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Beal 1

Joshua Beal Dr. Childs SCED 3720 9/9/13 Common Core Standards: Appendix A Reading Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards was an enlightening experience. One thing in particular that stood out to me was the degree in which our nation is deficient when it comes to reading and writing. Throw in the fact that such skills are on an accelerated decline, and you see both a glaring weakness and a stark need. The weakness its self is worrisome for a myriad of reasons, not least among them being that less literacy means less of an ability to be a good citizen, which according to various sources is one of the purposes of education. Another takeaway I received was the fact that an inability to read complex expository texts will result in students turning to text-light and text-free sources. This isnt good, especially because virtually all the texts one will read in the professional world are going to be more on the complex side (not to mention there is that whole responsibilities of citizenship thing). Getting students to be able to independently grasp complex texts will be a tool they will use day in and day out throughout their lifetime. I like that there is an emphasis on constructing a solid argument in education. As I have aged, Ive been able to see how important it is to be able to construct a strong and cogent argument. Of course, such action must be done tactfully and with respect, and if presented in such a way, arguments can be very productive and facilitate change. That is what is so great

Beal 2

about academic writing is that you are called upon to present a logical presentation of a particular side, which is an important life skill. I appreciate the standard. Another point I found to be noteworthy was the research indicating that one of the most important skills for a student to have when s/he enters a college classroom, from the perspective of freshman composition instructors, is the ability to articulate a clear thesis. Additionally, a student must be able to support their thesis and challenge it with counter arguments. I work in the writing center, so I see firsthand a lot of incoming freshman who have not yet developed these skills. In fact, it is surprising to me how many students come in to the writing center to get help with simple paragraphs for English 0990. It leads me to believe that there isnt enough being done in our public schools to equip such students with the necessary skills. Another point I found to be intriguing was the one about how children in the early grades benefit from engaging in rich, structured conversations with an adult in response to written texts that read aloud, orally comparing and contrasting as well as analyzing and synthesizing (27). I had not considered this as a form of assessment, but it makes good sense. It helps them grow and develop linguistically as well as in other ways. Then, such growth is further facilitated as such students read and are read to. These steps seem essential for students at this age and will get them on the road to being able to write proficiently. The last thing that stuck out to me was the emphasis on vocabulary. I learned to love vocabulary as a missionary, but I wish I had taken a love to it earlier. I think vocab is usually seen as boring but when I teach it, I will do so enthusiastically. Emerson once said that nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. I think that when you present something as if it is boring, especially in the world of academia, then as a general rule, students will not stand a chance of engendering an authentic appreciation of it. Personally, I have found vocabulary to be

Beal 3

vital to my appreciation of literature and writing. Being articulate is important in the world and with vocabulary on the decline in America, emphasis must be placed. Its a great thing.