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Literacy and Language Blog

Getting to Know the New ELAR TEKS

If you have been an educator for more than a decade, you have probably experienced the TEKS being replaced by new ones. If you have not experienced this shift yet, there are a few important things to know. The transition from the former to the latter can be smoother if there is an understanding of what is new. This year in Texas, TEKS adopted by SBOE in 2017 for Grades K-8 are being implemented; TEKS adopted by SBOE in 2017 for English I-IV will be implemented in 2020-2021.
The first action I would suggest that you take is to become acquainted with the introduction to the new TEKS.
The introduction and TEKS can be found at the links below.
Below are basic summaries of the seven statements in the introduction to the TEKS that underpin the development of the English Language Arts and Reading TEKS adopted by SBOE in 2017. To read the introductory elements verbatim, follow the links above.
  1. There is a focus on the interconnectedness of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking through seven integrated strands: developing and sustaining foundational language skills, comprehension, response, multiple genres, author’s purpose and craft, and inquiry and research.
  2. Skills are meant to be integrated and recursive. Strands include the four domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing and their application in order to accelerate acquisition of language skills. This point also emphasizes that students should have an opportunity to engage in academic conversations, read, write, and be read to on a daily basis with opportunities for cross-curricular content and choice.
  3. As skills and knowledge increase in the seven strands, students will apply earlier standards with greater depth and increasingly complex texts in multiple genres. There is also an emphasis on collaboration, self-direction, and metacognitive skills.
  4. English Language Learners are expected to meet standards in a second language. The proficiency that students have in English influences their ability to meet standards. Scaffolds used for language acquisition are detailed in this bullet point, so this is a great area to discuss in a PLC. It is also stated in this bullet point that vocabulary should be in the context of meaningful, connected discourse. A student’s first language is used strategically to ensure linguistic, affective, and cognitive, and academic development of English.
  5. Instruction must be linguistically accommodated in accordance with ELPS.
  6. Verbal engagement should be maximized; students must have multiple opportunities to practice and apply language in each discipline.
  7. “Including” in a statement means that statement must be mastered, while the phrase “such as” is intended to provide illustrative examples.
For each of the seven strands, there are also sub-strands. Strands at early elementary levels have more sub-strands than subsequent grade levels. It is important to know that grade levels differ in the number of stub-strands each strand contains. Consider high-lighting each strand in one color and the sub-strands for each strand in a different color so that you can readily discern the sub-strands. I have provided an example below.
Multiple genres: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple textsliterary elements. The student recognizes and analyzes literary elements within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse literary texts. The student is expected to:
Another activity that might provide clarity and familiarization with the TEKS can be through a vertical alignment approach. Focus on the language of the skills in your grade band. Then highlight differences in the grade level below and the grade level above so that you have a better understanding of vertical alignment. Because some skills have been moved to different grade levels in the new TEKS, this activity can be very helpful in becoming aware of the skills meant for the grade level that you teach. I have provided an example below.
Grade 5
Strand 1: Developing and Sustaining Foundational Language Skills
Sub-strand: Vocabulary


Use context within and beyond a sentence to determine the relevant meaning of unfamiliar words or multiple-meaning words
Grade 6
Strand 1: Developing and Sustaining Foundational Language Skills
Sub-strand: Vocabulary


Use context such as definition, analogy, and examples to clarify the meaning of multiple meaning words
Grade 7
Strand 1: Developing and Sustaining Foundational Language Skills
Sub-strand: Vocabulary


Use context such as contrast or cause and effect to clarify the meaning of words
Texas Education Agency has provided the TEKS Guide as a resource to better understand how to use the new TEKS in your classroom. Use the following link to check out many supports for teachers, such as helpful videos and glossaries. You will also find Spanish Language Arts and Reading support at this link:
Using a systematic approach and the tools that we have available to internalize the intentions and depth of our new TEKS will ensure that the shift is happening.
Use the following link to register for Region 4 ESC professional learning sessions to support your endeavors to make the spring 2020 semester the best ever!
Region 4 is making improvements to the McKinney Conference Center and will invite guests to experience the difference in August of 2024
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