Foundations of Fishtank ELA

Explore our ELA research base, standards progression, and guiding principles

Fishtank ELA is aligned to the key shifts called for by the Common Core to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college, career, and life. 

Rather than focusing on discrete skills, Fishtank ELA focuses on ensuring that students have regular practice with complex text and academic language. As students progress through the Fishtank ELA curriculum, they build on the strategies learned in previous grades to tackle increasingly complex texts and tasks. 

Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts is at the heart of all Fishtank ELA units. All questions and tasks within Fishtank ELA are rooted in the texts students read, requiring students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade to answer questions based on careful attention to the text, learning how to craft arguments, and present information clearly. 

While engaging with complex text, students build knowledge of the world around them. This knowledge develops from grade to grade, as students rely on the knowledge they’ve built in previous grades to access increasingly complex texts and tasks in later grades.

ELA Standards Progression for K–8

See how the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading build year over year in the Fishtank ELA curriculum.

Our ELA Guiding Principles

Dive deeper into key reading, research, and related Teacher Tools for each of our ELA guiding principles.

Building knowledge to nurture critical thinking and agency

Effective literacy instruction builds students’ reading/writing skills and knowledge, develops students' identity and agency, helps students understand the world around them, and creates independent critical readers.

Teacher putting her hands behind their ears to listen to a group of young students.

Centering diverse, relevant, and rigorous texts

Every student, regardless of background and reading level, should read complex, engaging texts written in a variety of genres and by diverse voices, to highlight the diversity and richness of the human experience.

A student reading among bookshelves in a library.

Prioritizing student voices and ideas

Engaging in regular academic discourse is essential for students to synthesize texts and content, spark their curiosity, develop original ideas, and find their own voice.

Students sitting on a table and talking.

Learning to write, writing to learn

Writing and language skills are best taught in context, allowing students to authentically analyze an author’s craft and structure, develop their own voice as writers, and build deeper meaning with the texts and ideas.

A student erasing something in their notebook.

Preparing teachers to support students

Intellectual preparation allows teachers to do their best teaching: when teachers deeply understand the text and unit themes they can help all students master grade-level content and standards. 

A teacher speaking to students who are working on computers.