Three big shifts the Common Core brings to reading instruction
By Tyler on July 18th, 2012
This is one in a series of posts examining the Common Core State Standards and the conversation surrounding their impact on teaching and learning.
These days, it seems like all everyone wants to talk about in the education world is the Common Core: “Will it take for it to succeed? Will the assessments be ready on time (by 2014)? Did you read so-and-so’s column in Ed Week about CCSS?”
Recognizing that not everyone is as “in the weeds” as we are with the standards, we’re taking a step back here to look at Three Big Shifts we see the Common Core State Standards bringing to reading instruction. (Hat tip to our Chief Academic Officer, Francie Alexander, for guidance on this.)
So next time you’re at a cocktail party and someone asks you for your thoughts on the “CCSS,” you’ll be armed and ready to go.
Here are three big shifts that the Common Core standards bring to reading instruction:
1) Knowledge-building through content-rich non-fiction and informational text. The Common Core says elementary students should be exposed to 50 percent non-fiction texts at school — and in high school that percentage goes up to 70 percent. (Note: A common misunderstanding is that these non-fiction percentages apply to English language arts classrooms only. That’s not true — they apply to texts students read across all subject areas as well.)
2) Reading and writing grounded in evidence from text. You might hear the term “evidence-based questions” bandied about. The idea here is that in conversations and in writing about what they read, students should look to the text for answers first. Teachers are encouraged to ask students questions about what they read that provoke them to read closely and think critically about text.
3) Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary. Students (especially struggling students) need access to books written at their current reading levels so they can practice and build confidence. But they also need to have regular interactions with more difficult, “complex” texts that challenge than and give them a sense for what the should be working toward. Something to push them forward.
These are just three shifts (among many) that we are seeing in the Common Core’s ELA standards. What changes do you see? And what do you think about them?
(Flickr photo by matsuyuki)