OLDER POST ALERT!
This is an older post about our ELA content, and some things have changed. Check out the latest post here instead!
It’s all hands on deck for the Khan ELA content team as we continue building out our beta ELA courses for grades 2-9. This post gives you an overview of:
- What ELA content we have right now (as of early spring 2020)
- What’s coming up later in 2020
Show me the content!
You can access all the latest ELA beta content here: https://www.khanacademy.org/ela
Get in touch
Give us feedback: We'd love to hear what you like about the content, and what could be improved and added — let us know via this short and sweet feedback form.
Need help or have a question? Tell us more via this support request form and we’ll get on the case.
- We’re adding more units to our beta courses, including both topic-based reading practice and video instruction.
- We've also added one new course: 9th grade reading & vocabulary. We're adding one unit at a time—the first was added in April; keep your eyes peeled for a couple more by the summer.
- One change to highlight since our last update: we’re now focusing 100% on building out content for reading comprehension and vocabulary. Earlier in the school year, we’d been experimenting with integrated units that covered reading, vocabulary, writing, and grammar—since then, we’ve shifted to concentrate on reading and vocabulary, and we’ve paused on the accompanying writing and grammar. More details on this a little further below.
What do we mean by “beta” in this context? In short, think of the content as being in a “preview” state; a work in progress. That doesn’t mean we don’t want you to use it—quite the opposite :) But please do so with the understanding that none of the courses are yet fully complete, stable, or Done with a capital D; they’ll be evolving over the remainder of the 2019-20 US school year and beyond.
Keep in mind that things will change from time to time — e.g.:
- links to content and courses might change,
- some exercises may get consolidated, while others get split in two, and...
- in some cases we may remove content.
Plus, of course, we’ll be adding a lot more too! Our plan is for several courses to move from beta to fully-fledged status by summer of 2020 — we’ll share more info about this at a later date.
More about the content
Like other Khan courses, each beta ELA course is made up of several units, each of which contains a mix of practice exercises, video instruction, and articles. As we covered above, none of the courses is yet finalized or complete—we’ll continue to add instruction and practice to all of them.
In most courses, you’ll see both of these types of unit:
- “Learn by topic” units: all the practice exercises are based around passages with a unifying topic, and each exercise gives learners the opportunity to practice applying several different reading skills or strategies together with the same text.
- “Learn by focus area” units: each practice exercise in these units focuses on a specific reading skill or strategy.
Heads up that you’ll sometimes see repeats of passages, and occasionally even questions, across the two different types of unit. Remember, it’s beta content :) We’ll resolve all these repeats in the coming months as we get the courses finalized; thanks for your patience in the meantime.
The content is aligned to US Common Core State Standards for Reading Informational Text (RI), Reading Literature (RL), and Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (Language Anchor Standards 4-6). The passages we use in our practice are also designed to fall within Common Core-aligned text complexity ranges for each grade level. We’ll work on surfacing this information throughout the content as the school year goes on, including adding standards tagging like we already have in our math content.
What to expect later in 2020
Our main areas of focus through summer 2020 are:
- Adding more video instruction, and
- Adding more “Learn by topic” units across grades 2-9
The “Learn by topic” units are likely to be our main approach to building out reading and vocabulary practice going forward. One reason for this is that it’s closer to an authentic, real-world reading experience compared with practicing by individual strategies or standards. Another is that it’s more closely aligned with the intentions of the Common Core State Standards, particularly the importance of building content knowledge and vocabulary in the context of topic-based text sets.
What is ELA?
ELA stands for English Language Arts. In the US, this typically includes reading, writing, language (usage, vocabulary, grammar, spelling), and speaking and listening.
What is beta?
"Beta" is a software/tech term that's most commonly used to describe a public trial phase of a new product feature - but here we're using it for the content itself.
Some whimsical unrelated facts about beta: it’s the second letter of the Greek alphabet (but you already knew that); it’s also a term used in various ways across finance, meteorology, typography, and rock climbing; and the Beta Band were a 90s Scottish indie/folktronica band.
How can teachers assign content and monitor learners' progress?
Here's our guide to creating assignments, and here's the guide to our different assignment reports. In case you don't find what you're looking for there, send us a support request and we'll be glad to help out!
I’m a teacher outside the US—how do I assign the ELA content to my class?
Take a look at the walkthrough here :)
When will you add ELA to the mobile app?
We’ll do this once the courses come out of beta, which should be by fall of 2020. In the meantime, learners on phones and tablets can still access all the content via their phone or tablet’s browser.
Will you be adding other areas of ELA as well as reading and vocabulary?
Reading and vocabulary are likely to be our main area of focus for the foreseeable future: they’re very popular with learners and teachers, and areas that our current platform can handle pretty well. We do also have a standalone Khan Grammar course here: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/grammar.
We experimented with a “building block” approach to writing skills earlier this school year, but we’ve decided to hit pause on that for now. To offer authentic, long-form practice for either writing or speaking & listening, we’d need to invest heavily in both research and development, and in increasing what our platform is capable of doing. That would certainly be an exciting prospect to explore one day, but realistically we probably won't have resources to devote to it in the near term.
Will you be adding more high school ELA?
We’ll be building out a full reading and vocabulary course for 9th grade; we’d like to extend to 10th grade and beyond in the future, but we don’t have a timeline on that yet. And you probably already know this, but we have a ton of great SAT content over at https://www.khanacademy.org/mission/sat.
Will you be adding foundational skills practice?
For younger learners (up to first grade), check out the free Khan Academy Kids app. Right now, our focus here at khanacademy.org is on reading comprehension for grades 2 and up. We know decoding and foundational skills are areas of huge need for many learners beyond first grade; we hope to explore this more in the future, although we don't know exactly when yet.
Will you be adding quizzes, unit tests, or assessments?
Yes, we likely will add some sort of unit assessments or similar in the future; no firm timeline on this yet but we hope to start exploring options in 2021.