6th Grade Language Arts Curriculum

Reading Writing Listening and Viewing Speaking Glossary


By the end of the sixth grade year, students will be able to:

        apply grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary in the writing process.

        write simple sentences and paragraphs, and demonstrate their use of technology. present various types of speeches on a variety of topics to their peers.

        apply reading skills and comprehension throughout the curriculum through the use of interdisciplinary units, Accelerated Reader, and the district's adopted reading series.

        effectively use information gathered through listening, speaking, and viewing.





The core reading standards being tested on the Dakota STEP are in blue type.


  1. The student will construct meaning from text using context and semantic clues.  (example:  situation, word order) A

  2. The student will recognize direct and implied meaning to extend understanding of materials read.  A

  3. The student will ask questions and make predictions about information or the message found in text.  A

  4.  The student will explain how the meaning of words may be changed by the use of non-standard English, dialect, and idioms.  A

  5.  The student will use background knowledge and experience to comprehend text.  A

  6.  The student will connect main ideas and concepts to other sources and related topics.  A

  7. The student will determine the organizational structures and patterns in various literary texts. (example:  books of fiction/nonfiction, newspapers, magazines)  B

  8. The student will explain how character and plot development are used in a selection to support a central conflict or story line.  C

  9. The student will identify and understand types of figurative language.  (example:  similes, personification, aliteration)  C

  10. The student will describe how the author's style elicits response from the reader.  D

  11. The student will describe the mood or meaning conveyed in poetry through word choice, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme.  B

  12.  The student will explore a variety of literary works representative of various cultures and times.  D

  13.  The student will explain how literature can be used to better understand other time periods and events.  D

  14. The student will describe how the text reflects an authorís attitudes, traditions, and heritage.  D

  15. The student will choose reading materials that are appropriate for enjoyment and/or assignment/project completion.  G

  16. The student will determine the quality of literary works based upon established criteria. (example: Newbery books, approved book lists)  H

  17. The student will distinguish fact from opinion in newspapers, magazines and other print media.  B

  18. The student will use text organizers to locate and categorize information in print materials.  (example:  headings, subheadings, graphics)  A

  19. The student will draw conclusions and make inferences based on explicit and implied information.  A

  20. The student will read to acquire information for different purposes. (example: preparing a research report)  G

  21. The student will use reference tools to retrieve and manage information. (example: interactive software, CD ROM, video materials, Internet)  G


MASTERY (Benchmarks)
  1. Determine and use prior knowledge, experience, and specific cues/strategies to make connections with, predict meaning of, and comprehend information within text.

  2. Compare and contrast various organizational techniques and effects authors use to create reader interest, e.g., sequence, cause/effect.

  3. Explain literary elements and/or devices used in various texts, e.g., plot, setting, character, imagery, alliteration.

  4. Examine various literary works to understand how authors present different perspectives.

  5. Compare/contrast a variety of literary works to confirm or refute personal interpretations.

  6. Use personal criteria to defend the choice of independent reading materials.

  7. Select and use suitable information sources for a variety of purposes, e.g., Internet, CD-ROM, print and video materials, library.

  8. Analyze the validity and/or appropriateness of various technical and practical materials.

  9. Collect and summarize information to make reasonable and informed decisions.



Accelerated Reader for reading comprehension and vocabulary

Interdisciplinary units with novels

Trade books with group discussions and reading response activities

Vocabulary building activities using all disciplines

Oral Reading

Functional reading activities



District-adopted reading series:

            Just Past the Possible
            Copyright 1995, 1993, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill
            - (1) Teacherís Planning Guide Part 2
            - (12) Student Text

            Comprehension:  Wonder Stories 4
            Copyright 1980, Remedia Publications

Accelerated Reader

Interdisciplinary units including novels



Star Reading Test

Accelerated Reader quizzes

Reading assessments from reading series

SRA Performance Tasks - Level 6



  1. The student will implement various stages of the writing process. (example: brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, editing, publishing)  B
  2. The student will maintain a personal writing journal or portfolio to record personal ideas, observations, and experiences.  C, G
  3. The student will use writing as a means to paraphrase/summarize what is read/heard.  H
  4. The student will write to connect knowledge within and across disciplines. (example: ecosystems in geography and science)  H
  5. The student will use a variety of structures to categorize and organize information. (example: timelines, Venn diagrams)  D
  6. The student will use words that are expressive, appropriate, and precise to provide clarity and focus for the reader.  A
  7. The student will apply rules of grammar in written communication. (example: perfect verb tenses, subject-verb agreement; and indefinite pronouns)  B
  8. The student will use various patterns of paragraph development. (example: comparison-contrast, cause-effect, and problem-solution)  C
  9. The student will use the appropriate format for various forms of writing. (example: reports, letters, poems)  C
  10. The student will follow an organizational pattern that includes effective introductions and conclusions.  C
  11. The student will write reports which focus on key ideas, issues, or situations and are supported by references.  C, D
  12. The student will model a range of narrative strategies authors use. (example: dialogue, suspense)  I
  13. The student will select best sources to support personal interpretations of information. (example: almanacs, atlases, encyclopedias, CD ROMs)  I
  14. The student will use simple figurative language in writing. (example: similes, metaphors, idioms, personification, hyperbole)  A
  15. The student will use technology to share written work with others.  D
  16. The student will use feedback from others to improve word choice, organization, and consistency in paragraphs.  F
  17. The student will edit final copies for correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. (example: their, theyíre, there; proper nouns, names, titles, nationalities; colons, semi-colons)  B
  18. The student will use available technology in editing and revising. (example: spell check, grammar check, margins, tabs, fonts, spacing)  B
  19. The student will revise manuscripts to improve effectiveness. (example: simple, compound, compound-complex sentences)  B


MASTERY (Benchmarks)
  1. Apply appropriate conventions of language, use expressive vocabulary, and correct spelling in written work.

  2.  Revise and edit written work using appropriate conventions of language.

  3. Determine and use the appropriate organization and writing style based on the established purpose and intended audience.

  4. Select and use the writing format required for a specific type of publication.

  5. Compare the styles of various authors to model effective writing.

  6. Review and use recommendations from others to improve writing consistency and coherence.

  7. Write on a routine basis to gain confidence and identity as an author.

  8. Write to clarify knowledge of various topics, synthesize, interpret, and use new information.

  9. Use examples from print and electronic sources to support personal interpretation.



Daily oral language

Process writing including self- and peer-editing


Writing across the curriculum

Direct modeling of various writing strategies

Direct teaching of writing research papers



District-adopted  series:

Spelling and Vocabulary
Copyright 1994, Houghton Mifflin
(1) Teacherís Edition
(1) Student text

Houghton Mifflin English
Copyright 1990, Houghton Mifflin
(1) Teacherís Edition
(8) Student text

Write Source 2000
Copyright 1999, Great Source Education Group, Inc.
(2) Teacherís Guide     
(2) Daily Language Workouts
(2) Program Guide
(25) Skills Book



Write Source 2000 Rubrics



  1. The student will describe appropriate listening behaviors in various social situations. (example: concerts, plays, classrooms)  B

  2. The student will ask questions to seek clarification of ideas.  H

  3. The student will summarize, respond to, and evaluate group activities.  H

  4. The student will describe and clarify the personal feelings evoked by the non-verbal communication of others.  C

  5. The student will distinguish between intentional and unintentional non-verbal communication.  C

  6. The student will examine the reliability and authority of speaker information.  E

  7. The student will determine the effect of images, text, and sound in electronic journalism.  F

  8. The student will distinguish between fact and fiction in various forms of oral or visual communication.  E

  9. The student will recognize the use of subliminal messages in various aspects of communication.  D

  10. The student will identify false and misleading information in oral and electronic presentations.  G

  11. The student will use questions to clarify instructions and directions.  H

  12. The student will classify information received according to subject or topic for effective retention.  I

  13. The student will use various sources to determine if information is relevant or useful. (example: journals, encyclopedia, CD-ROM)  G

  14. The student will combine new information with prior knowledge for recall.  I


MASTERY (Benchmarks)

  1. Determine specific cognitive and physical barriers to effective listening and viewing.

  2. Use various listening techniques in problem-solving and decision-making situations.

  3. Determine the effect of non-verbal cues on interpersonal communication.

  4. Determine the basic or subliminal meaning of various oral and visual messages, e.g., advertisements, videos, television.

  5. Determine methods of assessing the validity and accuracy of various types of oral and visual information.

  6. Determine how presentation design can affect the interpretation of oral/visual information, e.g., layout, color, sequence, sound effects.

  7. Analyze and assess oral/visual information for usefulness.

  8. Use specific questioning strategies to comprehend oral/visual information.

  9. Use various organizing strategies to recall oral.visual information.



Guided listening practice tied to what students are reading

Listening comprehension activities




  1. The student will emphasize important points to assist the listener in following main ideas and concepts.  B

  2.  The student will select a focus, organization, and point-of-view for oral presentations.  A

  3.  The student will present informative reports that pose relevant questions and develop the topic with facts, details, and examples.  C

  4. The student will explore the usefulness of listener response.  E

  5. The student will use feedback from listeners to improve speaking delivery.  E

  6.  The student will present information in conversational and small group settings.  C

  7. The student will choose language and style appropriate to the interest and background knowledge of the audience.  A, B

  8. The student will use simple, complex, and compound sentences to express complete thoughts orally.  C

  9.  The student will explore how descriptive language and colorful modifiers can enliven oral presentations.  C

  10. The student will use effective rate, volume, pitch and tone in oral communication.  C

  11. The student will recognize correlation between appearance, self-image, and effective non-verbal communication.  A, B

  12. The student will select and use audio-visual aids to maximize effects in various communication situations.  C

  13. The student will investigate ways to highlight ideas displayed in visual aids. (example: color, underlining)  C

  14. The student will demonstrate the use of audio-visual equipment in communication. (example: tape recorder, VCR)  C

  15. The student will explain how environmental factors affect communication. (example: setting, space, audience size)  B, D


MASTERY (Benchmarks)

  1. Determine the purpose, organization, and appropriate language of oral presentations.

  2. Define the characteristics of the audience when determining the relationship between non-verbal and audience engagement.

  3. Present oral information in a logical and coherent manner using auxiliary resources for enhancement, e.g., visual aids, special effects.

  4. Determine how the listening environment can affect audience engagement, e.g., seating arrangements, clarity of sound.

  5. Use input from others to determine the effectiveness of personal communication.



Direct modeling

Guest speakers


Guided practice




Specific rubrics and criteria for specific speeches and presentations including research reports

Glossary of Language Arts Terms  

Academic writing: Includes expository writing and transactional writing. Writing requiring critical analysis and synthesis of information, factual accuracy and logical progression of ideas. Examples: science laboratory reports, literary criticism, research papers, essays (to inform or persuade; not to entertain), journalism. Writing to get things done, to inform, to persuade, to advertise or to instruct people.

Active listening: A specific progression of listening strategies which include paraphrasing the verbal communication of others, checking for mutual understanding, asking questions, etc.

Audience: Those people who read or hear what has been written or spoken; the intended target group of a message.

Cognition: The act or process of knowing, including both awareness and judgment; thinking.

Composition: The structure or organization of a work of art, music or literature; in writing, the process or result of arranging ideas to form a clear and unified impression in order to create an effective message.

Composition (traditional): In writing, the four traditional forms of composition are persuasion, description, exposition and narration.

Composition (contemporary): In writing, the three major contemporary forms of composition are personal, creative and transactional.

Conventions of language: An accepted practice in a spoken or written language; in writing, traditionally is inclusive of mechanics and usage; an accepted way of creating an effect.

Context cues: All the language cues that exist on the printed page; effective use of context cues depends on an understanding of how language works and on the reader's background, prior knowledge and experience as related to text; the environment of a word, i.e., the words, sentences and paragraphs which surround a particular word and help deepen or create meaning.

Creative writing: Prose or poetic forms of writing that express the writer's thoughts and feelings imaginatively; as a rule, creative writing does not require the same factual accuracy and logical progression of ideas necessary in expository writing.

Description: Writing which paints a colorful picture of a person, place, thing or idea using concrete, vivid details; writing or speech that gives a verbal picture of character or event and setting in which they occur; writing which emphasizes the characteristics or qualities of a person, place or thing in an attempt to create a clear word picture.

Exposition: Writing which explains; intended to set forth or explain; good exposition is clear in conception, well organized and understandable.

Genre: A French word often used as a synonym for form or type of literature; a category of artistic, musical or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, technique or content; classic literary genres are tragedy, comedy, epic, lyric and pastoral; contemporary categories include the novel essay, short story, television play and motion picture scenario; today's emphasis has shifted from formal textual features to communicative purposes which has altered the focus and range of the term.

Forms of literature: Poetry, short stories, novel, play, creative essays, screenplays, etc.

Graphophonic cues: Phonetic cues which support the understanding that letters represent sounds in the English alphabetic language; symbols stand for speech rather than pictures or ideas and have some relationship to pronunciation; the relationship between written language and the sounds of spoken language.

Linguistic: Of or relating to language.

Literary elements: Character, plot, setting, theme, style and point-of-view.

Literary devices: Ways authors use words, phrases and expressions to create special emotional or connotative meaning, i.e., allusion, metaphor, symbolism.

Literary form: The formal structure or organization of the parts of literary or other artistic work that unifies them and determines their total effect; the configuration of a language form.

Literary works: Prose and poetic forms of writing that express the writer's thoughts and feelings imaginatively; as a rule, literary works do not have the same factual accuracy and logical progression of ideas necessary in expository writing.

Mechanics: Capitalization, punctuation, italics and other symbols used to convey meaning.

Narration: Type of writing which relates as event or series of events; writing or speech that tells a story or gives an account of something and deals with sequences of events and experiences, though not necessarily in strict order; forms of narrative include personal and imaginative.

Patterns of organization: In linguistics, a set of predictable and describable relations between elements of language; to arrange in a particular configuration; methods or modes of arrangement to achieve a particular function or purpose in writing or speaking, usually includes cause and effect, chronology or sequence or placement, description, compare and contrast.

Personal writing: One of the three contemporary forms of writing that relates personal experience; highly personal such as in diaries, personal letters, autobiographies, etc.

Persuasion: Writing or speaking in which reasons or arguments are presented in a logical way; one of the four traditional forms of composition in writing or speech that develops or debates a topic in a logical or persuasive way.

Phonetic: Of or relating to spoken language or speech sounds and their written symbols.

Prior knowledge: The background information the learner already has about a topic or subject which influences and supports comprehension; the knowledge structures the learner brings to the new learning experience.

Purpose: The intent, reason or function; in writing, usually includes enjoyment, entertainment, self-expression, improvement of skills and the discovering and articulating of thoughts, ideas and feelings; reason for writing; the goal of writing.

Reading process: The reading process usually refers to the proficient silent reading model which includes the components of predicting, confirming, rereading and rethinking, and integration (the construction of meaning); the process of constructing meaning through the dynamic interaction among the reader's knowledge, the author's intent and the context of the reading situation.

Semantic cues: Cues provided by the meaning of other words in the same or nearby sentences; meaning cues used as learners bring prior knowledge to communication.

Structure: The form or organization a writer uses for literary work; structures or forms used regularly in literature include fable, parable, romance, satire, farce, slapstick, etc.

Style: In the broadest sense style refers to the characteristic way in which a person conceives and expresses ideas through language; the characteristics of a work that reflect its author's distinctive way of writing, how the author writes (form) rather than what the author writes; how the writer uses words to form ideas; the qualities and characteristics that distinguish one writer's work from the work of others.

Syntactic cues: Cues provided by the structure of the sentence; knowledge of how language works, grammatical structure and word order lets the reader use syntactic cues, e.g., the word that directs the reader to look for a noun; syntax is the way language is structured and ordered within a sentence.

Technical: Information or writing characterized by objectivity with emphasis on the subject and devoid of author's opinion or subjectivity; specific information such as a mechanical operation, scientific process; description and exposition to present factual information; articles for a particular type of publication, e.g., a technical report; work-related writing such as business reports, personnel policies, task instructions, manuals.

Text: NOT solely textbooks. All written materials.

Transactional writing: One of the three contemporary forms of writing; writing to get things done, to inform, to persuade, to advertise or to instruct people.

Usage: The way in which people use language; language is generally standard (formal and informal) or non-standard; only standard English is acceptable in writing.

Voice: In writing, the distinctive way in which the writer expresses ideas with respect to style, form, content, purpose, etc.

Writing Process: The writing process traditionally includes the strategies (stages) of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing; a process used to select, combine, arrange and develop ideas into effective discourse; a thinking process; a tool for learning.