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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

Grades 11-12

Reading RL.11-12.10

By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 11–CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Breakin’ it Down:

This standard is meant as a guideline for your syllabus or curriculum to ensure your class readings are constantly increasing in difficulty. The idea is also to make sure that students are reading texts with the same difficulty and complexity as other students across the nation, and that they are able to comprehend these texts with increasing independence and proficiency.

Remember, these last two years are the final coaching students get before they are all alone in the student union with their hundred-pound English anthology. The Common Core Standards provide a list of suggested genres and example texts, but there is a ton of wiggle-room here. Use these suggestions as a guide to the level of complexity students should be reading, but choose the texts that your students will relate to or find most accessible.

NOTE: No one list of texts is better than another, but if you are teaching AP English, there are released lists of the texts that appear most frequently on the free-response essay section. Knowing what works or genres students are expected to be familiar with is helpful.

By the way, CCR stands for College and Career Readiness, and you can find out more about this on the Common Core Standards site. Basically 11-CCR means 11th grade through “graduation-ready.”

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard


Text TypeSub-genres to includeExample Texts for Grades 11-12
  • adventure stories
  • historical fiction
  • mysteries
  • myths
  • science fiction
  • realistic fiction
  • allegories
  • parodies/satire
  • graphic novels
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1848)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)
  • one-act plays (Woo hoo! Students love when something short comes along)
  • multi-act plays
  • film or live adaptations of plays (Field Trip!)
  • The Sandbox by Edward Albee
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (1959)
  • Death of a Salesman or The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  • narrative poems
  • lyrical poems
  • free verse poems
  • sonnets
  • odes
  • ballads
  • epics
  • "Ode on a Grecian Urn" by John Keats (1820)
  • "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson (1890)

The Daily Grind: Teaching the Standard

With an abundant list of texts to choose from and a thousand requirements to meet, be sure to get a head start on planning your reading list. We recommend starting with your state, district, or school reading recommendations and make sure they match up with the national recommendations in terms of range of genres and time periods (see Standard 9 for guidance). As students move through 11th and 12th grades, expect them to read and interpret these texts with greater independence. It might be gradual, but by the time students graduate, they should have the reins firmly in their own two hands.

Drill 1

This drill will be an independent study for students: 

  • Choose a text from the list above or from a list provided by your teacher.
  • Read the text independently, keeping a double-entry reading log to record your questions, thoughts, observations, inferences, and predictions.
  • Interpret the central idea of the text through a discussion of theme, characters, symbolism, literary devices, structure, and tone. 
  • Organize your ideas into a well-developed paper or presentation that demonstrates your depth of understanding of the text and its underlying meanings.

Aligned Resources