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English Language Arts


The Issaquah School District believes that literacy, the ability to read, write, listen, speak, and think critically in different ways and for different purposes, begins to develop early and becomes increasingly important as students pursue specialized fields of study in high school and beyond.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for reading, writing, speaking, listening and language provide the learning targets for our instruction. Additional information on the CCSS is available at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

The Issaquah School District is aligning our literacy curriculum to meet or exceed CCSS. Our reading program consists of clearly articulated goals, quality assessments, appropriate, research-based instructional strategies, and quality materials for students with the end goal of helping students achieve college and career readiness.


The accumulated wisdom of educational research in the field of reading suggests that instruction focus on several main areas. Each of these is entirely necessary to the development of strong independent reading skills, but none, standing on its own, is sufficient to build meaning.

The students in the Issaquah School District will:

  • use phonics and word analysis skills to decode words
  • read fiction and non-fiction fluently at an appropriate and increasingly complex level
  • use a variety of strategies to deepen comprehension
  • write to explain, to tell, and to support claims using text based evidence
  • present ideas through speaking as well as through technology supported media
  • develop age appropriate academic and conversational language


Intentional and on-going assessment is essential to quality education. Assessment takes a variety of forms and serves multiple purposes:

  • to monitor and adjust curriculum at the district and school level.
  • to inform and guide classroom instructional practice.
  • to chart the development of student skills and strategies over time.

Instructional Strategies

Appropriate and effective instructional strategies are based on research. They are applied systematically and consistently in order to ensure success for all students.

Elements of effective literacy instruction include:

  • Phonics—systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics skills at appropriate stages of development (implementation depends on grade level and student need.)
  • Fluency—reading with speed, accuracy, and proper expression.
  • Comprehension—intentional instruction of vocabulary and a broad array of strategies to derive meaning from and form personal responses to text.
  • Written response—reflection, analysis, explanation, use of text based evidence and logic in response to reading, writing, speaking, and listening

Instruction must meet the needs of all students as determined by assessment. Effective instructional models include read-alouds, shared, guided and independent reading.


Materials meet the needs of all students through a variety of instructional strategies that provide multiple opportunities for mastery of skills. These materials consist of decodable texts, multilevel sets of quality fiction and non-fiction literature, and a variety of text forms and features. Materials are used to support instruction in phonics, word analysis and comprehension in individual, small and large group settings. Motivation is enhanced through the use of engaging and interesting materials for students. Materials are appropriately readable, sensitive to diversity, visually appealing, and broaden students' life experiences.

The Issaquah School District selects materials for use by all those involved in a child's education. Ongoing and varied assessment materials are provided for the gathering of appropriate and useful information. Teacher materials are clearly written, easy to follow, and meet the needs of both beginning and experienced teachers. Adopted materials include suggestions for home practice and enrichment. Finally, the materials lend themselves to integration into technology and the content areas. The ISD reading philosophy is reflected throughout these materials.

Professional Development

We provide professional development for our teachers in a variety of forms, including district classes, department and grade level trainings and individual teacher support. Literacy Support Teachers at the elementary level work directly with teachers to implement literacy strategies and curriculum. Each elementary school has a half-time Literacy Support Teacher who coaches teachers, provides ongoing training and models instructional strategies. Additionally we have a Elementary Literacy Specialist and a Secondary Language Arts Specialist in our Teaching and Learning Department. These specialists conduct professional development with groups and individual teachers.

Professional development is research-based, ongoing, and includes a variety of methodologies. It empowers teachers to meet the needs of diverse learners. Further, it establishes common vocabulary to clarify conversations and provides consistency among schools.


For secondary students, grades 6-12, contact your student's Language Arts teacher or Teaching and Learning Services at 425-837-7128.