Literacy for ME: Sample Learning Targets for
Students in Grades 9-10

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...

  • determine the main idea or theme and explain how it is developed.
  • use the text to answer questions and find thorough evidence to support those answers.
  • analyze a topic presented in multiple forms (e.g., in print or in a piece of art) and explain what details are included or left out in each form.
  • analyze events/topics in different forms (print, digital etc) and tell how they are represented in each.
  • explain how the overall word choices an author makes have an impact on a text.
  • explain how an author uses different text structures to develop the main idea or themes in a text.
  • determine an author’s point of view and explain how language and style help develop  the meaning or purpose of the text.

When reading literature, students are learning to...

  • explain how characters interact with others or with events to develop the main ideas or themes.
  • analyze literature from a variety of cultural experiences including across and outside of the United States.

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

  • analyze how an author arranges information to support a topic, idea, or argument.
  • examine an author’s reasoning and tell whether or not the arguments are supported.
  • identify false information and faulty reasoning.
  • analyze important historical documents. 


Writing Targets

When writing, students are learning to..

  • write a clear argument using both reasoning and evidence to support claims. Address opposing points of view and information fairly, demonstrating mature and complex reasoning skills.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the difference between formal and informal communication by using each appropriately.
  • write a clear, accurate, and well organized informational piece, explaining the importance of the topic, providing details, and including a thorough conclusion.
  • use headings, pictures, graphics, and multimedia to enhance the writing.
  • write a complex narrative using techniques including multiple plot lines, several characters with dialogue, and one or more points of view.
  • independently revise and edit writing, thinking specifically about the purpose of the writing and the audience.
  • use technology in multiple ways, for multiple purposes, to write and publish work.
  • conduct both short and extended research to answer a question or solve a problem.
  • use multiple trustworthy sources and determine their quality.
  • follow a standard format for citations.


Speaking and Listening Targets

When speaking and listening, students are learning to…

  • initiate and participate in discussions, using several different sources of information to talk about the topic.
  • ask questions, analyze and challenge the ideas of others, respond thoughtfully to different views, and form new connections.
  • evaluate many sources of information to support findings or ideas.
  • evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and evidence.
  • orally present information using sound reasoning and supporting evidence.
  • use digital media purposefully to enhance presentations.
  • adapt speaking skills to a number of audiences and formats, using formal English when necessary.


Language Targets

In the area of language, students are learning to…

  • use a variety of phrases, clauses, and sentences to improve writing or presentations.
  • use parallel structure correctly.
  • use semicolons and colons correctly.
  • spell correctly.
  • edit work using guidelines in a style manual (e.g., APA or MLA) as appropriate.
  • use knowledge of language to improve reading and listening comprehension.
  • use a variety of different strategies to learn new words.
  • demonstrate knowledge of word relationships, nuances, and figurative language, including euphemisms and oxymorons.
  • learn and use grade level vocabulary.