English/Language Arts Standards

Sixth Grade


  1. WORD ANALYSIS, FLUENCY, AND SYSTEMATIC VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT: Students use their knowledge of word origins and word relationships, as well as historical and literary context clues, both to determine the meaning of specialized vocabulary and to understand the precise meaning of grade level appropriate words.

    Word Recognition:

    1. Read narrative and expository text aloud with fluency and accuracy, and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression

    Vocabulary and Concept Development:

    1. Distinguish and interpret figurative language and multiple-meaning words

    2. Recognize the origins and meanings of frequently used foreign words in English and use these words accurately in speaking and writing

    3. Monitor expository text for unknown words or words with novel meanings, using word, sentence and paragraph clues to determine meaning

    4. Understand and explain "shades of meaning" for related words (e.g., softly and quietly)

  2. READING COMPREHENSION (FOCUS ON INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS): Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of text, and they relate text structure, organization, and purpose. The quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students are illustrated in The California Reading List. In addition, by grade 8, students read one million words annually on their own, including a good representation of narrative (i.e., classic and contemporary literature) and expository (e.g., magazines, newspapers, on-line information) text appropriate for each grade.

    Structural Features of Informational Materials:

    1. Identify and use the structural features of, and differences among, newspapers, magazines, and editorials to gain meaning from text

    2. Analyze text that uses compare-and-contrast patterns

    Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:

    1. Connect and clarify main ideas, identifying their relationship to other sources and topics

    2. Clarify understanding of texts by creating outlines, logical notes, summaries, or reports

    3. Follow multiple-step instructions for preparing applications (e.g., public library card, bank savings account, sports club, or league membership form)

    Expository Critique:

    1. Determine the adequacy and appropriateness of an author's evidence for his or her conclusions

    2. Make reasonable assertions about text through accurate, supportive citations

    3. Note instances of unsupported inferences, fallacious reasoning, persuasion, and propaganda

  3. LITERARY RESPONSE AND ANALYSIS: Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of world literature, particularly American and British literature. They clarify the ideas and connect them to other literary works. The quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students are illustrated in The California Reading List.

    Structural Features of Literature:

    1. Distinguish among forms of fiction and describe the major characteristics of each form

    Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text:

    1. Analyze how the qualities of the character (e.g., courage or cowardice, ambition or laziness) affect the plot and resolution of the conflict

    2. Analyze the influence of setting on the problem and its resolution

    3. Define how tone or meaning is conveyed in poetry through word choice, figurative language, sentence structure, line length, punctuation, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme

    4. Identify the speaker and recognize the difference between first and third person narration

    5. Identify and analyze features of themes conveyed through characters, actions, and images

    6. Explain the effects of key literary devices in a variety of fictional and non-fictional texts (e.g., symbolism, imagery, metaphor)

    Literary Criticism:

    1. Critique the credibility of characterization and the degree to which a plot is contrived or realistic (e.g., compare use of fact and fantasy in historical fiction) (Reader Response)


  1. WRITING STRATEGIES: Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. Writing exhibits awareness of audience and purpose. Essays contain formal introductions, bodies of supporting evidence, and conclusions. Students successfully use the stages of the writing process, as needed.

    Organization and Focus:

    1. Choose the form of writing that best suits the intended purpose (e.g., personal letter, letter to the editor, review, poem, report, narrative)

    2. Create a multiple-paragraph expository composition that

      1. engages the interest of the reader and states a clear purpose
      2. develops the topic with supportive details, precise verbs, nouns, and adjectives to paint a visual image in the mind of the reader
      3. concludes with a detailed summary linked to the purpose of composition

    3. Use a variety of effective and coherent organizational patterns, including comparison and contrast; organization by categories; spatial order, or order of importance

    Research and Technology:

    1. Use organizational features of electronic text (e.g., bulletin boards, databases, keyword searches, e-mail addresses) to locate information

    2. Compose documents with appropriate formatting by using word- processing skills and principles of design (e.g., margins, tabs, spacing, columns, page orientation)

    Revising and Evaluating Writing:

    1. Revise writing to improve organization and consistency of ideas within and between paragraphs

  2. WRITING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students write narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive text of at least 500 to 700 words. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

    Using the Grade 6 writing strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students:

    1. Write narratives, that

      1. establish and develop plot and setting, and choose a point of view appropriate to stories
      2. include sensory details and concrete language to develop plot and character
      3. use a range of narrative strategies (e.g., dialogue, suspense)

    2. Write expository compositions (e.g., description, explanation, comparison and contrast, and/or problem/solution) that

      1. state the thesis or purpose
      2. explain the situation
      3. follow an organizational pattern appropriate to the type of composition
      4. offer persuasive evidence for the validity of the description, proposed solutions, etc.

    3. Write research reports that

      1. pose relevant questions narrow enough to be thoroughly covered
      2. support the main ideas with facts, examples, and explanations from authoritative sources
      3. use a bibliography

    4. Write responses to literature that

      1. develop an interpretation which exhibits careful reading, understanding and insight
      2. organize the interpretation around several clear ideas, premises, or images
      3. develop and justify the interpretation through sustained use of examples and evidence

    5. Write persuasive compositions that

      1. state a clear position in support of a proposition or proposal
      2. support the position with organized and relevant evidence; and
      3. anticipate and address reader concerns and counter-arguments

(English Language Conventions are integral to Writing and to Listening and Speaking. Thus, these standards have been placed between the other two.)

  1. WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS: Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions that are appropriate to each grade level.

    Sentence Structure:

    1. Use simple, compound, and compound-complex sentences; use effective coordination and subordination of ideas to express complete thoughts


    1. Use correct capitalization


    1. Identify and use present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect tenses; subject-verb agreement with compound subjects; and indefinite pronouns


    1. Use colons in business letters, semi-colons to connect independent clauses, and commas when linking two clauses with a conjunction in compound sentences


    1. Spell frequently misspelled words correctly (e.g., their, they're, there)


  1. LISTENING AND SPEAKING STRATEGIES: Students deliver focused, coherent presentations that convey ideas clearly and relate to the background and interests of the audience. They evaluate the content of oral communication.


    1. Relate the speaker's verbal communication (e.g., word choice, pitch, feeling, tone) and non-verbal messages (e.g., posture, gesture)

    2. Identify the tone, mood, and emotion conveyed in the oral communication

    3. Restate and execute multi-step oral instructions and directions

    Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication:

    1. Select a focus, organizational structure, and point of view, matching purpose, message, occasion, and vocal modulation to the audience

    2. Emphasize salient points to assist the listener in following main ideas and concepts

    3. Support opinions expressed with detailed evidence and with visual or media displays that use appropriate technology

    4. Use effective rate, volume, pitch, and tone, and align non-verbal elements to sustain audience interest and attention

    Analysis and Evaluation of Oral and Media Communications:

    1. Analyze the use of rhetorical devices for their intent and effects (e.g., cadence, repetitive patterns, use of onomatopoeia)

    2. Identify persuasive and propaganda techniques used in television, and identify false and misleading information

  2. SPEAKING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students deliver well-organized formal presentations employing traditional rhetorical strategies (i.e., narration, exposition, persuasion, and description). Student speaking demonstrates a command of standard English and the organization and delivery strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0.

    Using the speaking strategies outlined in Listening and Speaking Standard 1.0, students:

    1. Deliver narrative presentations that

      1. establish a context, plot, and/or point of view
      2. include sensory details and concrete language to develop plot and character
      3. use a range of narrative strategies (e.g., dialogue, tension or suspense)

    2. Deliver informative presentations that

      1. pose relevant questions that are limited to be completely and thoroughly answered
      2. develop the topic with facts, details, examples, and explanations from multiple sources

    3. Deliver oral responses to literature that

      1. develop an interpretation which exhibits careful reading, understanding, and insight
      2. organize the selected interpretation around several clear ideas, premises, or images
      3. develop and justify the selected interpretation through use of examples and evidence

    4. Deliver persuasive presentations that

      1. provide a clear statement of the position
      2. include relevant evidence
      3. offer logical sequence of information
      4. engage the listener and foster acceptance of the proposition or proposal

    5. Deliver presentations theorizing on problems and solutions that

      1. establish connection among the situations, cause and effect, problem, and at least one solution
      2. offer persuasive evidence to validate the definition of the problem and the solution(s)

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