books and digital resources on relevant topics that enhance the
curriculum and entice students to read.
A number of librarians responded that they were leery of
purchasing materials simply because they contain the words
“Common Core Related.” But, they added, there are terms that
they rely upon to help them through the selection process.
These include the presence of indexes, glossaries, captioned
photos, illustrations, and a clearly labeled “Lexile level.” The
Common Core asks that both qualitative and quantitative measures be used to make sure students eventually meet the demands of college and career—Lexile levels are used as one part
of the equation to assess whether a text meets this goal. Librarians say Lexiles are helpful because they provide a trusted scale
for text difficulty and student reading ability.
Many school librarians also referenced the Common Core Text
Exemplars from Appendix B (the much-critiqued sample reading list) along with the curriculum modules provided by New
York’s EngageNY Web site. Librarians stress that the titles in
Appendix B and the text lists on EngageNY are only a guide.
Actual selection still relies on librarian expertise—and librarians see this as an opportunity to use their skills to suggest quality titles to time-strapped administrators and teachers.
There is a need and an opportunity for publishers to simplify
the search for texts that meet the standards. For example, one
respondent indicated that changes made to the Follett Titlewave
site have been helpful. “Love the tags that Follett has added to
their titles!” the librarian noted, which includes curriculum tags
for specific skills and concepts, such as “point of view,” “pri-
mary sources,” and “cause and effect.”
The need for teaching with primary documents was also re-
flected in the survey results. Respondents indicated that they
are relying on the American Memory portal from the Library of
Congress, along with primary source portals such as Lounsberry
Hollow’s Virtual Learning Center for primary documents and
current events. Also, the Lexile-leveled news site Newsela was
also mentioned as a favorite of students and teachers, along with
Meanwhile, “close reading” is a term often referenced in relation to the Common Core, and librarians indicated that they are
looking for more information on analyzing texts referenced by
bestselling author and education consultant Christopher Lehman, along with the Notice and Note book-and-study bundles by
Another trend reported by some librarians shows that the
Common Core has had communal benefits. For example, a librarian working in both elementary and secondary schools commented that her collection development practice now involves
the input of teachers. Go to the teacher’s meetings, one librar-