The biggest change in reading instruction that is required by the Common Core State Standards is the shift to an emphasis on "balancing" informational (or non-fiction) texts with literary texts. The table below describes how the proportion of informational texts used in instruction should increase with each grade level.
Based on this table, schools and programs serving learners in the 6th-8th grades should be using a 50/50 or equal balance of literary (prose, poetry, narratives, drama) and informational texts (nonfiction essays, auto/biographies, forms, etc.) in order to be aligned to the standards.
The actual Common Core standards for Reading are more complex than other sets of standards because they are divided into specific standards for literary and informational texts. A couple quick notes about the CCSS Reading standards:
All of the CCSS assumes an average student who is performing at grade level. There are not accommodations for ELLs or students with IEPs.
Aside from the shift to a balance of informational and literary texts, the standards DO NOT require programs to use specific texts for specific grade levels. Beyond making sure that there is an even balance of genre, there are no other required texts.
Appendix B of the CCSS does suggest some texts for each grade level and genre that might be helpful to review when selecting texts for your program. Just open this PDF doc and search for the grade level you are serving to see readings that are suggested for 6th-8th grade readers.
All grade level reading standards are related to the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. These standards are meant to define or describe the the reading skills that all students will need before they leave high school for college or career. These skills are then leveled down to each specific grade level. As there are 10 Anchor Standards for Reading, there always 10 associated genre- and grade-level set of Reading standards for each grade.
Please see the information below to understand how the standards are divided and to find links to grade-specific standards for each category. Notice how the demands ratchet up with every grade level and how the standards differ across grade levels.
Reading Standards for Literature 6th7th8th Reading Standards for Informational or Non-Fiction Texts 6th7th8th