The State Board of Education originally adopted statewide academic content standards for English language arts and mathematics in 1997 and 1998. These Content Standards were an important factor in the consideration and selection of the titles that originally appeared in these collections of titles: Recommended Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve; Recommended Literature for Mathematics and Science; and Recommended Literature for History-Social Science and Visual and Performing Arts. These collections of titles, compiled by teachers, library media teachers, public and school librarians, and other experts in the field of children's literature are now merged into a single resource, providing a broad range of titles that serve as examples of the challenging and complex text that will help students prepare for and succeed in career and college. Local school officials and teachers are encouraged to use this list as a resource in designing standards-based instructional programs.
In 2010 the SBE adopted the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects (PDF) (CCSS for ELA/Literacy). These standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) in order to advance a set of standards to prepare students to prepare for and succeed in career and college. California’s standards-based educational system is one in which standards, curriculum, assessment, and accountability are aligned to support student academic proficiency and literacy. Teachers and local school officials, in collaboration with families and community partners, use standards to help students achieve success in what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century.
The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS for Mathematics) (PDF) have replaced the content standards for mathematics previously associated with literature titles included in the Recommended Literature for Mathematics and Science, merged into this single resource, as well as literature titles selected by the committee assembled to update this resource in the spring and summer of 2012.
Literature as Part of the Instructional Program
Recommended Literature: Pre-Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve is a resource for supplemental reading materials that teachers can use to extend and deepen students' understanding. The titles listed illustrate the quality and complexity of literature which may be used to support the teaching of a variety of subjects. Works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama are included in this list to accommodate a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. The selected titles reflect rich cultural diversity, and special attention was given to include California authors, illustrators, and settings. For children who can read in other languages, the list includes titles in the five languages, other than English, most commonly spoken by students in California: Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Chinese, and Filipino. For children who can read in Spanish, selections written in Spanish or a bilingual combination of Spanish and English are included in the list.
Because many of the CCSS for ELA/Literacy and the CCSS for Mathematics may be addressed through the use of challenging and complex text, individual standards are not listed for each title in this collection nor have specific titles been suggested for each of the standards. Efforts to match standards to titles were found to insufficiently reflect the countless ways teachers may use the list to support students in reading a variety of complex texts. To read such text, students need to be challenged to extend their reading abilities and also know the pleasure of easy, fluent reading within the level of text complexity appropriate for them.
Reading and the use of literature are of great benefit beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Teachers can enrich their students' understanding through the integration of quality literature selections into a variety of subject area lessons. Discussions of historical and literary connections coupled with hands-on activities can help students gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter, specific concepts, or certain time periods. Whether students read literature independently or it is read to them, students who are engaged in quality texts will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and specific concepts.
Literature for Independent Reading
This collection of literature is intended for use by teachers, library media teachers, public librarians, parents, and students as a guide to the kinds of books that children should read independently both at school and outside of class. At every grade level, the reading comprehension strand of the CCSS ELA/Literacy and the CCSS for Math call for students to read and understand grade-level-appropriate material by the end of high school.