Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

English Language Arts (ELA)


The study of English Language Arts begins before children even enter school. Young children listen and observe the words and interactions of those around them. They communicate at first without words but then, as they add language to their vocabulary, express their thoughts and needs with increasing clarity and precision. Adults communicate basic desires, and some make communication itself an art form.

The study of language arts is the study of communication in many forms. English language arts classes in schools aim to give students the tools to be effective communicators: readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. Students are taught to read by being trained in a variety of reading strategies and processes and are given numerous opportunities to practice their skills. Students write for a variety of purposes: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. Listening and speaking skills first gained in the English language arts classroom are essential to helping students be active and strong learners in every other classroom and must be encouraged and practiced there, as well. Students should also be provided with opportunities to use telecommunication to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences to reach beyond traditional classroom walls.

The Nevada English Language Arts Standards are intended to give Nevada children the tools and experiences that will help them not only to succeed in school but also to become lifelong and adept readers, writers, listeners, and speakers. The scope of English language arts study extends far beyond the English language arts classroom. Students apply the skills learned there in every content area; for example, students write science reports and make presentations in social studies classes. It is the same with research. While students often gain their research skills through instruction in the English language arts, the practice of those skills spans many content areas. Technology tools used within the English language arts classroom to enhance productivity, communication, and research can assist students as they construct models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works. Many of the standards set out for younger students are on the surface similar to those written for high school students. What changes between the sets of expectations is the developmental abilities of students to, for example, write more sophisticated compositions or to read more complex texts.

Members of a state prioritization team prioritized each of the benchmarks standards based on a three-part framework which included Enduring Knowledge, Important Knowledge and Knowledge Worth Being Familiar With. The state prioritization team also identified whether the benchmark standards in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12 would be assessed locally by school district personnel or through a state assessment. In doing so, it was assumed that all standards would be assessed at the local level but that only some of the standards are appropriate for assessment at the state level.