One of the highly anticipated topics for this year’s Back to School nights has been about curriculum changes. The new Common Core Curriculum Standards are being implement in 45 states beginning this school year. It represents a paradigm shift that makes parents uncomfortable because it’s a departure from what we used to know. At the same time, the new and rigorous curriculum has been designed to teach our kids about topics in a more in-depth manner for all subjects.
In reading, I’m pleased to see the incorporation of more nonfiction texts as part of Common Core. Fiction is also still a big part of the curriculum but the official addition of more nonfiction provides kids with exposure to text that requires different skills when reading, thinking, and analyzing information in the books.
If the Common Core Curriculum has you concerned, Patrick Daley, Common Core expert and Publisher of Scholastic’s Classroom and Community Group, has 5 great tips on how to support the new curriculum at home.
Talk about books, especially the great ones! The Common Core says children need to read “books worth reading.” We all know that reading ANYTHING is great for kids, but they should be exposed to great writers and challenging content too. Lead by example!
Ask your children questions about what they’re reading. One of the key shifts with the Common Core is its requirement that students (both orally and in writing) cite evidence from the texts they are reading to make an argument. Try asking questions that require your kids to talk about the content of the books they’re reading – like having them give examples for why a favorite character was heroic or clever or forgiving.
Push your kids to read non-fiction. Reading fiction is still a critical and wonderful part of learning to read, but the Common Core elevates the importance of non-fiction, or “informational text,” as the authors of the standards call it. Does your son love gross bugs? Get him a book about cockroach infestations and let him dig deep into a topic that interest him. You might have a future scientist in your house!
Encourage your kids to write, write, write. The Common Core standards emphasize the important link between reading and writing – and writing to persuade by citing evidence is a key 21st Century skill. Encourage your children to keep a journal or blog, or write a letter or e-mail to a favorite author.
“Talk math” with your kids. The Common Core requires students to learn important math “reasoning” skills in addition to learning their multiplication tables and memorizing formulas. Great math teachers learn to talk through math problems with students. Parents: Try talking to your kids about mathematical practices they use everyday. Have them estimate time and distance, compare the value of products in a store, or calculate the tip when you’re out to dinner.
And here’s a sneak peek at new nonfiction titles coming from Scholastic this fall! Perhaps these could be in your prize pack if you win!
Tips by Patrick Daley provided by Scholastic. No compensation was received for this post or hosting the giveaway. I just happen to love Scholastic and books! Images courtesy of Common Core Curriculum Standards and Scholastic.