Welcome to the Spring 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert resurfaces an important topic related to the language comprehension portion of Scarborough’s Reading Rope—language structures, or syntax.

The Marvelous Mathematician explores how developing teachers as self-directed learners can help organizations make the necessary changes in teaching approaches to support the increased emphasis on exploration and investigation through equitable and engaging school experiences outlined in many of the new math frameworks and standards that are being adopted.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find resources to help navigate next steps in hiring, training, and retaining teachers and other school staff in a time of higher-than-usual vacancies.


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SIPPS storybookProfessional learning and job-embedded coaching on how to deliver explicit reading instruction are essential to improving literacy outcomes for all students. But just as critical is the use of high-quality, evidence-based reading curricula, particularly when supporting striving readers at all grade levels. In a time when one in three K–3 students require major and systemic reading intervention, CORE is proud to partner with the Center for the Collaborative Classroom to provide professional learning for their literacy programs, including SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) which a recent study found significantly boosts elementary school reading skills. (more…)

by Dr. Claude Goldenberg, Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education, emeritus, Stanford University

Dr. Claude Goldenberg

The newest front in the never-ending wars and squabbles over how to teach reading involves English language learners (EL), students learning to read (and write) in English while simultaneously learning to speak and understand it.

In the wake of renewed prominence of research supporting an early focus on phonics and decoding (aka the “science of reading”), EL advocates around the country have been sounding alarms. (more…)

Marion JosephA remembrance by Linda Diamond, former president of CORE, Inc.

Almost 28 years ago while I was a senior policy analyst, sitting in my office at RPP International, a California education public policy think tank, I heard a commanding voice berating my boss, Paul Berman, for failing to address the most important policy issue of the time. The woman was Marion Joseph, a California grandmother who saw a serious problem—California’s children were not learning to read. Marion saw this firsthand when she discovered that her beloved grandson struggled to learn to read. He was not alone. California’s reading scores were in the tank, so Marion made it her mission to learn from researchers how reading should be taught. She soon understood that whole language was not the way, and she was determined to do something about it. At that moment, 28 years ago, CORE was born. (more…)

Welcome to the Winter 2022 edition of the CORE Academic Quarterly newsletter!

In this edition of the Academic Quarterly, the Reading Expert provides recommendations for Tier 2 reading interventions in a time when universal screening data show that upwards of 80 percent of first- and second-grade students are performing below grade level on foundational literacy skills.

The Marvelous Mathematician shares an excerpt from Kyndall Brown and Pamela Seda’s book, Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom.

In the Leadership Corner, you’ll find an overview of the academic and behavior instructional resources available from Vanderbilt University’s IRIS Center.


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100 AK educators will have the opportunity to strengthen their science of reading instructional practices 

Portland, Ore., Oakland, Calif., Juneau, Alaska – February 3, 2022NWEA, CORE® and Alaska Staff Development Network (ASDN),  in partnership with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), announced today a new learning, collaboration, and coaching program that will empower 100 literacy specialists, instructional coaches, and teachers to enhance their instructional practices, ultimately driving better outcomes for Alaska’s elementary students. The program will utilize federal funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title II and feature CORE’s Online Elementary Reading Academy (OERA), as well as individualized coaching sessions for each participating teacher. (more…)

Dr. Michelle HospBy Dr. Michelle Hosp

We all know it, but we still don’t want to believe it. Many of our students have fallen further and further behind in reading after nearly two years of disrupted learning. A report by McKinsey & Company, “COVID-19 and Education: The Lingering Effects of Unfinished Learning” (July 2021), estimates that on average students started this year four months behind in reading, and for those students in low-income schools, the gap was even wider.

This is a crisis. Our elementary students have missed the opportunity to learn and master critical foundational skills necessary to become successful readers. So what do we do? Here are some thoughts and guiding questions to help shape instruction as we move into 2022: (more…)

Dr. Tracy WeedenBy Dr. Tracy Weeden

Scholars in public and charter schools across the nation are teetering on the brink of a COVID academic cliff. The conversation is no longer about a summer slide but of a pandemic pit many of our children will not rebound from without focused, strategic, and coordinated effort. A yawning literacy gap persists and is expanding for children from historically marginalized groups, as well as for some of our children who are forced to navigate the war zone of poverty daily. Why is that the case?

The stark reality is underscored by the anguished echoes of those wounded by systemic racism and classism from the past. COVID-19 has outlined the white elephant in the front room in bold strokes of reality that cannot be ignored by citizens and decision makers of our state and nation who are committed to making wrong things right. Fallout from the pandemic puts our most economically vulnerable children at risk for seismic opportunity gaps they will not recover from unless we act collectively with vision and boldness, and with the science of reading and evidence-based practices paving the path ahead. (more…)

Susan Van Zant

Nancy Volpe

by Susan Van Zant and Nancy Volpe, Senior Literacy Specialists, CORE

As the current school year comes to an end, primary teachers are beginning to look ahead to the fall and plan for filling in the gaps of any unfinished learning. They may need to review the basics of phonological awareness with students. Phonological awareness is an umbrella term that includes the awareness of the larger parts of spoken language as well as the smaller parts. It can be broken into four developmental levels: word, syllable, onset-rime, and phoneme. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of individual sounds, or phonemes, that can be isolated and manipulated. Students need to have well-developed phonological skills, especially phonemic awareness, to be successful readers and spellers as they progress through the grades.

This blog provides teachers with a series of fun activities and games designed to add sparkle to a foundational skills review. All activities are more fully explained in the CORE Teaching Reading Sourcebook. This blog will help to refresh your memories of the many phonological awareness How lessons found in this useful reference. Some favorite activities were selected. They are listed in sequential order because instruction should be explicit and sequential. (more…)

Video: How to Ensure Remote or In-Person Reading Assessments Provide the Data You Need to Guide Instruction
Watch this 20-minute video from Pivot Learning to hear Drs. Michelle Hosp and Louisa Moats discuss: