Reading and thinking are skills that we expect students to master and hone throughout their education careers and beyond. Good readers and thinkers are lifelong learners. As a former English teacher, I appreciate the pressure on educators tied to testing and standards alignment. I have been on the front lines with my students. As a curriculum writer, I realize we must utilize a myriad of tools to garner the most student engagement as well as content uptake. I love the versatility of GIS with any subject. How interesting that a tool which displays points, lines and polygons (boundaries) does such a beautiful job with helping curricular content boundaries dissolve!
Esri has a wonderful set of pre-designed Story Maps (http://storymaps.esri.com). One day while admiring them, I discovered some excellent ties to what’s being called the “rigor of common core.” I don’t think the rigor of reading and writing class has dramatically changed; however, the emphasis on purposefully utilizing a variety of reading content has certainly made the education headlines and has many curriculum departments giving their practices and methodologies a second look.
I submit that you can use several of these story maps and the accompanying analysis to suit the Common Core Reading Standards quite nicely (and those writing standards too). I even created some sample activities for you to show how I would use these strategies in my own classroom. Explore the Common Core with a new perspective! http://www.barbareeduke.com/commoncore