Big Ideas in Literacy
Although not universally accepted by educators and administrators, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by nearly every state. Despite years of content area literacy courses in teacher education programs across the country predating the CCSS, the responsibility to explicitly teach content area literacy, or the literacy practices of specific disciplines, has not always been universally practiced. Literacy in the disciplines is a significant focus of the CCSS. The CCSS consists of College and Career Anchor Standards, Grade-Level Standards, and Appendices. College and Career Readiness Standards address reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language standards judged to be most salient for college and career. They provide a context for the grade-level standards that address these strands of English developmentally. The Appendices offer specific curricular suggestions.
One common misconception about the CCSS is the belief that English classes need to be teaching more informational texts and less fiction, poetry, etc. In actuality, the percentages for informational vs. fictional texts are intended for reading across all classes, not just English class. The Myths and Facts section of the CCSS asserts that the goal of increasing nonfiction reading “can be achieved by ensuring that teachers in other disciplines are also focusing on reading and writing….” It also states that “the standards require that a portion of what is read in high school should be informational text, yet the bulk of this portion will be accounted for in non-ELA disciplines that do not frequently use fictional texts. This means that stories, drama, poetry, and other literature account for the majority of reading that students will do in their ELA classes.”
Reflect: How do you use standards to prepare your daily lesson plans?