To really understand the impact that literacy lists have, it's necessary to take a look at how lists are taught. Inevitably, lists get taught by forcing students to memorize. If you are dead set on having children learn a specific set of things, there is no other way that seems as straightforward than simply having them sit and stare at them, trying them to commit them to memory.
Hirsch's Method for Cultural Literacy
Where am I in the content of the book?