I’ve written here, and certainly many of you must have heard, that the Language Arts standards now require kids to read 50% NF starting out, and the percentage rises from there. That is true, but also not true — as I have come to understand. But what the CC actually says makes what I’ve called the Third C, “collaboration” essential. The standards actually say that looking at everything a child reads in a given grade: LA, Social Studies, Science, Math, taken together that reading must be 50% NF and go up from there. The percentage relates to the total assigned reading, not one class.
This may seem to let LA teachers off of the hook — they assign all fiction, and assume that the total of what every other teacher assigns will match that. But the standards are more subtle — all of this reading is meant to be integrated, to function together, to help young people attain certain skills. In other words, someone(s) needs to be coordinating all of the reading across the grade. Unless I am missing something — am I? please tell me — the obvious person to step into this role is the school librarian. She has book and kids — now she needs to bring the LA teacher and other content area teachers together and help map out a collective reading strategy — supported by related books, sites, audio books, apps — in the library.
Last week when my Rutgers graduate students presented their projections on ebooks and apps for specific libraries over the next 1, 3, and 5 years, it became clear that dealing with ebooks often exposed more long-standing issues in the libraries. The same is true with CC — we need more collaboration in schools, and now the schools have a mandate that is literally impossible to fulfill unless active collaboration becomes part of the school culture. And that, friends, is great news for librarians who can step forward, bring the parties together, and plan for the semeser and year ahead.