River Trails District 26 employs a balanced literacy approach to develop proficient readers and writers for the 21st century. English Language Arts instruction (ELA) includes reading, writing, speaking, listening and the study of literature. Through the study of ELA, students should be able to read fluently, understanding a broad range of written materials, communicate well and listen carefully and effectively. They should develop a command of the language and demonstrate their knowledge through speaking and writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. As students progress, a structured study of literature  and informational text will allow students to recognize universal themes and to compare styles and ideas across authors and eras. Students will develop abilities to analyze complex texts, determine evidence, reason critically, and communicate thoughtfully.Students have the tools they need to think critically, expand their curiosity, and tackle challenging concepts—which helps them learn to close read selections and prepare to navigate their world as literate and informed citizens.


Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts (opens in a new window)  establish clear and coherent expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.


ELA instruction breaks down the complex process of reading into essential and foundational components. Teachers rely on a variety of instructional best practices to reach learners at all developmental levels. Components of literacy instruction include phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, writing, and communication skills.