Common Core Standards: ELA
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Breakin’ it Down:
It’s no accident that this is the first reading standard from sixth through twelfth grade. This is the gateway standard, the standard that leads to all other standards. If your students can master this, they are well on their way to mastering many of the other reading standards because they are all about a close reading of the text to support inferential thinking.
This standard asks students to use evidence two ways:
- Cite strong evidence to prove what the text says explicitly.
- Cite strong evidence to support inferences, including inferences where there is no clear correct interpretation. In other words, make a case for your interpretation.
When it comes to citing text evidence, we recommend that you don your drill sergeant uniform. Insist that students support their thinking with quotes from the text, whether they are writing about the text or discussing it in class. Will they get tired of it? Yes. Will they complain? Probably. But remind them that the texts they are reading in eleventh and twelfth grade are difficult and complicated. There are many potential interpretations, and you want students to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions about the text. However, they have to be able to defend their ideas. Treat your classroom like a courtroom. Require that students present evidence and build a case for any claim they make. Make it fun, but don’t back down. Your students are about to head into college, and they need to be prepared to enter those upper levels of academic dialogue. The best thing you can do is make them experts at using text evidence.
NOVICE: Where’s Waldo?
Your scholars should be able to find the evidence on the page, even if it’s slightly hidden or wearing a disguise. Give students a basic inference or claim, such as “The main character is selfish.” Then ask them to read through the text and find the right evidence to support the given idea. Also, make sure students know how to cite evidence correctly using MLA or APA conventions. They’ll thank you for this once they get to college.
INTERMEDIATE: Put together the puzzle.
Once students master the novice level, they should be able to read through a text and make their own inferences about characters, events, or situations, and then go back and find lines from the text to support their detective work. Make sure their evidence will hold up in court!
ALL-STAR: Cliff-Hangars and Head-Scratchers.
Sometimes the author will purposely include ambiguity or unanswered questions. The most elite students will be able to identify the unanswered question, craft an intelligent theory, interpretation, or prediction, and find clues in the text to support their ideas. The most difficult questions on this standard usually involve students inferring the author’s tone or attitude about the topic under discussion.
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- A View from the Bridge Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Brave New World Teacher Pass
- Death of a Salesman Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Macbeth Teacher Pass
- Moby Dick Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- Oedipus the King Teacher Pass
- Of Mice and Men Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Othello Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- Sula Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Great Gatsby Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Metamorphosis Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- The Scarlet Letter Teacher Pass
- The Tell-Tale Heart Teacher Pass
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Twilight Teacher Pass
- Wide Sargasso Sea Teacher Pass
- Wuthering Heights Teacher Pass
The Daily Grind: Teaching the Standard
We recommend you create two different training circuits to test this standard. The first comes in the form of multiple-choice questions that ask students to find or interpret evidence. Use your class novels or textbook readings to craft questions that push students to break out their microscopes and scrutinize specific lines of the text. Here are some sample questions to help get you started:
The second training circuit is short response questions that ask students to craft a written argument that makes a claim (inference) and supports that claim with text evidence. Here are some models to get you started:
|NOVICE (Give the students an idea or observation and have them collect evidence to support it.)|
|INTERMEDIATE (Give students a clue about what to look for, but leave it open for interpretation.)|
|ALL-STAR (Sorry kids, you're on your own.)|
Quiz QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
- CAHSEE ELA 5.3 Main Idea and Sources
- CAHSEE ELA 5.4 Main Idea and Sources
- CAHSEE ELA 8.5 Literary Devices
- CAHSEE ELA 9.1 Ambiguities
- Call of the Wild
- Catch 22
- Catcher In The Rye
- Catching Fire (Part 1)
- Catching Fire (Part 2)
- Catching Fire Summary
- Cathedral (Raymond Carver)
- Color Purple
- Death of a Salesman
- Death of a Salesman Summary
- Divergent (Summary)
- Dr. Seuss: Master of Allegory
- Dr. Shmeuss
- Dream Deferred (Hughes)
- El Gran Gatsby
- Fahrenheit 451
- Fahrenheit 451 and "Harrison Bergeron"
- Gatsby's New York
- Girl (Jamaica Kincaid)
- Grapes of Wrath
- Grapes of Wrath (Las uvas de la ira)
- Grapes of Wrath Summary
- Grapes of Wrath: Written How Long Ago?
- Hope, Despair, Memory
- House on Mango Street
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas Summary
- Huck Finn
- I Have a Dream