The Common Core State Standards demands a dramatic increase in overall reading, according to a new guide, but does not necessarily mean that nonfiction works will replace the fictional titles that traditionally have been part of the curriculum, education reporter Catherine Gewertz writes in this blog post. “Because literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers, reading should dramatically increase in all content areas,” the guide states. “While English teachers may use more informational text, students may actually read more literature not less.”
A set of new guides to the Common Core State Standards offers a solution, of sorts, to a brewing controversy about the balance of fiction and nonfiction in U.S. classrooms. “Informational text” doesn’t have to displace fiction, the guides say, if the overall amount of reading students do increases “dramatically.”
The “action guides” are meant to help counselors and school principals put the common standards into practice. Issued by Achieve, College Summit, and the two groups that represent elementary- and secondary-level principals, the guides include a primer on the standards, talking points, and an array of tips.
But in exploring the instructional shifts in the standards, they also offer common-core advocates’ answer to teachers who are worried that assigning a much heftier chunk of nonfiction will force them to drop cherished parts of their literary canon.
“A shift to more informational text does not mean an abandonment of nonfiction or literature,” the guides say. “Because literacy is now a shared responsibility among all teachers, reading should dramatically increase in all content areas. While English teachers may use more informational text, students may actually read more literature not less.”