A digital tool to achieve the ELA Common Core Standards

The standards were drafted by experts and teachers from across the country and are designed to ensure students are prepared for today’s entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses, and workforce training programs. The Common Core focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful. [1]

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Vocabulary Notebook is a digital platform that allows students to keep a personal glossary of the new terms they learn, providing useful sorting and filtering options, easy editions and useful self-assessment tests that allow them to significantly improve their vocabulary acquisition process. The full platform not only includes apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, but also a web-based application that allows students to access their vocabulary notebook from their pcs / laptops as well.

Below, we will point out in which way Vocabulary Notebook can help American students to fulfil the goals suggested by the Common Core State Standards.

If you visit the official web page of the Common Core Standards, you will see that there is a section called “Other Resources” in which you can get access to the “Key Shifts in English Language Arts” [2]. In this section, three key shifts that are vital for a suitable implementation of the standards are presented.

In this post we will highlight the most important aspects of these key shifts and relate them to the use of Vocabulary Notebook. Thus, we will show that Vocabulary Notebook can be considered an essential tool for students and teachers in the achievement of the Common Core Standards.

Regular practice with complex texts and their academic language

  • The ELA/literacy standards highlight the growing complexity of the texts students must read to be ready for the demands of college, career, and life. The standards call for a staircase of increasing complexity so that all students are ready for the demands of college- and career-level reading no later than the end of high school. The standards also outline a progressive development of reading comprehension so that students advancing through the grades are able to gain more from what they read.

If it is required that students have to deal with more complex texts, it would imply that they will need to develop a richer vocabulary and their level of reading comprehension will have to be higher. Thus, Vocabulary Notebook can be seen as a powerful tool that can take part in the learning process of the students.

  • Closely related to text complexity and inextricably connected to reading comprehension is a focus on academic vocabulary: words that appear in a variety of content areas (such as ignite and commit). The standards call for students to grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversation, direct instruction, and reading. They ask students to determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their range of words and phrases.

A way students can have for improving their knowledge of vocabulary is to work on them by using Vocabulary Notebook. This digital platform allows them to add new words and personalize them. For each word, students can include categories, definitions, sample sentences and, for those of them who are language learners, translations.

Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational

  • The reading standards focus on students’ ability to read carefully and grasp information, arguments, ideas, and details based on evidence in the text. Students should be able to answer a range of text-dependent questions, whose answers require inferences based on careful attention to the text.
  • Though the standards still expect narrative writing throughout the grades, they also expect a command of sequence and detail that are essential for effective argumentative and informative writing. The standards’ focus on evidence-based writing along with the ability to inform and persuade is a significant shift from current practice.

Vocabulary Notebook has been created for similar purposes to the ones previously mentioned. This tool will help students with the difficult or interesting vocabulary they will face either in a reading or in a writing activity. Thus, their main advantages are the way you, regarding your needs/interests, store your new vocabulary and build your own knowledge base. Vocabulary Notebook will guarantee that the vocabulary students work on with this tool will be kept in their long term memory rather than in their short term memory, as it has already been proved with several scientific studies.

Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

  • Students must be immersed in information about the world around them if they are to develop the strong general knowledge and vocabulary they need to become successful readers and be prepared for college, career, and life. Informational texts play an important part in building students’ content knowledge. Further, it is vital for students to have extensive opportunities to build knowledge through texts so they can learn independently.

As it has been mentioned above, in their Vocabulary Notebooks students are free to add new categories according to what their interests are, grouping their vocabulary by those topics. Since they can use this tool everywhere and at any time, their learning process can continue even outside the school, thus conecting formal and informal learning. Moreover, it encourages student’s autonomy and learning-to-learn skills.

Common Core Chain

It is worth mentioning that Vocabulary Notebook also provides useful teacher accounts that allow teachers to guide their students’ learning process either by sending suggestions or by reviewing the words their students don’t know yet or have more difficulties with.

To know more about Vocabulary Notebook and its relationship with the Common Core Standards, you can try it for free here.


[1] http://www.corestandards.org/what-parents-should-know/
[2] http://www.corestandards.org/other-resources/key-shifts-in-english-language-arts/

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