Each of our reading & vocabulary courses is made up of several units, each with a mix of practice exercises, video instruction, and articles. All the 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.
We focus on topic-based, integrated reading practice because it’s closer to an authentic, real-world reading experience than it would be to practice reading by learning isolated strategies or standards. This approach is also more closely aligned with the intent of many state standards sets, which emphasize the importance of building content knowledge and vocabulary in the context of engaging themed texts.
The content is aligned to, and tagged with, 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; you can find an estimated quantitative readability measure right under each prose passage in our practice exercises.
Note for teachers: you can assign reading & vocabulary content to your learners and keep track of their progress—we’ve included some links to relevant how-to guides in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below.
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.
How can teachers assign content and monitor learners' progress?
I’m a teacher outside the US—how do I assign the ELA content to my class?
Take a look at the walkthrough here :)
Will you be adding other areas of ELA as well as reading & vocabulary?
Reading and vocabulary are likely to be our main area of focus for the foreseeable future. We also have a standalone Khan Grammar course here: https://www.khanacademy.org/ela/grammar.
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. That would be a really 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 currently have a 9th grade reading & vocabulary course; we hope to extend to 10th grade and beyond in the future but we don’t have a timeline for that yet. We also 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 (through grade 2), check out the free Khan 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, but we don't know exactly when – yet!
I’ve noticed the texts you use are either ones I haven’t seen before, or older texts. Why is that?
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, our reading courses consist of topic-based units that help learners grow their content and vocabulary knowledge at the same time as building reading confidence, stamina, and strategies. In many cases, writing or commissioning new, original, engaging texts is a great way to facilitate this kind of learning.
Second, while teachers in schools can use any text for teaching and practice, as a free, online resource Khan Academy has to follow different rules for using copyrighted material. Basically, that means we can’t use most texts published after 1920 or so. Fortunately, there was a lot of great literature published before 1920, so we’ve included lots of those texts too :)