Below are thoughts – including notes of caution & outright rejections – on the “exemplars” listed in Common Core Appendix B for Grades 2-3 Read Aloud Informational Texts. At the bottom is a link to a PDF with more extensive notes about the texts’ topics, central ideas, structure and coherence.
IMPORTANT to remember about exemplar texts –
- The authors of the Common Core only share very general guidelines they used to choose these texts – educators in the field “have used successfully with students in a given grade band” and “qualitative and quantitative measures” that indicated the texts were of “sufficient complexity” for this grade band, “texts of recognized value” and “as broad a range of high-quality texts as possible.” (CCSS, Appendix B, page 2) As I have complained in a past blog – I don’t think the authors of the CC took into consideration the 5 A’s of good informational texts – authority, accuracy, appeal, artistry, and appropriateness for audience.
- This list is not complete and the texts only serve as examples in “helping educators selects texts of similar complexity, quality and range.” (CCSS, Appendix B, page 2)
My synopsis –
- In general, a decent range of texts as far as complexity – but not as far as range of appropriate topics and informational text structures for grades 2-3.
- The quality of these texts is hit or miss. (See attached notes.)
- I would reject the following titles as exemplars for grades 2-3 reading aloud –
REJECTED – POORLY WRITTEN- The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange & Wonderful Collections by Jan Mark – poorly written, lacks coherence, not appropriate for these grades (see linked notes for more details).
REJECTED – TOO EASY – The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles – I know this is a classic, but, in addition to being dated as far as accuracy and authority, I think it’s way too easy for 2nd/3rd grade listeners. ALTERNATIVE TITLES AS EXEMPLARS – My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King by C. King Farris (2nd grade) and Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges (3rd grade)
REJECTED – AS READ ALOUD – too hard for students to see images – Ah, Music! by Aliki. There are too many small illustrations for this to be a good read aloud – to a traditionally large group of students. Even putting the text on the document camera – there is just too much going on – on each page. You want to avoid using these kinds of books – “illustrated guides” as texts for reading aloud. Not a good example.
- I would PROCEED WITH CAUTION when considering these next three texts as exemplars. This means I would absolutely read aloud texts like these to students – but not in a traditional read aloud way. You know how we pick up a good book to read aloud to students before lunch or at the end of the day? I think the authors of the CC had “instruction” with these texts in mind. See my blog on reading aloud Freedman’s Lincoln: A Photobiography for more of what I mean. PROCEED WITH CAUTION – Lincoln: A Photobiography by Freedman; If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People by David J. Smith; What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluisio.
- Actually…those I haven’t rejected would be best experienced as part of an integrated unit of study. All of the texts require some kind of student background knowledge (see my attached notes in PDF link below AGAIN :)) that would make it easier for students to get the fullest amount of information/learning during the read aloud experience.
Okay…more to come. I’m working my way through all of the exemplars as part of my next book…hoping to have better set of exemplars to recommend in general somewhere along the way. Remember – see PDF link below :).