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Ugly News for Early Readers

by Susan Ohanian

I clicked on an ad for Benchmark Books, whose CEO has an MA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Of course they feature their Common Core Material.

Common Core Standards: Instructional Resources

Provide the curriculum materials and instructional support needed to help your students meet the new standards:

  • Close Reading and Cross-Text Analysis

  • Genre Studies

  • Informational Text

  • Writing

  • Foundational Skills

  • These Lexiled-leveled passages with interrogation look like old McCall-Crab readers to me. (I was going to say you'd have to be a certain age to recognize that one--but I see they're still for sale.)

    But the situation gets worse. I happen to love nonfiction, and some of these books are even interesting, but when the focus is the skill and not the kid interest . . . . Things quickly get absurd and they get ugly. Am I a has-been because I remember when Kinders cuddled up around the teacher on the floor and enjoyed a book? Now they have to make "Content Connections"--and that content is the Common Core.

    *Informational Big Books
    *Content Connections for Grades K-2
    * My First Genre Big Books for Grades K-1

    Develop content understanding and the ability to read informational text.

    Big Books and interactive whiteboard resources help students understand key concepts and text features.

  • Whole-group resources support modeling of nonfiction reading.

  • Lessons improve academic vocabulary and content comprehension.

  • Student books extend learning and independent reading practice.

  • Includes:

    72 Big Books (1 per title)
    432 Matching Small Books (6 copies each of 72 titles)
    72 Teacher's Guides (1 per title)
    48 Audio CDs (1 per Set A title)
    48 Talking E-Books (1 per Set A title)
    48 Whiteboard CD-ROMs (1 per Set A title)

    On sale: $6,075

    Leveled Informational Text
    Early Connections for Grades K-2
    Navigators for Grades 3-6

    Informational Text Pairs
    Differentiated Text Pairs for Grades 3-8
    PRIME for Grades 6-8

    Informational Texts for English Learners
    Early Explorers for Grades K-2
    English Explorers for Grades 3-8+
    Math Explorers for Grades 3-8+

    For scientifically based research, Benchmark refers the reader to Mainstreet Academix. Launched in 2002, Mainstreet Academix has a Facebook page but their website seem kaput.

    — Susan Ohanian




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