Jaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
When the Common Core Standards were created, the authors included a list of titles in Appendix B that exemplified the level of text complexity (found in Appendix A) and inherent quality for reading materials at each grade level. This list was intended as a comparative tool, as a way for teachers and administrators to measure current libraries against country-wide expectations for rigorous literature and informational text. Since its publication, this list, and the titles included and omitted, have created quite a bit of controversy.
Two things are fairly obvious when considering the texts included in Appendix B:
- Most of the titles were first published ages ago.
- Most of the titles are by white people. Or about white people. It’s a pretty white list.
Two things are also fairly important when constructing a classroom library and when selecting texts for instruction:
- Students should have the opportunity to be exposed to both classic and contemporary literature as well as nonfiction texts.
- All students should have the opportunity to see themselves reflected back, as well as to be exposed to cultures and experiences that may differ from their own, in the literature and nonfiction texts we study.
Education Professor Katie Cunningham discussed diversity in Appendix B here on the blog a few weeks ago in her guest post, “What’s in your classroom library? Rethinking Common Core Recommended Texts.” Adding on to her recommendations, I’ve compiled a supplement to Appendix B that includes both contemporary literature and authors/characters of color, but also meets the criteria (complexity, quality, range) used by the authors of the Common Core. Download it here.
If you’re interested in ordering some or all of these titles to supplement your classroom library, please feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com!
What books would you add to Appendix B?