Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pathways to the Common Core

Are you familiar with this text?  If not, I would highly recommend you get a copy--especially if your district is not providing you with much guidance in the roll out of the Common Core!  This book is written by a number of "experts" in literacy instruction (and, yes, I'm fully aware that Lucy Calkins makes zillions of dollars off her products, etc) and is a great resource for all of us to expand our understanding of the rigors of the CCSS. 

I thought I'd highlight a few things from early in the book to try to give you a little food for thought . . . I know I am always interested in things that push my thinking--either to confirm what I believe or to question what my current practices, and this book is great for that!

Here is a little something to get you thinking!  We know the Core is going to ask us to push our students to working with more complex texts.  What are some ways that we can make these texts more accessible to students who might not be QUITE ready to tackle them?  (Paraphrased from pages 46-47)

  • Consider reading chapter 1 aloud with the student(s) and really dig in together.  We know that tons of information is presented in my books in that first chapter . . . characters, setting, motivations, and so on--so if we can get readers acclimated to the text early on, they might have a greater chance of success!
  • Have students in "same book partnerships" so students can read, discuss, and support each other as they move through the text.
  • Try doing a more detailed and specific "book talk" before students get started on the text. This could be a time to troubleshoot things that might be tricky for students. . . introducing key elements critical to the story such as a historical time period, interesting symbolism, unusual character traits, and so on.  Take the mystery out of the text so students can focus on the comprehension.
  • Use audio books!  Ask students to listen to all or part of a text and then go back to the text to try it independently.  Similarly, reading aloud the first book of a series and then asking a student to read the next book provides a similar type of scaffolding!
  • Remember that we are always trying to find books that are a good match for our readers.  A child MAY be able to tackle a more rigorous text if s/he is highly interested and motivated to succeed. 

As stated in the text, "All students, including those who are behind, must have extensive opportunities to encounter and comprehend grade-level complex text as required by the standards.  Far too often, students who have fallen behind are given only less complex texts rather than the support they need to read texts at the appropriate level of complexity."

Food for thought, right?  What other ideas do all of YOU have for helping get more sophisticated texts into the hands of ALL our readers?  Thanks for tuning in--I look forward to all your great ideas!


  1. I need to get a copy. My goal this summer is to become acquainted with the common core so I can understand what all of you are teaching. I'm curious to see how it aligns to our curriculum :) Have to say it sounds really good - intensive, but good.


  2. Hello again! I just hopped over here to take a look after you left such a nice message on my TPT comments about using my clip art! I'd love to see what you do with it - maybe I'll get to purchase some!
    This blog is fantastic...even though my students are a bit younger, so much to see here and even use for my more advanced students.
    Have an awesome day!


    1. Hi Susanna! Sorry this took me so is the link to my product. I am actually hoping to use your gorgeous flowers for something else soon! I am also going to be shopping at your store for some new things in the next week or so. I really like your style!

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