The second issue that the debate over the Gettysburg Address lessons raises is over what role—if any—pre-reading should play in Common Core–aligned instruction. On that point, the SAP lessons contain some well-meaning but silly ideas about the role of knowledge in reading (this doesn’t harm the lessons and can easily be ignored). A truth that is self-evident about reading is that readers use what they know to interpret text. Yet the SAP lesson suggests that if we don’t talk about such information prior to reading, then we have leveled the playing field and given all students an equal chance to understand the lesson. This simply makes no sense. You can’t stop readers from using what they know, nor would you want to.
New rule: You can't defend a lesson while also pointing out that its central feature makes no sense.