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By Leslie Crawford
What’s your take on the new Common Core Standards?
I’m a moderate on it. I think the actual standards themselves on paper are a clear improvement over the standards we’re leaving in the NCLB [No Child Left Behind] era. If my students could do what those standards are asking the students to do, they’d be much richer thinkers. That's the good news.
The bad news is I’m disappointed they don't do a better job of addressing recreational reading. They almost ignore it completely. There are no specific goals for readers. How many books should you be reading per year? And the whole fiction versus nonfiction debate has been widely misunderstood by teachers. Common Core says 70 percent of reading should be nonfiction, 30 percent should be literary. In 12th grade where that's being misinterpreted, that doesn’t mean a 70/30 split in English, that means campus-wide. Some English teachers have wrongly interpreted that to mean kids should be doing tons of nonfiction, but poetry and fiction is core. There’s a kind of thinking when you read a novel that’s different from the kind of thinking you do when you read a textbook.
When should you stop reading aloud to your child? The answer might surprise you ...
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