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CCR Anchor Standards in Writing: An Overview

By Dave Stuart Jr.

After wading through the reading strand of anchor standards, you'll find the anchor standards in writing. In the “Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects” document, these are first found on page 18. The question these anchor standards seek to answer is, “What should a college and career-ready (CCR) person be able to do as a writer?”

How are the Anchor Standards for Writing Organized?

The 10 anchor standards for writing are broken up into four groups.

  1. Text Types and Purposes (W.CCR.1-3*)
  2. Production and Distribution of Writing (W.CCR.4-6)
  3. Research to Build and Present Knowledge (W.CCR.7-9)
  4. Range of Writing (W.CCR.10)

Or, in everyday human terms, these anchor standards are dedicated to answering these questions:

  1. How do you write a beautiful argument? How do you explain a complex idea clearly? How do you retell a real or imagined experience well?
  2. How does task, purpose, and audience alter how we write? What processes do writers go through to create effective pieces?  In what ways does technology help (and inhibit) the production and distribution of our writing?
  3. How does one conduct research for both short and extended projects? Which sources are credible? How do you integrate information from research while avoiding plagiarism?
  4. Can you write in both timed and extended situations? Is your writing adaptable to a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences?

When it comes to teaching writing and pursuing these questions, I've found no easy answers. However, the best professional development I've ever experienced (by far) in terms of the teaching of writing has been through the National Writing Project. My local site of the NWP is the Lake Michigan Writing Project. These are dear friends. Apply to an Invitational Summer Institute as quick as you can — you won't regret it.

*The CCSS use the following format for notating anchor standards: [Strand, e.g., Reading or Writing or Speaking and Listening or Language].[College and Career Ready, i.e., this is what kids should be able to do when they graduate; see my post on anchor standards].[Number of the standard]. So, the fifth anchor standard in the Speaking and Listening strand would be SL.CCR.5, and the ninth anchor standard in the Writing strand would be W.CCR.9.

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