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Curriculum Overview Samples - Reading, Writing, and Communicating

Initial Samples Released January 31, 2013

Hello educators,

We are proud to present the K-12 reading, writing, and communicating curriculum samples created by Colorado educators and teachers. Working with facilitators Tammy Yetter (Fort Morgan), Colleen Larson (Clear Creek), Krista Smith (Mesa County), Ron Marostica (Valley RE: 1), and Mary Jo Bode (Boulder Valley) this past fall, over 100 educators came together to translate the oral expression and listening, reading for all purposes, writing and composition, and research and reasoning sections of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) into curriculum. As resources for districts’ voluntary-use, these curriculum samples offer possible options for sequencing the concepts, skills, and content of the CAS across a course or year.

The template upon which all of the samples are based derived from research and was designed and refined by Colorado educators to highlight what students should understand, know and be able to do at the end of a given unit or plan of study (detailed description of the curriculum template components). There are some unique aspects to the reading, writing, and communicating samples at particular grade levels, which are documented in the bullet points below.

Together, these samples are intended to support districts’ transition to the CAS and the development of standards-based instructional practices. Please click here to share your thoughts regarding the curriculum overview samples.


NEW RESOURCES! Instructional Unit Samples are now available for select overviews.

Update February 15, 2013. In the original posting of the Reading, Writing, and Communicating samples, the completion of the sentence stem for the knowledge statements was somewhat confusing. To clarify this section, we have streamlined the knowledge statement to make the samples more accessible and user-friendly.

To learn more about the RWC curriculum samples watch the embedded presentations.

High School and Middle School Reading, Writing, and Communicating samples:

Unique components in middle and high school Reading, Writing, and Communicating samples:

Measuring Text Complexity: Three Factors

  1. Qualitative evaluation of the text: Levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands
  2. Quantitative evaluation of the text: Readability measures and other scores of text complexity
  3. Matching reader to text and task: Reader variables (such as motivation, knowledge, and experiences) and task variables (such as purpose and the complexity generated by the task assigned and the questions posed)

Note: More detailed information on text complexity and how it is measured is contained in Appendix A.

Middle/High school

Elementary Reading, Writing, and Communicating samples:

Unique components in elementary Reading, Writing, and Communicating samples:

The reading foundational standards of the Common Core have been highlighted in order to emphasize the critical role they play in underpinning literacy development. Whenever possible, the fundamental reading skills should be systematically addressed in conjunction with the applicable portions of the writing standards. In addition, all of the RWC standards are embedded in the curriculum samples.


We are indebted and incredibly thankful for the generosity of author Lois A. Lanning and Corwin Press, who provided us with early (pre-publication!) access to the invaluable text, Designing a Concept-Based Curriculum for English Language Arts: Meeting the Common Core with intellectual integrity k-12. This project and the educators involved benefited greatly from the insights, examples, guidance offered by this book.

Lanning, L. (2012). Designing a Concept-Based Curriculum for English Language Arts: Meeting the Common Core with intellectual integrity k-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

The Colorado Sample Curriculum was written by and for Colorado educators as a way to understand and translate the state standards into curriculum.  Users of the samples should feel free to copy, distribute and transmit the samples and to adapt them to fit their needs.  Please honor the work of the Colorado educators that created these samples by providing them attribution. These samples were not intended for commercial purposes.