The Secondary English Language Arts (ELA) Team of the Iron County School District is a dedicated group of teachers that meets several times a year to improve the English Language Arts instruction for middle school and high school aged students. Although we believe the foundational skills of reading and writing will always be important, students must now be able to transfer these skills into the ever-changing modern forms of literacy and communication. Indeed, now more than ever, students must not only be good gatherers of information but also be excellent evaluators of the abundance of the information that is so readily available. Finally, students should then be able to use and present this information for their future needs and goals. It is with this in mind that the Iron County Secondary Language Arts Team studies the Utah Core Standards and creates focused plans for their instruction. Below, students and stakeholders can see both the original standards along with our more focused standards transparently put forth.

Secondary English Language Arts Standards Secondary Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects


  1. Students will find the main idea or theme of a piece of writing and identify key details and evidence that supports the main idea or theme.
  2. Students will analyze how authors develop and structure their writing to provide deeper meaning, emphasize key ideas, and create overall tone.
  3. Analyze one subject with two different texts or mediums with valid reasoning and relevant evidence.


  1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Use structure and transitions to organize and develop the essay in a concise, clear manner.
  2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Speaking and Listening

  1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners discussing texts and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  2. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying and fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
  3. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


  1. Students will have command of the conventions of the English language to write increasingly more mature, complex sentences and paragraphs by starting with the basics of the eight parts of speech, working up through phrases and clauses, then on to agreement issues and structural issues, and finally with full punctuation and editing skills.
  2. Students will understand words often have multiple meanings (The correct meaning is not always the first entry in the dictionary) and learn how to use context clues to better understand these meanings.
  3. Students will understand that words have both connotative and denotative meanings, that words often have layers of meaning (nuances) even if their denotative meanings are similar, and that words are often used figuratively.