Core Curriculum To Maximize Equity
and Reading Power

While the pandemic inhibited student reading performance, reading scores were in decline before that. Researchers strive to understand the problem with much of the cause relating to curricular issues that center on the nature and quality of selected texts. What this calls for is a judicious selection of topics and the reading materials comprising them for each instructional unit. These materials need to be well written and appropriate to strengthen reading comprehension. Typically, this core would fill about two-thirds of students’ instructional time with alternative sets of readings to nurture interest and support choice. Such a well-structured reading and learning program prepares students to read other materials with competence and thoughtful understanding.

So, we’re back to curriculum development and implementation now from a core perspective that is critical; otherwise, there is no central binding factor to make it work systemically for all students and support significant guarantees to raise all students’ reading performance. It is important to note that the acquisition of knowledge is the most powerful determinant of reading comprehension. Therefore, instructional unit development with a focus on presenting and extending a particular body of knowledge takes precedence.

A simple strategy for teachers to follow would begin with the selection of topics which serve as the body of knowledge to be learned and the basis for instructional unit development. If students are reading below level, a unit begins with shorter and simpler texts. Identifying key words and concepts associated with each topic to engage students in using and discussing them is a way to well-anchor them. By acquiring and understanding of core vocabulary, basic concepts (i.e., central and main ideas), and schematic overview of a topic, students are prepared to explore deeper elements of the topic.

Building a core curriculum takes time and thought, as evidenced by the experience and writings of E. D. Hirsch, Jr. But, it is all doable, and it can began with the selection of topics which is a mapping of the curriculum, thereby informing everyone within and education system what is being taught vertically and nonzonally in terms of alignment and articulation. Such a system ensures continuity and coherence for both teachers and students.

Aside from the safety and welfare of students and staff, the principal’s responsibility for student acquisition of learning, particularly knowledge, is paramount.

Dr. Bruce H. Crowder is a senior researcher for Educational Vistas, Inc. His work is primarily focused on creating pathways for deeper learning for all students through student performance and a dynamic curriculum replete with strategic teaching. Dr. Crowder may be reached at