Core Knowledge Language Arts®

A comprehensive reading and language arts curriculum for PreK–5

Build world knowledge to deepen word knowledge.

With a fundamentally different approach to teaching reading, CKLA sequences deep content knowledge with foundational skills.

Read more about our “all green” EdReports K-5 rating!

Listening & Learning strand

Building students’ knowledge and vocabulary while they are still learning to read is crucial for long-term success. At the heart of this strand are authentic fiction and nonfiction texts that teachers read aloud. These texts are grouped in knowledge domains that create interactive opportunities to question, discuss and share ideas centered on text. This strand ensures students are well prepared when they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Skills strand

Teach reading and writing in tandem. These lessons support reading and foundational skills through daily instruction in phonemic awareness, spelling patterns, decoding with engaging decodable texts, writing mechanics and writing structure and processes. The Skills Strand fully accords with the findings of the National Reading Panel and the Reading Foundational Skills section of the Common Core State Standards.

How it works

CKLA instills both background knowledge and foundational skills through two instructional strands for grades K–3 that integrate into a single strand in grades 4–5. Using both print and digital resources, CKLA provides:

  • Carefully sequenced background knowledge in social studies, science, literature and the arts to build vocabulary and comprehension.
  • An unprecedented, thorough approach to developing decoding and other critical foundational skills.

View the Program Guide to learn more.

Print materials

  • Teacher Anthologies (grades K–3) that include carefully sequenced read-alouds with rich content and support for robust, text-based discussion.
  • Teacher Guides that provide step-by-step lessons for developing critical language arts skills, from decoding to evidence-based writing.
  • Teacher ancillaries that provide grade-level materials and activities to reinforce learning through chaining folders, code sheets, letter cards, and more.
  • Decodable readers with appealing texts that build in complexity.

Blended materials

  • A Digital Planning Guide that provides step-by-step lesson plans and online materials, including additional support in differentiated instruction.
  • Quests that combine close reading, writing, speaking and listening in a digital environment the teacher controls to engage students in adventure-based learning projects.
  • Assessment, remediation and supplemental guides to reinforce development of foundational reading skills and enhance comprehension for struggling students.
  • Hands-on training to implement the program’s unique pedagogy and unlimited technical and instructional support.


CKLA reflects what expert educators, cognitive scientists and the authors of the Common Core State Standards already know: Background knowledge and foundational skills are the keys to early literacy. This paper examines research-based rationales guiding the three major dimensions of the CKLA program.

View research


In a three-year pilot study at 20 elementary schools in New York City with a diverse population of children, students using CKLA had significantly larger gains than students in similar schools.

View results

ELD companion

Language Studio is CKLA’s content-based companion for English Language Learners. Built on CKLA’s knowledge domains, it combines engaging content knowledge with targeted supports and research-based strategies to help students move swiftly toward language proficiency. Language Studio is available now for implementation in CKLA classrooms for Kindergarten through Grade 2.

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Target the needs of your struggling students.

The mCLASS:DIBELS Next CKLA Partner Edition instantly matches the results of mCLASS:DIBELS Next, which assesses foundational literacy skills, with lessons and activities from the Skills Strand of Core Knowledge Language Arts, a comprehensive reading and language arts program.

Why knowledge-based learning improves reading comprehension

It’s not enough for young readers to know how to decode words on a page. Knowledge building is essential to improving literacy. Read our guide to find out how this approach is making a difference in reading comprehension, and the best ways to implement it in your classroom.

Download guide