Designed for Success

Designed for Success

Close reading and targeted skills instruction with scaffolded support is at the heart of the Connections: English Language Arts instructional design. As students read, discuss, analyze, and respond to these on-level, high-interest texts, they learn step by step how to unlock meaning in great literature.

Essential Questions Make Learning Relevant

Thought-provoking questions provide the purpose, relevancy, and the connective thread for critical reading of complex texts in each unit. Each unit includes five chapters with texts and lessons that connect back to the Essential Question.

Targeted Skills Applied to Literature and Informational Texts

Each chapter is focused on an overarching learning objective and carefully scaffolded to maximize student success.

example table of content showing the skills covered in each lessonexample table of content showing the skills covered in each lesson

close reading process flow chartclose reading process flow chart

Make Complex Texts Accessible

Scaffolding of the chapter happens through close reading. Using the close reading routine, students develop a toolkit of strategies to tackle the specific tasks in a lesson.

More About Close Reading

The close reading routine encourages students to read and reread a text with a specific focus. The goal is to understand the main ideas of the text and to analyze the words and techniques the writer uses to communicate. The close reading process will help students eventually get to the process of critically evaluating texts as a whole.

Science of Reading in Connections: English Language Arts

Active Reading Focus

What is the main idea?

Skilled Reading Strategies

  • What is this mostly about?
  • Which ideas are most important?
  • What message is the author trying to share?
  • What words or phrases stand out as important?

Active Reading Focus

How does the what the writer communicates support his or her purpose?

Skilled Reading Strategies

  • How do details develop the main idea?
  • What types of language (figurative language, repetition, rhyme) does the writer use to create meaning?
  • From what point of view is the story told? Who is narrating the story?
  • How do the sentences/paragraphs in the text relate or fit together?
  • How does the structure of the text emphasize the ideas? Do I see causes/effects? Problems/solutions? Claims/reasons?

Active Reading Focus

Why is this text important or meaningful to me—or to others?

Skilled Reading Strategies

  • What can I learn from the text that will help me understand the world?
  • What can I learn that will make me a better writer?
  • Why is (or why isn’t) this informational text convincing? Why is (or why isn’t) this work of literature meaningful?
  • How does this text connect to other texts? Where have I seen this theme before? How to other presentation of this text (movie, artwork, etc.) communicate the theme in similar or different ways?

Focus On Activities

Each lesson in a chapter contains a set of “Focus On” activities to build understanding and proficiency with a standards-based skill or strategy.

Organize and Reference Textual Evidence
Collaborate Through an Online Discussion
Synthesize Evidence, Ideas, and Analyses in a Writing Task
Collaborate and Share Responses with a Partner

example of integrated language practice exerciseexample of integrated language practice exercise

Integrated Language Practice

Connect reading and writing with an interactive language activity addressing grammar, usage, and mechanics skills.

Application of Skills in Project-Based Assessments

Students demonstrate understanding of the chapter skills in a Project-Based Assessment offering two modalities/options for differentiation.

example of project-based assessment - personal essayexample of project-based assessment - personal essay

Integrating Ideas On Your Own with Independent Practice

Extend the lesson and engage students in future exploration with activities related to the chapter text.

End-of-Unit Writing Project

The unit culminates in a comprehensive writing project. This is where students practice the writing process and focus on the elements of different writing modes.

Scaffolded writing supports students as they work through the writing process step by step. Breaking down the process and structuring the writing lesson helps develop confident and competent writers.

Writing modes across grades 6–12 include:

  • Argumentative Essay
  • Explanatory Essay
  • Comparative Essay
  • Research Paper
  • Personal Narrative
  • Rhetorical Analysis
  • Literary Analysis
example of student edition page for writing an argumentative essayexample of student edition page for writing an argumentative essay
Generate Ideas
Organize Ideas and Write the First Draft
Revision and First Peer Review
Language Skill and Second Peer Review
Final Proofread and Final Peer Review
writing process- brainstorm step with graphic organizer

stock image of students working togetherstock image of students working together

Test Practice in an Extended Writing Project

Prepare students for the types of performance tasks they will be completing on standardized testing. The task requires students to synthesize knowledge gained and skills developed throughout the unit.

Ongoing Test Practice—Connect to Testing

Students practice the skills they learned in the chapter with a formative check mirrored after standardized assessments.

example of test practice with The Giverexample of test practice with The Giver