Research data from a new study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute confirms what Core Knowledge teachers have known for years! Educators looking for ways to improve students’ reading comprehension would do well to allocate 30 minutes each day to teaching social studies. Fordham’s associate director of research Adam Tyner and early childhood researcher Sarah Kabourek looked at data from the federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K: 2011), which follows thousands of students in their kindergarten year through fifth grade. They specifically compared how much instructional time was devoted to each subject area relative to students’ reading comprehension.
As most educators know, American students spend the most time in English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. However, the researchers found that increased instructional time in social studies – not ELA – is associated with improved reading comprehension.
If you are not yet familiar with the Core Knowledge History and Geography™ (CKHG™) program, a comprehensive K-6 program in world and American history and geography, integrating topics in civics and the arts, now is the time to check it out. CKHG is available for FREE DOWNLOAD, as well as purchase. The program includes student books and teacher guides, as well as online resources, and timeline cards for Grades 3-6. Developed in conjunction with nationally recognized subject matter experts, (CKHG™) helps students build knowledge of the diverse civilizations, cultures, and concepts specified in the Core Knowledge Sequence.
It is also worth noting that, in a related Chalkbeat article, professor of education at the University of Michigan, Nell Duke, also points out that other research studies have explored and documented similar results when additional instructional time is devoted to science.