I’m pretty familiar with the Common Core standards, at least the English Language Arts ones, thanks to my day job. [Warning: I will now dabble in curriculum babble for approximately 4 sentences. And then I will stop.] Overall, I think it’s a good idea to standardize across the country what’s taught at certain grade levels and to make sure that really important reading and mathematics skills are covered. One thing that really bugs me about the Common Core, though, is that the standards de-emphasize reading fiction in favor of reading informational texts and nonfiction. The rationale is that reading informational texts better prepares kids for future testing and future employment. Fiction-reading skills aren’t seen as essential to compete in the academic and business world. Fiction is treated kinda like leisure reading, and nonessential. Not that there’s anything wrong with leisure reading–but fiction is so much more than that.
Julia Steiny wrote an essay for the Providence Journal about this issue and shared her thoughts on why fiction holds as many real-life benefits for students–read her essay here. She makes some great points, like the reason why her teachers all taught classical fiction in their classrooms:
Steiny’s article made me think about what reading (not to mention writing) fiction has taught me:
What has fiction taught you?