Technically, the Common Core is already here, but in case one did not know, the saturation of “Common Core aligned” notices on various workbooks, vocabulary texts, and the deluge of Common Core-themed texts on the market would make that announcement clear enough. Anxious parents, and even more anxious and novice teachers, will soon scan these shelves to buy these Common Core-themed texts in the desperate hope that they will be enlightened. Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher’s Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts (2014) is one such text they might come across.
In the end, Frey and Fisher’s Rigorous Reading is an overview of the reading demands of the Common Core. In it, Frey and Fisher identify five strategies (“access points”) for engaging students with complex texts, a requirement of the new Common Core. These five access points include the following:
- Purpose and Modeling
- Close and Scaffolded Reading Instruction
- Collaborative Conversations
- An Independent Reading Staircase
- Demonstrating Understanding and Assessing Performance
Informative and sensical, Rigorous Reading is more of a reference text reminding teachers of practices to successfully engage readers with “complex” texts in the classroom. These access points aren’t novel concepts to ELA teachers engaged in good, rigorous practice, but to teachers resistant to implementing the Common Core due to lack of understanding, this text effectively simplifies the mandates of Common Core in a non-threatening manner.