What Your ____ Grader Needs to Know

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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.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, May 5, 2007
  • Grades Used: Kindergarten
  • Dates used: Current
We are enjoying "What your Kindergartener Needs to Know."

We have excellent access to public libraries, and a very learning oriented family. Still, we have our favorite subjects. My son focuses on robots, computers, deep sea and space. I tend to focus on fiction, and animals.

We are so excited about these topics, that we rarely grab a non-fiction book about other topics.

That's where What Your Kindergartener Needs to KNow comes in...there are a selection of ideas, hands on projects, skills, stories, poems, literature...a smattering of all of these knowledge areas.

One could just leave this book lying around and read it for fun, choosing a topic now and then to discuss. One could design an entire year's full curriculum straight from this book. One could choose the subject she feels weakest in teaching, and use this book to guide or supplement that particular area.

For ten dollars, this is a worthwhile investment. I do not feel disappointed. It has glossy pages, a sturdy binding, and plenty of examples, illustrations, and recommendations. There are recommendations for related books, videos, workbooks and curricula whereever possible.