Non-Fiction in New English Language Arts Common Core

Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksIn addition to increased attention on incorporating digital media into the English Language Arts curriculum, the new Common Core Standards place special emphasis on non-fiction. In a recent New York Times editorial, English teacher Sara Mosle explores the resistance expressed by many colleagues, argues against the rigid fiction/non-fiction binary, and advocates for reading more narrative non-fiction as a necessary step for improving student writing.

While admitting that the quality of available adolescent non-fiction must improve (in general and in our cash-strapped school libraries), Mosle believes the new standards will create more diverse reading cultures in our ELA classrooms. In addition to quality non-fiction news/magazine articles and digital pieces (, “This American Life” program), secondary educators, she argues, ought to seize opportunities to steer students toward high-quality, contemporary non-fiction like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

What nonfiction titles have you successfully incorporated into your curriculum? Or, what nonfiction books are your students reading/recommending you read?

On a broader note, I’m interested in hearing about your perspectives on the new standards and how it has or will impact your teaching.

This entry was posted in Common Core, English Education, Public Education, Reading Resources, Secondary Education, Standards and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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