Proponents of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) like to promote the idea that CCSS is "not a curriculum." The CCSS website further states the disjointed idea that local districts somehow retain true freedom over what is taught in the classroom. This is a lie.
The Common Core is a reminder of the credo literature professors live by. Language is the building block of great sentences, great paragraphs, great chapters, and great books. We cannot take it for granted.
When we make sound pedagogical choices on reading, we can dramatically enhance students' abilities to work with all kinds of challenging texts. When we struggle, classrooms can become frustrating, unchallenging, or disorienting places.
In Pride and Prejudice, the reward for meticulous critical scrutiny is self-consciousness, intellectual expansion and moral growth. Long before the invention of fMRIs, Jane Austen knew that close reading was good for the brain... and for the soul.