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English Language Arts

The APS ELA program seeks to develop students who are strategic readers, effective writers, engaging speakers, and critical thinkers.

English Language Arts (ELA) seeks to teach English language literacy skills, primarily expressed in the ability to effectively read, write, listen, and speak. Standards and objectives that describe grade-level expectations for teaching and learning these skills are found within the state of Virginia’s English Standards of Learning.

The ELA Office believes all children can learn to read skillfully, write expressively, and engage in higher-level discourse.


The focus in early elementary (grades preK-2) is the development and mastery of foundational literacy skills. Evidence-based instruction that emphasizes phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension is prioritized to meet the needs of students in the early stages of reading and writing acquisition.

The focus in upper elementary (grades 3-5) continues to build automaticity in decoding words accurately and with increased fluency. Students in these grades build knowledge of content, literature and the world.

The focus in middle school (grades 6-8) is a broader understanding of the world of literary genres. Students are encouraged to widen their reading lives and deepen their writing voices by exploring multiple genres, employing a variety of strategies, and considering multiple perspectives.

The focus in high school (grades 9-12) is an appreciation of literature in all its forms. Multiple paths of study are available to students including Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment, and International Baccalaureate courses. Courses guide and prepare students for post-secondary, higher educational settings as articulated in VDOE’s Profile of a Graduate.

ELA Elementary Curriculum



APS Curriculum utilizes evidence-based high quality resources aligned to the science of reading for all students to reach the Virginia Standards of Learning. Scarborough’s Reading Rope highlights that students need both instruction in word recognition and language comprehension to become skilled and fluent readers.

  • Students in grades K-3 receive explicit and direct instruction in phonics through 95 Phonics Core Program or Fundations.
  • Students in grades K-5 receive explicit instruction in language comprehension to include vocabulary, background knowledge, and shared learning experiences with our newest resource CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts).

Specific Information by Grade

Kindergarten CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

First Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Second Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Third Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fourth Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fifth Grade CKLA Domains (23-24SY)

Fifth Grade Writing Assessment Rubrics

Interventions in English Language Arts

APS has a variety of researched-based intervention programs and approaches available. It is our goal to provide reading intervention to any student who is in need of additional explicit instruction and support in one or more areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

Students participate in intervention based on individual needs to master specific literacy skills to become successful readers, as a supplement to core instruction.  Each intervention approach utilizes assessment to determine precise individual needs and allow teachers to provide explicit education, guided practice, and monitor student progress.

APS is committed to multiple tiers of support for all students which begins with quality classroom instruction involving whole group, small group, and individualized settings.

For more information on specific tiers of instruction, please visit the ATSS website.

Information on Dyslexia

ELA Resources


English Language Arts Office

Syphax Education Center
2110 Washington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22204

Laura Smith, Administrative Assistant

Elementary ELA

Gabriela Rivas, Elementary ELA Supervisor

Jennifer Clarke, Elementary ELA Specialist

Suzanne Boothby, Elementary ELA Coach




Secondary ELA

Sarah Cruz, Secondary ELA Supervisor

Laura O’Dea, Secondary ELA Specialist

Christopher McIntosh, Secondary ELA Coach