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Language Arts - Secondary Curriculum
English Language Arts Grades 11-12 (2023)
Course Preface


The P-12 Utah State Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) were revised by Utah educators in 2022 to identify the key literacy standards necessary for Utah students to master by the end of each grade level. Some standards are mastered in previous grades. If a student has not mastered previous grade level standards, the teacher will need to intervene in order to fill the student's skill gaps.


The Utah State Standards are organized into strands, which represent significant areas of learning within content areas. In ELA, these strands are speaking & listening, reading, and writing.

Within each strand are standards. All standards are considered essential to master. The skills in the standards require repeated exposure with increasingly complex texts and in increasingly sophisticated contexts. Mastery is only obtained by regular practice over time.

Shifts in the Standards

Changes in the standards were made to improve the consistency and practicality of the standards. These changes include:

  • The standards were reduced, simplified, and clarified.
  • Phonological Awareness was added in grades 2 and 3.
  • The Reading Literature (RL) and Reading Informational (RI) standards were combined where it was most logical.
  • The language strand of standards was woven throughout the speaking and listening, reading, and writing strands.
  • Much like 9-10 and 11-12, 7th and 8th grade standards were banded.
  • References to specific texts were removed from the standards in an effort to broaden representation and enhance local control over curricular choices.

Speaking and Listening Strand

The following standards offer a focus for speaking and listening instruction each year to help ensure that students gain adequate mastery of a range of skills and applications. Students develop useful interpersonal skills for the classroom and workplace by having the opportunity to listen to each other, respond appropriately, and evaluate what they hear from a variety of sources. The standards stress preparing for and participating effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades, including but not limited to, communication and interpersonal skills. Young students may master acquisition of certain speech sounds at different ages. The chart below includes the typical age of acquisition of each sound.

Speech Development Progression Chart
(age in years)

2 3 4 5 6 7 8
/p/ as in pop            
/m/ as in met            
/h/ as in hot            
/n/ as in no            
/w/ as in will            
/b/ as in book            
/k/ as in cab            
/g/ as in got            
/d/ as in dock            
/t/ as in tap            
/ng/ as in sing            
    /f/ as in fill/reef          
    /y/ as in you          
  /r/ as in red          
  /l/ as in leak/hill          
  /s/ as in sun          
      /ch/ as in chop        
      /sh/ as in shock        
      /z/ as in zoom        
    /j/ as in jump        
    /v/ as in van        
        /th/ as in think      
      /th/ as in the      
        /zh/ as in beige    

Adapted from Sander (1972), Grunwell (1981), and Smit et al. (1990)

Reading Strand

The following reading standards offer a focus for reading instruction while building core knowledge and deepening comprehension. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades by reading increasingly complex texts throughout the grades. Texts should reflect a variety of genres, time periods, topics, perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds. Reading standards include reading literature and reading informational texts. Reading Literature is indicated with (RL) and Reading Informational with (RI).

The Reading Strand includes the foundational skills in the primary grades. These foundational skills are not an end in and of themselves. Rather, they are necessary and important components of effective, evidence-based reading instruction to develop reading proficiency with the capacity to comprehend texts across a range of types and disciplines. Some readers will need more or less practice with these foundational skills than other readers. The point is to teach students what they need to learn in order to be successful, proficient readers.

An important part of comprehensive reading instruction is that students acquire knowledge of language, particularly in using accurate academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Thus, the reading standards weave in language standards focused on vocabulary and language comprehension. These skills will help students develop independence as readers and writers when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension.

Students must also be immersed in reading challenging, complex texts to actively make meaning, answer questions, solve problems, and craft arguments. Text complexity includes qualitative features of text and a range of texts within the quantitative grade band and associated Lexile ranges. Standard R.4 includes an asterisk to refer educators back to the Text Complexity Grade Bands and Associate Lexile Ranges below.

Text Complexity Grade Bands and Associated Lexile Ranges

Text Complexity Grade Band Lexile Range
K-1 N/A
2-3 450-790
4-5 770-980
6-8 955-1155
9-10 1080-1305
11-12 1215-1355

Engaging students in deep discussions and writing of texts is imperative to their growth and development as readers. Writing and discussion of text focuses on key ideas and details, craft and structure, and integrating knowledge and ideas. Students then need to return to previously-read texts to compare with other texts and synthesize the information from multiple texts for presentations, projects, or additional writing.

Writing Strand

The following standards offer a focus for writing instruction to ensure that students gain adequate mastery of a range of writing skills and applications to address increasingly demanding content and sources. Students advancing through the grades are expected to meet each year’s grade-specific standards and retain or further develop skills and understandings mastered in preceding grades. Students’ production of writing should focus more on content and ideas rather than on length. Therefore, length requirements per grade are not included in the standards.

Students will learn to research, plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish. These skills are applicable to many types of writing such as opinion, argumentative, informative, explanatory, and narrative. The standards stress the importance of the reading-writing connection by requiring students to draw upon and write evidence from literary and informational texts while weaving in language expectations.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Naomi  Watkins and see the Language Arts - Secondary website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer  Throndsen.

These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.