May 14th, 2012

WATCH: What Are Kids Reading?

Correction: The Common Core was not financed with federal money. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation provided the greatest amount of support for the work. We regret the error.

45 states and the District of Columbia have all agreed to adopt new guidelines called the Common Core State Standards. The “Common Core” spells out what students are expected to learn and includes a list of the types of books kids should be reading.

We went to three schools in the New York City area — using three different reading programs to teach their students how to read — to see if any of their books are up to snuff with the new standards.

Download Transcript (PDF)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


CommonEvaluating The Common Core

How should we view the emergent standards? Positively or negatively — or a mix of both? Join the discussion!

CommonPeter Dewitz On Basal Readers

Peter Dewitz, who wrote basal readers for many years, talks to producer Cat McGrath about the business side of the industry: who’s profiting? How big are the numbers? And most importantly, are basals effective? Listen and join the discussion!

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The gee-whiz nature of this report seems like it was produced by Alf or some other alien who has not been in a classroom in a century.

Every sentient educator knows that the greatest predictor of literacy is access to high-interest reading materials of all sorts. I suggest you visit

It is preposterous to suggest that actual softcover books are that much more expensive than basals. That is ONLY the case if you purchase those books from the same conglomerates who publish basals.

Ignoring the fact that Common Core is the creation of Pearson (the testing and textbook behemoth) and the Gates Foundation. I was not voted for by any citizen or campaigned upon by a single politician.

Why not call Common Core what it is, national curriculum?

Interesting thoughts, Gary. Did you check the podcast as well? Some stuff may be clarified there.

Dr. Stager, it’s ALF, not Alf.

As a principal, I find the lists of great texts and the approach to using them in Common Core to be incredibly, outstandingly refreshing. I have never been so excited about curriculum planning.

As a national consultant for school improvement, I am in schools across the country. I have used the Appendix B list a great source for curriculum planning and for professional development. If anyone is interested, I know a company that as bundled the grade banded text exemplars as defined in Appendix B. My colleagues and I use them in our professional development sessions to help teachers create text dependent questions and performance tasks as they use these texts accordingly in their curriculum.

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