NYT: "Nonfiction [Core Knowledge] Curriculum Enhanced Reading Skills in New York City Schools."
I have always been a fan of the Core Knowledge program, which is based on the idea that students should learn content rather than just abstract "skills - this idea might seem like common sense, but traditional content such as the names and ideas of historical figures, narratives of historical events, etc. is often dismissed by education scholars as "trivia" that can just be Googled anyway. E.D. Hirsch Jr., the creator of the Core Knowledge program, argues that the content of the traditional core subject areas serves as the building blocks of literacy.
From the NYT article: "Half of the schools adopted a curriculum designed by the education theorist E. D. Hirsch Jr.’s Core Knowledge Foundation. The other 10 used a variety of methods, but most fell under the definition of 'balanced literacy'.... The study found that second graders who were taught to read using the Core Knowledge program scored significantly higher on reading comprehension tests than did those in the comparison schools. It also tested children on their social studies and science knowledge, and again found that the Core Knowledge pupils came out ahead."