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Connections: English Language Arts

Grades 6–12

The Bridge to College and Career Readiness

Connections: English Language Arts provides the foundation for success through its unique approach to high-quality, complex texts.


Close reading is a research-based process that helps students develop the reading, writing, and language skills they need.

Close Reading

Through close reading, students uncover deeper levels of meaning with each read. Each close read of a high-interest, complex text has a purpose, focusing student attention and developing a specific reading, writing, or language skill or strategy. Through the course of the program, students learn to

  • read deeply for meaning
  • discover evidence
  • connect and analyze evidence within and across texts
  • respond and share ideas

Active Discourse and Literacy

Within each read, students and teachers engage in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer discussions. Students develop communication and literacy skills as they collaborate to uncover meaning; gain new perspectives; and respond through discussion, writing, and a range of media.

Student-Centered Approach

Connections: English Language Arts is designed to promote active learning. Motivate and engage students as they explore great literature, extract meaning, learn new skills through carefully scaffolded activities, and apply knowledge in enrichment and extension activities.

Connections: English Language Arts Supports Students in Successfully Navigating Complex Texts

Three close readings of each selection move students from comprehending key ideas to synthesizing and connecting themes across texts.

Each close reading develops a specific skill, allowing students to practice through reading, writing, speaking, and listening activities.

FIRST READ—Key Ideas & Details

Discover what the text says by applying comprehension skills such as making predictions, connecting to ideas and personal experience, making inferences, evaluating details, and monitoring comprehension.

SECOND READ—Craft & Structure

Explore how the author uses text structures, literary elements, figurative language, and literary devices to create meaning.

THIRD READ—Integrate Knowledge & Ideas

Explain why one or more texts convey a specific meaning; support with analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of ideas and evidence.

Engage with Complex Texts

Each unit in Connections: English Language Arts encourages students to engage in close reading with complex texts through

  • unit-level Essential Questions
  • thematically-arranged selections designed to stimulate text-to-text comparisons
  • active discourse in whole class, small group, and peer-to-peer settings
  • focused lesson activities that deepen understanding and build skills
  • annotation techniques designed to increase comprehension and identify textual evidence
  • technology and project-based activities to extend learning
  • writing, speaking, and listening activities throughout each lesson