professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Short of breath from sighing so much

I have written book columns for ALAN, VOICES FROM THE MIDDLE, and THE JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT AND ADULT LITERACY in the past. Now I write blog posts. I find it easier as there are no demands other than trying to post out a new book each day. I do not have word counts. I do not have to have themes. I know I have it easier. BUT (and you did see that coming, right?) never did I think I would see the day when a book column on YA literature would address CCSS. I know I should have seen it coming. Maybe living in Texas where there is no CCSS mandate (before you feel envious, recall that our ELA curriculum was written by non-teachers, too) has made me complacent. Imagine, then, my horror when I read a book review column that "laddered" books from the Exemplar list to other books to help kids meet the "challenge" of the exemplars. Can open. Worms everywhere.

Where to begin?

1. Review actual YA books, please. Maybe ones published within the last 5 years?
2. Look at the lexiles of the books you are discussing. They range from ATOS of 2.3 to 7.3. Lexiles range from 430-1120. Under the CCSS guidelines, some of these books would not be permitted. They are too easy. And some are far above even the "stretch" bands provided (and BTW, I love this concept of stretch bands since I have an entirely different image when I think of stretch bands).
3. Understand the distinction between YA and books for children and tweens. Please.

So, I am cancelling my subscription to this journal. If I want to read about CCSS, there are plenty of other places to do so. Within the pages of my professional journal, I want to see more push back against something that is killing a love of reading, eliminating choice in reading, and putting too much emphasis on rigor while ignoring the MORTIS factor. Kylene Beers posted to Facebook today some words of wisdom:

"My own CCSS (Critical Core School Standards) that might have a chance of creating students who are indeed college and career ready reads like this:

All administrators and teachers will work together to create in all students a passion for learning, a joy in discovering, a tolerance for risk, the stamina to try again, respect of others, and belief in oneself. Schools will be seen as communities of learning where at the end of the year children are saddened to leave, count days until the next year begins, and "I want to try it" is heard far more than 'Is this for a grade?'"

My HOPE (VISION) is that we will continue to build communities, especially communities of readers, for ourselves and for our kids. When our professional organizations fail to build those for us, let us build them ourselves.
Tags: ccss, idiocy

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