Ours is a business of ideas: unique, fresh, high-concept, sweet, outstanding. Without a great idea, your story has little chance of flying in “today’s crowded market.” One new source of ideas is the curriculum that is taking shape around the Common Core State Standards. In the past two years, education reform has swept across the nation as many states adopted these new standards, and many are beginning implementation this year. It will be the face of education for the next decade.
Good bye, No Child Left Behind!
Hello, Common Core State Standards!
What Do New Education Standards Mean For Writers?
Our concern here isn’t the standards themselves. For that, you can read these articles from my sister site, commoncorestandards.com.
- History of National Standards: Where Did They Come From?
- Who Wrote the Common Core Standards
- Authors of the Common Core Standards
- 6 Shifts in Learning: CCSS Sytle
- FAQ: List of Common Core Required Texts
- Text Complexity: Choosing Exemplar Texts
- To find out what YOUR state is doing for the CCSS, find a link here to the State Department of Education for your state.
States: Links to State Departments CCSS Standards
Important for us as writers, though, it to know what teachers are teaching and at what grade level. For this information, there are two sites you should know. First is corestandards.org which is the official site for the CCSS, and home of all the pdf versions of the standards themselves. Read these as you find time. The second is commoncore.org which is a non-profit organization, supported partially by the Gates Foundation. They have written curriculum maps, documents which give flesh to the CCSS by suggesting topics and units for every grade level; overall, the combined units should cover all the CCSS standards. These are often recommended by state department of educations, but they are NOT the official standards themselves. Still–they are often recommended, and that means, they are a good source for knowing what is being taught around the country at each grade level.
Here are links to each grade level’s curriculum maps. Have fun reading through these to see what is currently recommended. Use it as a prompt to jump-start age appropriate ideas. Of course, remember that picture books can take 2-5 years to be published and novels can take a couple years. So don’t write something just to jump on this new education bandwagon; but if you find inspiration here, you can be confident that some teacher will be looking for your story and will be more likely to buy it.