For high school [Miami-Dade County Public School] English teachers like [Chris] Kirchner, Common Core is prompting consequential and contentious changes in what students read and how the books are taught: The new standards call for a focus on depth over breadth, more challenging readings, and increased emphasis on nonfiction.
Students will be expected to make written arguments using specific evidence from reading assignments, often pulling together examples from multiple texts. No longer should teachers ask students to write solely based on their personal experience or opinion — arguing for or against school uniforms, for instance.
“It’s encouraged me to give up some practices I had a great allegiance to,” says Kirchner, “specifically, the teaching of whole novels.” -from this morning's print edition of the Miami Herald. The entire article, written by reporter Sarah Carr, is well worth reading.
I remember how much I enjoyed it when my high school English teacher, Ms. Campion, would throw out big, open-ended questions about Gatsby and the class would discuss and argue their answers. It was so much fun, and it encouraged wide reading.