Pop quiz! Which of the following statements is in the Common Core State Standards?
(a) Through extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge.
(b) By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas.
(c) At a curricular or instructional level, texts—within and across grade levels—need to be selected around topics or themes that systematically develop the knowledge base of students.
(d) Having students listen to informational read-alouds in the early grades helps lay the necessary foundation for students’ reading and understanding of increasingly complex texts on their own in subsequent grades.
(e) All of the above.
The answer is e, all of the above. Knowledge is the key to reading comprehension. It’s the key to college, career, and citizenship readiness. It’s the key to meeting the Common Core standards. (see pages 10 and 33 of the standards—and for even more on building knowledge, see page 6 and Apendix A page 33).
To be even more blunt, the standards require a “content-rich curriculum” (page 6) that is “intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades” (page 10).
If you are a master teacher with a supportive administrator and collaborative colleagues, the standards give...