"Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life." (Mortimer J. Adler) No one will argue about the power of reading. Reading increases vocabulary and enriches our knowledge. We have all progressed through school where we are forced to read “chosen” books. Books that are written in Old English or portray topics we cared little about. Forced to read, are we truly getting the full benefits of reading? Are our children getting the full benefits of reading?
Common Core Standards for reading comprehension (LA.220.127.116.11) states the student will explain the purpose of text features (e.g., format, graphics, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps), use prior knowledge to make and confirm predictions, and establish a purpose for reading. Establish a purpose for reading? Wait…what? Isn’t the purpose for reading because the teacher told me too?
As we have all heard by now, common core is the wave of the future. Do a Google search for “Common Core Standards” and see what you get; the topic is polarizing for sure. I was introduced to the Common Core in a college class and while I have no direct teaching experience to date, I can understand why it is so polarizing. While standards have changed over the years, the common core is a complete paradigm shift and many teachers fear the change.
So let’s get back to the reading and what the common core says about it. “Establish the purpose for reading” to me gives much more flexibility to the student. It allows them to seek out their own purpose, seeking out topics that interest them, that peeks their curiosity, that opens their mind. To me that’s a good thing.
Reading expands the mind and brings the world into view. It allows us to assume any role we want. It allows us to journey to the impossible. It inspires us to greater deeds. It provides us with the tools to a good life.