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Elements of the Grade 9 English Course

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The Grade 9 English course builds on the elementary language program and is based on the same fundamental principles. 

This course is designed to be inclusive of all students in order to facilitate their transition from the elementary grades to the secondary level. It offers opportunities for all students to build a solid foundation in language and literacy, broaden their knowledge and skills, and develop their identities as critically literate learners. This approach allows students to make informed decisions in choosing future English courses based on their interests, and in support of their future plans for apprenticeship training, university, college, community living, or the workplace.

Similar to the elementary curriculum, the Grade 9 English course adopts a strong focus on the foundational knowledge and skills that students need in order to establish a strong basis for language and literacy learning in the senior grades. Acquiring the knowledge and skills described in this course will enable students to understand, respond to, appreciate, and create a full range of texts in various forms, genres, modes, and media, including digital and media texts. The attention paid to the diverse text forms, genres, modes, and media used to communicate meaning in various contexts and communities is considered essential to a robust English and literacy program.  

Throughout the course, students actively participate in language and literacy learning by making connections to their lived experiences and to those of others. They continue to learn how to apply transferable skills in a language and literacy context and to develop media and digital literacy. Teachers implement the curriculum through effective assessment and instructional practices that are rooted in culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy (CRRP). They utilize a variety of assessment and instructional approaches that provide students with multiple entry points to access language and literacy learning and multiple opportunities to demonstrate their achievement in English.

This course continues the learning from Grade 8 and prepares students for success in all senior secondary English courses in all pathways moving forward. Students who successfully complete the Grade 9 English course may proceed to an English course in Grade 10.

The course information that appears in the next section is in effect for the 2023–24 school year. The 2007 English curriculum for Grade 10 and the 2007 English program for Grades 11–12 remain in effect. All references to Grade 9 that appear in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: English, 2007 and The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 11 and 12: English, 2007 have been superseded by the section below.

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Grade Course Name Course Type Course Code Prerequisite
Compulsory Courses
9 English De-streamed ENL1W None
10 English Academic ENG2D Grade 9 English, De-streamed (2023), or Grade 9 English, Academic (2007) 
10 English Applied ENG2P Grade 9 English, De-streamed (2023), or Grade 9 English, Academic (2007) 
11 English* University ENG3U Grade 10 English, Academic
11 English* College ENG3C Grade 10 English, Applied
11 English* Workplace ENG3E Grade 10 English, Applied
12 English University ENG4U Grade 11 English, University
12 English College ENG4C Grade 11 English, College
12 English Workplace ENG4E Grade 11 English, Workplace
Optional Courses
10 Literacy Skills: Reading and Writing Open ELS2O Grade 9 English, De-streamed (2023), or Grade 9 English, Academic (2007) , or a Locally Developed Compulsory Credit (LDCC) Course in English
11 Canadian Literature University/College ETC3M Grade 10 English, Academic or Applied
11 Media Studies Open EMS3O Grade 10 English, Academic or Applied
11 Presentation and Speaking Skills Open EPS3O Grade 10 English, Academic or Applied
12 Studies in Literature University ETS4U Grade 11 English, University
12 The Writer's Craft University EWC4U Grade 11 English, University
12 Studies in Literature College ETS4C Grade 11 English, College
12 The Writer's Craft College EWC4C Grade 11 English, College
12 Business and Technological Communication Open EBT4O Grade 11 English, University, College, or Workplace
11 or 12 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course Open OLC3O/OLC4O For eligibility requirements, see note below**

Note: Each of the courses listed above is worth one credit.

* Credit earned for the Grade 11 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies course English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Voices (University, College, or Workplace Preparation) may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement.

** A student who has been eligible to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) at least twice and who has been unsuccessful at least once is eligible to enrol in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC). A student may be permitted to take the OSSLC before they have had a second opportunity to take the OSSLT, if the principal determines that it is in the best educational interests of the student to do so. Under special circumstances, and at the discretion of the principal, a student who has already met the literacy requirement for graduation purposes may be eligible to take the course. A mature student may enrol directly in the OSSLC without first attempting the OSSLT.

Prerequisite Charts for English, Grades 9–12

These charts map out all the courses in the discipline and show the links between courses and the possible prerequisites for them. They do not attempt to depict all possible movements from course to course.

This is a graphic representation of all the English courses from Grades 9 to 12. This graphic shows the links between courses and the possible prerequisites for them. It does not attempt to depict all possible movements from course to course.


  • Dotted lines represent courses that are not outlined in this curriculum.
  • LDCC – locally developed compulsory credit course

For students who completed any of the Grade 9 English courses prior to September 2023, refer to the prerequisite charts on pages 10–11 of The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: English, 2007.

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The Ontario Curriculum, Grade 9: English, 2023 identifies the expectations for the course and describes the skills and knowledge that students are expected to acquire, demonstrate, and apply in their class work and investigations, and in various other activities on which their achievement is assessed and evaluated.

Mandatory learning is described in the overall and specific expectations of the curriculum.

Two sets of expectations – overall expectations and specific expectations – are listed for each strand, or broad area of the curriculum in Grade 9 English. The strands include  Strand A: Literacy Connections and Applications, and three other strands, lettered B, C, and D. Strand B has an associated learning continuum that describes the progression of mandatory learning associated with Overall Expectation B3 from Grades 1 to 9. Taken together, the overall and specific expectations represent the mandated curriculum.

The overall expectations describe in general terms the knowledge and skills that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of each grade. The specific expectations describe the expected knowledge and skills in greater detail. The specific expectations are organized under numbered subheadings, each of which indicates the strand and the overall expectation to which the group of specific expectations corresponds (e.g., “B2” indicates that the group relates to overall expectation 2 in Strand B). This organization is not meant to imply that the expectations in any one group are achieved independently of the expectations in the other groups, nor is it intended to imply that learning associated with the expectations happens in a linear, sequential way. The numbered headings are used merely as an organizational structure to help teachers focus on particular aspects of knowledge, concepts, and skills as they develop various lessons and learning activities for students.

In the Grade 9 English course, the overall expectations outline standard sets of knowledge and skills required for understanding and using the building blocks of language, understanding and responding to texts, expressing ideas and creating texts, and making language and literacy connections in a diverse range of contexts. The curriculum focuses on connecting, developing, reinforcing, and refining the knowledge and skills that students acquire as they work towards meeting the overall expectations in the course. This approach reflects and accommodates the progressive nature of development of knowledge and skills in language and literacy learning. In the course, the three overall expectations in each strand are developed in related sets of specific expectations.

The specific expectations reflect the progression in knowledge and skill development through the introduction of new expectations, where appropriate. The progression is captured by the increased complexity of the teacher supports (see below) associated with most expectations and by the increased specificity of language and literacy knowledge and skills, the diversity of contexts in which the learning is applied, and the variety of opportunities presented for applying it.

Teacher Supports

Specific expectations are often accompanied by supports such as examples, teacher prompts, and/or instructional tips. The examples are meant to clarify the requirement specified in the expectation, illustrating the kind of skill or knowledge, the specific area of learning, the depth of learning, and/or the level of complexity that the expectation entails. Teacher prompts are sample guiding questions and considerations that can lead to discussions and promote deeper understanding. The instructional tips suggest instructional strategies and authentic contexts for the effective modelling, practice, and application of language and literacy knowledge and skills.

Teacher supports, such as the examples, teacher prompts, and instructional tips, are optional supports that teachers can draw on to support teaching and learning, in addition to developing their own supports that reflect a similar level of complexity. Whatever the specific ways in which the requirements outlined in the expectations are implemented in the classroom, they must be inclusive and, wherever possible, reflect the diversity of the student population and the population of the province.

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The expectations in the English curriculum are organized into four distinct but related strands:

  • A. Literacy Connections and Applications
  • B. Foundations of Language
  • C. Comprehension: Understanding and Responding to Texts
  • D. Composition: Expressing Ideas and Creating Texts

The program is designed to ensure that students build solid foundations in language and literacy, develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, and reflect on their learning. Acquiring the knowledge and skills described in the expectations in the four strands of the English curriculum will enable students to understand, respond to, appreciate, and create a full range of texts, including digital and media texts.

Strand A is an overarching strand that focuses on literacy connections and applications that will enable students to transfer skills and draw on knowledge from each of the other strands, other subjects, and wider contexts. In strands B through D, students integrate Strand A expectations as they develop and apply their understanding of strand-specific concepts.

The chart below illustrates the relationships among all four strands of this curriculum.

This diagram represents the relationships between the four strands in the English curriculum In a box at the top is Strand A. Literacy Connections and Applications, with a bracket below it that arches over the other three strands lettered B, C, and D. Strand A is an overarching strand and the learning related to the expectations in Strand A occurs in the context of learning related to the other three strands. 
Strand B. Foundations of Language is in a box immediately below Strand A, indicating that it is central to all literacy learning. Below Strand B and parallel to one another are the two strands that represent the receptive and expressive categories of communication. On the left is Strand C. Comprehension: Understanding and Responding to Texts, and on the right is Strand D. Composition: Expressing Ideas and Creating Texts. The strand B, C, and D boxes are connected to one another with circular arrows indicating that the concepts and skills in the three strands are related and mutually support each other.

Strand A. Literacy Connections and Applications

Strand A focuses on transferable skills, digital media literacy, and cross-curricular and integrated learning. Students develop an understanding of diverse identities, experiences, perspectives, histories, and contributions, including those of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities, groups, and nations. They develop this knowledge and these skills while reading, listening to, and viewing culturally diverse texts, including digital and media texts, and while writing, speaking, and representing to demonstrate their learning. In the course, the learning related to this strand takes place in the context of strands B, C, and D, and it should be assessed and evaluated within these contexts.

Students apply the seven transferable skills – critical thinking and problem solving; innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship; self-directed learning; collaboration; communication; global citizenship and sustainability; and digital literacy – throughout their language and literacy learning in the course. These skills help students develop and express their unique voices and take ownership of and engage in their learning in meaningful, authentic ways.

Students develop and apply digital media literacy knowledge and skills to support their learning. They learn about their rights and responsibilities when interacting online and developing their digital identity, learn to navigate online environments while managing their data, security, and privacy, including seeking appropriate permission, and use digital and media tools to evaluate information and demonstrate their learning. They learn and apply the conventions and techniques of digital and media texts and analyze the relationship between text forms and content, audiences, and creators. They use digital and media tools in the design process to develop innovative solutions. Students learn how to interact and contribute to an empathetic, respectful, and inclusive online community.

Students learn how to develop and apply their language and literacy knowledge and skills in their daily lives and in cross-curricular and integrated learning contexts. As they explore the concepts of identity, self, and sense of belonging and the lived experiences of a diversity of individuals within various communities, including those in Canada, they can further develop an  understanding of their own unique identities. By analyzing themes in texts of various forms from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, communities, groups, and nations, students can also develop their understanding of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit identities, perspectives, relationships, legacies, and ways of knowing, being, and doing.

Strand B. Foundations of Language

In this strand, students develop the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills relating to the foundations of language. The focus is on oral and non-verbal communication, word reading and spelling, morphology, vocabulary, and fluency and language conventions. Students develop competence in these building blocks of communication.

Oral and non-verbal communication are foundational components of language skills. In the course, students develop their listening and speaking abilities using a variety of strategies and skills, including word choice and syntax, to become effective communicators.

Throughout the course, students apply orthographic, morphological, and vocabulary knowledge to develop and consolidate their word reading and spelling skills. Students learn to understand and apply language conventions: syntax and sentence structure, parts of speech, punctuation, and capitalization. In the contexts of oral communication and writing to communicate meaning, students apply their knowledge and skills to deepen their comprehension and enhance their written expression. They become fluent readers and writers, which contributes to their comprehension and written expression.

The Strand B Learning Continuum 

In the Grade 9 English course, Strand B has an associated learning continuum: the “Language Conventions Continuum for Reading and Writing, Grades 1–9, Overall Expectation B3”, which appears in the appendix. The continuum shows the progression of mandatory knowledge and skills in the following areas:

Language Conventions

  • syntax and sentence structure
  • grammar
  • capitalization and punctuation

Strand C. Comprehension: Understanding and Responding to Texts

In this strand, students continue integrating components of word-, sentence-, and text- level comprehension as they apply comprehension strategies and critical thinking skills to deepen their understanding of texts and to respond to various complex texts.

As they read texts, students apply foundational knowledge and skills and draw on their vocabulary and background knowledge. They consolidate their knowledge of sentence structures, patterns, and grammar to understand complex structures in individual sentences. They apply their understanding of cohesive ties to integrate information within and across sentences in order to understand texts. They develop their knowledge of the patterns, features, and elements of style associated with various text forms and genres, including digital, media, and cultural texts. They read, listen to, and view a wide variety of texts by creators with diverse identities, perspectives, and experiences, including diverse First Nations, Métis, and Inuit creators.

Students continue to develop comprehension strategies, drawing on their prior knowledge, visualizing to construct mental models of texts, making and confirming their predictions, and monitoring their comprehension by posing questions and consulting with references to clarify their understanding.

Students analyze various literary and informational texts to deepen their understanding of how various literary devices are used by text creators to convey meaning. They make local and global inferences using explicit and implicit evidence in texts. They identify main ideas and sequence relevant information, draw conclusions, and evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. They apply critical thinking skills to identify explicit and implicit perspectives and consider how cultural elements and the identities of the creators are reflected in texts. They analyze various creators’ approaches to diversity and inclusion in their texts. Throughout the course, students continue to reflect on their learning.

Strand D. Composition: Expressing Ideas and Creating Texts

In this strand, students continue to apply their knowledge of oral language and learn to express ideas and create texts using various media, forms, and genres. Throughout the iterative text writing and creation process, students develop and consolidate the skills to plan, research, draft, revise, edit, proofread, publish, and share their texts.

Students continue to develop their personal style of handwriting and their word-processing skills. They apply their consolidated knowledge of language conventions in their writing, and use and adjust text patterns, features, and stylistic elements to express their ideas clearly and coherently and to achieve the intended effects.

In the course, students learn to research and gather information. They consider their purpose and audience as they choose appropriate forms, genres, and media to create texts to address various topics of interest, including topics connected to their lived experiences. They use effective and appropriate language to establish their voice, point of view, and perspectives, and to convey their intended message. 

Students develop the ability to verify the reliability of sources and evaluate the currency, quality, bias, and accuracy of information. They appropriately acknowledge the works of others using accepted forms of documentation.

Throughout the process of creating texts, students apply transferable skills and digital media literacy, seek feedback from others, analyze their own texts, reflect on their use of techniques, tools, and technology, and consider how to improve as text creators. They develop the competencies and confidence to express ideas and communicate clearly and effectively using written language.