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Common Core

What is it?

The Common Core State Standards were designed to give educators an understanding of the knowledge and skills that students are expected to learn in grades K-12. Stemming from the concern that a significant number of high school graduates were unprepared for college level classes, the standards were developed by governors and state school officials, and voluntarily adopted by 45 states.

These standards are brief, and focus on fundamentals in the areas of English language arts and math. They are internationally benchmarked, and based on scholarly research, surveys, and assessment data. They establish what students need to learn, but not how it needs to be taught; educators will continue to decide what to teach, and how, with complete freedom to tailor learning to the needs of their individual classrooms.

Why is it important?

Formal assessment of the new standards is set to begin during the 2014-2015 school year. As schools transition to the new standards, there are some changes to be aware of:

-    In order to promote the goal of increasing literacy in all areas, the standards heavily emphasize reading and writing. There will likely be an increase in assigned reading, with the focus moving away from textbooks to individual novels and stories. These individual texts, when chosen at the appropriate level of complexity, can be used more effectively than textbooks in creating a more focused curriculum.  

-    The standards reflect an increased emphasis on nonfiction across all subject areas. For example, the standards recommend that the breakdown of reading in 4th grade should be 50% fiction and 50% nonfiction; by 12th grade, students should be reading fiction only 30% of the time, and nonfiction the other 70%.

-    There is no mandatory reading list, but there is some critical content for all ages: classic myths and stories from around the world, the works of Shakespeare, foundational U.S. documents, and important works of American literature.

-    The standards also reflect higher expectations in student reading level. For example, the Lexile measure of a book reveals its level of difficulty and is a good starting point for selecting age-appropriate books. Under the new standards, the Lexile range for each grade will be higher than in the past.


What Books Inc. can do:

Books Inc. children’s specialists are adept at evaluating the complexity and quality of books across all subject areas, and can connect specific texts that align with the standards. We can also thoughtfully combine works of fiction and nonfiction to increase understanding in a particular subject.

A specialist can fulfill orders for your classroom or school library by selecting appropriate texts based on the needs of your curriculum. To set up an appointment to discuss and place your order, please contact Caitlin Ayer at cayer@booksinc.net