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What's New in the 2010 Edition?
We call your attention specifically to the following summary of revisions. The complete revision details are available in the preface to the 2010 edition of the Sequence:
Preschool and K–8 Guidelines in a Single Document
By combining the Preschool Sequence with the K–8 guidelines, the Foundation is reasserting our firm commitment to a fully coherent approach to education that we believe is most effective when started at the earliest possible age. The “Core Knowledge At a Glance” document graphically displays an overview of this coherence across the grade levels.
Explicit Integration of Content and Skills
As successful Core Knowledge schools have always known, both content and skills are essential; teachers in these schools embed the teaching of critical skills within the content they share with their students. The skill objectives are most effectively targeted when they are anchored to content in the context of a domain of knowledge. To that end, you will notice that we are now explicitly referring to the Core Knowledge Sequence as “Content and Skill Guidelines” for preschool–grade 8.
Elaboration of the K–2 Language Arts Sections
The 2010 edition of the Sequence includes the K–2 goals and objectives of the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) program, a new set of materials being developed and field tested by the Core Knowledge Foundation. These materials, and the goals and objectives included in this edition of the Sequence, incorporate a unique approach to language arts instruction, as summarized in the following points.
A Broader View of Language – Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing
Traditional language arts instruction has typically paid little attention to listening and speaking, focusing almost exclusively on reading and writing instruction. This failure to focus on the development of oral language in language arts instruction is a serious oversight. The ability to read and write written language is highly correlated with students’ oral language proficiency.
We must recognize that early language disadvantage persists and manifests itself as illiteracy when educational practices in elementary education fail to recognize the importance of oral language. It is essential that children build listening and speaking competency while also developing reading and writing skills.
Coherent Integration of Content within the Language Arts Block
While various reading approaches are increasingly including nonfiction selections within the language arts block, program developers have typically failed to grasp the importance of developing a coherent approach to building knowledge within and across grade levels. Nonfiction selections that are integrated into the language arts block must be presented in a coherent, non-fragmented way. In developing the CKLA materials, we have used the grade specific topics in history, science, music, and the arts from the Core Knowledge Sequence as the basis of our selections, thereby maintaining the content coherence that has been an integral part of Core Knowledge for the past 20 years. It has also been our experience in field testing CKLA, that nonfiction selections should focus on a single topic or domain over a sustained period of time—about two weeks—rather than intermingle selections on unrelated topics.
Explicit and Systematic Phonics Instruction
The Core Knowledge Foundation has long advocated the importance of explicitly and systematically teaching young children the phonemic awareness and phonics skills necessary to decipher the written code. It is important that as teachers work to more intentionally include content within the language arts block, they not lose sight of the importance of teaching specific decoding skills, especially in the early grades. The 2010 edition of the Sequence includes the grade specific decoding skills that are the focus of the CKLA materials for kindergarten–grade 2.
Until such time as the CKLA materials are available for sale, it may be difficult for schools to reproduce the specific sequence of consonant and vowel sounds and spellings included in the Sequence at each grade level, kindergarten–2, which represents what is taught in CKLA and is unique to the CKLA materials. In the interim, we urge schools to use other materials that explicitly and systematically teach the same consonant and vowel sounds and spellings over the course of K–2, although the sequence of when sounds and spellings are introduced may differ.
To learn more about CKLA and the principles informing development of the program, see:
- Overview of the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program
- Appendix A, Why Listening and Learning Are Critical to Reading Comprehension
- Appendix B, Using Trade Books to Achieve College and Career Readiness: Principles of Democracy
- Appendix C, Domains and Core Content Objectives for the Core Knowledge Language Arts Program, K–2
- Hart & Risley, The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3