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Common Core CPR

Common Core CPR
What About the Adolescents Who Struggle . . . or Just Don’t Care?

Foreword by Richard L. Allington, Afterword by Sharon M. Draper

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September 2013 | 344 pages | Corwin

The ideal?  Newly minted high school graduates all across the nation, each one a complex text genius, a writer and analytic thinker beyond compare. All on to glorious colleges and careers, thanks to the Common Core.

The reality? The 1.3 million students who fail to graduate from high school each year and the hundreds of thousands more who either gave up or lost interest long ago . . .

The reality is why Common Core CPR is needed. Urgently. Because if we continue to insist that all students meet expectations that are well beyond their abilities and mindsets, these kids will only decline faster. We must be brave enough—and trained enough—to cast aside what we know harms students and apply with renewed vigor the teaching methods we know work.

Releah Lent and Barry Gilmore rise to the challenge, and there are no two authors better equipped to do so. They embrace what is best about the standards—their emphasis on active, authentic learning—and then explicitly show teachers how to connect these ideal outcomes to practical classroom strategies, detailing the day-to-day teaching that can coax reluctant learners into engagement and achievement. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Consider choice and relevance in every assignment
  • Plan and spot opportunities for success
  • Scaffold students’ comprehension of complex fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Model close reading through thoughtful questioning
  • Teach students to use evidence in reading, writing, speaking, and reflection

. . . And so much more

 It’s not the big sweeping formulas for achievement that will win the day; it’s the incremental growth that teachers need to make happen: that one book, that one writing assignment, to help a student turn a corner. “If we can get that one transformational moment to occur, and follow it up by designing more opportunities for success, that’s the ideal,” say Lent and Gilmore.

Foreword by Richard L. Allington
Introduction: Meeting Common Core With Common Sense
Defining "Standards"

An Introduction to the Standards

Important Considerations

Using Common Sense: What Is Not Covered by the Standards

A Portrait of a Young Student: What We Cover in This Book

Keeping the End in Mind


Chapter 1. How Do We Reach Reluctant Students?
Understanding Reluctance: Why Daniel Struggled

Final Thoughts: Leaving Daniel (for Now)

Chapter 2. Why Scaffolding Complex Text Is Crucial
Creating Proficient Readers: What's a Teacher to Do?

Text Complexity: Difficult to Define

Scaffolding: Building the Bridge

Untangling Complex Text: A Commonsense Approach

Scaffolding in Action: Practices That Support Learning

Build Background Knowledge to Make Learning Stick

Final Thoughts

Chapter 3. How Do We Engage All Students in Reading and Writing?
Starting With Reading: The Importance of Audience and Purpose

Audience and Purpose in Writing

Final Thoughts

Chapter 4. How to Go Deeper: Creating Analytical Thinkers
A Case of Aliteracy: The Bubonic Plague

Deepening Understanding Through Critical Literacy

A Critical Look at Close Reading

Final Thoughts

Chapter 5. Why Evidence Matters: From Text to Talk to Argument
Paideia Seminars: A Focus on Evidence

Paideia Seminars and Struggling Students

Problem- and Project-Based Learning: Using Evidence

The Project Realized: Envisioning the Future Fair

The Advantages of Project-Based Learning

Final Thoughts

Chapter 6. How Using Diverse Media and Formats Can Ignite Student Learning
The Scope of Technology in an Inquiry-Based Classroom

Preparing for Reading and Writing: Interpreting Material in Diverse Formats

Speaking and Listening: Technology and Student Presentation

Final Thoughts

Chapter 7. Why a Culture of Reading Is Critical--and How to Create One
A Culture of Reading: How It Supports the CCSS

The Workshop Approach: Does It Meet the Standards?

Understanding Perspectives: A Piece of the Portrait

Literature Circles: Sharing Perspectives

Do Literature Circles Meet the Standards?

Creating a Culture of Literacy in a Middle School

Final Thoughts

Chapter 8. What Do We Do About the Language Standards?
What Do We Do About Grammar?

What Do We Do About Vocabulary?

Final Thoughts

Afterword by Sharon M. Draper
Appendix A. Standards for Motivation and Engagement With Teacher Tools
Appendix B. Books for . . . Lists
About the Authors

“I have read two books that give me hope that the CCSS may improve both teaching and learning, especially for struggling readers and writers. This book, written by ReLeah Lent and Barry Gilmore, is one of those two books (the other was written by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues). . . . So, read this book and then begin to adapt your instruction in the manner described so artfully.”

Richard L. Allington, Professor of Education
University of Tennessee

“This is a very helpful and very timely book. Lent and Gilmore provide a very smart yet workable and commonsense approach to not only engaging struggling learners, but then assisting them through collaborative activity in a meaningful context of use to greater facility as readers and writers, speakers, and listeners. The approach will certainly help teachers help their students to meet the next generation of standards and assessments, but also so much more than that.”

Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Professor of Education and Director
Boise State Writing Project

Common Core CPR is a powerful text. . . . [It] offers commonsense suggestions for successful work with the standards in all classrooms, especially with students who struggle. Using an interdisciplinary approach to literacy, the authors do not view the standards as isolated skills to teach, but as natural outcomes as they scaffold learning.”

Sharon Draper, Author of Panic and Tears of a Tiger

“Finally!  A practical and comprehensive guide for teachers who want to ensure that the needs of  all students are met in this age of Common Core Standards, including reluctant and struggling readers and writers. Thank you, ReLeah Lent and Barry Gilmore, for helping ease one our greatest fears about the Common Core--that struggling students will struggle even more.”

Deborah Appleman, Author of Critical Encounters in High School English, Second Edition

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