Book Review: Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work

Reviewer note: This review is based strictly on the content of the book and does not discuss current political discourse regarding the value of the Common Core standard in general. I was given a complimentary copy of the book for review.

Common Core English Language Arts in a PLC at Work is a plain-language resource to understanding the parameters of Common Core and instituting them in grades K-2. The book is designed to be used by educators in conjunction with a school district’s roll-out of the Common Core and encourages collaborative planning on the local level.

The book provides an overview of what the Common Core English standard is designed to accomplish and how to use collaborative teams to construct learning plans. Chapters two through four provide guidelines on implementing the standard for reading, writing, and speaking/listening respectively. Chapter five discusses general implementation of assessments and how to help students who are struggling with the lessons.

The authors make intelligent use of graphs and charts to break down information and help educators digest the content. A few of the text blocks, however, are inexplicably formatted in landscape position, forcing you to turn the book sideways to read them. These blocks could have easily been formatted in portrait position. It strikes me as an odd choice for non-graphic text blocks to be designed in such a fashion.

I was annoyed by the fact that the web address provided on the back of the book to access “free” downloadable resources related to the book was apparently wrong. The address on the book redirects to the company’s main page. You then have to look around for the link to access the downloadable content. You are then prompted to create an account to access it. I didn’t create an account as I don’t want to end up on yet another mailing list, so I cannot say whether or not the downloadable content is value-added or not.

Despite a few minor design quibbles, the book is a solid resource for educators who are about to roll-out Common Core standard in their districts. The simple, straightforward language and logical organization makes the book’s concepts easy to follow and implement.

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