Editor, “it’s gr8 dy.h.a mtg @ d mal l8r”
This is the language of today’s texting generation. It’s short and to the point, but will our children really know how to write properly if we don’t teach them to read good books?
We older folks enjoyed reading because books sparked our imagination, creativity and got us thinking. But this is not what Common Core does. With Common Core, reading is mechanical and directed toward achieving high test scores, leaving out the real purpose of reading, the sharing of thoughts.
Common Core breaks reading down into an overabundance of components. For example, in the fourth grade, Common Core has nine literature standards, 10 informational-text standards, two foundational-skills standards, six language-acquisition standards, and six speaking-and-listening standards. Common Core might teach learning skills, but it does not encourage a love of reading. In reality, students will not really understand refined written material.
Based on Common Core reading standards, “Sports Illustrated for Kids’ Awesome Athletes!” is more appropriate for a ninth-grader than “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Jane Eyre.” Common Core standards have adopted Lexiles to determine what books are appropriate for students in each grade level. The system uses an algorithm that analyzes sentence length and vocabulary to assign a “Lexile” score. This is how books are selected for use in each grade.
The board of education forgets that the written word is not a mathematical algorithm. Common Core doesn’t rate “Huckleberry Finn” as complex enough for our high-school students, forgetting that the book tells a great story.
We are humans, not robots. Kurt Vonnegut said, “What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.”
Comprehension and quantifiable results might have their place, but not when it comes to appreciating the great minds of past writers.
Students should read for enjoyment and not for test scores. The board of education should change the way they conceptualize literary complexity.
(Translation of text: “It’s a great day. How about meeting at the mall later?”)
— Len Calderone