• About Elementary English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

    At OUSD, our students develop the literacy skills they need to become lifelong readers, writers, critical thinkers and empowered community members. Using EL Education and Benchmark Advance/Adelante, students:

    • Think critically;
    • Engage with culturally relevant materials;
    • Inquire through reading, writing and discussion; and
    • Learn language with complex texts.


    EL Education (EL Ed)

    Used at 42 K-5 elementary schools

    EL Education ensures students are thinking critically and engaging with culturally relevant materials. Students have rich, authentic reading and writing experiences through an equity and social emotional learning (SEL) lens. In an EL Education classroom, students lead academic discussions, and students with disabilities and students learning English receive appropriate on-ramps to access the curriculum so that all students are engaged in rigorous content. OUSD middle schools use EL Education, ensuring a throughline of high-quality learning. Watch this video, featuring OUSD teachers, to learn more!


    Benchmark Advance/Adelante

    Used at eight K-5 Dual Language Program elementary schools

    Benchmark Adelante/Advance focuses on biliteracy and language development, featuring authentic texts in Spanish and robust cross-language connections. The curriculum provides multiple supports for English Language Learners, in both English and Spanish.


    OUSD uses these curricula because they are rooted in the science of how children learn to read, and are especially appropriate for students learning English as a second language, students with special needs, and students who frequently move between schools.


    Learning to Read: Foundational Skill Curriculum

    OUSD students are provided explicit instruction in foundational reading skills to ensure that they become accurate decoders and fluent readers in their early years. Our schools use a suite of foundational skill curricula to support students with Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Sight Words, and Fluency:



    Used in all English-only elementary schools and as English support in Dual Language Program elementary schools.

    SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is a research-based, systematic, explicit, and sequential program for instruction in this essential area for reading instruction.



    Used in all elementary schools.

    Heggerty ensures that students receive instruction in Phonological Awareness skills (e.g. oral rhyming, alliteration, blending, and segmenting substitution — which are key predictive reading skills), in a logical and development progression. Haggerty is used in both Spanish and English.


    Learning Without Tears

    Used in all elementary schools.

    Learning Without Tears (formerly Handwriting Without Tears) supports students with the key skill of letter formation, which allows them to visually discriminate between different letters and recall their names. 


    English Language Development

    English learners at all English proficiency levels and at all ages require both Integrated English Language Development (ELD) and specialized attention to their particular language learning needs, or Designated ELD. All schools have a Designated ELD curriculum that is tied to the CORE ELA curriculum and the complex texts that students are reading.


    Assessment and Differentiation

    Supporting all students to develop literacy requires that educators regularly monitor progress and adjust instruction to meet students’ individual needs. Assessments must include: 

    • A diagnostic screener in the core components of literacy (phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension) that can be used to target supports and determine where deeper diagnostic assessment is needed (e.g. dyslexia screening).
    • Formative and interim assessments that assess progress towards grade-level standards.
    • Daily checks for understanding to adjust instruction and support students in meeting lesson objectives.


    Our assessment system includes valid, reliable, and predictive assessments that provide teachers and leaders with information to best support students’ literacy progress.


    Support for teachers

    OUSD teachers receive foundational professional development in the curriculum, as well as coaching and weekly teacher collaboration at their school. OUSD provides consistent, aligned professional development so that teachers have the structure, time, and resources to focus on student outcomes and provide support to all students. With consistent, ongoing support, our educators are masters of standards, instruction, and content.

Reach out to our elementary literacy team

Contact Us

  • Literacy Department: ELA, History, & Library Services

    c/o Marilu Boytes

    1011 Union Street, Site 954

    Oakland, CA 94607