On a sunny summer afternoon, teachers fill a bright red auditorium in the basement of the Soho headquarters of Scholastic Inc., the educational publishing giant. In front of them, a coach uses a big screen to show them books.
Because of new learning standards called the Common Core, New York City educators attending the presentation will soon have to revamp how they teach reading. The coach, who wears glasses and a colorful floral blazer over dark capris and no-nonsense sandals, is trying to teach them how to do that. When teaching from a book like Yes Day! -- about a boy whose parents give him one day that all his requests are answered with "yes" -- the coach suggests that teachers following the Common Core ask students to notice patterns, or to create their own Yes Day! books.
Common Core standards, which aim to standardize curricula from state to state, require that each school day include more informational text, and that students react to readings by reaching conclusions based on evidence, instead of reflecting on what the material means for their personal lives. This mandate leaves some teachers puzzled.
"Students always rely on personal connections first," one teacher asked, her hand raised. "What are your thoughts on making it more meaningful?"
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc