Skills Strand Samples
View samples from our Skills Strand. More…
Listening & Learning Strand Samples
View samples from our Listening & Learning Strand. More…
Core Knowledge Language Arts Program
The Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program is based on decades of cognitive science research revealing that reading is a two-lock box, a box that requires two keys to open. The first key is decoding skills, which are addressed in the Skills strand of the CKLA program. The second key is oral language, vocabulary, and background knowledge sufficient to understand what is decoded. These are covered in the Listening and Learning strand. Together, these two strands unlock a lifetime of reading for all children.
The Skills strand of CKLA teaches reading and writing in tandem. Children practice blending (reading) and segmenting (spelling) using the sound spellings they have learned. Decodable stories are introduced in the sixth of the ten units for kindergarten. Stories are 100% decodable—made up entirely of words and sound spellings the students have been taught, or "tricky words" that also have been explicitly taught. Handwriting, spelling, and the writing process are addressed in the Skills strand. The Skills strand was designed to be fully in accord with the findings of the National Reading Panel and the goals put forth in the Reading Foundational Skills section of the Common Core State Standards.
Decoding is essential, but so is the ability to comprehend what has been decoded—and that depends on language and content knowledge. The Listening and Learning strand lessons, comprised of teacher read-alouds, class discussion,vocabulary work, and extension activities, build on the research finding that students’ listening comprehension outpaces their reading comprehension throughout elementary school. These read-alouds and exercises are organized in 12 domains per grade. Each domain is dedicated to a particular topic—such as the five senses, Native Americans, Mozart and music, early Asian civilizations, or insects—and the class stays focused on that topic or theme for 10-15 days of instruction. In addition, the domains are carefully organized to build on each other within and across grades. This focused, coherent, systematic approach is the most efficient and effective way to build students’ knowledge and vocabulary. It is interesting and engaging too, as the content goes well beyond standard early grades language arts fare to include important historical and scientific events, ideas, and people.