On the CCSS website we are told that the standards are “a key building block” in the process of education. Teachers are meant to take this and, just as a child does with Legos, construct something wonderful. We must note that a teacher will only build the best lessons if he/she has the vision to do so, just as the child builds that castle, fortress, or house with the blocks. In this case most teachers of English feel that they want to teach great lessons, but they do not wish to lose the literature, which is something like sacred texts to pass on to the students in their charge.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the months ahead. CCSS, like any other new venture, must be tinkered with along the way. Just one thing I will note is that I see a good deal of people (including students) reading on their electronic devices, and if I ask what they are reading, I would say more than two thirds of them will respond with some type of work of fiction. This is by no means a scientific survey, but I think it highlights the desire of people to read what they enjoy, and most people enjoy fiction more than non-fiction.
In my opinion, I am happy to see students reading because when people read, they end up writing too, and writing is one of the most important skills of all. I think we need to teach reading and teach it well if we are ever going to teach writing well, so the battle between non-fiction and fiction may end up just being a good thing if it creates a dialogue and gets us to better place, perhaps one where students will not only be able to identify the parts of speech but also know how to use them properly in wonderfully constructed sentences.
Photo Credit: map - sadlier.com; nook - news.cnet.org