Understanding the Common Core State Standards
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.
One of the key elements of CCSS is that all students must be able to understand texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school. At the completion of this curriculum the student should be able to read and comprehend independently and proficiently the kinds of complex texts commonly found in college and careers. What this means in plain English is that teachers will be using a variety of non-textbook material to teach in all levels from K-12. The standards intentionally do not offer a required reading list, leaving this to the states and/or districts. There is a list of suggestions for the two categories of reading, literature ( for example, Green Eggs & Ham and Pancakes for Breakfast for K-1), and Informational texts ( My Five Senses and A Tree is a Plant for K-1) for all grade levels. Booksellers, working with teachers and librarians in their communities, could easily supplement these lists, and become valuable resources for their neighborhood schools.
One of the big changes that has some educators (particularly English Teachers) up in arms is that students will now be required to read much more nonfiction than previously required.