As I annotated reading standard two, I noticed that it wasn’t going to be as easy to fill in a ladder. While I created a ladder for comparison to my post on Standard One, it appeared that a better way to describe the skill progression is a system of cycles. The initial grade level in a cycle seems to introduce a concept or vocabulary word. The next grade level appears to ask “how” a concept is created, usually giving specific details to pay attention to in a text. Then the final grade level asks the students to independently understand what is asked for by “details” and analysis. As you move up in cycles and move up the grade levels, the amount of text increases as well as what is considered development.
Identifying the Shifts
Reading Standard Two: Determine the central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Looking at just the words, which you can download my PDF version here. I’ve bolded the key shifts between standards in order to illustrate how each grade level contributes to the final 11/12 reading standard language and skill. What’s most interested, as stated before, there appears to be a continual cycle that reinvents itself through the grade levels.
As you read over the bolded shifts, what do you notice changing or being added at each grade level?
- Kindergarten: With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
- Grade 1: Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
- Grade 2: Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
- Grade 3: Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
- Grade 4: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
- Grade 5: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
- Grade 6: Determine a theme or central idea of a text, and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
- Grade 7: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of a text; provide an objective summary of the text.
- Grade 8: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
- Grades 9-10:: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
- Grades 11-12- Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
Shifts and Patterns of Note
For me, there are three key grade groupings when it comes to shifts and changes in languages: K-3, 4-6, and 7-12. Identifying these shifts allows me to consider how the pattern stays in place and how the pattern evolves or changes.
The K-3 band introduces types of stories, key details, and a central message. Students learn about the pieces of a story like the ingredients in a recipe; then, students learn about the final product (the central message). Finally, in 3rd grade, the students consider how those ingredients (key details) create the final product (central message).
The 4th-6th band defines types of texts (story, drama, poem), how each type of text uses details, and distinguishes between summary and opinion. When I think about a student learning how to find theme, the standards start with the end in mind. They define the destination, theme, in 4th grade; layout distinct paths to find the destination in 5th grade; then allow students to determine their own path to the destination in 6th grade.
From 7th to 12th grade, the jumps and reconfigurations happen at a faster pace. However, there is a jump in 7th grade that sustains through all six grade levels: the student must consider the entire text. These grade levels start out the same as other cycles in that 7th grade introduces the idea that “theme is an entire text idea.” Then 8th grade identifies specific details that are most important, in this case character, setting, and plot. Here’s where I think it gets a bit interesting and accelerates student skills. While 9/10 grade pulls away specific details for searching, like other cycles have done, 9/10 adds an additional layer immediately. At this point, the “whole text” is defined based upon how that part of text refines the theme: emerge, shape, and refine. Again, as we step up to the 11/12 band, there is less specifics on “how to” analyze, but there is now the addition of multiple themes in dialogue.
How does knowing that my students have learned through a similar cycle at lower grade levels help me as an instructor? If students in 11/12 grade band are expected to determine multiple themes, what steps do I need to to take in 9/10 grade to make sure that students understand that multiple themes do exist in a text? The attention paid to very specific means to finding a central idea, moral, or theme and the removal of the specifics with vague terms like “particular details” strikes me as a very important piece to the cycle in Reading Standard 2. As a teacher in grade level that has the vague term like “particular details”, it’s important that I know how the prior grade level defined the idea of “particular.”
As you look at the influence of each grade level, consider how you will use this information to teach your current students, align vertically across grade levels and buildings, and envision a future wherein the 12th graders that you inherit will have received this ladder of instruction since kindergarten.