Thursday, May 8, 2014

Common Core IRL: Baseball books for beginning readers (grades K-2)

Today marks the first time I'm participating in Common Core IRL (In Real Libraries), a blog hop featuring outstanding librarians and bloggers Mary Ann Scheuer at Great Kids Books, Alyson Beecher at Kit Lit Frenzy, and Cathy Potter and Louise Capizzo at The Nonfiction Detectives. I'm joining the ranks to add an additional perspective to what the Common Core State Standards look like in real libraries.

I should say that the Common Core State Standards are controversial here in Missouri, and it's unclear how much longer they'll be part of the state curriculum. Many of the principles within the CCSS, however, remain excellent for thinking about sharing excellent books--especially non-fiction--with young readers, so I have no qualms about continuing to use the CCSS as a lens to think about the readers' advisory I do in my public librarian job.

This week's topic for Common Core IRL is that quintessential American springtime activity: baseball. I'm talking about non-fiction baseball titles for beginning readers, but you can find other baseball titles for other age ranges on the other Common Core IRL posts this week:

Here's our batting line-up for Common Core IRL: Baseball:

No matter how contentious CCSS may get here in Missouri, baseball is a staple. Not a day goes by that I don't see a dozen kids in the library in their baseball/softball uniforms or St. Louis Cardinals gear, and quite frequently they want books to read that support this interest.

In a public library setting, the librarian may not be as familiar with a particular child and their reading level as a school librarian would be. That means it's particularly important to have a range of books on a topic, each at a different level of complexity, so that the reader can get the right book for them. On the topic of baseball for beginning readers, that leaves libraries with several excellent options:

Baseball is Fun! by Robin Nelson (Lerner, 2014)
This simple text for very beginning readers introduces
basic baseball concepts, and it includes an illustration
of a baseball field, a glossary, and an index.

Cool Baseball Facts by Kathryn Clay (Capstone, 2011)
For beginning readers who already understand the fundamentals
of baseball, this title with interesting tidbits and trivia will match
interest with reading level.

On the Team: Baseball by Mason Burdick (Gareth Stevens, 2012)
Higher-level beginning readers will enjoy this in-depth exploration
of baseball, its history, and playing basics. Includes interesting text
features called "The Coach's Corner," which share additional details.

How does this all fit with the Common Core? For beginning readers, the CCSS emphasize reading informational texts appropriate for their grade level (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.10, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.10). That means the library having a batting order with non-fiction options at different levels of complexity, all of them heavy hitters that will engage and interest readers. As beginning readers visit the library this spring and summer completely amped about baseball, we'll have plenty to offer.

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