Friday, November 23, 2012

CCS: What should students read?

"The Common Core dictates that by fourth grade, public school students devote half of their reading time in class to historical documents, scientific tracts, maps and other “informational texts” — like recipes and train schedules. Per the guidelines, 70 percent of the 12th grade curriculum will consist of nonfiction titles."
What schools really need isn’t more nonfiction but better nonfiction, especially that which provides good models for student writing. Most students could use greater familiarity with what newspaper, magazine and book editors call “narrative nonfiction”: writing that tells a factual story, sometimes even a personal one, but also makes an argument and conveys information in vivid, effective ways.
What Tom Wolfe once said about New Journalism could be applied to most student writing. It benefits from intense reporting, immersion in a subject, imaginative scene setting, dialogue and telling details.

In my opinion, students need to read quality nonfiction and fiction texts across a variety of genre including historical and narrative non fiction in order to learn how the genre works.  However, students need to be empowered to READ the genres they love in order to have to fluency, comprehension and confidence to take on any  text they are handed on a random Monday morning in the spring! 


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