A study released today shows that students made significant achievement gains in reading when they were taught with a content-rich curriculum. The data comes from a 3-year pilot study of Kindergarten through 2nd grade students taught with a curriculum created by the Core Knowledge Foundation (CK), founded by Cultural Literacy author E.D. Hirsch, Jr. The pilot involved 1000 students across 20 New York City public schools. Half of those students were taught with CK’s curriculum, half with some version of “balanced literacy,” a hybrid, whole language-inspired approach to teaching reading that is used in most NYC public schools.
According to the New York Times, “The study found that for each of the three years, students in the Core Knowledge program had greater one-year gains on a brief reading test than their peers in the
comparison schools. The difference was most pronounced in kindergarten, when the scores of children following Dr. Hirsch’s method showed increases that were five times those of their peers.”
As CC watchers know, we’ve long been fans of CK’s curriculum materials, which put core subjects including history, science, and art, at the heart of the process of learning to read. Core Knowledge’s sequence was one of many sources of inspiration for the teachers who wrote our CCSS-based Common Core Curriculum Maps in ELA.