| So what exactly are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? | How can librarians help students achieve their potential in regards to the standards? | Common Core Buzzwords | Myths about the Common Core Standards:

So what exactly are the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?


The Common Core Standards refer to a set of standards for mathematics and English language arts (Common Core IL, 2013). There are more standards coming for the other major subjects in the future, but the goals of these standards can also be applied across all subjects, especially in regards to the various English language arts standards. The standards focus on building solid foundations in these subjects and building upon them year after year so that students are college and career ready by high school graduation. The writers of the standards defined this readiness as, "the ability to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing, academic college courses and in workforce training programs. That is, students who met the standards should be able to enroll in postsecondary education without the need for remediation. For college, that meant enrolling in either a two-year or four-year institution; for workforce training, that meant enrolling in programs that prepare students for careers that offer competitive, livable salaries, that offer opportunities for career advancement, and that are in a growing or sustainable industry" (Rothman, 2011, p. 80).This is a one of the things that sets the Common Core Standards apart from the individual state standards that had previously been in place. Other things that really set these standards apart from previous standards are the fact that CCSS are designed to compare American students with those from other nations, they are meant to specify to all what is important to learn in each grade from kindergarten through high school, and that these standards are truly meant to be implemented across all of the states, meaning every state has these standards in common.

The standards themselves are presented in a unique way: a grid format that delineates various core skills that students in each grade should be able to accomplish by the end of the year. Each grade has its own skill set that students should be working towards, but across the grades, the basic skills are the same. The differences come in with what students are expected to do in regards to the basic skills. “As you read across the grades, you’ll note that the specific expectations for skills grow” (Calkins, Ehrenworth, Lehman, 2012, p. 22).

In each grade, the students should be learning and perfecting skills that build upon the ones that they learned in previous years. “All students must be expected to master the building blocks to independent and creative problem solving. The common core standards represent a national effort to raise expectations, to improve instructional practice, and to expand teacher training for greater content mastery across the core curriculum” (Manley & Hawkins, 2013, p. 26-27). Focusing on student growth through the year is part the standards too. This can be seen in the suggested reading list provided in Appendix B. When looking closely at the book suggestions listed in this appendix, you can see that the texts suggested for one grade have a range of complexity. This works to give students and teachers a range of texts because not all students will be able to read at the same complexity level right away; the goal is to be able to read, understand, and work with the texts of greater complexity by the end of that grade level (Calkins et al., 2012).

How can librarians help students achieve their potential in regards to the standards?


There are some shifts that teachers and administrators need to realize when implementing CCSS. These would be a great place for librarians to lend some assistance either in providing more information for the teachers and instructors, or providing more materials for the students to use. Allyn (2013) has defined eight core paradigm shifts in her book in describing how to prepare classrooms and the community for CCSS: 1) balancing literary and informational text; 2) building knowledge in the content areas; 3) the staircase of complexity; 4) depending on the text for answers; 5) writing from sources; 6) emphasizing academic vocabulary; 7) focusing on technology-based genres of text; and 8) the student-centered classroom. Balancing the shifts in values, even if they’re just being explicitly defined now, and the ways that students and teachers daily interact in the classroom is something that librarians can help with through assisting teachers in thinking about their larger lessons in a different way, knowing about new materials and emerging technologies that would be helpful, and providing professional development tools for teachers to help students achieve these standards.

The Common Core State Standards in English language arts specify lots of guidelines as to what kinds of materials students should be reading and how they should interact with the different texts that they’ve read, which is a shift that teachers, students and parents need to be aware of and deal with. “As students move through each year, they will add layers of understanding, and the details will feel richer and deeper as they go” (Allyn, 2013, p. 25). Librarians can assist in this learning through helping students and teachers select appropriate and interesting books to read. Collection development will be an important aspect of the librarian’s role in assisting students and teachers make the most of the standards.

The fact that the CCSS specifies what types of materials students in each grade should be reading, librarians will need to take another look at their collections. Considering that within the first few pages of the standards there are distribution charts that lay out recommendations for literary versus informational reading, the standards recommend these specific distributions from the National Assessment of Educational Progress:
  • 50% literary and 50% informational texts in the fourth grade
  • 45% literary and 55% informational texts in the eighth grade
  • 30% literary and 70% informational texts in the twelfth grade (Calkins et al., 2012, p. 28)
The need for students to read and interact more with informational texts that interest them is important now, and librarians are the perfect people within schools to help students and teachers find some great nonfiction books and informational materials that will supplement what is being taught in the classroom. This should, then, lead to more collaboration between teachers and the school’s librarian.

When thinking about the Common Core reading standards, librarians and teachers should remember not to dismiss new and popular fiction for youth as this literature also has a place within the standards. As standards highlight skills like critical thinking, reading fluency, and making connections between texts, reading new and popular literature can easily fit into this. We all know that new literature can connect well with classic literature, so why can’t children learn this idea and see it through the books that they and their friends want to read? As Allyn (2013) points out in her book, “The student who reads folktales and myths is the student who understands the nuances of favorite texts in with allegories appear (e.g., The Chronicles of Narnia) and even recognizes when the auto industry has tapped into such references (The Odyssey). The Core Ready learner manages the popular culture and the library of classic texts, able to talk across the modern and the classical, the ancient and the contemporary. The child who makes the connection between The Lightning Thief and The Odyssey is a child who sees paradigms and metaphors and is able to think at much higher levels than simply filling in a few random questions on a test” (p. 16). Finding and making available quality new and popular texts that allow for students to make new connections between what they know, what they’re learning, other texts that they’ve read, and what is going on in the world around them.

Implementing and using technology with classroom teaching is also a part of the Common Core Standards, specifically as it relates to the English language arts standards that have been defined. This is an area in which librarians should have a vested interest. Interactive learning and being able to affectively use digital materials is what library instruction is a lot about today, making this a perfect place for librarians to assist teachers and students move towards college and career readiness, the overall goals of the CCSS. Instructing students in appropriate and effective research strategies is definitely a part of this, but the technological aspects of the standards go further than this. The CCSS have specific goals for the presentation of knowledge and ideas, which is where using modern technologies really comes in (Rothman, 2011, p. 90-91). Teaching students how to use new technologies and applications where they can publish, share, and display their thoughts and ideas for communities as small as their own class or as large as the whole world. This is a skill that is definitely becoming more important as businesses become more global and the sharing of information becomes more important to people’s everyday lives.

References:

Allyn, P. (2013). Be core ready: Powerful, effective steps to implementing and achieving the common core state standards. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Calkins, L., Ehrenworth, M., & Lehman, C. (2012). Pathways to the common core: Accelerating achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Common Core IL. (2013). Frequently Asked Questions. In Common core: Real learning for real life. Retrieved from http://commoncoreil.org/faq/
Manley, R. J. & Hawkins, R. J. (2013). Making the common core standards work: Using professional development to build world-class schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Rothman, R. (2011). Something in common: The common core standards and the next chapter in American education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Understanding Common Core


The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are meant as “the first step in providing our young people with a high-quality education” (National Governors). 45 of the 50 states have adapted the CCSS, making it a sincere effort to make sure students across the country are reaching the same learning checkpoints. The CCSS are a core list of educational standards for students kindergarten through 12th grade designed to ensure that, if followed, students who graduate will be college or workforce ready without taking any remedial courses. These standards “focus on fewer concepts while stressing deeper learning and understanding” (Chaucer, 13). The CCSS are standards only available for English Language Arts and mathematics. There are outlines of different literacies for grades 6-12 that students should have in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects (National Governors). Note that these are literacy standards. This is a very important determination to make, as the standards for grades K-5 in all subject areas have been written into their normal reading standards. The National Governors Association made this distinction as part of their determination that once students reach sixth grade, they have a rotation of classes and not one core teacher.

A Major Concern with Common Core


The Common Core State Standards are written out in very thorough, easy-to-understand language with flexibility given to teachers in their lesson plan design. When looking over the Key Design Considerations for the English Language Arts Standards, a problem seems to unfold. Common Core, along with the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), is pushing for changes to be made for essay development within schools. Three different types of essays exist that students learn about: persuasive, explanatory, and expository. Common Core and NAEP are pushing for less expository writing and more persuasive and explanatory. This is directly correlated to the increase in information passages recommended for children as their grade level increases and the decrease in literary reading.

Grade
Literary
Information
4
50%
50%
8
45%
55%
12
30%
70%
Sourced from <http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration> (National Governors).

CCSS have taken this switch from literary to information into consideration within the framework of their standards. The move away from expository writing is disheartening to teachers and librarians.

Grade
To Persuade
To Explain
To Convey Experience
4
30%
35%
35%
8
35%
35%
30%
12
40%
40%
20%
Sourced from <http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/introduction/key-design-consideration> (National Governors).

The CCSS are meant to prepare students for college, therefore the 40/40/20 split should be indicative of students heading into college or the workforce. However students in grade 12 have a very important expository essay to write before they can even begin their college education: their college application essay. Educators must remember that the expository essay is not unimportant even though it is a low percentage. Librarians and teachers must remember that “narrative may indeed be a gift to them(students) as developing writers, one we should not withhold even as we offer them other experiences, tools, ways of thinking” (Chandler-Olcott, 99).

How Librarians Can Help


Since different forms of essay writing and comprehension of both literary and informational texts are such a large proportion of the CCSS, librarians are at a distinct advantage to provide quality resources to teachers to help them with formulating lesson plans that incorporate the CCSS. Public librarians are not exempt from this. Figuring out where to start with Common Core may be difficult, but there are many research articles and websites to help. Elizabeth Naylor-Gutierrez says that librarians have the responsibility to embrace the CCSS, as they are not going away. She lists four tips for librarians with the overarching theme that, “Librarians have an advantage in this shifting standards landscapes: we have always been focused on the process of inquiry and the skills the process requires” (Naylor-Gutierrez, 14). Librarians can help with CCSS by becoming literate in what exactly the standards are, by keeping our eyes out for new and inventive collections of essays, and by working with teachers to help them design lesson plans. School librarians are at a distinct advantage because of how closely they work with teachers. One way librarians can help is to introduce teachers to various text complexity tools to help them find interesting essays for their students to read that are beyond the traditional scope. Encourage teachers to look outside traditional anthologies and to draw from resources like book introductions, author’s notes, and newspaper articles. Renaissance Learning offers an ATOS Analyzer at http://www.renlearn.com/textcomplexity/tools.aspx and Lexile offers an introduction to how Common Core deals with text complexity at http://www.lexile.com/using-lexile/lexile-measures-and-the-ccssi/. Introducing teachers to new tools and helping them find resources outside the normal scope are two major ways that librarians can help institute a positive demeanor around Common Core.

Works Cited

Chandler-Olcott, Kelly. “Narrative Plus: Designing and Implementing the Common Core State Standards with the Gift Essay.” Language and Literacy Spectrum 23 (2013): 85-100. Print.

Chaucer, Henry. A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards: The Da Vinci Curriculum. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2012. Print.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Common Core State Standards. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. <http://www.corestandards.org>.

Naylor-Gutierrez, Elizabeth. “Making the Common Core Work for School Libraries.” Young Adult Library Services 11.2 (2013): 13-16. Print.


Common Core Buzzwords

As the Common Core Standards are being implemented across the country, like any new initiative there are what could be considered “Buzz words.” These words are frequently used by people “in the know” and occasionally leave other people wondering what they mean. Here are some of the more frequently used words explained.

“Text Complexity”
According to the Common Core website, it is important that all students be “able to comprehend texts of steadily increasing complexity as they progress through school.” Appendix A in the Common Core Standards define a 3 part model for guiding educators on curriculum decisions.
Qualitative
The qualitative factors for determining text complexity are measured by a human reader, usually the educator. The educator determines the levels of meaning or purpose in the text, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands.
Quantitative
The quantitative dimensions and factors refer to aspects that are typically measured by computer software such as Lexile, Accelerated Reader or Renaissance Learning. These aspects could be word length and frequency, sentence length, and text cohesion. These factors are very difficult for a human reader to measure, which is why computer software comes into play. All grade bands have certain Lexile levels or ATOS levels. Common Core standards encourage students and teachers to find materials that are in the correct Lexile or ATOS level for that grade band. For example, the 2nd and 3rd grade band has a Lexile level of 450L-790L and a ATOS Level of 2.75-5.14. Students in 2nd and 3rd grades should be reading books that fall in either of these ranges.
Reader and Task
It is also important to consider the reader and task when considering texts to utilize in the curriculum. An educator should use his or her professional judgment when pairing a student to a particular text. The teacher should focus on the reader’s motivation level and prior knowledge and experiences. The educator should also focus on the purpose of the task assigned when deciding which text is the appropriate complexity level for the student.

“Text Exemplar”
When people with Common Core knowledge use the phrase “Texts Exemplar” they are referring to certain texts that demonstrate the level of complexity that the Common Core Standards require all students within a certain grade range to be able to read and comprehend. These texts are only suggestions however, and they do not serve as a set curriculum. The text exemplars were chosen based on three deciding factors: Complexity, Quality, and Range.

As you can see, complexity is of high importance in Common Core. The group who was in charge of selecting these text exemplars, talked to many different educators who taught at certain levels in education in order to obtain lists for certain grade levels. These educators recommended books they have used in the classroom that were complex enough for the specific grade levels. The selection group then made final selections based on the qualitative or quantitative measures mentioned above.

Quality is somewhat self explanatory. It is important for these texts to not only be high complexity but also high quality. The selection group found texts that were already considered classics or had historical significance. They also found contemporary texts that had “literary merit, cultural significance, and rich content” (CC Appendix B). While books could be high quality and not complex or vice versa, it was imperative that the texts exemplar be both complex and of high quality.

The selection group then made sure that the list of complex texts of high quality had as broad of a range as possible. They looked at “publication date, authorship, and subject matter” (CC Appendix B). It was important for students to be exposed to and therefore engaged with a wide range of high quality and complex texts.

Appendix B of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects gives a list of what the selection group came up with for Text Exemplars broken down by grade bands. For elementary grade bands, the list includes stories, poetry, read-aloud stories and poetry, informational texts, and read-aloud informational texts. For grades 6-8, the lists consist of stories, drama, poetry, and informational texts (for English Language Arts, for History/Social studies, and for Science Mathematics and Technical subjects). Grades 9-12 have the same subject break downs as grades 6-8. This list is of course broken down by specific grade level so that is easy for educators to find materials based on the grade levels they teach. What is especially helpful in the Appendix B is not only the list of texts but the excerpts that are included after the list so that educators can get a brief introduction to some unfamiliar texts. Also helpful in Appendix B are sample performance and assessment tasks for the different types of texts.

“Text Clustering”
Text clustering refers to the process of combining or “clustering” resources on a particular topic. These resources can be books, websites, images, etc. Clustering is beneficial for a teacher to create lesson plan units. An example of text clustering in the classroom could have a teacher planning a unit around the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In order to add more informational or nonfiction text, the teacher could cluster the novel with the speeches “The Gettysburg Address” given by Abraham Lincoln and “I Have a Dream” given by Martin Luther King Jr. All three of these texts include the theme of honor, and they would cluster well together in the same unit. Another example could be to have the students read ”The Most Dangerous game,” a short story about survival. The teacher could easily cluster it with other articles about survival. There are multiple memoirs about survival, so the teacher could even include excerpts of the memoir 127 Hours: Between a Rock and Hard Place by Aron Ralston. Ralston ended up amputating his own arm after having it caught between a boulder and the side of a cliff for 127 hours. This memoir was also made into a movie, so another resource to cluster could be the movie.

Most librarians are text clustering every time they create a display and they probably don’t even know it. If the library was creating a display for Thanksgiving, the workers usually gather all the books about Thanksgiving or fall and put them on the display. Even the images of turkeys, Pilgrims, and Native Americans that the librarian puts on display with the books would count as clustering. If a librarian was creating a program around a certain book, she could easily find images or websites to share with the children. This is text clustering: gathering or combining different materials about the same topic.
“Close Reading”
According to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
Close, analytic reading stresses engaging with a text of sufficient complexity directly and examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, encouraging students to read and reread deliberately. Directing Student attention on the text itself empowers students to understand the central ideas and key supporting details. It also enables students to reflect on the meanings of individual words and sentences; the order in which sentences unfold; and the development of ideas over the course of the text, which ultimately leads students to arrive at an understanding of the text as a whole. (PARCC, pg. 7)

The idea is for the students to read and reread carefully, to better comprehend not only the actual text, but what the meaning is behind the text. Students are encouraged to ask themselves “What is the author telling me here?” or “How does the author’s use of language affect the meaning of the text?” After asking themselves these questions, the students are encouraged to support their conclusions with support from the text. These are questions that the teacher would probably bring up in classroom discussion, but if the students are close reading a text, the teacher won’t have to ask them; the students will already have these questions and conclusions in their head. These questions and others can easily be applied to multiple texts. Once the students are taught to closely analyze the text and ask these questions, they can close read any other text.

Rigor”
Rigor is not just harder content or increased work load and faster paced instruction. It’s more about increasing the complexity (there’s that buzzword again) of thinking about the content and assessment. The content requires students to become more involved, instead of passively being lectured to. The writing instruction will have real audiences in mind and have a real purpose, instead of just being about what the students did on summer vacation. More importantly the students will be required to write more argumentatively than persuasively. They will have to support their beliefs with evidence, which is another key factor with rigor. In all reading, writing, and speaking, students are encouraged to support what they are saying or writing. Discussions and other written responses over texts will have students going back to the text to support their claims.

Conclusion
One thing to remember is that repetitive use of these words by individuals does not necessarily mean that they understand them. There are quite a few people who are using these words on a daily basis without being able to understand what they really mean. It is important to have a strong grasp of what these buzzwords actually mean, before using them to relate to Common Core. Hopefully these explanations help define the Common Core “Buzzwords” so that anyone connected with Common Core will be able to understand what everyone else is talking about.

Works Cited

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. "PARCC Model Content Framework: English Language Arts/Literacy Grades 3-11." August 2012. PARCC. Web. 19 November 2013.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. "English Language Arts Appendix A." 2012. Common Core State Standards Initiative. Web. 19 November 2013.

National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers. "English Language Arts Appendix B." 2012. Common Core State Standards Initiative. Web. 19 November 2013.

Myths about the Common Core Standards:

1. The Book Lists in Appendix B are national book lists.
In Appendix B of the English Language Arts Standards of the Common Core, the standards provide a list of text exemplars. These are examples of specific texts for each grade level that should serve as guideposts in helping educators and librarians select texts that meet the criteria of the Common Core Standards. As stated in Appendix B, “The choices should serve as useful guideposts in helping educators select texts of similar complexity, quality, and range for their own classrooms. They expressly do not represent a partial or complete reading list.” (Appendix B, CCSS website)
This list of exemplars affects librarians in two ways. First, a teacher or administrator may come to a librarian with these titles as their reading lists. Secondly, librarians may have to help teachers look at the texts and assess them to find other texts that fit the standards for that particular grade level.

The exemplar texts were evaluated by the standards in three areas.

1. Complexity: The text is analyzed by the three-part model included in Appendix A. This includes qualitative (knowledge demands, levels of meaning), quantitative (readability measures such as lexile levels) and reader and task (reader preference, text accomplishing educational task)
2. Quality: texts with literary merit, cultural significance, and rich content.
3. Range: After considering complexity and quality, providing a wide range in texts.

The danger of these lists is that teachers will see them as some sort of “national reading list” and that publishers will promote them as such. One possible solution to help broaden the list of suggested reading is for librarians to promote other resources and form other alternative equivalent lists. (Burns) The Common Core set up these lists in order to “create a staircase of increasing text complexity, so that students are expected to both develop their skills and apply them to more and more complex texts.”

2. The Common Core is a product from the U.S. Government:
The Common Core state standards are not released by the national government. It is in not related to No Child Left Behind which is a federal regulation. It is also not mandated by the federal government. The states themselves choose to use these standards, and if a particular state chooses to use other standards, they are not required to adopt CCSS. Each state may also customize CCSS to fit the state’s needs. To see how each state has adopted CCSS, see the map on the Common Core website. By clicking on each state there is a link to its corresponding webpage.

The common core standards are led by “The nation’s governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers.” (Frequently Asked Questions, CCSS website) Teachers, parents, administrators and experts in the field of education also had input. It is also important to remember that common core is not a curriculum. The overall guiding standards are the same from state to state. In fact, part of the reason that these standards were established was to standardize excellence in education across the states. For example, the expectations for excellence are the same in Mississippi as they are in New York.

References:


Burns, Elizabeth, Kimmel, Sue & Garrison, Kasey L.. "How Common Is Common?: An Analysis Of The Recommended Text Exemplars." Teacher Librarian 41.1 (2013): 23-27. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.

“Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies,Science, and Technical Subjects, Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks.” Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf>

“Common Core State Standards Initiative Frequently Asked Questions.” Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards Initiative, 02 Mar 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CoreFAQ.pdf>

“Myths v. Facts About the Common Core Standards.” Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.corestandards.org/assets/CoreFacts.pdf>





Ways the School Librarian Can Support the Classroom Teacher with Implementation of Common Core State Standards
With growing adoption and implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have come both the hope of increased academic rigor in American public schools and a mixture of confusion and apprehension on what those standards mean for teachers. For the CCSS to be effective, teachers must collaborate with one another as well as other support staff. This is an ideal opportunity for school librarians to take on active leadership roles to improve public schools.
Introduction to the Common Core
The CCSS were a response to the impending renewal of No Child Left Behind. As a reaction to NCLB “the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center (NGA Center) led efforts to develop a common core of state standards” (Kramer 8). These were written collaboratively with input from teachers, administrators, and education experts, including librarians. As states adopt these standards, it will be up to teachers and administrators to implement them. This is a tall order and provides the ideal opportunity for school librarians to position themselves as vital members of the collaborative teams creating, shaping, and implementing curriculum. Additionally, librarians can be seen as crucial, members of the academic teams that empower teachers, instruct students, and improve schools.
Intersections between librarianship and the Common Core
There are many intersections between library learning standards and the CCSS. At the heart of the current CCSS is reading. The standards require teachers to help students read and understand texts of increasing complexity in order to establish college and career readiness. Reading comprehension, text complexity, and text variety are the long-held specialty of school librarians. Now, with the adoption and implementation of the CCSS that expertise is a valuable resource for teachers. As such, librarians are uniquely positioned to be important allies of and resources to schoolteachers. Librarians can support teachers in implementation of the CCSS in three primary ways: advocacy, text support, and advisory services.
Advocacy
The CCSS standards were completed in 2010. They were written with the advice and input of educators, but were also heavily influenced by political interests (Loertscher 8). It is up to the individual districts to put these standards into action. As such, when school districts plan ways to implement the CCSS, curriculum committees will meet and make decisions about the implementation; it is crucial that librarians be on those committees.
Being an active, informed member of these committees allows librarians to support teachers in the development of policies, provide input into resource availability, and give an informed view of literacy concerns. Loertscher and Marcoux recommend a four-step plan for such active participation. These include building an understanding of the standards documents, studying the individual school’s goals and mission through a gap analysis, planning initiatives to address gaps, and implementing and assessing the results (9). Through librarian placement on and participation in committees, such valuable advice can be presented, and decisions can be influenced.
Text Support
Historically, teacher –librarians have spent much of their time encouraging independent reading, typically through the reading of fiction (Loertscher 10). However, the CCSS require a fundamental shift in text selection. Under the CCSS, the balance of all reading from all sources including books, Internet sources, periodicals, and textbooks read on any device at any time is required to begin shifting toward nonfiction reading as early as fifth grade. The eventual ratio of literary reading to informational texts is required to be 50/50 by fourth grade, 45/55 by eighth grade, and 30/70 by twelfth grade (Naylor-Gutierez 15). This includes the use of literary nonfiction and informational texts across the curriculum, not just in English language arts courses (Moreillon 6). In addition to the paradigm shift in fiction and nonfiction reading, there is an added demand for text rigor and complexity.
All of these changes can be confusing, intimidating, or overwhelming for teachers who must adjust their entire curriculum to incorporate such changes. This is the ideal opportunity for the school librarian to support the classroom teacher through provision of text support. Debra Kay Logan, the past chair for the AASL Advocacy Committee, writes that there are many ways the librarian can provide valuable text support. These include reminding teachers that the library holds valuable collections of informational texts. Additionally, librarians should reinforce the idea that the library has texts from a variety of viewpoints, both primary and secondary sources, and texts in a variety of formats including databases. Also, the librarian should continue to build a collection that meets these characteristics (49).

Advisory Service
The school librarian can provide valuable advisory services, both to teachers and students. As the curriculum shifts from literary fiction to informational texts, many teachers will need to select texts and excerpts that match up with the curriculum but are perhaps new or unfamiliar. To the teacher who is integrating informational text reading on a large scale for the first time, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Not only must the text match the lesson, it must be appropriately rigorous and complex. It needs to be reliable and accurate or be presented in tandem with an informational text providing an opposing view. The librarian can serve as a valuable resource in helping teachers locate such materials. This can include advising on locating reputable sources, assessing legitimacy of sources, and even what authors or organizations to seek out. Also, the librarian should be well-versed in Fair Use policy and offer to advise the teachers on it, encouraging respectful use of copyrighted materials.
Support students in use of the library
As students are sent to the library to find texts for classroom reading, they too may be confused about new requirements for text selection. In such cases, the librarian can advise the students in order to facilitate appropriate selection of texts that meet the teachers’ requirement. Helping students select appropriate texts will itself be a valuable support for teachers who will not need to deal with such concerns. Additionally, as students are required to complete more writing, research, and documentation for courses across the curriculum, the librarian is the ideal person to instruct in assessing print and digital sources, documentation of sources, avoiding plagiarism, and respecting copyright. These essential lessons that have been presented in class by teachers can be reinforced by librarians. This allows the librarian to support the teacher through reinforcement of lessons and policies, boosting teacher authority, and supporting teachers in an area that students might find complicated and frustrating
Communication with Teachers
In light of the many ways librarians can support teachers, it is crucial that there be open communication between the two. Many teachers unfortunately may not be aware of the valuable asset they have in the librarian and library. This needs to be actively, openly, and repeatedly communicated by the librarian. It is essential that teachers know that they have an ally. Librarians should seek out teachers, ask what ways they can best be supported, and discuss future opportunities for the library and librarian to be useful. In doing this, it is essential that the librarian speak in the language of the CCSS. Mentioning text complexity, rigor, and close reading, among other terms, can allow the teacher to realize that the librarian is not only an ally and an asset but also highly informed.
Understanding Connections with the Common Core
At the most fundamental level, in order for the CCSS to work, teachers must understand what the standards are, how they are to be used, and how they are similar to existing, more familiar standards. One of the most crucial yet most overlooked supports that school librarians can provide to teachers is help in understanding and interpreting the CCSS. In a recent US News and World Report poll conducted in conjunction with the NEA, two-thirds of members reported attending training related to the Common Core, yet only 26 percent indicated that the training was helpful (Bidwell).
Many state departments of education are in the process of creating crosswalks, documents that show the parallels between CCSS and existing state standards. These are valuable resources for teachers to see and understand the changes being made. States which have completed crosswalks include Arkansas (http://ccssarkansas.pbworks.com/w/page/32131061/CCSS%20Arkansas--Crosswalk%20Page) , Missouri (http://dese.mo.gov/divimprove/curriculum/common-core-ela.htm), North Carolina (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/common-core-tools/#crosswalks), Kentucky (http://education.ky.gov/curriculum/docs/pages/crosswalk-ccss-%28ccss%29-comparison-to-ky-state-standards.aspx), and California (www.scoe.net/castandards/multimedia/k-12_ela_croswalks.pdf‎).
Some professional library and educational organizations have begun creating valuable resources as well. These often provide practical applications and implementation strategies. One such resource includes the Illinois Standards Aligned Instruction for Libraries (I-SAIL 2011), which was created to “empower, educate, and encourage school library information specialists to plan strategically with other teachers to incorporate information literacy skills in lessons and thereby provide college and career readiness for students”(ISLMA). These are provided for each grade, are readily available, provide valuable professional development materials and ideas, and can be accessed at http://www.islma.org/ISAIL.htm. Organizations in other states are completing similar support documents. School librarians must become aware of and familiar with such resources and readily provide them to struggling teachers.
Creation of Resources
As the librarian communicates and collaborates with teachers, it will become clear what resources are most needed. The creation of customized reference materials for both teachers and students is an essential support function librarians can perform. Creating LibGuides customized to the needs of teachers can provide a useful support to teachers. With the CCSS’s increased requirements in research, documentation, and writing, there is a need for customized resources in bibliography, citation, and writing. Additionally, teachers throughout the school will need to integrate reading and writing, and for teachers who are new at this, a customized LibGuide can be helpful for both the teacher and students.
Conclusion
The Common Core State Standards provide an ideal opportunity for school librarians to take on an active leadership role in supporting today’s teachers. In order to perform this role well, the school librarian must be fluent in the CCSS. They must know what the standards are, how they are to be implemented, what the specific terminologies mean, and what impact the standards have on teachers, students, and administrators. In order to support teachers, librarians must be and stay informed, both discovering and creating resources and making these available to teachers. Teachers have a difficult task ahead with the CCSS, and school librarians can lessen this burden by providing active, skilled support to these teachers. School librarians can take the leadership roles needed to be valuable team members in the implementation of the CCSS.


Works Cited
Bidwell, Allie. “Poll: Majority of Teachers Support Common Core.” N. p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
ISLMA. “I-SAIL 2011.” N. p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Kramer, Pamela K. "Common Core And School Librarians: An Interview With Joyce Karon." School Library Monthly 28.1 (2011): 8-10. ERIC. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Loertscher, David V., and Elizabeth "Betty" Marcoux. "The Common Core Standards: Opportunities For Teacher-Librarians To Move To The Center Of Teaching And Learning." Teacher Librarian 38.2 (2010): 8-14. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Logan, Debra Kay. "The Common Core And School Library Connection: Supporting And Strengthening The Road To College And Career Readiness." Library Media Connection 31.5 (2013): 49. Business Source Complete. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Moreillon, Judi. "Reading Comprehension At The Core Of The Library Program." School Library Monthly 29.2 (2012): 5-8. ERIC. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Morris, Rebecca J. "Find Where You Fit In The Common Core, Or The Time I Forgot About Librarians And Reading." Teacher Librarian 39.5 (2012): 8-12. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Naylor-Gutierrez, Elizabeth. "Making The Common Core Work For School Libraries." Young Adult Library Services 11.2 (2013): 13-16. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.