The Common Core Reading standards are fast becoming a bit of genius to me. As I help teachers plan and devise approaches to unit organization, I notice a nature staircase or actual set of building blocks that exist naturally in the standards. The Reading for Literature Standards are progressive. While common core has not explicitly told teachers to introduce the concepts in order, they do offer a clear link and progression. It is very difficult to teacher RL5 successfully if students have not been introduced to RL3. It is very difficult to teach any of the standards if students have not mastered and understood RL1. Understanding this sense of progression is critical for making sense of the standards.
As I speak with my teachers and model lessons I ask one question: Have you taught Textual Evidence yet? If the teacher does not understand what that is, I suggest that they dig into Reading Standard One and Reading for Literature Standard Two. Regardless of whether you are a third grade teacher or an tenth grade teacher, RL1 demands that students understand how to explicitly refer to the text.
If you are thinking that this is not really a big deal, you have it all wrong. This is The Big Deal of Common Core. Skip Standard 1 and you are wasting your time. One of the major differences that I notice (and like) about Common Core is the demand that students defend assertions through textual evidence. This extends to how students write about text, inferences, conclusions, just about anything related to close reading and textual analysis.
Don’t just match standards up to what you used to do. Stop, read, stare, and fall in love with Standard One: Textual Evidence. This is where you will begin. In fact, most of the other standards could be taught through Textual Evidence.