Cutting to the Common Core: The Benefits of Narrow Reading Units

    Kate Kinsella advocates the use of narrow reading units as a portal to word knowledge and literate discourse

    I provide consultancy and professional development for districts across the nation that are striving to support English learners and under-resourced students in making viable academic language and literacy advances. I am observing with increasing concern as well-intended English language arts educators in grades 4-12 cobble together units of study in hopes of addressing the complex demands of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS, 2010) in time for the impending doom of the proverbial “cart before the horse” assessment debacle. Their legacy curriculum was not created to mentor English acolytes in systematic analysis of content-rich nonfiction, a range of rigorous text-reliant discussions using academic register, and argumentative writing drawing from multiple sources, all major emphases in the CCSS shifts. To read the full story, click here.


    1. This article touches upon a subject that deserves a closer look. I have been teaching ELLs for almost fifteen years. Every school year there is some other better way to raise scores and produce proficient ELLs. When will the powers that be realize and respect how long and hard it takes an ELL to master the language? Most people do not realize how difficult it is to sit through six classes a day and have no idea what the teacher is saying. I admire my students for coming back day in and day out.

      I just read the results of a research study that revealed that schools are not supporting ELLs or the teachers who teach them. Another school year is almost over and with Common Core coming into the mix and the scrambling that schools all over the country are going through, I don’t see things changing much for ELLs in the cards. It will improve the scores for those already ahead of minorities maybe, but I am not holding my breath. Meanwhile, I am waiting to see what magic cure is coming around the corner and how much it will cost this time.


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