What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of A Good Fourth-Grade Education

ISBN: 0385337655
ISBN 13: 9780385337656
By: E.D. Hirsch Jr.

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About this book

Give your child a smart start with What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know   How can you help your child at home? This book answers that important question and more, offering the specific shared knowledge that thousands of parents and teachers across the nation have agreed upon for American fourth graders. Featuring sixteen pages of full-color illustrations, a bolder, easier-to-follow format, and a thoroughly updated curriculum, What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know is designed for parents and teachers to enjoy with children. Hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from the Core Knowledge Series. This edition, featuring a new Introduction, gives today’s generation of fourth graders the advantage they need to make progress in school  and establish an approach to learning that will last a lifetime. Inside you’ll discover   • Favorite poems—old and new, from the familiar classic “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” to Langston Hughes’s “Dream” • Literature—from around the world, including African and Chinese folktales, excerpts from beloved novels, and condensed versions of popular classics such as Gulliver’s Travels and “Rip Van Winkle” • Learning about language—the basics of written English, including grammar, punctuation, parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, plus an introduction to common English sayings and phrases • World and American history and geography—explore world and American history, including creation of a constitutional government and early presidents and politics • Visual arts—a broad spectrum of art from around the world, including African masks, Islamic architecture, Chinese calligraphy, and great American painters—featuring full-color reproductions • Music—understanding and appreciating music, from the basics of musical notation to the orchestra, plus great composers and sing-along lyrics for such favorites as “Auld Lang Syne” and “Waltzing Matilda” • Math—challenging lessons ranging from fractions and decimals to understanding graphs, making change, square roots, and the metric system • Science—discover the wonders of the human body and its systems, learn about electricity, atoms, chemistry, geology, and meteorology, plus concise biographies of some of the great scientists of our time

Reader's Thoughts


There was a time when my district wrestled with whole school reform (that appears to be another program that we spent a lot of money on that was abandoned). When it was first posited, we examined a lot of programs. The one that captured my fancy was Modern Red Schoolhouse. Hirsch's curriculum was the backbone of that.I love this series. I wish we had adopted it. Hirsch's approach is through the classics. Yup, that's me! This takes one through all the stories a fourth grader should be familiar with, mathematical concepts, science, history, etc. I find it fascinating.I read Rip Van Winkle to my students because of this. I cover all of the mathematics. I try to present some of the history, but the reality is that my students don't have enough background to handle all it.


Great information as we transition to homeschooling!


I use as reference book.

Barbara Lovejoy

I know that there is a lot of controversy in some arenas (especially the multicultural education world) about this book and other books by E. D. Hirsch and his Core Knowledge philosophy, but I feel Hirsch has done a fabulous job identifying knowledge that is valuable for everyone to know. Plus, this background knowledge will help improve literacy. I don't advocate that Esperanza be a "Core Knowledge" school, but I feel it would be extremely helpful for every teacher to be familiar with Hirsch's book for his/her grade level and adopt it where appropriate. Not only is the knowledge in these books valuable for young learners, but I, as an adult, learn so much.

Melanie Olson

I LOVE this series of books! I use them for our summer "school" sessions at home. They are great preparation for the school year ahead. I recommend them whenever I can, and I'm willing to loan them. :)

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