The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) education reform means big changes in how students are taught reading.
Harder Texts at an Earlier Age — Text Complexity Increases at Each Grade Level
When they looked at research, the authors of the CCSS decided that one key difference in good readers was that they read increasingly difficult texts and books. The CCSS pushed more difficult texts at each grade level.
The Lexile, a measure of grade level and text complexity of a book, was initially chosen as the standard for judging the appropriate texts and books for a student.
|Text Complexity Grade Band in the Standards||Old Lexile Ranges||Lexile Ranges Aligned to the CCSS Standards|
According to the August, 2012 supplement to the Common Core, one of six measures of text complexity can be used. All books included in this site are within this 2nd grade range.
Because the CCSS puts so much emphasis on the difficulty of a text or book, we provide Lexile levels for every book reviewed here.
The CCSS, however, does make allowances for the content of a book. For example, John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath has a Lexile of 680L, which places it in fourth grade; however, the topics are too emotional and complex for fourth graders and it is usually taught in high school.
We also consider the topic, how it is handled, content and overall suitability for 2nd grade readers. Our sister sites, will review books for other grade levels.
More Informational Books — NonFiction is Emphasized
A second change of the CCSS is the emphasis on nonfiction, or what the CCSS calls “informational books.” As shown in this chart, by 4th grade, students are expected to read 50% fiction and 50% nonfiction, and the proportion of nonfiction increases each year. The reason for this shift is that the CCSS is designed to prepare students for “college and career.” The assumption is that on the job or in college, students will be required to read more nonfiction. This shift should prepare them for the “real world.”
For 2ndGradeReading.net, one-third of our reviews will be nonfiction, and two-thirds fiction.
More Independent Reading
Finally, the CCSS encourages independent reading. Classroom reading can support a poor reader and the new standards push toward each individual mastering the reading skills and being able to read and understand for him/herself.
For you student/child, encourage independent reading by providing books on the easiest range of the reading level. After s/he reads, discuss the book and monitor how well s/he understands the book. As independent reading skills mature, move them towards more difficult reading levels.