Online Tools Build Skills with Core Knowledge Content

Two online services are integrating Core Knowledge content into their tools for building Common Core-aligned reading and language arts skills.

Quill, an online suite of grammar and writing activities for upper elementary to high school students, provides skill-building exercises that will soon incorporate Core Knowledge content. Quill will begin by adapting content from the Core Knowledge Language Arts® (CKLA) and Core Knowledge History and GeographyTM (CKHG) series.

Launched in the fall of 2014, Quill provides more than 300 writing, grammar, and proofreading exercises of about 10-15 minutes each, all organized by the Common Core standards. Quill also offers a diagnostic assessment to identify each student’s specific learning gaps and supply an individualized plan for improvement.

A nonprofit organization especially focused on meeting the needs of low income students, Quill offers its online tools free to teachers and students. A premium service (available at no cost to qualifying low-income schools) adds “in-depth data on student progress across national writing standards.”

To improve students’ writing skills, Quill relies largely on sentence combining. This strategy, Quill’s website explains, “requires students to examine the relationships between ideas, order those ideas, and then express them logically and succinctly.” Click here for an example of a Quill exercise using content from the CKLA materials on the American Revolution.

Online tools to improve reading comprehension are offered free by According to the ReadWorks website, the service offers “the largest, highest-quality library of curated nonfiction and literary articles in the country, along with reading comprehension and vocabulary lessons, formative assessments, and teacher guidance.”

A non-profit organization, ReadWorks is incorporating Core Knowledge content into their popular “Article-A-DayTM” feature, which provides brief nonfiction texts that help build students’ “background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina.” Click here for the ReadWorks Article-A-DayTM set adapted from the Core Knowledge History and Geography materials on The Age of Exploration.

The Core Knowledge Foundation welcomes both Quill and ReadWorks as partners in sharing the knowledge through educational technology, and we look forward to expanding our range of high-tech partnerships.

7 comments on “Online Tools Build Skills with Core Knowledge Content”

  1. 1
    Dr. Aneatra Holland on July 17, 2017

    Building common core content in students is valuable. But what happens when the student demonstrates a delay in development? Many students are face with problems in their learning experience. I feel that Quill addresses some major elements that can assist the student, but not enough to affirm how to guide the student. Closing the gap in the learning experience should reflect aiding students who not only struggle with the content but also any developmental delays that reflect a hardship within the gap. Even though I specialize in business consulting, I also work as a business educator. Quill displays some great tools for online assessment, but it should include the ability of every student, not just mainstream students.

    1. 2
      Abby Meuser on September 20, 2017

      I agree with your thoughts about meeting the needs of students who have a delay in development. A similar question could be asked regarding students who are grasping the concepts and standards as they are being taught. What do these tools offer for students who need enrichment? Or should we be looking into other ways of integrating technology to meet those students?

  2. 3
    Abby Meuser on September 20, 2017

    Online tools are an exceptional way to build skills and knowledge for our 21st-Century learners in today’s classrooms. While the tools mentioned seem to provide Common Core practice for students, my question is, do these tools help students to think differently? Do they help students learn how to communicate their learning? The Common Core standards are designed for students to dig deeper with their thinking around the standard. When students are “getting it” we need to find ways to extend and push their thinking. Are Quill and Readworks tools that will help students do this type of thinking and learning? I am a fourth-grade teacher that is always looking for ways to incorporate technology into the classroom in an authentic and meaningful way that will give students a voice. I am curious if these tools help in that manner?

  3. 4
    Eric McLaud on September 24, 2017

    Using online tools and applications are great ways to develop skills and knowledge in the technology heavy year of 2017. A question I had was since these tools are so designed focused around common core practice, what would the tools consist of in a non-common core content area such as health or PE?
    I would think that tools could be aligned to the national health standards in regards to not fitting the common core.

  4. 5
    Erin S. on November 13, 2019

    I am a general education teacher and I often incorporate technology into my lessons. I have used ReadWorks as a supplementary tool when co-teaching with a special educator. ReadWorks has helped my struggling students to grasp the content being taught in the classroom as well as learn the meaning of different vocabulary terms. ReadWorks also helps the student learn test-taking strategies by answering the questions within the reading passages.

  5. 6
    Erin Smith on November 16, 2019

    I always incorporate technology into my lessons. Technology helps to bring assignments to life. My students are more motivated to complete an assignment if they are able to use some form of technology to assist them in doing so. Does anyone have any similar experiences with using technology in their classroom?

  6. 7
    Chanel Cobey on January 26, 2020

    I agree that the need for online tools is critical for 21st-century learners. I will say that most adaptive online tools tend to focus on math and literacy, which, of course, are necessary skills, but I would like more online tools that also support science or STEM curriculum. I also believe online tools mimic the new wave of assessment as most are given online, so teaching through such platforms helps students be familiar with online tools and as well as strategies to with online testing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
All comments are held for moderation.