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K-5 Readers Get New Common Core-Compliant National Geographic Program

A division of Cengage Learning has released new K-5 reading curriculum that uses material from National Geographic and aligns with the Common Core. National Geographic Learning has put together a reading program titled, "Reach for Reading," which uses multiple types of content and technology to get students to read. The new program includes the pairing of content, such as fiction with articles developed by National Geographic, along with access to other content, such as videos.

The programwas built around Common Core State Standards, which were implemented as a way to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students nationwide are expected to learn. The standards call on students in these grade levels to be able to interpret informational text, such as that found in articles, as well as other kinds of reading, such as fiction, poems, blogs, and fantasy.

Schools that use Reach for Reading will have access to National Geographic texts as well as videos and a digital library with images from the organization through a myNGconnect portal. The feature also provides students with digital editions of the texts, vocabulary games, a word builder app, and a vocabulary notebook.

Instructors gain access to a teacher site with a digital library, lesson planner, and interactive whiteboard activities. A teacher's edition at each grade level allows the instructor to automate the weekly planning process by clicking on a lesson, choosing a unit, and specifying a timeframe for the lesson. The teacher can print out the lesson, share it, or make it accessible to others, such as a substitute.

"The adoption of the Common Core State Standards raises the bar for reading instruction in elementary schools," said Nancy Frey, one of the authors of the new program and a professor of literacy in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. "The standards have resonated with educators and curriculum developers nationwide and presented a challenge: How best to staircase literacy learning in order to meet the college- and career-ready goals articulated throughout? Elementary education is the first step on that staircase, and educators need comprehensive curriculum that addresses the shifts in practice that Common Core requires. The Reach for Reading program was explicitly designed with these shifts in mind."

According to Vincent Grosso, vice president of National Geographic Learning, the Common Core Standards require that reading instruction contain a balance of literary and informational texts. "But recent studies have shown that over 75 percent of titles used for reading were narrative. With Reach for Reading, we are incorporating content and imagery from National Geographic to help prepare children for the world of informational texts. Students will be reading about animals, places, and other topics, while seeing vivid photos and labeled diagrams that correspond with the text, which results in a much more engaging experience."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.