I have noticed that online listings for books primarily marketed toward children sometimes include the text "This title has Common Core connections.", usually toward the bottom.

What does this mean?

This doesn't seem to be something that is unique to any specific author, publisher, or bookseller, so it seems likely that this is some sort of standard term of art in the publication or education field.


The "description" section of the third book above is as follows (my emphasis):

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about Otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises wise Mr. Owl. And so begins Mr. Rabbit's reflection on good manners.

In her smart, quirky style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor—just follow the Golden Rule! This title has Common Core connections.

I would assume that this has something to do with the Common Core State Standards Initiative in US education, but it is not clear exactly what sort of connection is being indicated or implied.

  • Are these books officially certified, approved, or recognized by some agency as compliant with or allowable for use within a "Common Core" classroom?
  • Are these books officially recognized as part of an official Common Core "curriculum" or "reading list"?
  • Is content from these books considered "fair game" for appearance on Common Core exams?
  • Is a student who reads these books, or completes assignments based on them, entitled to official course credit in schools adhering to Common Core standards?
  • Are these books self-certified by the author or publisher as having taken inclusion of Common Core learning goals or the exclusion of content deemed unacceptable according to Common Core standards into account during their production, but not "officially" recognized in any way?
  • If none of the above, what exactly is the connection?

Alternately, one could rephrase the question by asking to whom the message is addressed and for what reason it is included:

  • Is the message intended to alert schoolteachers that purchasing the book for their classroom and/or assigning it to their students fulfills some sort of curriculum-related requirement?
  • Is the message intended for parents to help them purchase personal books for their children that do not contradict the Common Core curriculum ("Sorry, son, I'm only supposed to buy you books that are Common Core-connected. Suzie Rides the Train may contain content that contradicts what your teacher expects you to learn and you could end up giving the wrong answers on tests.")?
  • Is the message intended for students in Common Core classrooms looking for additional study materials?

2 Answers 2


From your first link to McMillian, there are teachers' guides and activities guides available for the common core connected books. I'm not sure why the link on the page for the reading guide says 'organize a book club' but if you click it, it'll open a pane allowing you to open the teacher guide and activity guide. The teacher's guide has a page specific for this work with some suggested discussion topics and a list of specific common core requirements that this book and the activities could contribute towards.

the aforementioned teacher's guide

Suggested Common Core Standards Alignment Because they encompass the ultimate goal for reading literature in grades 9 through 12, the most relevant Common Core Standards for 11th- and 12th-grade literature are listed here.

CCSS.RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

CCSS.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama.

CCSS.RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.

CCSS.RL.11-12.5 Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.


There is a public domain concept called the common core. No one owns it. Then there is a very aggressive private marketing effort by a single publisher - Carson Delossa - to sell and promote ‘common core connections’ workbooks etc. as their property.

  • 3
    Can you back these claims a little more with additional explanations or citations? Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 15:19
  • 2
    While there are good reasons to criticise the common core (see e.g. Diana Ravitch's blog post Paul Horton: The Cure for the Common Core), I don't think this should be the main focus of the answer ;-) (I am referring to "aggressive unfair trade" here.) You might, for example, explain where it comes from (who started it), how it is supposed to work and how it does not. In addition, isn't the "public domain concept" you are referring to "(the) commons" rather than "common core"?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 15:44

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