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Common Core Reading: ‘The New Colossus’

The Common Core State Standards are changing what many kids read in school. They’re standards, sure — not curriculum. Teachers and districts still have great latitude when it comes to the “how” of reading instruction, but…

The Core standards explicitly require students to read “complex” material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren’t doing that before the Core. What were they doing?

Teachers in Washoe County Schools (in and around Reno, Nev.) — and many districts nationwide — once used what they call a “skills and strategies” approach to teach reading. It was particularly common among poor schools where lots of kids struggled.

The idea was this: To learn how to be a good reader, kids needed to learn the skills and strategies that good readers use. Those include knowing how to find the main idea of a text, identifying key details, being able to draw conclusions, etc.