Closer Readings Commentary

Summer Reading for Teachers!

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-trust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciples. A noble artist, he has visions of excellence and revelations of beauty, which he has neither impersonated in character, nor embodied in words. His life and teachings are but studies for yet nobler ideals.

—Amos Bronson Alcott Orphic Sayings, 1841

The end of the school year is upon us. Summer is right around the corner! Get ready with:

EDSITEment’s updated portal, College and Career Readiness Text Exemplars: Summer Reading for Teachers.

Enjoy a great selection of exemplary authors and texts itemized in Appendix B of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. Though a number of these exemplars will have crossed your radar at some point in your education—discover them again! Reunite with great books as you undertake your mission to foster college and career readiness in your next wave of students.

Use the long, lazy summer ahead to entertain “studies for yet nobler ideals” by tapping into classic stories, poetry, drama, and informational texts, including foundational documents of American history and government and works by civilization’s great thinkers.

Reacquaint yourself with casts of characters that never grow old—friends and favorites that inhabit these readings: High-spirited Jo March and her sidekick Laurie, as they engage in adolescent antics, which later evolve into mature affection (Little Women); soft furry Aunt Beast as she extends her healing balm and song of peace to injured Meg (A Wrinkle in Time); four irrepressible Mirabal sisters who exemplify courage as they risk their lives for a revolution (In the Time of the Butterflies); resolute Ma and Pa Joad and family as they journey along the Mother Road toward California’s golden promise (The Grapes of Wrath); wretched Raskolnikov torn by opposing tendencies as he endures a cat-and-mouse game with the authorities (Crime and Punishment).

Rediscover the foundational documents that continue to inspire: Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the American creed; the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, which (for the first time in history), announces the sovereignty of the people as the basis for a government; Frederick Douglass’s oration of July 5, 1854, which challenges his audience to extend the principles of the Declaration to black people; the Women's Declaration of Sentiments, which demands equal rights for women; FDR’s Four Freedoms, a statement of the goals for which Americans fought in World War II and that people of all nations ought to enjoy; and Linda Monk’s engaging commentary on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Divided into Grades 6–8; Grades 9–10; Grades 11–CCR, there are resources under each text to support your efforts to teach reading and writing, and speaking and listening across the curriculum.

New for 2015

Legend: (L) – Lesson or Unit │ (B) – Blog │ (F) – Feature, Magazine Feature │ (I) – Interactive, Launchpad

Yeats, William Butler. “The Song of Wandering Aengus”

Ovid. Metamorphoses

Álvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment

Jewett, Sarah Orne. “A White Heron”

Declaration of Sentiments by the Seneca Falls Conference

And when the time comes to think about how you will teach these books come fall, EDSITEment’s portal supplements each author and exemplar on this list with a host of resources: related lesson plans; reviewed websites; articles featuring National Endowment for the Humanities projects of interest to teachers; interactives; as well as entries from our Closer Readings+ blog. You’ll find strategies galore in support of your curriculum, challenging activities, and related websites for rich resources as you consider how to apply these classic texts to the Common Core State Standards for your next crop of students.

Happy Reading!


Frank W. Benson, Summer. Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Photo, Carol Highsmith Archive, 2007, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.