While there has been a big shift in what is to be taught in English classrooms, and with the common core standards moving us more towards reading informational text, reading literature (fiction and poetry) is still a key factor for improving our students educations and lives. Studies show “ that individuals who often read fiction appear to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and view the world from their perspective.”
This article from Time Magazine is the perfect justification of why reading literature is so important.
"'Deep reading' — as opposed to the often superficial reading we do on the Web — is an endangered practice, one we ought to take steps to preserve as we would a historic building or a significant work of art. Its disappearance would imperil the intellectual and emotional development of generations growing up online, as well as the perpetuation of a critical part of our culture: the novels, poems and other kinds of literature that can be appreciated only by readers whose brains, quite literally, have been trained to apprehend them."
There may not be a clear indication as to what percentage of time spent in ELA classrooms should be geared towards informational text or reading literature. Despite all of the focus on the shift to more nonfiction selections, the new common core standards still include reading literature as a major part of the curriculum because it plays an important role in their lives and education.
Reading Literature is a brand new series for grades 9-12 which will be available this summer. The book includes both short stories and poems that use the guidelines from the CCSS to ensure they're appropriately rigorous. In addition, every story annotated and includes questions tied to every standard for Reading Literature.