Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory

Standards in Colorado's Reading, Writing and Communicating

Standards are the topical organization of an academic content area. The four standards of Reading, Writing, and Communicating are:

  1. Oral Expression and Listening
  2. Reading for All Purposes
  3. Writing and Composition
  4. Research and Reasoning

1. Oral Expression and Listening

Learning of word meanings occurs rapidly from birth through adolescence within communicative relationships. Everyday interactions with parents, teachers, peers, friends, and community members shape speech habits and knowledge of language. Language is the means to higher mental functioning, that which is a species-specific skill, unique to humans as a generative means for thinking and communication. Through linguistic oral communication, logical thinking develops and makes possible critical thinking, reasoning, development of information literacy, application of collaboration skills, self-direction, and invention.

Oral language foundation and written symbol systems concretize the way a student communicates. Thus, students in Colorado develop oral language skills in listening and speaking, and master the written language skills of reading and writing. Specifically, holding Colorado students accountable for language mastery from the perspectives of scientific research in linguistics, cognitive psychology, human information processing, brain-behavior relationships, and socio-cultural perspectives on language development will allow students to master 21st century skills and serve the state, region, and nation well.

Prepared Graduate Competencies in the Oral Expression and Listening Standard:

  • Collaborate effectively as group members or leaders who listen actively and respectfully pose thoughtful questions, acknowledge the ideas of others, and contribute ideas to further the group’s attainment of an objective
  • Deliver organized and effective oral presentations for diverse audiences and varied purposes
  • Use language appropriate for purpose and audience
  • Demonstrate skill in inferential and evaluative listening

Return to the top

2. Reading for All Purposes

Literacy skills are essential for students to fully participate in and expand their understanding of today’s global society. Whether they are reading functional texts (voting ballots, a map, a train schedule, a driver’s test, a job application, a text message, product labels); reference materials (textbooks, technical manuals, electronic media); or print and non-print literary texts, students need reading skills to fully manage, evaluate, and use the myriad information available in their day-to-day lives.

Prepared Graduate Competencies in the Reading for All Purposes Standard:

  • Interpret how the structure of written English contributes to the pronunciation and meaning of complex vocabulary
  • Demonstrate comprehension of a variety of informational, literary, and persuasive texts
  • Evaluate how an author uses words to create mental imagery, suggest mood, and set tone
  • Read a wide range of literature (American and world literature) to understand important universal themes and the human experience
  • Seek feedback, self-assess, and reflect on personal learning while engaging with increasingly more difficult texts
  • Engage in a wide range of nonfiction and real-life reading experiences to solve problems, judge the quality of ideas, or complete daily tasks

Return to the top

3. Writing and Composition

Writing is a fundamental component of literacy. Writing is a means of critical inquiry; it promotes problem solving and mastering new concepts. Adept writers can work through various ideas while producing informational, persuasive, and narrative or literary texts. In other words, writing can be used as a medium for reasoning and making intellectual connections. As students arrange ideas to persuade, describe, and inform, they engage in logical critique, and they are likely to gain new insights and a deeper understanding of concepts and content.

From the Common Core State Standards Expectations for EACH grade level: “Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.”

Prepared Graduate Competencies in the Writing and Composition standard:

  • Write with a clear focus, coherent organization, sufficient elaboration, and detail
  • Effectively use content-specific language, style, tone, and text structure to compose or adapt writing for different audiences and purposes
  • Apply standard English conventions to effectively communicate with written language
  • Implement the writing process successfully to plan, revise, and edit written work
  • Master the techniques of effective informational, literary, and persuasive writing

Return to the top

4. Research and Reasoning

Research and Reasoning skills are pertinent for success in a postsecondary and workforce setting. Students need to acquire these skills throughout their schooling. This means students need to be able to distinguish their own ideas from information created or discovered by others, understand the importance of creating authentic works, and correctly cite sources to give credit to the author of the original work.

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects include a separate standard for Language. In this document, those Language expectations are integrated into the four standards above as appropriate. 

Prepared Graduate Competencies in the Research and Reasoning standard:

  • Discriminate and justify a position using traditional lines of rhetorical argument and reasoning
  • Articulate the position of self and others using experiential and material logic
  • Gather information from a variety of sources; analyze and evaluate the quality and relevance of the source; and use it to answer complex questions
  • Use primary, secondary, and tertiary written sources to generate and answer research questions
  • Evaluate explicit and implicit viewpoints, values, attitudes, and assumptions concealed in speech, writing, and illustration
  • Demonstrate the use of a range of strategies, research techniques, and persistence when engaging with difficult texts or examining complex problems or issues
  • Exercise ethical conduct when writing, researching, and documenting sources

Return to the Reading, Writing, and Communicating Standards

Quick Links


Contact Us

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

CDE Hours
Mon - Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See also: Licensing Hours

Educator Licensing 

WCC Access