Cover image for What your fourth grader needs to know : fundamentals of a good fourth-grade education
What your fourth grader needs to know : fundamentals of a good fourth-grade education
Rev. ed., Delta trade pbk. ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2005, c2004.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 310 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Includes index.
Language and literature. Poetry ; Stories and myths ; Learning about language ; Sayings and phrases -- History and geography. World geography ; Europe in the Middle Ages ; The rise of Islam ; African kingdoms ; China : dynasties and conquerors ; The American Revolution ; Making a constitutional government ; Early presidents and politics ; Reformers -- Visual arts. Art of the Middle Ages ; Islamic art and architecture ; Art of Africa ; Art of China ; American art -- Music. The elements of music ; Listening and understanding ; Some songs for fourth graders ; Songs of the U.S. Armed Forces -- Mathematics. Numbers and number sense ; Multiplication ; Division ; Fractions and decimals ; Measurement ; Geometry -- Science. The human body ; Chemistry ; Electricity ; Geology ; Meteorology ; Science biographies.
A resource book that presents the knowledge that should be learned in the fourth grade as identified by the Core Knowledge Foundation, and includes math, language arts, science, geography, art, and technology.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 372.19 WHA 0 1
Book 372.19 WHA 0 1
Book 372.19 WHA 0 1

On Order



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 full-color illustrations throughout, 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 "Paul Revere's Ride" to Langston Hughes's "Dreams"
* 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

Author Notes

Hirsch is a conservative critic best known for his repudiation of critical approaches to literature (chiefly poststructuralism and New Criticism) that assume that the author's intentions do not determine readings. He argues that any such methodology is guilty of "the organic fallacy," the belief that the text leads a life of its own. For Hirsch, the author's authority is the key to literary interpretation: The critic's job is to reproduce textual meaning by recovering the author's consciousness, which guarantees the validity of an interpretation.

In his two most important books, Validity in Interpretation (1967) and its sequel, The Aims of Interpretation (1976), Hirsch warns against the "critical anarchy" that follows from the "cognitive atheism" of both relativism and subjectivism. For him, these result from a corollary of the organic fallacy, the thesis that meaning is ultimately indeterminate because it changes over time or with the differing interests and values of different readers. According to Hirsch, meaning does not change; only value or significance does, as readers relate a text's fixed meaning to their cultures. If there is more than one valid interpretation of a text, it is because literature may be reduced to more than one "intrinsic genre" or meaning type---the particular set of conventions governing ways of seeing and of making meaning at the time the author was writing.

Many critics suggest that the intentions Hirsch recovers in intrinsic genres are really his own, rather than those of the author, because no one, including Hirsch, can escape his or her historically conditioned frame of reference when developing interpretations of literature. Hirsch's recent books, including Cultural Literacy (1987), are seen as proof of those flaws by those who are troubled by the history and values of the dominant culture that Hirsch insists is the only culture. Hirsch argues that "common knowledge" is being denied minority students and others by feminists and other "radicals" who have undermined the authority of its great texts.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this revised edition, Hirsch (retired English professor and author of Cultural Literacy) presents the basic backbone of a fourth grade curriculum in language arts, history and geography, visual arts, music, math and science. The content reaches far, mixing the standard signposts of an elementary education with a new focus on understanding the world beyond American shores. In the literature section, for example, adaptations of the legend of King Arthur, Treasure Island and Rip Van Winkle are enriched by stories from around the globe. The visual arts and geography and history sections have a global accent. Students cover American and European history as well as that of Chinese dynasties, African kingdoms and the rise of Islam; in art, they examine everything from Medieval architecture to the Taj Mahal, and from Chinese silk paintings to Leutze?s Washington Crossing the Delaware. The music section emphasizes both music-making and appreciation of masters like Mozart, Haydn and Handel, while the science and math chapters skirt the ?joyless, soul-killing drudgery? of memorization and timed drills in favor of forward-looking lessons on basic geometry, meteorology and geology. While Hirsch offers expansive guidelines for parents and teachers in each subject, he acknowledges that this is not comprehensive and should be supplemented with additional lessons and materials. Overall though, this compendium sketches a coherent and creative curriculum that students and parents will find especially engaging in this era of education reform. Color illustrations not seen by PW. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.



Chapter 1 Introduction This chapter presents poems, stories, brief discussions of grammar and writing, and explanations of common sayings and phrases. The best way to bring children into the spirit of poetry is to read it aloud to them and encourage them to speak it aloud so that they can experience the music in the words. Until children take pleasure in the sound of poetry, there is little reason to analyze it technically. Most of the stories in this book are either excerpts from longer works or abridged versions of those works. If a child enjoys a particular story, he or she should be encouraged to read a longer version. Several of the novels excerpted here are available in child-friendly versions as part of the Core Knowledge Foundation's Core Classics series, available on the Foundation's Web site ( ). Parents and teachers can help draw children into stories by asking questions about them. For example, you might ask, "What do you think is going to happen next?" "Why did one of the characters act as he did?" "What might have happened if . . . ?" You might also ask the child to retell the story. Don't be bothered if children change events or characters: that is in the best tradition of storytelling and explains why there are so many versions of traditional stories. You can also encourage children to write and illustrate their own stories. Some children may be interested in beginning to keep a journal or writing letters to friends or relatives -- these are both fine ways for children to cultivate their writing skills. Another way to build vocabulary and foster language skills is by playing word games such as Scrabble, Boggle, or hangman, and doing crossword puzzles. Experts say that our children already know more about grammar than we can ever teach them. But standard written language does have special characteristics that children need to learn. The treatment of grammar and language conventions in this book is an overview. It needs to be supplemented and rounded out by giving the child opportunities to read and write and to discuss reading and writing in connection with grammar and spelling. In the classroom, grammar instruction is a part, but only a part, of an effective language arts program. In the fourth grade, children should be working on vocabulary and spelling. They should enjoy a rich diet of fiction, poetry, drama, biography, and nonfiction. They should be involved in the writing process, inventing topics, discovering ideas in early drafts, revising toward "publication" of polished final drafts --all with encouragement and guidance along the way. They should practice writing in many modes, including stories, poetry, journal entries, formal reports, dialogues, and descriptions. For some children, the section on sayings and phrases may not be needed; they will have picked up these sayings by hearing them in everyday speech. But this section will be very useful for children from homes where American English is not spoken. For additional resources to use in conjunction with this section, visit the Foundation's online bookstore and database, Resources to Build On, at the Web address above. POETRY Monday's Child Is Fair of Face (author unknown) Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace, Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go, Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for a living, But the child that is born on the Sabbath day Is fair and wise and good and gay. Humanity by Elma Stuckey If I am blind and need someone To keep me safe from harm, It matters not the race to me Of the one who takes my arm. If I am saved from drowning As I grasp and grope, I will not stop to see the face Of the one who throws the rope. Or if out on some battlefield I'm falling faint and weak, The one who gently lifts me up May any language speak. We sip the water clear and cool, No matter the hand that gives it. A life that's lived worthwhile and fine, What matters the one who lives it? Fog by Carl Sandburg The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. Clouds by Christina G. Rossetti White sheep, white sheep On a blue hill, When the wind stops You all stand still. When the wind blows, You walk away slow. White sheep, white sheep, Where do you go? the drum by Nikki Giovanni daddy says the world is a drum tight and hard and i told him i'm gonna beat out my own rhythm Things by Eloise Greenfield Went to the corner Walked in the store Bought me some candy Ain't got it no more Ain't got it no more Went to the beach Played on the shore Built me a sandhouse Ain't got it no more Ain't got it no more Went to the kitchen Lay down on the floor Made me a poem Still got it Still got it Dreams by Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay I will be the gladdest thing Under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers And not pick one. I will look at cliffs and clouds With quiet eyes, Watch the wind bow down the grass, And the grass rise. And when lights begin to show, Up from the town, I will mark which must be mine, And then start down. The Rhinoceros by Ogden Nash The rhino is a homely beast, For human eyes he's not a feast. But you and I will never know Why Nature chose to make him so. Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros, I'll stare at something less prepoceros. * * * Excerpted from What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of A Good Fourth-Grade Education by E. D. Hirsch All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.