Around the Institute

Core Knowledge Language Arts

January 19, 2011  • Education Innovation Forum and Expo

Kindergarten- Grade 2 materials for the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program have already been developed and piloted in New York City schools and schools in six other states. Pilot data show CKLA students made statistically significant greater gains in reading achievement, compared to control students using other approaches (balanced literacy and Reading First programs).

Funding is needed to develop and field test CKLA materials for later elementary grades, with immediate focus on completing materials for Grade 3 and preschool. The program consists of two parts: (1) a superior decoding and encoding phonics-based program, and (2) a carefully planned sequence of engaging texts, initially presented orally, designed to impart the knowledge and vocabulary most critical to comprehension and the narrowing of achievement gaps. Relevant background knowledge increases fluency, broadens vocabulary, and enables deeper comprehension. CKLA embeds the teaching of content within the language arts block, thereby increasing time for academic subjects such as science, history, and the arts. Importantly, CKLA uses a coherent, sequenced approach within and across grade levels to teach both skills and general knowledge. No existing language arts program attempts to explicitly and coherently teach the background knowledge needed for text comprehension.

CKLA anticipated and satisfies the new Common Core State Standards. The following individuals and organizations have signed a letter urging funding of CKLA: David Coleman, Student Achievement Partners, LLC, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Kati Haycock, The Education Trust, Kate Walsh, National Council on Teacher Quality, and Ross Wiener, The Aspen Institute.

To learn more, contact Linda Bevilacqua.