Literacy for ME: Sample Learning Targets for
Students in Grades 6-8

This collection of literacy targets represents a set of skills that students are working on during this age or grade span. It is important to remember that these are learning and instructional targets that should serve as reference points. Each learner is unique and learns skills in different ways and at different times. Use the targets in this document to communicate with caregivers and educators and to support literacy at home and in the community.

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Reading Targets

When reading any text, students are learning to...

  • identify where and how a main idea or theme begins to develop.
  • use a text to answer questions, and select the best pieces of evidence to support those answers.
  • determine the meaning of unknown words in a text, including literary or technical meanings.
  • explain how the structure of a text helps shape its meaning.
  • explain how an author creates different points of view and how those points of view can affect the meaning of a text.
  • compare and consider different ways of presenting information.
  • identify the advantages and disadvantages of looking at a topic or an issue using more than one form or text.

When reading literature, students are learning to...

  • explain how characters and ideas develop.
  • explain how word choices, like rhymes, affect a story or poem.
  • compare and contrast similar themes and topics in different forms and genres of text.

When reading informational text, students are learning to...

  • explain the connections between multiple ideas and tell how they develop.
  • explain how word choices affect the meaning of a text.
  • evaluate an author’s argument and explain whether these points are supported with sound evidence.


Writing Targets

When writing, students are learning to..

  • write a clear argument using both reasoning and evidence to support claims.
  • address opposing viewpoints.
  • establish and maintain a formal style.
  • write an informational piece using different organizing structures (e.g., classifying, comparing and contrasting) to present information.
  • use headings, pictures, and graphics to support writing.
  • write a narrative about real or imagined events using appropriate techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, or character development. 
  • revise and edit writing with support from peers or adults, thinking specifically about the purpose of the writing and the audience.
  • use technology to link to and cite sources in a piece of writing.
  • use technology, including the internet, to write, publish, and present work. 
  • conduct multiple short research projects to answer questions, including self-generated ones.
  • collect and organize multiple sources of information and provide correct citations.
  • produce writing which demonstrates increasing skill with complex reasoning and communication.


Speaking and Listening Targets

When speaking and listening, students are learning to…

  • participate in discussions in various groups.
  • come prepared to discuss the topic, ask and answer questions, recognize the viewpoints of others, and reconsider their own views.
  • interpret and analyze information presented in a variety of different ways.
  • evaluate the claims a speaker makes.
  • orally present claims and/or findings with evidence and reasoning.
  • use multimedia and visual displays to strengthen presentations.
  • maintain eye contact, use clear pronunciation, and speak at an appropriate volume.


Language Targets

In the area of language, students are learning to…

  • use active and passive voice correctly.
  • use a variety of sentence types to structure ideas differently.
  • use commas, parenthesis, ellipses, and dashes properly.
  • spell correctly.
  • vary sentence patterns.
  • speak and write using precise language.
  • maintain consistent tone.
  • use a variety of different strategies to learn new words.
  • interpret figures of speech.
  • tell the difference between words with very similar meanings.
  • learn and use grade level vocabulary.