 
  • Understand literary terms 
  • Understand organization of common informational text and use these conventions in the creating text 
  • Recognize figurative language and other stylistic techniques in age-appropriate text. 
  • Connect themes and characters to personal experience 
  • Recognize and use various literary sound devices 
  • Use understanding of role norms in cooperative discussions
Grades 9 - 12


Students will:

  • Access and apply prior knowledge from multiple sources to prepare and to predict
  • Independently apply a variety of effective planning strategies, including questioning, brainstorming, listing and outlining 
  • Use effective strategies to monitor and to repair comprehension 
  • Use context to understand connotation and to make appropriate word choices 
  • Apply knowledge of affixes and common allusions to the understanding and use of new words 
  • Internalize a continuous study system 
  • Recognize need for revising and editing to improve clarity, style and meaning 
  • Apply prescribed criteria and personal standards to assess performance 
  • Consider audience and purpose in selecting approach, style and rhetorical devices 
  • Edit for all standard conventions including mechanics and structure 
  • Publish and/or present original work 
  • Understand the conventions of genre and their importance to the understanding of a work 
  • Understand and respond to increasingly more complex content materials 
  • Understand nature and purpose of rhetorical techniques in formational and practical text and be able to apply these techniques 
  • Recognize recurrence of motifs, archetypes and themes in literature and be able to critique the particular textual expression of these elements 
  • Understand and use literary devices effectively in constructing or conveying meaning 
  • Appreciate the impact of figurative language on meaning and appraise its effectiveness 
  • Identify thematic similarities among various texts and construct new insight from that understanding 
  • Identify thematic similarities among cross-cultural textual selections 
  • Perceive the universality of character and theme 
  • Engage productively in discussions and consider differing perspectives in reaching understanding