It is true that the CCSS doesn’t every directly mention the need for reading for pleasure. However, in Appendix A, there are three criteria for choosing a text and each is given equal weight. They are quantitative, qualitative and reader/task.
The quantitative, we understand easily as a Lexile level or a reading score from one of the other five reading scores approved by the August, 2012 supplement to Appendix A: http://www.corestandards.org/assets/E0813_Appendix_A_New_Research_on_Text_Complexity.pdf
Qualitative is harder, because it means the teacher and librarian must evaluate the qualities of the text. Appendix A gives lots of guidelines here.
But for the purposes of Reading for Pleasure, the last criterion is the most important. The teacher should evaluate which texts to choose based on the Reader and the Task. Certainly, there are times when the “Task” can and should be “reading for pleasure.” Nothing prohibits this! And for those times, the appropriate text according to the Reader/Task criterion–which is equally weighted with the other two criteria–is one a kid will like!
Yes, overall—across all books read that year by a student, including those in all subject areas—the texts should push complexity. They should average out to a higher level. But there’s nothing that says every single text must be for the purpose of learning information. Clearly, the requirement to consider Reader/Task allows for a wide variety of purposes.
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