999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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Language Arts

Reading Literature & Informational Text

Critical Content

Power Standards

  • Ask and answer questions about key details and illustrations in order to demonstrate understanding of the text. (RI 1.1, 1.7 & SL 1.2, 1.3)
  • Recount/retell text to express an understanding of the author’s main purpose supported by evidence from information presented visually and in words. (RL & RI 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 & SL 1.4, 1.5)
  • Compare and contrast the most important information presented by two texts on the same topic in order to describe connections between two individuals, events, and ideas. (RL & RI 1.3, 1.7, 1.9)


Power Standards Critical Content

In the language of instruction, students will…

  • Ask and answer questions about key details in a text using five “wh” word questions
  • Tell the teacher and other students about a story one knows, remembering the important details and the main idea of each story
  • Identify, understand and retell the main topic of what one reads
  • Retell key details of a text using five “wh” word questions
  • Identify characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details
  • Talk about how:
    • Two individuals are connected in a text (ex., Clifford is Emily Elizabeth’s dog, etc.)
    • Two ideas are connected in a text (ex., Florida is a state in the United States)
    • Two events are connected in a text
  • Tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction stories
  • Find information in texts by looking at captions, bold print, subheading, glossaries, indexes, menus, and graphics
  • Identify who is telling the story at different times of the story
  • Look at pictures in a text and explain what one learned from them
  • Compare what one sees in pictures to the words that one reads in a text
  • Find an illustration in a story and describe it and explain why it is part of the page it is on
  • Study the pictures in a text to learn more about a topic and explain how pictures are helpful in learning about a topic
  • Describe two characters from different stories that have similar or different adventures and retell these adventures or experiences
  • Compare similarities and differences in two texts on the same topic
  • Identify and describe key ideas and details presented visually or orally
  • Ask and answer questions about a presentation
  • Tell a story or share an experience with relevant facts and descriptive details using complete sentences and speaking in a clear voice
  • Create audio recordings of stories or poems and use visuals such as drawings or photographs to draw attention to certain facts or details

*”text” refers to any content introduced through written text, audio, visual media (charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures, video, web pages, etc.)

*”explicit evidence” includes direct quotes, graphic details, paraphrasing, summary of author’s words/ideas


Additional Critical Content

  • Ask questions and answer questions about what was read
  • Find words in a text that describe a character’s or narrator’s feelings
  • Find words in a text that describe people, places, or things using smell, taste, touch, sight, or hearing
  • Clarify the meaning of words or phrases not understood in a text, by asking and answering questions
  • Read a text and identify the author’s key points and identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text
  • Explain which parts of a text one understands and which parts of the text one does not understand
  • Ask for help in order to understand parts of a text that are too difficult
  • Read first grad high-frequency and sight words
  • Read grade level books and poems


Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understandings

  • Reading texts critically – analyzing the author’s purpose, exploring the relationship between a work’s structure and meaning, and connecting the work to ideas outside the text – improves the reader’s comprehension, thinking and writing.


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What strategies do good readers use to understand text?
  • Author’s choice: Why does it matter?
  • In what ways does creative choice impact an audience?
  • Whose story is it, and why does it matter?
  • What are the key ideas and details in a text?
  • How do they differ in different types of texts?
  • What is the purpose of fiction and non-fiction?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does one determine the key ideas and details presented in a text?
  • Why is inferential thinking important for understanding text?
  • How does one know one understands what one reads?
  • How does one monitor one’s own comprehension?
  • How does comparing two ideas, stories, events, characters help me understand?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • What makes a story “great”?
  • Is it important to read both fiction and non-fiction?
  • Can there be more than one purpose to a story (entertain, persuade, inform)?


Language Considerations

Language General Transfer-Students must draw upon the following…

Reading as a process

  • Predicting outcomes
  • Main idea
  • Sequence of ideas
  • Making connections
  • Draw conclusions
  • Locate information
  • Connect prior knowledge
  • Retell
  • Use visual clues
  • Ask questions
  • Paraphrasing/restate
  • Facts and details
  • Distinguishing fact from fiction
  • Fact vs. opinion
  • Nonfiction text features


Non-cognitive transfer

  • Attention
  • Listening
  • Concentration
  • Persistence
  • Task Completion


Common among all languages

  • Develop Oral Language
  • Match speech to print
  • Contextualized literacy instruction
  • Meaningful
  • Active
  • Comparative
  • Recurrent


English language specific

  • I can read first grade high-frequency words and identity and read sight words (high frequency words)


Spanish language specific

  • Distinguish between formal and informal style speaking according to audience and purpose (Tú vs. Usted)
  • Respect, honor and teach dialectical differences within cultures and regions


English language development

  • Visual support-context using pictures
  • Language scaffolding
  • Use home language to support English language development
  • Build upon background knowledge
  • Cross-linguistic transfer for reading and instruction
    • Concept of the letters, sounds, syllables, words, sentences
  • Meta-linguistic Awareness


Russian language specific

  • Read root related words
  • Orally recognize and decode the hard sign by making a slight pause between syllables and the soft sign by softening the preceding consonant.
  • Decoding multi-syllabic words by breaking them into syllables.
  • Read with accurate accent to maintain correct meaning (e.g., zamo’k means lock vs. za’mok means castle).


Polish language specific

  • Polish alphabet (vowels and consonants)
  • Digraphs
  • Hard vs. soft sounds
  • Syllabication
  • Accents
  • Seven types of verb conjugations
  • All parts of speech can be conjugated:
    • Gender (feminine, masculine, neutral)
    • Number (singular or plural)
    • Case
  • Dipthongs
  • Vowel combinations
  • Orthography
  • Specific rules for words with: Ó, u, rz, ż, ch, h, ą, ę, om, em, en, nie
  • Polish specific punctuation:
    • Commas
    • Quotation marks
  • Distinguish between formal and informal language usage



Informal Assessments are used during the process of brainstorming, drafting, revision and editing or class discussions.

In the language of instruction students will…

  • Demonstrate comprehension by speaking and writing what they read
  • Anecdotal notes from a variety of settings (whole-group, small-group, independent journal entries) reflecting the students’ ability to:
    • Use of text evidence to support thinking
    • Use of academic, domain-specific language
    • Make logical inferences
    • Retell favorite stories
  • Ask and answer questions using the five “Wh” words about stories and texts
  • Identify characters, setting, and major events in a story, using key details
  • Compare and contrast characters, events or themes in a story


Formal Assessments are used as a measure of student achievement towards mastery of a skill and Power Standard. Often a formal assessment will result in a grade.

In the language of instruction students will…

  • MAP
  • Retell orally or in writing what was read
  • Compare what one sees in pictures to the words that one reads in a text
  • Identify and describe key ideas and details presented visually or orally