What Your ____ Grader Needs to Know

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  • Reviewed on Monday, October 19, 2015
  • Grades Used: 2,3,4
  • Dates used: 2010-2013
These books were great if you want to write your own curriculum from them. There are now online resources and packages by grade made by teachers that include supplemental reading, tests, worksheets etc.
I felt that by grade 4, the books became a bit dry and that's when I dropped them. If I had found the online lessons and supplements back then perhaps we would have stuck with it.

Calming Tea

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
  • Grades Used: 1
  • Dates used: Current
I'm back to give another good review of these books. For about twelve dollars, or less if you can find it used, you can purchase a book that will fill in all your cultural and literary needs for an entire school year.

Again, these are not intended as a full curriculum. The idea is to use these alongside whatever else you do, so that your child can share in the common cultural understanding of our country. When he then attends college, he will not be clueless when someone says, "Just like Jack in the Beanstalk," or uses a common phrase that perhaps you yourself do not use, such as, "That's just Sour Grapes."

These books are a worthy investment. They include poetry, history, other literature and literary elements, basic science readings, math ideas, and more. How to implement? Just sit down with this book for 15 minutes per day and work through it. Skip what your child already knows or what you are opposed to them learning (I just can't read Hansel and Gretel to my six year old!)...

My kids love this book. This year we are very short on money so I used the library and should be able to finish most of it before my 3 renewals are up. And, I can always borrow it again!


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, June 3, 2008
  • Grades Used: K/1
  • Dates used: 2006-2008
These make great reference books to have on hand, we have k- third grade. We have used them for the stories/poems and also for the history section as a read aloud.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, February 5, 2008
  • Grades Used: K, 1st, & 2nd
  • Dates used: 11/2006 to Present
I love the "What Your ___ Needs to Know" books, but more importantly my son loves them. These books do not comprise a complete curriculum. However, they are great for read alouds, activity ideas, and core knowledge. If you believe that core knowledge is important, want your child to be culturally literate, and want to make sure that they have no learning gaps, then you would like these books. There is an online user's group for homeschoolers who use these books and other books from the Core Knowledge Foundation to homeschool.

Currently, my son is a second grader, but we have not studied history in depth; so we are using the History section of the books for read alouds. We just reviewed/finished the history section in the kindergarten one, will move on to the history section of the first grade one, and finally, by the end of this school year, we will finish the second grade one. For my son, this always leads to him wanting to study a subject more in depth. Now, he is fascinated about the childhood of U.S. presidents, so he will read and study about the founding fathers, beginning with George Washington.

There are many ways to use this series of books. You could use the books to design a curriculum, you could use the literature for read alouds, you could use the art section for ideas on art activities/projects, etc.

These books are available used on amazon.com, but be sure to purchase the latest edition, as some of the books have been revised.