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11 July 2014 @ 07:12 pm
Every so often a light goes on….  

Mirrored from Marsha Sisolak.

And man, even in the state of California, once in a while, someone opens a barricaded door.

So there’s no surprise that Common Core demands children have a set percentage of non-fiction text exposure in kindergarten and I’ve been thoroughly annoyed with the stipulation that 40% of what we read (independently and aloud) be non-fiction.

In the latest ELA/ELD draft from the state, they quoted Neil Gaiman. O.O

“Fiction plays a central role. Author Neil Gaiman (2013), who writes for children and adults, promotes fiction as a gateway to reading:

‘The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end…that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts to keep going, [and t]o discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything.’

He also argues that fiction builds empathy:

‘Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes…Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.’”

I would just like to say THANK GOD. And D’OH.

Now whether this quote will remain in the final draft? Ha. We’ll see. I also don’t expect it to do much in terms of reducing the amount of non-fiction to be read.

*mumbles something not very nice about the writers of Common Core*

Friggfrigg on July 12th, 2014 03:26 pm (UTC)
How old are "your" kids? I honestly can't remember being exposed to non-fiction when I was in kindergarten.
Marshamsisolak on July 12th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
They're mostly 5 when they enter in the fall, and three-fourths of them turn 6 before June. So you can tell Common Core was written (mostly) by college professors and people in the testing industries (ACT, Pearson, etc.)

SO STUPID in so many ways.

And it's not that my kinders haven't been exposed to non-fiction. They have. But it's more along the lines of 20%, perhaps? Maybe even less. And you know, non-fiction doesn't not draw kids of this age as much as certain fictional works. I highly recommend "Gorilla" by Anthony Browne and "The Tub People" by Pam Conrad. Deep, meaningful books that leave my kids spellbound every year.
Friggfrigg on July 12th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, kindergarten here is from 3-5, then it's kindergarten-class, which I suppose is what you're teaching - only when I was a kid there was no such thing. :p

I do think we read non-fiction in the first grade, though (6 years old), but not a lot. Maybe around the 20% as well.
docdad2docdad2 on July 15th, 2014 10:27 pm (UTC)
Reading to fill a personal need
An excellent quote (and presentation) that suggests that children need to learn to read to fill their needs. If it is the "what happens next?" or "will (s)he be all right?" is all to their good and enriches their minds with empathy, curiosity, and wonder.
Well done that author.