One of the greatest challenges language arts teachers face in adapting to the Common Core standards is the increased emphasis on complex nonfiction resources. An article from US News & World Report highlights some of the clashing opinions on this and related topics, while also explaining why the Common Core’s creators think informational texts are so important.
"Based on concerns that before American students leave high school, they have little exposure to the informational texts that will dominate their college careers and future jobs, the Common Core standards make reading such nonfiction material a priority. In elementary school, students should be reading a mix of 50 percent literature and 50 percent informational texts, according to the Common Core. By high school, students’ reading will shift to be 30 percent literary and 70 percent informational."
When it comes to historical documents and court opinions in particular—unconventional fare indeed for the English classroom—this shift towards informational texts presents a serious challenge. Many teachers have found that the Reading Informational Texts series makes the transition surprisingly easy, providing all that’s needed to instantly begin teaching CCSS-appropriate nonfiction in grades 7-12.