The Common Core State Standards, Informational Writing, and English Language Learners

The United States of America is currently undergoing a major literacy instructional shift with the adoption of the new educational standards. Currently, forty- five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards (C C S S 2010). The purpose of the C C S S is to prepare students for college and career readiness. For this reason, the C C S S stresses the importance of informational reading and writing. According to Clark, Jones, and Reutzel (2012), most adult reading and writing involves informal texts (page 265). Graham and Harris (2013) state that the National Commission on Writing reported that current employers use writing as a qualification for hiring white- collar workers and blue- collar workers use writing as part of their jobs (page 39). Furthermore, Graham and Harris note that more people are using writing to communicate with others through the use of e- mails, blogging, texting, and other forms of communication. The Aspen Institute argues that students need to be able to read informational texts in order to make informed decisions and to be successful after graduation. Similarly, Moloch and Bomer (2013) found that informational texts help children improve their sense-making and build their knowledge about the world (page 206). Graham and Harris argue that students who are poor writers are at a serious disadvantage in succeeding at school, work, or social civic activities (page 29). In summary, the purpose of this project is to research a process for evaluating the effectiveness of strategies for teaching the Common Core Writing Standards. Consequently, this review of the literature focuses on the importance of informational reading and writing instruction by targeting the following four areas: the connection between informational reading and writing text, the shift between fiction and informational texts, teacher capacity for implementing the new writing and reading standards, and reading and writing strategies.