Common Core – teaching Nonfiction

Standard

common coreThe debate goes on. Fans of common core promise it will bring education nirvana. Opponents predict it will propel us back into the dark ages. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

But while states and legislators argue the merits of national standards teachers are trying to figure out what they are supposed to do. I think there are some components of the program that make a great deal of sense and can be implemented whether or not your state joins the Common Core program.

One goal of the common core is to increase the use of nonfiction in the classroom, especially at the elementary level. Another is to increase the use of fact and research based writing. These two goals go hand-in-hand and I think they are practical objectives. The bulk of reading that is necessary for success in the work place is nonfiction reading. I believe we should introduce children to fact based learning as soon as possible.

I love a good novel as much as anyone. I am a voracious reader and I devour fiction books like they were dark chocolate. But as much as I love fiction I realize that reading and understanding nonfiction is an essential work-life skill. Carpenters must know how to read plans and instructions. Software developers, scientists, bankers and teachers all need to know how to read an interpret research and new articles. Truck drivers, postal workers, cooks and servers, all have to be able to read instructions, and interpret directions correctly. Reading, interpreting and understanding nonfiction is critical to all forms of work and for the ongoing progress of our nation.

Teaching students how to use and interpret nonfiction text is a part of the common core that makes sense to me for very practical reasons. In the next few weeks I hope to provide you with reviews for some of the great children’s nonfiction that is available and ideas on how to use it in your classroom. And hopefully when you see the amazing books that are available for your students you will see just how fun teaching nonfiction can be!

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