L.CCR.3 — that’s the 3rd College and Career Readiness anchor standard within the Language strand of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA/Literacy — says:
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
To succeed at this standard, you must become a language Jedi.
Yoda knows what’s up
Let’s face it: L.CCR.3 is kind of vague, but it’s also kind of important.
People who are savvy with language are less likely to be manipulated and more likely to do cool stuff.
It’s true. But let’s get specific: what kinds of things does this somewhat vague standard entail? I skimmed through the grade-specific standards and pulled out some sample skills to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with:
- Grade 2: Compare formal and informal uses of English.
- Grade 3: Choose words and phrases for effect.
- Grade 4: Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting information) and contexts that allow for informal English (e.g., small-group discussion or blogging at Teaching the Core).
- Grade 5: Expand, combine, and reduce sentences for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.
- Grade 6: Maintain consistency in style and tone.
- Grade 7: Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.
- Grade 8: Use verbs in the active and passive voice and in the conditional and subjunctive mood to achieve particular effects (e.g., emphasizing the actor or the action; expressing uncertainty or describing a state contrary to fact).
- Wow, that one’s not intense at all. Have fun, 8th grade teachers! ;P
- Grades 9-10: Write and edit work so that it conforms to the guidelines in a style manual (e.g., MLA Handbook, Turabian’s Manual for Writers) appropriate for the discipline and writing type.
- Grades 11-12: Vary syntax for effect, consulting references (e.g., Tufte’s Artful Sentences) for guidance as needed; apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading.
In short, L.CCR.3 takes skills learned from L.CCR.1 and L.CCR.2 and brings them to bear on issues of style, comprehension, and context. A college and career ready person has a strong feel for how language is used effectively, both by oneself and others.