Core Knowledge Language Arts

Core Knowledge Language Arts™

A comprehensive Preschool–Grade 5 program for teaching skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, Core Knowledge Language Arts™ (CKLA) also builds students’ knowledge and vocabulary in literature, history, geography, and science.

Free Downloadable Resources

For Preschool to Grade 3, all CKLA materials are available for free download except for certain trade book titles. For Grades 4 and 5, several CKLA units are available for free download while others are not due to copyright restrictions. Please review the Terms of Use for free materials.

 Download Free CKLA Materials

lc8Enrich CKLA with CKHG

Enrich your CKLA lessons with resources from our Core Knowledge History and Geography™ (CKHG) program. Check out the many additional activities in the CKHG Teacher Guides for grades 3-5. You’ll find virtual field trips, online videos, literature and art connections, and more that you can use to reinforce the CKLA History domains.

Purchase Printed Materials

In addition to free downloads, professionally printed and packaged CKLA classroom kits are available for purchase. Please note that CKLA materials available for free download are first editions, while CKLA materials available for purchase through Amplify are revised editions.

Purchase Classroom Kits 

Implementing CKLA

The Core Knowledge Language Arts program provides a solid foundation for implementing Core Knowledge in your school. We offer an array of resources to support CKLA implementation based on grade level:


CKLA Preschool is a comprehensive English language arts curriculum designed to build foundational language and literacy skills and plant seeds of knowledge. The program provides engaging, developmentally appropriate plans for infusing 45 minutes of daily instruction into familiar preschool activities, such as morning circle, learning centers, small groups, whole group, book readings, and transition times. CKLA Preschool offers instructional plans for approximately 115 days of the school year.

Grades K–3

For grades K–3, CKLA is organized in two strands: Skills and Listening & Learning.

Skills: The Skills strand teaches reading and writing in tandem. In grades K-2, children practice blending (reading) and segmenting (spelling) using the sound spellings they have learned. Decodable stories are introduced halfway into the kindergarten program. In K–2, 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.

The Skills strand also addresses handwriting, spelling, and the writing process. In grade 3, the focus of the Skills strand shifts from decoding to grammar, spelling, and writing.

The CKLA Skills strand was designed to be fully in accord with the findings of the National Reading Panel and is aligned with the goals in the “Reading Foundational Skills” section of the Common Core State Standards.

Listening & Learning: The Listening & Learning strand builds on research confirming that in the early grades students’ listening comprehension outpaces their reading comprehension. The engaging CKLA content goes well beyond standard early grade language arts fare to include important historical and scientific events, ideas, and people.

Listening & Learning lessons include teacher read-alouds, class discussions, vocabulary work, and extension activities. These read-alouds and exercises are organized in domains, each focused on a particular topic, such as insects, the five senses, or early Asian civilizations. The pacing is planned to keep the class focused on a domain for 10 to 15 days of instruction in order to build knowledge and reinforce vocabulary. In addition, the domains are carefully organized to build on each other within and across grades.

Grades 4–5

As in preschool through grade 3, in grades 4 and 5 CKLA presents materials rich in history, science, and literature, designed to both deepen and broaden students’ knowledge and skills. Compared to earlier grades, these CKLA units guide students through more sophisticated writing tasks.

In grades 4 and 5, CKLA is organized in domains, focused units of study ranging from 10–20 or more days of instruction. Lessons for grades 4 and 5 are planned for 90 minutes of daily instruction.

Unlike the K–3 CKLA materials, grades 4 and 5 do not have two separate strands of instruction for Skills and Listening & Learning. With the strong foundation of reading skills and knowledge acquired in the K-3 CKLA program, students in grades 4 and 5 are increasingly able to tackle complex written text with rich academic content.

While lessons vary day to day, each unit includes the following:

  • Read-alouds
  • Whole-group, small-group, and partner reading
  • Close reading
  • Literal, inferential, and evaluative comprehension questions
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Writing
  • Morphology
  • Spelling
  • Unit assessments

Core Classics® Series



In our Core Classics® series, we present stories loved for generations in abridged versions for young readers, faithful to the style, plot, and themes of the originals.

Free Downloadable Teacher Guides

You may download free Teacher Guides to support classroom use of these Core Classics®:

  • Don Quixote
  • Gulliver’s Travels
  • King Arthur and the Round Table
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Robin Hood
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Treasure Island
Download Free Teacher Guides

Terms of Use

The CKLA materials made available for download are freely available for anyone to use, adapt, and share (with attribution), but no one is permitted to sell either the original program, an adaptation of it, or lesson plans that reproduce any part of it. For more information, see the Guidelines to Core Knowledge and the Creative Commons License.