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Common Core Myth Debunked: Your child will still read fiction (and non-fiction)

By Carrie Padgett, Literacy Coach at Inglewood Elementary School The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by 46 states, including Tennessee. These standards are rigorous and are intended to develop "college and career ready" students.

Many parents are concerned that Common Core will have students reading too much nonfiction and stick fiction in the backseat. It’s an understandable concern, but once you know how reading is classified under this new system it’s an unnecessary one.

This chart shows a percentage breakdown of fiction and nonfiction reading recommended by Common Core:

Grade Literary (Fiction) Information (Non-fiction)
4 50% 50%
8 45% 55%
12 30% 70%

Don't panic. The 70% nonfiction in high school is not the percentage for reading in English classes. It is the percentage of nonfiction over an entire school day, including other subjects like science and history.

Most students in middle and high school are already reading mostly nonfiction because their content area classes (math, science, social studies, etc.) require informational text, which is considered nonfiction reading.

Because we read nonfiction differently than we do fiction, Common Core gives us standards that address how to read informational texts. There are now reading standards for science and social studies. These standards will be taught by the content area teachers in upper grades, ensuring that students will understand the texts they are required to read in these areas. Students that have struggled to read and understand content area texts will now have extra support with the additional literacy standards.

Students will still be required to read quality literature but will now be reading speeches, memoirs, articles, interviews, etc. to enrich the reading experience. Students will be comparing texts of varying types and thinking more deeply about their reading.

Actually, Common Core not only encourages reading fiction, it requires it! Students will compare legends, myths, and folk tales from around the world. They will examine the various points of view of characters within stories. The differences between poetry, drama, and stories will be explored. Because of the wide exposure to many types of texts, both fiction and nonfiction, students will more likely discover their reading tastes and passions.

Learn more about Common Core in Metro Schools