Table of contents


The draft English language arts and literature curriculum was released in March 2021 and updated in December 2021. This curriculum is essential to foundational literacy and communication skills. It prepares students for ongoing learning in secondary grades, post-secondary levels and the workplace.

Students will develop skills such as speaking, listening, reading and writing in order to communicate in different ways in a variety of situations.

They will explore great literary works and viewpoints that have shaped society over time. By learning to think critically and share ideas effectively, students can face challenges and find creative solutions on their own or working with others.

What is new: December 13, 2021

Alberta's K-6 curriculum renewal is moving forward based on valuable insights gained from listening to Albertans. Changes to the English language arts and literature curriculum include:

  • clarity in Grade 1 phonics and the number of specific words students are expected to learn in Grades 2 and 3
  • revised learning outcomes, knowledge and skills added to Grades 4, 5 and 6 to strengthen students’ development of critical and creative thinking skills

Engagement timeline

  • Open

    Feedback open until Spring 2022

  • Completed

Resources (updated Dec 2021)

Shifts in K-6 English language arts and literature

When comparing the draft English language arts and literature curriculum from December 2021 to the current curriculum, these are the main shifts in knowledge and skill requirements.

  Draft curriculum Current curriculum
Literature Opportunities for students to study great works of literature from many world cultures. No focus on works of literature.
Writing Students develop writing skills in an organized, orderly way to effectively express ideas and information in a variety of forms.

Clear expectations for students to learn grammar, spelling and punctuation across all grades.

Writing is not addressed in a clear, organized progression.

Grammar, spelling and punctuation conventions are not identified in detail.

Reading Clear expectations for students to develop accurate, automatic and expressive reading skills in all grades.

Reading comprehension strategies follow a clear progression to enable students to understand information and ideas.

No explicit mention of reading fluency.

Reading comprehension strategies are not presented in a clear progression.

Oral communication Clear expectations for students to develop oral language skills by listening, speaking, delivering speeches, presenting and collaborating. Oral language is generally addressed through listening and speaking.
Phonological awareness
The ability to identify and manipulate sounds in oral language
Must learn from Kindergarten to Grade 2 and apply it to reading and writing in later grades. Not mentioned and little focus on students learning to identify and manipulate sounds when speaking.
Phonics Clear expectations for students to learn phonics from Kindergarten to Grade 3, then apply them to reading and writing in later grades. Learning the relationships between sounds and letters (phonics) happens in a general way through reading.
Vocabulary and morphology
The study of words and their parts, such as prefixes, suffixes and base words
Clear expectations for students to build their knowledge of vocabulary and word parts (morphology) from grade to grade. Generally addressed with other types of word analysis and comprehension.
Text form The term text is clearly defined to be more inclusive, diverse, and support digital and non-digital learning. It includes information and ideas provided in books, reports, websites, videos, diagrams, pictures, oral stories and more.

Clear, detailed learning progressions that focus on text forms and structures that support reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing information and ideas in a variety of digital and non-digital forms.

The term text is not clearly defined.

General references to the forms, structure and formats used to communicate information and ideas.

Snapshot by grade

In English language arts and literature, students will learn about reading fluency and comprehension, writing conventions and form, and oral language. The highlights indicate updates made to the draft curriculum in December 2021.

  • Kindergarten
    • Develop listening and speaking skills by sharing ideas, stories and poems
    • Recognize and write some letters and words
    • Share understandings of ideas and information about people, places or things that are real or imaginary
    • Express ideas and information creatively
    • Contribute to discussions by asking questions and speaking in sentences that contain complete ideas
    • Copy words to become familiar with how words are spelled
  • Grade 1
    Grade 1
    • Speak about experiences and information using appropriate vocabulary, volume and speed
    • Retell the main idea, characters and details in a story or poem
    • Show understandings of sound-letter relationships and automatic recognition of words
    • Combine ideas in logical sequences to speak and write in complete sentences
    • Begin sentences with a capital letter, and end them with a period, question mark or exclamation mark
    • Organize ideas to create stories and poems or record factual information
    • Update: Clarity related to phonics – how a vowel that is followed by ‘r’ can make a new sound (e.g., tiger, turn, and bird)
  • Grade 2
    Grade 2
    • Adjust listening and speaking to communicate clearly and develop positive relationships
    • Make connections between letters and the sounds they represent to read fluently and spell words correctly
    • Use a variety of reading strategies including altering speed, re-reading and making predictions to understand the message in a story or an informational text
    • Ask and answer questions to clarify information
    • Create imaginative representations or dramatizations of stories that include characters, setting and plot
    • Clarify written ideas and information through use of appropriate vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
    • Update: Changes to the number of sight words that students will learn
  • Grade 3
    Grade 3
    • Explore how oral traditions show respect for traditional shared knowledge
    • Use eye contact, posture, gestures and movement to enhance communication
    • Read complex words, phrases and passages fluently and with expression
    • Relate personal experiences to interactions with people or information in books, poems or plays
    • Demonstrate writing strategies
    • Demonstrate grammar, spelling and punctuation that clarify written communication
    • Identify how a variety of texts can communicate ideas and information
    • Update: Changes to the number of high-frequency words that students will learn
  • Grade 4
    Grade 4
    • Demonstrate listening and speaking that build relationships and understanding
    • Demonstrate appropriate emphasis on words, pausing, phrasing and intonation that reflects comprehension of text
    • Examine and apply strategies that support text comprehension
    • Create a variety of written texts to share information and develop personal expression
    • Examine and apply grammar, spelling and punctuation to develop concise written communication
    • Identify the purpose, form and structure of a variety of texts and how they can communicate ideas and information
    • Update: Clarity in the development of critical and creative thinking skills, such as incorporating images, charts, and graphs in text
  • Grade 5
    Grade 5
    • Engage in collaborative dialogue to share ideas, solve problems and make decisions
    • Apply knowledge to reading and writing
    • Evaluate ideas and information to comprehend texts
    • Analyze and reflect on ways to write effectively for different audiences and purposes
    • Experiment with and apply grammar, spelling and punctuation to develop precise written communication
    • Examine how text genres, forms and structures support and enhance communication
    • Update: Additional content to support the development of critical and creative thinking skills such as using descriptive words or sensory images to create mood
  • Grade 6
    Grade 6
    • Offer relevant information and logical reasoning to enhance collaborative dialogue
    • Analyze texts and interpret contexts to build comprehension
    • Refine and adjust writing to reflect individuality and skills
    • Demonstrate and apply grammar, spelling and punctuation accurately and skillfully in written communication
    • Analyze how a variety of texts are organized and can influence understandings of ourselves, each other and the world
    • Update: Clarity in the development of critical and creative thinking skills such as using imagery, rhyme and dialogue when developing text

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