Marcie Colleen: Why the Common Core is Good News for Authors

It’s our pleasure today to welcome Author and Education Consultant Marcie Colleen to Nerdy Chicks Rule! Marcie is an expert on creating highly acclaimed Teacher’s Guides that align picture books and middle grade novels with the Common Core and other state mandated standards.  She is the Education Consultant for Picture Book Month and the the Curriculum Developer for Time Traveler Tours & Tales. Her work with Picture Book Month has been recognized by School Library Journal and the Children’s Book Council. Marcie has been an invaluable resource to both the Nerdy Chicks as the developer of many of the educator guides that go with our books! We’re so happy that Marcie is joining us!

Why the Common Core is Good News for Authors

headshotI remember clearly my first few days as a high school English Literature teacher.  I was young.  I was green.  I had no clue what to teach.  I had a zillion ideas and no ideas at the same time.  The possibilities seemed endless.

And then I was handed a textbook.

It was made clear to me that I was to start toward the beginning of the textbook and work my way through.  It was required.

The textbook was the literature class.

In addition to the textbook, the students in my classes were required to read a few longer works.

All “appropriate, pre-approved” choices could be found in the dank dusty book closet which stood locked at the end of the hallway.  Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

Many of these books had lost their covers.  Those that did have covers included out-dated, artwork that often evoked laughter from my rough, urban students.  Oh, and good luck finding enough copies for my class.  If worse came to worse, I was instructed to photocopy the necessary chapters each week.

That was that.  My creativity, my love for books, my countless ideas for stories to bring to class was squashed by this textbook and required reading.

Although these books were classics, they did not always speak to my students, they did not instill a desire to become life-long readers.  I was told it didn’t matter.  We were fulfilling requirements.  If I had any grand ideas of other pieces of literature to introduce, it had to be cleared by the Department and then it was up to me to find a way to integrate it into the existing curriculum while also covering the required literature.  Needless to say, I didn’t bring in anything extra.

Now for the good news!

The Common Core does not contain a required reading list.  All books are Common Core compliant.  Yes, even YOUR book!

The focus has shifted from WHAT the students read to HOW they read.  Students are expected to read a range of classic and contemporary literature as well as challenging informational texts from an array of subjects so that students can acquire new knowledge, insights, and consider varying perspectives as they read.

What does that mean to you as an author?

It means that your book now has a place within the classroom.  In fact, teachers that are used to teaching from obsolete textbooks are now looking for good quality literature and informational texts (Common Core lingo for Nonfiction) to bring to their students.

This is a huge opportunity.  Of course, it also means that the competition is high.  Teachers are still incredibly busy and instruction time is limited. However, there are several ways to make your book (and you) stand out above the rest.

No need to sift through the dank dusty book closet anymore.

Join me right here again on November 10th as we continue this conversation with 4 ways to make your book part of the curriculum!

Thank you, Marcie! This was such a great post!

As a private consultant Marcie works one-on-one to guide authors and illustrators to best position their books for school visits and classroom use.  Visit her at to discover how Marcie can help you navigate the world of children’s literature and education.

Nerdy Chicks Logo with CIRCLE - TASSEL - DIPLOMA - pink backgroundAnd if you REALLY want to learn what Marcie has to teach you, join her at Kidlit Writing School for a Webinar on What Authors Need To Know to Make Schools Fall in Love with Their Books. You can register now for this 90 minute webinar with Marcie by clicking this link to take you to the Kidlit Writing School Square Market. There, you can pay the $50 fee by credit card at Square’s secure site.

Want to learn more about Marcie’s upcoming Webinar? Read all about it here.


19 comments on “Marcie Colleen: Why the Common Core is Good News for Authors

  1. rnewman504 says:

    Great post, Marcie and Sudipta!

  2. Juliana Lee says:

    I retired just before Common Core really took hold, so I don’t have a lot of personal connection with it. And until your article, I have only heard the cripes and complaints about being ‘forced’ to teach in ‘ways children do not learn’. Nice to hear another perspective. I know have something positive to say when asked about it. Thanks for the information Marcie!

    • marciecolleen says:

      Thank you, Juliana. It has been my experience that the easy option is to complain. It takes some extra effort to find what is good about it. Hoping to spread just a little sliver of sunshine in the dark world of the Common Core!

  3. writersideup says:

    This is a fantastic post and subject, ladies! I continue to hear the many negatives to Common Core (the incredible waste of time and added pressure from the principal on down, and for no good reason), at least there’s ONE positive! Totally looking forward to future posts. Thank you! 😀

    • marciecolleen says:

      My question to those who complain about Common Core being a waste of time or not working is: what is your solution? Education in this country is not working. Instead of complaining, find solutions.

  4. SevenAcreSky says:

    Great insight, Marcie…I agree that the ‘easy’ option is to complain. I tried to defend the good parts on CC recently in reply to a ‘concern’ on a FB post and got blasted. There are many knee-jerk reactions to CC on both sides, but the key in all of it is good teachers, good materials, good books. Thanks for the encouraging words, and for hosting the post Sudipta.

  5. I’ve signed up. Looking forward to it!

  6. I also have signed up and can’t wait. Info I have never seen available before. Thank you.

  7. Lauri Meyers says:

    Your teacher’s guides are gorgeous, and now it’s clear why they turn out so well. You really get the many different ways kids learn and the many different ways teachers teach. Great post!

  8. […] read the last post about why the common core is good for authors by Marcie Colleen, you can click HERE to check it out! […]

  9. dallasws says:

    Thanks for all your help Marcie. This info is exactly what I need.

  10. […] ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Marcie Colleen here on the blog. (If you missed that post, go read it now!) We now have the double pleasure of welcoming her back to share more thoughts on how authors can […]

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