Thursday, December 12, 2013

Common Core Care Package: 10 Ways Authors Can Help Educators

Common Core is in the news almost daily. A lot of people don’t like the new standards, or at least the standardized testing that comes along with them. But the fact is that CCSS has been adopted by most of America, so teachers have to address the new standards regardless of the political frenzy swirling all around them.

So the best thing we can do as authors of both fiction and nonfiction is help them. Throughout October, INK bloggers wrote posts about the new standards and many of us suggested ideas for using our books and/or books we admire to support the standards.

Today, I thought I’d share some general strategies for authors who would like to guide educators in using their books to meet the Common Core standards. I'm not sure any author would have time to do them all, but pick one or two and dig in. It will make a difference.

1. Write discussion questions that help students identify a book’s main idea and key details.
Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple

2. Develop a teacher’s guide with activities that help students build vocabulary; understand connections and relationships between key ideas, events, or individuals in a book; and examine a book’s structure.
David La Rochelle
3. Offer writers’ workshops that focus on such topics as structure, voice, and word choice.

Barbara O'Connor
4. Write blog posts that describe your intentions as you wrote a specific book.

Jeannine Atkins
5. Write blog posts, create videos, or develop school visit programs that deconstruct specific aspects of your writing and/or illustrating process.
Lita Judge

6. If you write picture books or photo-illustrated books, write blog posts, create videos, or develop school visits or classroom materials that highlight the connection between pictures and words in your books.
Steve Jenkins

7. Speak at local and national conferences for teachers and librarians about specific aspects of writing craft.
8. Develop worksheets and visual aids that educators can use to teach specific aspects of writing craft.
9. Create lists of fiction and nonfiction titles that have a connection to your book, so students can compare the texts.
10. Provide links to related media on your website, so students can compare them to your book.
Loree Griffin Burns
Do you have other ideas about how authors can help educators address the goals of Common Core? I’d love to hear them. If we all work together, we can give teachers the tools they need to thrive in the age of Common Core.



April Pulley Sayre said...

Very helpful post, Melissa! It's so important for authors to create these extensions for educators.

Sue Heavenrich said...

Great post - good things to think about. Thanks!

Pamela Brunskill said...

Great post, Melissa!
If anyone's interested, I'm creating a site for authors on how to create educational materials for their books at

Susan E. Goodman said...

Thanks, M. I'm always interested in ideas about how to do this.