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How The Common Core Made Kafka Way More Popular

The list of stories, poems, and nonfiction near the end of the Common Core state standards isn’t supposed to be an assignment list. But teachers seem to be using it that way.

The standards, now used by 44 states, spell out what students should learn and learn how to do at each grade level. Near the end is a 13-page, single-space list of books, poems and plays.

The list, called Appendix B, is meant only to give an idea of the type of works students should be reading in order to meet the standards; middle-schoolers aren’t required to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but teachers should choose books at a similar level of difficulty or with similar themes.

The list is having a big influence. A new study finds that nearly every book on the Common Core list is more likely to be read than it was a few years ago.