Basal readers and the Common Core

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As "Aligned with the Common Core" stickers get affixed by publishers to instructional materials new and old, many schools may be wondering what to do about their basal readers. Adopting a new reading program is an expensive proposition, particularly when there's reason for some healthy skepticism about those stickers.

Enter the Basal Alignment Project--which brings experts together to re-write the questions included with the reading selections in the nation's most widely used basal series and make them freely available at Edmodo.

Why is the re-write necessary?

David Liben, senior literacy specialist with Student Achievement Partners - a co-sponsor of this work with the Council on Great City Schools - noted that basal readers frequently solicit student opinions or feelings based on the reading (so called text-to-self questions) but the Common Core standards prioritize text-dependent questions requiring evidence from the reading.

This is an innovative and elegant workaround to the problem while districts work through their program adoption decisions.

Excited as we are with this effort, we hope that the critical requirement for more non-fiction in literacy instruction, is not lost in thinking about basal reader alignment.

--Rob Rickenbrode