The specific content outlined in the Core Knowledge Sequence constitutes a solid foundation of knowledge in each subject area. This knowledge greatly helps students with their reading, as shown by the fact that reading scores go up in Core Knowledge Schools, because wide knowledge enhances students’ ability to read diverse kinds of texts with understanding. Teachers need to remember that reading requires two abilities – the ability to turn print into language (decoding) and the ability to understand what the language says. Achieving the first ability – decoding – requires a sequential program, structured to provide guided practice in various formats and frequent review throughout the year. Decoding programs that are premised on scientifically-based research are: Open Court, Reading Mastery, and the Houghton Mifflin basal. But in addition to teaching decoding skills, a good language arts program will include coherent and interesting readings in the subject areas that enhance comprehension ability. No Language Arts program currently offers such coherent, substantive material, so, in addition to teaching the Language Arts topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, Core Knowledge teachers are encouraged to substitute solid, interesting non-fiction readings in history and science for many of the short, fragmented stories in the basals, which unfortunately do not effectively advance reading comprehension.
I. Writing, Grammar, and Usage
A. Writing and Research
• Produce a variety of types of writing—including reports, summaries, letters, descriptions, research essays, essays that explain a process, stories, poems—with a coherent structure or story line.
• Know how to gather information from different sources (such as an encyclopedia, magazines, interviews, observations, atlas, on-line), and write short reports synthesizing information from at least three different sources, presenting the information in his or her own words, with attention to the following:
understanding the purpose and audience of the writing
defining a main idea and sticking to it
providing an introduction and conclusion
organizing material in coherent paragraphs
illustrating points with relevant examples
documenting sources in a rudimentary bibliography
Respond in writing to prompts that follow the reading of literary and informational texts
Respond to writing prompts that follow listening to literary and informational texts
• Know how the following prefixes and suffixes affect word meaning:
anti (as in antisocial, antibacterial) inter (as in interstate)
co (as in coeducation, co-captain) mid (as in midnight, Midwest)
fore (as in forefather, foresee) post (as in postseason, postwar)
il, ir (as in illegal, irregular) semi (as in semicircle, semiprecious)
ist (as in artist, pianist)
ish (as in stylish, foolish)
ness (as in forgiveness, happiness)
tion, sion (as in relation, extension)
Background Knowledge and Vocabulary Development
Learn grade-level vocabulary through both direct and indirect means
Use word structure knowledge, such as roots, prefixes, and suffixes, to determine meaning
Use prior knowledge and experience in order to understand ideas and vocabulary found in books
Acquire new vocabulary by reading a variety of texts
Use self-monitoring strategies to identify specific vocabulary that causes comprehension difficulties
Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues, dictionaries, glossaries, and other resources
The Arrow And The Song (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Barbara Frietchie (John Greenleaf Whittier)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe)
A bird came down the walk (Emily Dickinson)
Casey at the Bat (Ernest Lawrence Thayer)
The Eagle (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
I Hear America Singing (Walt Whitman)
I like to see it lap the miles (Emily Dickinson)
I, too, sing America (Langston Hughes)
Incident (Countee Cullen)
Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)
Narcissa (Gwendolyn Brooks)
O Captain! My Captain! (Walt Whitman)
A Poison Tree (William Blake)
The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)
The Snowstorm (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Some Opposites (Richard Wilbur)
The Tiger (William Blake)
A Wise Old Owl (Edward Hersey Richards)
III. Fiction and Drama
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)
episodes from Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes)
Little Women (Part First)(Louisa May Alcott)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Tales of Sherlock Holmes, including “The Red-Headed League” (Arthur Conan Doyle)
• A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)
tragedy and comedy
C. Myths and Legends
• A Tale of the Oki Islands (a legend from Japan, also known as “The Samurai’s Daughter”)
• Morning Star and Scarface: the Sun Dance (a Plains Indian legend, also known as “The Legend of Scarface”)
• American Indian trickster stories (for example, tales of Coyote, Raven, or Grandmother Spider)
D. Literary Terms
• Pen name (pseudonym)
• Literal and figurative language
metaphor and simile symbol
• Abraham Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address
• Chief Joseph (Highh’moot Tooyalakekt): “I will fight no more forever”
V. Sayings and Phrases
Bite the hand that feeds you.
Chip on your shoulder
Count your blessings.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Few and far between
The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.
To kill two birds with one stone
Lock, stock and barrel
Make a mountain out of a molehill
A miss is as good as a mile.
It’s never too late to mend.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Read between the lines.
Sit on the fence
Steal his/her thunder
Take the bull by the horns.
Till the cows come home
Time heals all wounds.
Tom, Dick and Harry
A watched pot never boils.
Well begun is half done.
What will be will be.
Identify purpose for reading
Adjust reading rate according to purpose for reading
Use word recognition and context clues to read fluently
Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words by using context clues, a dictionary, or a glossary
Identify signal words, such as finally or in addition, that provide clues to organizational formats such as time order
Use knowledge of punctuation to assist in comprehension
Apply corrective strategies (rereading and discussion with teachers, peers, or parents/caregivers) to assist in comprehension
Read aloud using inflection and intonation appropriate to text read and to audience
Maintain a personal reading list to reflect reading goals and accomplishments
Recognize content-specific vocabulary or terminology
Listen for unfamiliar words and learn their meaning
Read a variety of grade-level texts, for a variety of purposes, with understanding
Use self-monitoring strategies, such as cross-checking, summarizing, and self-questioning to construct meaning of text
Recognize when comprehension has been disrupted and initiate self-connection strategies, such as rereading, adjusting rate of reading, and attending to specific vocabulary
Use knowledge of text structures to recognize and discriminate differences among a variety of texts to support understanding
Ask questions to clarify understanding and to focus reading
Make connections between text being read and own lives, the lives of others, and other texts read in the past
Use prior knowledge in concert with text information to support comprehension, from forming predictions to making inferences and drawing conclusions
Read grade-level texts and answer literal, inferential, and evaluative questions
State or Summarize a main idea and support/elaborate with relevant details
Present a point of view or interpretation of a text, such as its theme, and support it with significant details from the text
Participate cooperatively and collaboratively in group discussions of texts
Note and describe aspects of the writer’s craft
Read aloud, accurately, and fluently, with appropriate rate of reading, intonation, and inflection
Demonstrate comprehension of grade-level texts through a range of responses, such as writing, drama, and oral presentations
Motivation to Read
Show interest in a wide range of texts, topics, and genres for reading
Read voluntarily for a variety of purposes
Be familiar with titles and authors of a wide range of literature
Engage in independent silent reading for extended periods of time
These are ongoing skills and should be taught throughout the year.
Use a thesaurus to identify antonyms and synonyms
Correctly spell words within own writing that have been previously studied and/or frequently used
Correctly spell words within own writing that follow the spelling patterns of words that have been previously studied
Spell a large body of words accurately and quickly when writing
Use a variety of spelling resources, such as spelling dictionaries and spell-check tools, to support correct spelling
Use legible print and/or cursive writing
Listen respectfully and responsively
Identify own purpose for listening
Initiate communication with peers, teachers, and others in the school community
Use language and grammar appropriate to purpose for speaking
Use facial expressions and gestures that enhance communication
Establish eye contact during presentations and group discussions
Use audible voice and pacing appropriate to content and audience
Use visual aids to support the presentation
Use knowledge of a variety of decoding strategies, such as letter-sound correspondence, syllable patterns, decoding by analogy, word structure, use of syntactic (grammar) cues, to read unfamiliar words
Integrate sources of information to decode unfamiliar words and to cross-check, self-correcting when appropriate
Use word recognition skills and strategies, accurately, and automatically, when decoding unfamiliar words
Recognize at sight a large body of high-frequency words and irregularly spelled content vocabulary
Listen attentively to a variety of texts read aloud
Listen attentively for different purposes and for an extended period of time
Identify own purpose(s) for listening
Respond appropriately to what is heard
Listen respectfully, and without interrupting when others speak
Speak in response to the reading of a variety of texts
Use appropriate and specific vocabulary to communicate ideas
Use grammatically correct sentences when speaking
Include details that are relevant for the audience
Communicate ideas in an organized and coherent manner
Vary the formality of language according to the audience and purpose for speaking
Speak with expression, volume, pace, and gestures appropriate for the topic, audience, and purpose of communication
Respond respectfully to others
Participate in group discussions on a variety of topics
Offer feedback to others in a respectful and responsive manner
World History and Geography
I. World Geography
A. Spatial Sense (Working with Maps, Globes, and Other Geographic Tools)
• Read maps and globes using longitude and latitude, coordinates, degrees.
• Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn: relation to seasons and temperature
• Climate zones: Arctic, Tropic, Temperate
• Time zones (review from Grade 4): Prime Meridian (O degrees); Greenwich, England; 180° Line (International Date Line)
• Arctic Circle (imaginary lines and boundaries) and Antarctic Circle
• From a round globe to a flat map: Mercator projection, conic and plane projections
B. Great Lakes of the World
• Eurasia: Caspian Sea
• Asia: Aral Sea
• Africa: Victoria, Tanganyika, Chad
• North America: Superior, Huron, Michigan
• South America: Maracaibo, Titicaca
IV. U. S. Geography
• Locate: Western Hemisphere, North America, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico
• The Gulf Stream, how it affects climate
• Regions and their characteristics: New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, Great Plains, Southwest, West, Pacific Northwest
• Fifty states and capitals
Geography of the United States, Canada, and Latin America
Maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies such as aerial and other photographs, satellite-produced images, and computer models can be used to gather, process, and report information about the United States, Canada, and Latin America today.
Political boundaries change over time and place.
Different geological processes shaped the physical environments of the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
The nations and regions of the Western Hemisphere can be analyzed in terms of spatial organization, places, regions, physical settings (including natural resources), human systems, and environment and society. A region is an area that is tied together for some identifiable reason, such as physical, political, economic, or cultural features.
American History and Geography
II. Meso-American Civilizations
• Identify and locate Central America and South America on maps and globes.
Largest countries in South America: Brazil and Argentina
• Amazon River
• Andes Mountains
B. Maya, Inca, and Aztec Civilizations
• The Mayas
Ancient Mayas lived in what is now southern Mexico and parts of Central America; their descendants still live there today.
Accomplishments as architects and artisans: pyramids and temples
Development of a system of hieroglyphic writing
Knowledge of astronomy and mathematics; development of a 365-day calendar; early use of concept of zero
• The Aztecs
A warrior culture, at its height in the 1400s and early 1500s, the Aztec empire covered much of what is now central Mexico.
The island city of Tenochtitlan: aqueducts, massive temples, etc.
Moctezuma (also spelled Montezuma)
Ruler-priests; practice of human sacrifice
• The Inca
Ruled an empire stretching along the Pacific coast of South America
Built great cities (Machu Picchu, Cuzco) high in the Andes, connected
History of the United States, Canada, and Latin America
Different ethnic, national, and religious groups, including Native American Indians, have contributed to the cultural diversity of these nations and regions by sharing their customs, traditions, beliefs, ideas, and languages.
III. European Exploration, Trade, and the Clash of Cultures
• Beginning in the 1400s Europeans set forth in a great wave of exploration and trade.
• European motivations
Muslims controlled many trade routes.
Profit through trade in goods such as gold, silver, silks, sugar, and spices
Spread of Christianity: missionaries, Bartolomé de las Casas speaks out against enslavement and mistreatment of native peoples
• Geography of the spice trade
The Moluccas, also called the “Spice Islands”: part of present-day Indonesia
Locate: the region known as Indochina, the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines
Definition of “archipelago”
“Ring of Fire”: earthquakes and volcanic activity
B. European Exploration, Trade, and Colonization
Prince Henry the Navigator, exploration of the West African coast
Bartolomeu Dias rounds the Cape of Good Hope
Vasco da Gama: spice trade with India, exploration of East Africa
Portuguese conquer East African Swahili city-states
Cabral claims Brazil
Two worlds meet: Christopher Columbus and the Tainos
Search for Northwest Passage (review from grade 3)
Colonies in North America and West Indies
Trading posts in India
• Holland (The Netherlands)
The Dutch take over Portuguese trade routes and colonies in Africa and the East Indies
The Dutch in South Africa, Cape Town
The Dutch in North America: New Netherland (review from grade 3), later lost to England
C. Trade and Slavery
• The sugar trade
African slaves on Portuguese sugar plantations on islands off West African coast, such as Sa~o Tomé
Sugar plantations on Caribbean islands
West Indies: Cuba, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica
• Transatlantic slave trade: the “triangular trade” from Europe to Africa to colonies
in the Caribbean and the Americas
The “Slave Coast” in West Africa
The Middle Passage
History of the United States, Canada, and Latin America
Connections and exchanges exist between and among the peoples of Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. These connections and exchanges include social/cultural, migration/immigration, and scientific/technological.
The economies of the United States, Canada, and Latin American nations
Exchanges of technologies, plants, animals, and diseases between and among nations of the Americas and Europe and sub-Saharan Africa have changed life in these regions.