Monday, May 5, 2014

Common Core IRL: Baseball Edition

The Common Core State Standards declare that students must read more nonfiction throughout their school years, in order to fully prepare for college and career choices. If you tell your typical 9- or 10-year-old that, they are likely to roll their eyes and moan, "But nonfiction is boring!" My reply?
"Nonfiction can be really interesting when you get to choose what to read."
We know that kids are more motivated to read when they get to choose their book. So why not harness this interest as we encourage kids to read nonfiction? Librarians are excellent resources. We scour the field for interesting, informative books that are clearly written, well designed and filled with excellent illustrations. We understand both reading levels and children's interests.

Baseball season is getting under way. Kids are playing, going to games, and following their favorite pro teams. This image (below) captures for me the essence of baseball as our national pastime -- little kids going to games with their dads. So why not engage kids by offering a range of interesting books all about baseball?
Boys of Summer, via debaird, Flickr
This week, our intrepid group of Common Core IRL literacy experts are going to bat for readers -- coming up with great baseball books to recommend for kids. We will focus on nonfiction for kids to read along the reading spectrum, from beginning readers to advanced middle grade readers. We will include books to read aloud to children, because it's essential to read engaging, interesting nonfiction aloud to our children.

Here's our batting line-up for Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries:
We hope to see you in the stacks -- or was that in the stands? Bring your bat, glove and favorite baseball fan and join us!

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. Not all kids prefer fiction. That was an assumption I made about my first child - my daughter - and boy, was I wrong. I noticed that she was adept at reading, but hated it. You'd never catch her curled up with a good book. I finally had an epiphany - maybe it was the books! I asked her, "Would you rather read a book about dragons or princesses or fairies or magical adventures - or a book about real people doing real things?"

    Her eyes lit up. "Real people doing real things!" (She was only in 2nd or 3rd grade, at the time.)

    "Ask the school librarian to show you the biographies."

    "I don't think we have those at my school."

    "Oh, trust me - they're there. Your teachers just don't think you'd be interested in them, yet. ASK." She came home with a book on Annie Oakley and another on Anne Sullivan. She didn't enjoy fiction until she got to college.

    My son was just the opposite - he loved fiction.

    Me? I'm all for letting kids read almost anything - so long as they're reading.

    1. I love this story! Yes, it's true -- many kids love reading about real things, learning so much about the world all around us.

      I also want to give kids lots of choice in what they read, but I also know that it's important to give all kids practice reading nonfiction. The skills they learn reading baseball facts will transfer over to reading history textbooks. I totally believe the saying: "The more you read, the better you get at reading."

      Thanks for sharing this comment -- I really appreciate it. It's important that we don't assume boys and girls like certain books, but rather spend the time to find out from each kid what they're interested in. You're absolutely right.