student reading with teacherTeachers and parents can inspire in students a love of reading that will serve them throughout their entire life. Being a good reader is one of the most important skills for college, career and community readiness.

In language arts classes of the past, students were often asked to read fiction, or stories. While this exposure to literature is wonderfully enriching, the standards address a broad range of skills in areas where children have been lagging. The Common Core State Standards encourage a balance of fiction and non-fiction reading. "Fiction" writing is based on information that is imaginary or not real, such as fairy tales or chapter books, while "non-fiction" writing describes real events and people, like you see in the newspaper or history books. This shift is a reflection of the demands children will face in college, the workforce and their communities.

Everyday opportunities for non-fiction reading:

- Instructions for playing a game
- Newspapers and magazines
- Recipes for a favorite dessert
- Billboards while in the car

The Common Core State Standards for language arts get students reading deeply and connecting with what they have read. The standards outline what children will learn in reading, writing and speaking. The new standards include every aspect of literacy.

Here are some ways you can help your child become a skilled reader of non-fiction materials:

  1. What are your child's interests? A child's interests are a natural springboard to non-fiction reading. Help your child find non-fiction books and resources in their areas of interest.
  2. Take note of all the ways your child is already using non-fiction text: looking up information on the computer, following a recipe or following directions.
  3. Ask your child questions that require them to read closely and carefully to find the answers: What did you learn about? What does the newspaper article say about that? Show me what your instructions say? What is the big idea of this book?

Reading, writing and oral language, in their many forms, can be fun opportunities for learning and spending time together. By understanding the Common Core State Standards you can get ideas for making reading time more meaningful. For more information on the Common Core and ideas on how you can be involved in your child’s learning, visit mmsd.org/commoncore.