Eleven New York City schools will use a new reading program this school year developed by the Core Knowledge Foundation that includes explicit skills instruction as well as texts to build students’ background knowledge.
The high-needs schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens will use Core Knowledge Reading in grades K-2 as part of a three-year pilot project. Students’ progress will be measured against control groups from similar schools that use other programs. The Core Knowledge curriculum is based on the work of E.D. Hirsch Jr., a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, who argues that children must be exposed to the content and context needed for “cultural literacy” if they are to become proficient readers.
The reading program is also being piloted in seven other districts around the country. In New York, the $2.4 million early-literacy project will be subsidized by private donors through the Fund for Public Schools.
A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2008 edition of Education Week