Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Core Six: 6 Essential Teaching Strategies for Excellence

What if you only had time and money to use and purchase six tools to teach your entire curriculum? What would those six tools be? Authors Harvey Silver, R. Thomas Dewing, and Matthew Perini seem to do just that in their book The Core Six: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with Common Core.

Many of us are right in the midst to implementing the Common Core Standards, whether we philosophically agree or disagree with the need for their existence. School leaders and teachers are scrambling to find and create tools for implementation, and the massively growing number of new books and materials about the Common Core aren’t making this task any easier. However, there are few that focus on the “essentials” to the degree that The Core Six does. This concise volume (it’s only 78 pages) lays what it calls “Six Core Practices Students Need to Cultivate to Become Independent Learners.”

According to this book, "The Core Six” are strategies that foster college and career-readiness, and at the same time, address the Common Core Standards. These six strategies, according to Silver, Dewing, and Perini are:
  1. Reading for Meaning: This strategy helps students develop the skills to be proficient, effective readers and make sense of text.
  2. Compare and Contrast: This strategy teaches students to conduct comparative analysis, thereby getting them to learn content at a much deeper level.
  3. Inductive Learning: Inductive Learning as a strategy helps students see patterns and structures in content by using inductive processes.
  4. Circle of Knowledge: Circle of Knowledge is a strategic framework for planning and conducting engaging classroom discussions that get students to think deeply and communicate thoughtfully.
  5. Write to Learn: As a strategy, Write to Learn gives teachers a way to integrate writing into daily instruction and use writing skills to develop students’ ability to write in the “key text types” that they need to be college and career ready.
  6. Vocabulary’s CODE: This “strategic approach” to vocabulary instruction gives students the ability to retain and use academic vocabulary.
Because of its straightforward, here-it-is style, The Core Six: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core is far from being what I would call “engaging read.”  It’s strength, however, lies in this straightforward review of these six solid research-based teaching strategies.

With each of the “Core Six Essential Strategies” the authors begin with a brief description of the strategy, then they provide a quick list of reasons to use that strategy. Next, they describe the research supporting each strategy and provide the principles of implementation. They end the review of each "Core Six Essential" with some classroom examples of implementation, and things to consider when planning to use the strategy. This formula of presenting each strategy makes it quite easy to take what is learned back to the classroom.

If you are on a quest for a simple, straightforward book that gives teachers high-yield teaching strategies for the Common Core implementation efforts, then The Core Six: Essential Strategies for Achieving Excellence with the Common Core is a solid choice.


  1. We are reading this book this summer and contributing to a blog. Did you participate in a book study?

    1. No, I did not. I received a copy of the book for review and read it on my own.

    2. We have started our book study.