This is an excerpt from an article that was published by The Washington Post which examines the difficulty that New York State us having implementing the Common Core Curriculum. This excerpt explains the limited role fiction plays in the new curriculum. As a Special Education teacher with a master in Reading Education, and having 25 years teaching students K-adult how to read, and as a life long reader, I fine these standards insulting regarding what quality teachers do in the classroom.
But please, read for yourself:
Reduction of Literature in English Language Arts
Upon reading the modules it becomes clear that literature, particularly fiction, is being devalued. In the fifth-grade English Language Arts curriculum, there are 11 days devoted to closely reading the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During the entire year, there are only two works of fiction: Esperanza Rising and Dark Water Rising. There is instead a volume of informational texts that include From Kosovo to the United States, Sloth Researcher Bryson Voirin, Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, A Live Interview with Eve Nilson, and The Most Beautiful Roof in the World. These are samples; there are more.
Romeo and Juliet, which has been a mainstay of ninth-grade curriculum in most high schools, is reduced to an excerpt in the modules, while an article about Bernie Madoff is included.
I understand the importance of reading for information and infusing reading across the curriculum. I worry, however, that literature is being squeezed out by too much informational text in English Language Arts classes. Students need literature. In great novels, they encounter both flawed and heroic characters that help them grow in knowledge of self. They learn about the complexity of human relationships and the rhythm and nuance of beautiful writing. Reading short, informational texts may prepare students for reading tests, but reading full length works prepares students for college.