Ontario is reviewing its language curriculum. This is what has changed

Ontario students will begin learning a new language curriculum in September 2023.

The changes to English and French courses come as the province continues to phase out grade 9 and will affect students starting in grade 1.

The Education Minister said the changes were inspired by the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read report and focus on “proven practices” such as phonics, cursive writing, digital literacy and critical thinking skills.

“We have a third of children graduating from high school who are not reaching grade 12 reading comprehension levels,” Minister Stephen Lecce told CTV News Toronto. “We need our youth to master the fundamentals. They must master literacy, math, and the skills that really matter.

The “mass revision” of the English and French curricula introduces a new thread structure involving fundamental reading and writing, digital literacy, and connections with diverse voices. Students in kindergarten through second grade will also be assessed periodically using an assessment-based system to determine their knowledge compared to provincial averages.

“This is a way that we are going to measure across the province, how the kids are doing and the grades of the younger ones, and then let the parents know the result,” Lecce said.

Report cards will also change in September. Students will receive one mark for the language instead of separate marks for each strand of learning.

Here is the breakdown of some of the skills students will learn in each grade.

Grade 1

Students will learn “transferable skills” that support communication and engagement, as well as how to safely navigate online learning environments. They will identify and use listening, speaking, and nonverbal skills and strategies.

Students will begin to read and spell by pronouncing words and will learn to identify and construct simple and compound sentences. They will also begin to print letters and words to create simple text, as well as edit and proofread their work.

The curriculum also says that students will learn to recognize some cultural elements represented in the texts and will learn about storytelling.

Grade 2

Students will learn listening skills and how to ask questions and identify audiences. They will use phonics knowledge to read and spell words, as well as to identify declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences.

They will also learn to print words legibly and create short texts of various genres. They will edit your work for publication and presentation.

3rd grade

Students are expected to read and write using word meanings, as well as construct simple, compound, and compound sentences. Students will begin to understand various literary and informational texts and will explore how images and graphics are used in communication.

In this grade, students will begin to understand different perspectives and cultural elements represented in texts.

Child practices cursive writing

Students will also begin to learn cursive, which Lecce says allows for “that natural flow of thoughts.”

“It’s being able to communicate coherently and consistently, more systematically, in a way that allows for creativity,” he said. “I see this as a strength to return to an area that for many generations, families and adults have said ‘look, it worked.’ And the evidence suggests that it is an effective practice.”

grade 4

Students must be able to explain how transferable skills can help them express their voice. They will collect, evaluate, and use information considering its credibility and perspectives from different sources.

They will also learn to explain topics from different cultures, including First Nations, Metis, and Inuit.

They will use a variety of sentence types as well as nonverbal communication strategies such as expression and gestures.

Students must understand parts of speech in sentences and comprehend reading and writing.

Students will write in cursive and learn to use the keyboard.

grade 5

They will use word choice and a variety of sentence types to support audience comprehension as well as show an understanding of capitalization and punctuation.

They will analyze different literary and informational texts and apply critical thinking skills to deepen their understanding of various perspectives.

Students will write fluently in cursive and produce final texts using a variety of techniques and tools. These texts will be presented using selected media.

Grade 6

Students will learn to incorporate a variety of words, including those from other subject areas, to read and spell texts.


grade 7

They will learn more about their rights and responsibilities when interacting online and how to apply transferable skills when reading, listening, viewing, and writing. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the historical contexts and lived experiences of a diverse group of people in the text.

Students will learn how the various parts of speech function in sentences, as well as elements of style and literary devices.

They will use word processing and cursive skills.

Grade 8

Students will learn to use precise word choice, syntax, and grammar in formal and informal communications.

They will analyze literary and informal texts and apply critical thinking strategies. This will include setting improvement targets.

Grade 9

This course is not streamed, which means students will no longer have to choose between an “academic” or “applied” English course.

Students will learn about developing a digital identity and how to navigate online environments, including interacting with and contributing to a respectful and inclusive online community. They will focus on oral and non-verbal communication, word reading and spelling, morphology, vocabulary, and language conventions. They will deepen their literary comprehension and written expression.

Students will plan, research, write, proofread, edit, proofread, publish, and share texts.

They will also learn how to use effective and appropriate language to convey intended messages, verify the reliability of sources, and use accepted forms of documentation.

All other English and French courses for grades 10-12 remain the same.


Two unions representing teachers in Ontario have said there is not enough time to properly implement the new curriculum for September, with just two weeks remaining in the current academic year.

“It’s a long review,” said Karen Brown, president of the Ontario Federation of Elementary Teachers. “We don’t know what the curriculum actually says. There are no dedicated resources that have been announced.”

Brown said it takes time to develop a standardized way to teach things like cursive and digital literacy.

“We have a generation of educators who haven’t taught cursive, so they’re going to need them to train them,” he said. “You’re saying the emphasis should be on detection. If I am doing the evaluation, what am I looking for?


Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Federation of Secondary School Teachers, told CTV News Toronto that they first learned there would be a new curriculum in English and French in April, but there hasn’t been much communication.

He said that while he supports the transition to debroadcast, getting the syllabi out by the end of June “doesn’t leave a lot of time for educators to be prepared to better meet the needs of those students.”

“It changed the strands of language, it changed the way work will be assessed,” Littlewood said of the new curriculum.

“We haven’t had time to do an in-depth analysis, which is the problem that teachers will face in the future.”

Lecce said the government has worked with school boards and stakeholders for over a year on the new curriculum and that webinars are available for education and professional development days in the fall will be dedicated to the curriculum. language studies.

Leave a Comment