In 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 (ProPublica.org, “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.