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California offers CCSS-aligned book recommendations

TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2013 10:09 AM

Whenever there are sweeping changes to the status quo, there is always the possibility misconceptions will arise. This is the case with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Even though the CCSS were designed to improve the quality of the U.S. education system, there are some individuals who are concerned about what the Standards will mean for instruction.

Concern over the CCSS' influence on required reading
By now, many educators and parents have had an opportunity to learn more about the CCSS. However, there are still those who believe the Standards will do more harm than good.

The Common Core's website addresses some of the myths that surround the CCSS for English language arts, such as the rumor that second-graders will be required to read "The Grapes of Wrath," or that literature is less important under the Common Core. While students will read increasingly complex texts as they progress through their academic careers, "The Grapes of Wrath" is more appropriate for high schoolers. In addition, students will be required to read a wide range of texts, from classic myths to foundational American literature. Decisions as to what is read will be made at the state level.

California creates a recommended literature list
One state that is taking action to make sure educators and parents know exactly what their children should and should not be reading under the CCSS is California. The state's Department of Education recently released a reading list, titled "Recommended Literature: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve."

"The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations," said Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction, in a statement. "This up-to-date Recommended Literature list represents a vital resource for students, teachers and parents."

On the list, which is viewable online, people will find more than 7,800 recommended titles for children and adolescents. While teachers and parents may be familiar with many of the books included, the list also features more recent titles from the past decade.

Using this list, teachers and parents can decide which books students should be reading in and outside of school. The titles featured range from fiction and nonfiction to poetry and drama. As they reflect different tastes and reading abilities, kids should be able to find a few books that pique their curiosity.