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Reading, Writing, and Communicating

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CDE Position Statement: RWC Standards & English Language Learners 

The Colorado Academic Standards in Reading, Writing, and Communicating were written for all students using the content, concepts, skills, and language conventions and structures found within the English language. This does not mean students must be native English speakers, nor fluent English proficient, but by utilizing the Colorado English Language Proficiency standards (Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education) in tandem with the Colorado Academic Standards, qualified and well prepared educators can ensure that all English learners receive appropriate support to ensure all students successfully meet the expectations in the standards.

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Academic Standards

The reading, writing, and communicating standards invite students to use texts to better understand others' experiences in the world and to command language in order to articulate their own perspective on the human experience. The standards intentionally reflect the read-write connection and the relationship between critically consuming text to build knowledge and producing texts to convey knowledge.

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Curriculum Support

Article IX, Section 16 of Colorado's constitution states, "Neither the general assembly nor the state board of education shall have power to prescribe textbooks to be used in the public schools." However, CDE can still serve as an advisor to help districts and schools adopt, adapt, develop, or use the materials of their choice.

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Instructional Support

Instructional support is grounded in CDE's shared approach to Best, First Instruction as well as practices and strategies supported by professional organizations and scholars at the leading edge of reading, writing, and communicating education.

  • Achieve the Core: Achieve the Core focuses on increasing the availability of high-quality, standards aligned instructional resources; increasing awareness and selection of those resources by educators; and building the capacity of educators to align instruction for all students to standards.
  • Anti-Racism Education: This list of resources centers around raising the critical consciousness of both students and educators through closely reading, writing, and communicating about the inequities in everyday social, environmental, economic, and political situations.
  • Disciplinary Literacy: Disciplinary literacy is the fundamental element found in all disciplines of the revised 2020 Colorado Academic Standards. As such, understanding disciplinary literacy is critical to being standards literate.
  • Framework for Writing InstructionIn June of 2021, a committee of literacy professionals from around Colorado convened to begin work on this Framework for Writing Instruction. It is intended to help districts and schools develop a research-based framework toward the teaching of writing. 
  • Frequently Asked Questions about READ Plans in Grades 4-12: The frequently asked questions are the first step in our phased, but targeted approach to provide guidance, support, and resources to districts regarding the topic of READ Plans beyond third grade.
  • High Impact Instruction in Diverse SettingsThis page provides a variety of resources and recommendations for providing instruction in diverse learning settings.
  • High Impact Instructional Strategies: This chart aligns high impact instructional strategies with desired student skills for reading, writing, and communicating.
  • Instructional Shifts in English Language Arts/Literacy: There are three prominent “instructional shifts” that distinguish the demands of the Colorado Academic Standards.
  • Reading, Writing, and Communicating Learning ModulesThe modules on this page were designed in response to requests from educators regarding guidance and resources for social emotional learning, culturally responsive education, and accelerated learning to support them in teaching English language arts within our state education system. 

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There are many opportunities to connect and grow as a professional educator with the larger reading, writing, and communicating education community, including mail lists, professional organizations, and events.

  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): NCTE amplifies the voice of educators through personal connection, collaboration, and a shared mission to improve the teaching and learning of English and language arts at all levels. 
  • Conference on English Leadership (CEL): The Conference on English Leadership offers a collaborative, dynamic, discussion-based forum for literacy leaders to explore current and emerging issues. 
  • Colorado Language Arts Society (CLAS): The Colorado Language Arts Society is the state affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a professional association of educators in English studies, literacy, and language arts.
  • Colorado Counsel International Reading Association (CCIRA):  CCIRA collaboratively encourages, supports, and advances literacy through researched-based instructional practices to increase literacy access to all. 
  • ReadWithMe.Today: Of the widely accepted essentials children need to thrive, reading is often the one we forget to provide. Therefore, CDE has launched a public information campaign to encourage and empower parents to make reading part of their daily routine with their children. 

Important News, Announcements, and Updates 

2023 Teaching and Learning CoLabs

The Teaching and Learning CoLabs are one-day, multi-disciplinary regional professional development workshops developed in partnership with Colorado's higher education institutions, professional teaching organizations, and the Colorado Department of Education. This year's content areas are expanding to include English language arts (RWC), math, health, PE, science, computer science, social studies, visual and performing arts and school leadership. Schools and districts are encouraged to attend a CoLab in teams, with teachers representing multiple grades and content areas. 

The dates and host sites are: 

  • Thursday, June 1, 2023, at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
  • Wednesday, June 14, 2023, at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
  • Friday, June 23, 2023, at Colorado State University-Pueblo in Pueblo.

Topics for ELA (RWC) include the following: 

  • Significant Reading Deficiency (SRD) and Body of Evidence
  • Science of Reading and English Language Learners in K-3
  • Sentence Structures to Support Writing and Comprehension in K-3
  • Myths and Misconceptions about the Science of Reading
  • *READ Act Principal/Administrator Requirements (Leadership Strand)
  • Everything is a Text: Connecting Traditional and Not So Traditional Texts Across Disciplines
  • Literacy and the Arts
  • From Research to the Secondary Classroom Implementing the Science of Reading
  • READ Plans Beyond Third Grade
  • Colorado Framework for Writing Instruction: Leadership to Classroom Practices

The Teaching and Learning CoLabs are free to attend, and teachers who attend will receive certificates for 8 contact hours. Registration is open. For additional information, please visit the Teaching and Learning CoLabs website or contact Olivia Gillespie at

On-Demand Professional Development Opportunities

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support has compiled several on-demand learning opportunities for educators. Visit the on-demand library on the CDE website

For further assistance, please contact:

Olivia Gillespie
RWC Content Specialist
P 303.866.6583 | C 720.930.1298