Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Grades 3-5 meet expectations for alignment and usability in all grades. Lessons and tasks are centered around high-quality texts. Texts provided with the materials are at the appropriate grade level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills. Materials build knowledge and skills through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. The instructional materials meet expectations for use and design, teacher planning, learning of the standards for students and professional learning support for teachers. Standards-aligned assessment, differentiated instruction, and support for learners are accounted for within the materials. Suggestions for technology use are present. Overall, the intermediate-level materials attend to alignment to the standards and to structural supports and usability.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
37
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
32
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

|

Meets Expectations

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
30
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

Texts are of quality, rigorous, and at the right text complexity for grade level, student, and task, and are therefore worthy of the student’s time and attention. A range of tasks and questions develop reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills that are applied in authentic tasks. Questions and tasks are text-dependent and engage students in rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing. Overall, students have the opportunity to engage in quality instruction in foundational skills, however, some skills are only directly instructed in small groups.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
20/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for core texts (anchor) being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading that considers the range of students’ interests. Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards and include texts that have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Texts are accompanied by a text-complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. Anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading. Texts address diverse cultures, differing historical periods as well as other content areas such as the sciences.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading. The texts address a range of interests, and the reading selections would be interesting and engaging for Grade 4 students. Many of the central (anchor) texts have won awards or are written by award-winning authors. Central texts include a variety of genres and consider a range of students’ interests including endangered species, detective work/mysteries, personal narratives, survival stories, cultural texts, early American exploration, Native American history, and scientific non-fiction. Text sets are also rich in academic language. Furthermore, texts present universal and multiple multicultural themes which integrate other content areas.

The following are texts that represent how these materials meet the expectations for this indicator:

  • Unit 1: Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look is a humorous literary text that would be engaging and relatable to Grade 4 students.
  • Unit 2: Surviving in the World’s Most Extreme Places is one of several published works by award-winning zoologist Ross Piper.
  • Unit 3: The Buried Bones Mystery: Clubhouse Mysteries #1 is a literary mystery written by Sharon Draper, an award winning author, and is engaging for Grade 4 students.
  • Unit 4: Pennsylvania (Portraits of States), by Dana Meachan Rau is a nonfiction text that includes features and descriptions that would engage Grade 4 students with things such as sidebars, photos, pie charts, and "fun facts" that are scattered throughout the chapters.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Each unit in Grade 4 provides students the opportunity to engage in paired core texts as well as leveled readers, independent reading, and supplemental texts. The materials contain 8 baskets of leveled readers and a basket of Hook Books that are intended to engage even reluctant readers. The baskets of leveled readers are not a required part of the core curriculum but provide students a 100 Book Challenge by rotating fresh reading materials that expose students to a variety of topics and genres. Materials also provide thematic text sets centered around science and social studies themes as well as literary text sets aligned to material topics. These text sets, organized as baskets, are designed to accompany units in the form of research labs.

Anchor texts include a mix of informational and literary texts reflecting the distribution of text types required by the standards. Texts include diverse topics and genres such as realistic fiction, a visual dictionary, science and social studies informational text, detective stories, personal narratives, classics, and historical fiction.

The following are examples of literary texts found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1- Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look
  • Unit 2- My Side of the Mountain by Jean C. George
  • Unit 3- Encyclopedia Brown Cracks the Case by Donald J. Sobol
  • Unit 4- The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

The following are examples of informational texts found within the instructional materials:

  • Unit 1- Food Chains and Webs by Andrew Solway
  • Unit 2- Endangered Animals:100 Facts by Steve Parker
  • Unit 3- How to Read Literature Like a Professor: For Kids by Thomas C. Foster
  • Unit 4- Exploring the United States by Nancy Golden

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

ARC is designed with flexibility so that consumers can choose and interchange multiple text sets based on the topics and levels desired. Some accompanying task and resource materials are not text-specific so that they apply across multiple text sets and grade bands. The instructional year begins with a literacy lab that is intended to capture readers' attention with engaging text, though some of these texts fall qualitatively at the grade band as measured by Lexile, the materials include text complexity analyses and IRLA levels for these texts that show that in a more holistic assessment of qualitative and reader/task features, the texts meet the demand of the standards for text complexity. Students have access to numerous texts at multiple reading levels that are read in small and whole group settings as well as independently. The philosophy of the publishers is self-directed learning and reading through literacy and research labs.

Quantitative and qualitative information for anchor texts is provided in the Teacher’s Edition or online in SchoolPace, and the numerous text sets that accompany each unit are leveled according to the publishers framework--IRLA. The publishers state: “The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is a unified standards-based framework for student assessment, text leveling, and curriculum and instruction. The IRLA includes every Common Core Standard for Reading, both in literature and informational text, as well as those Language standards key to reading success, for students in grades PreK through 12.”

From the Teacher's Edition: "The core novel is a grade-level novel in the genre that is exemplary in terms of both content and craft. The teacher uses the provided class set of this text to engage students in rich and rigorous in evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The ARC team of educational experts selects the best option for the core text for each unit and each grade that meets the following requirements: At grade-level IRLA level, in print and in stock, exemplar for this genre at this level, broad appeal to a diverse group of students, mentor text-worthy writing passages, and reflects multiple perspectives/diversity."

Some examples of text complexity measures indicated by the materials include, but are not limited:

  • In Unit 2, after engaging an exemplar text pack, students read anchor texts. One of these is My Side of the Mountain, by John Craighead George with a quantitative measure of 810L (only slightly complex) as well as qualitative measures, this text has an appropriate level of complexity.
  • In Unit 4, students read core text Pennsylvania: Portraits of the States, by Dana Meachan Rau and Jonathan A. Brown. The text-complexity analysis does not provide a quantitative score but indicates that the text is moderately complex based on the qualitative analysis of meaning and language and very complex in knowledge demands.
  • Each unit is accompanied by Book Boxes that provide a range of text complexities. Students work with these texts each day.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

ARC provides students with access to leveled texts which address a range of science, social studies, history, and literary topics across all grade bands. Rigor of text is appropriate in aggregate over the course of the school year, and students will engage with texts at varying levels from unit to unit.

The Publisher Notes explain that the leveled libraries provided with each unit will increase in complexity throughout the school year. The Field Guide (Teacher Manual) explains that students work independently in these libraries; however, teacher guidance supports them to continue to raise their reading levels. Students have access to multiple texts that measure below, at, or above grade level. Scaffolding is not text-specific, but focuses on the skills needed to access texts in that genre (informational text, fantasy novels, argument essays, etc.).

The Field Guide directs the teacher to “...read and discuss at least two related grade-level texts, one literature and one informational. (Texts may be drawn from a school/district’s existing texts and/or those supplied with this unit.)” While grade-level texts are recommended there is limited guidance to help schools or teachers choose grade-level texts, apart from the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework) system that accompanies the program.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation that anchor (core texts) and series of connected texts are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The American Reading Company (ARC) utilizes their own IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) System, drawing on the three measures of text complexity, to level texts. To determine reading level, every book is double-blind, hand-leveled using the three legs of text complexity and located on our developmental taxonomy of reading acquisition.” Any book found in the text boxes or thematic text sets has an identifying sticker on the cover to provide its IRLA placement.

An example of a text complexity analysis and purpose and placement for the core texts is as follows:

Title: Pennsylvania, by Dana Meachen Rau and Jonatha A. Brown

Text Complexity Level: Orange (5th Grade)

Quantitative: (Lexile) Not Available

Qualitative: Our qualitative analysis places this text at the 5th grade level because: Purpose/Structure: Moderately Complex. The organization is topical with each chapter dealing with a different Social Studies strand (Pennsylvania history, geography, economy, and government). Language: Moderately Complex. The text over all uses simple sentence structure, but with frequent use of academic vocabulary and discipline-specific terms. Knowledge Demands: Moderately to Very Complex. The text tries to rely on common, practical knowledge however some specific content knowledge related to History, US Government, and Economics is required.

Reader and Task: The breadth of topics discussed in this text (ranging from history and geography to economics and government) requires a robust knowledge base from the reader. Although some discipline-specific terms are explained, the abstract nature of most concepts (i.e., “The government has three parts, or branches.”) adds to the complexity of the text.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for supporting materials providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading. The instructional materials include opportunities for students to read daily across a volume of texts during various instructional segments including: Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, Reader’s Workshop, and Independent/Collaborative writing.

Reader’s workshop includes a Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text segment. Students reread and discuss core text and respond to questions such as:

  • Basic Comprehension: What is happening so far in this story?
  • Inference: Why? What makes you think that?
  • Reader Response: What is surprising, funny, confusing, etc.? Why? Do you like this story yet? Why or why not? Set the standard that students will use examples or details from the text to support all assertions.

Reader’s Workshop includes a daily independent reading time for self-selected texts. In addition to Literacy Labs and Research Labs for core content, materials provide thematic text sets that can be chosen across content areas and grade levels. Text sets cover literary and informational topics in science, social studies, and culture. These text sets are organized by color-coded buckets and the IRLA levels indicated by the publishers. Students also have access to independent reading box sets in the 100 Book Challenge. The publisher describes the challenge as: “Students read 30 minutes in school and 30 minutes at home. Quantity practice targets are set, monitored, and rewarded, ensuring every student adopts the independent reading routines of academically successful students.”

Materials include mechanisms for teacher's to monitor progress such as explicit guidance to determine student's IRLA and reading log sheets for independent reading. Students also have access to Research Lab Baskets that are organized by reading levels from which students select.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
14/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Materials meet the expectations of materials providing multiple opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills in concert with their practice in reading for understanding. Students are provided multiple opportunities to work with partners to have evidence-based discussion across the year and support is provided for students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports. Materials include a mix of on-demand and process, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate. Most of the curriculum embeds a variety of writing types throughout the school year that includes a mix of both on-demand and process writing and provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. The program addresses evidence-based and evidence-supported writing in every unit. The materials for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations that materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions/language standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Materials for the literacy and research labs provide graphic organizers and instructional support tasks for students to engage with text as well as collect textual evidence that builds toward a research topic or literary theme. The general format reading questions (Research Questions), graphic organizers. and instructional tasks are designed to be used across multiple thematic units and across grade levels.

The evidence from Units 1-4 listed below demonstrates tasks and questions that require direct engagement with texts but do not call out or connect to specific texts. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent and require students to engage with the text directly and to draw on textual evidence to support what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text.

For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Days 2-3, students use context clues and textual evidence to answer text dependent questions regarding new vocabulary: ”What might this word/phrase mean? What in the text supports your answer?”
  • In Unit 1, Week 6, Days 1-2, students analyze a text’s structure by gathering evidence from an informational text and completing a graphic organizer.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, students are prompted to read independently to find interesting details to add to a class chart.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 4, students work with partners to identify key details that support the main idea of a text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, students read independently to gather details and identify the setting of a text and complete a section of a graphic organizer pertaining to setting.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 5, students write an essay in response to a text-dependent question regarding identifying a text’s central theme: “What is a theme of our Central Text? What key details does the author use to communicate this theme?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 4, students write in response to text-dependent questions that prompt them to identify author’s point of view.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 3, students work with partners to reread a text and respond to questions around key concepts using textual evidence.

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and activities that build to a culminating task that integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Questions and tasks are organized for students to gather details or practice skills needed for the culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding. Culminating tasks require students to gather details or information using research questions and graphic organizers to write a story or report instead of utilizing specific texts.

Examples from the units include:

  • In Unit 1, students examine and answer text-dependent questions around text structure that encourage increasing student knowledge to be able to create argument pieces of their own. For example, students use a self-selected informational text to analyze structure by answering the following question: “Locate an example of the Elements of Argument structure. Is it actually an argument? Why or why not?”
  • In Unit 2, students select an endangered animal to research and answer general text-dependent questions such as: “Describe the biome in which this animal lives. What are the biggest survival challenges in this biome? What adaptations help the animal to survive in its biome?” Students gather information using graphic organizers to produce a culminating project including writing that demonstrates a deep understanding of the animal.
  • In Unit 3, students examine the organization and structure of mysteries and gather textual evidence to complete a Plot/Conflict/Resolution graphic organizer in order to be able to write a short story as part of the culminating task.
  • Unit 4, students answer text-dependent questions that prompt them to examine how authors engage readers in order to be able to engage their own readers as part of the culminating task, where students select a topic that they care about and write an opinion piece. Questions include: “What emotion does this story evoke? How? Consider content, language, and placement. Who is the author’s target audience? What makes you think that? Does the author’s story or example strengthen the opinion piece? Why or why not?”

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for evidence-based discussions that encourage the modeling of academic vocabulary and syntax.

There are many opportunities and protocols throughout modules and within lessons that support academic vocabulary and syntax. Units include practices that encourage the building and application of academic vocabulary and syntax including accountable talk routines and think pair share. Teacher materials support implementation of these standards to grow students’ skills.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 1, students work in groups to identify and explain new vocabulary from text they are reading using a vocabulary-tiered graphic organizer.
  • In Unit 1, Week 5, Days 1-2, students work with partners to analyze and discuss the structure of a narrative text that they are currently reading.
  • In Unit 2, Week 6, Day 2, the teacher explains the three tiers of vocabulary, and students discuss the synonyms of various words during whole-group instruction.
  • Unit 2, Week 7, Day 2, students use sentence frames as they review their writings as well as conduct peer reviews.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 4, the teacher uses think aloud to model using the graphic organizer, Plot: Dialogue Analysis, to analyze dialogue in a text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 6, Day 2, students work in small groups to discuss technical vocabulary and synonyms for the words that they identified in a text.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, students are asked to define the term behavioral adaptations and explain how these adaptations relate to the survival of species.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, students highlight tier 2 and tier 3 words from a text during whole-group discussion.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

Speaking and listening tasks require students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Opportunities to ask and answer questions of peers and teachers about research, strategies, and ideas are present throughout the year. The curriculum includes protocols and graphic organizers to promote and scaffold academic discussions.

The following are examples of materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what is read:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, on Day 1, students read the core text and have a class discussion to identify what the author stated, why the author stated that, and what was interesting to them.
  • In Unit 1, Week 1, on Day 2, students are prompted to discuss the kinds of informational texts they read and the reasons for reading them. Students begin to contribute to a chart entitled, Why We Read.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, on Day 2, students work in pairs to answer text-dependent questions about the topic, the main idea, and the key details using a 3-point practice rubric.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, on Day 5, students read the core text and discuss with a partner what was learned about the research question. Students also discuss the main idea of the text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 6, on Day 1, students participate in a discussion group to identify and discuss effective examples of analogies.
  • In Unit 3, Week 9, on Day 1, students publish and present their final project using various presentation formats such as Powerpoint, class/school website, and blog or newspaper/periodical.
  • In Unit 4, Week 5, on Day 5, students work in groups to develop mini-debates. Each group separates into two sides (Pro/Con). Each side of students crafts a short argument for their position.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, on Day 1, students meet with the teacher in one-on-one writing conferences to discuss and identify opinion statements for the culminating task of writing an argument/opinion paper.

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused tasks. Students write both on demand and over extended periods throughout every unit. The focus, the research, and literacy labs are to collect textual evidence or information to compose an essay or extended composition piece

Examples of on-demand writing include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 1-2, students write a summary of an informational book that they are reading.
  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Day 4, students are prompted to write a paragraph that includes the main idea and key details to show what they know about a nonfiction topic.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 5, students are encouraged to identify and write about the theme as well as key details that were used to determine the theme of a central text.
  • In Unit 4, Week 7, Day 5, students revise their opinion piece by adding and omitting transition words.

Examples of extended writing include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, Days 4-5, students create supporting claims about author’s purpose from the core novel/informational text they are currently reading. They provide written responses to the questions: “What is the author’s purpose for writing this text? How does this purpose relate to his/her theme(s)? What evidence supports your thinking?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 7, Day 2, students work on the revision process of their final project: writing an informational book and receiving feedback from a partner.
  • In Unit 3, Week 6, Day 1, students revise their essay to make sure their argument includes powerful analogies. They add analogies to improve their opinion piece. The class participates in Author’s Chair: specifically, one student comes to the front of the classroom, sits in Author’s Chair, identifies writing goals, reads a short piece aloud, and receive suggestions.
  • In Unit 4, Week 7, Day 3, students work on the revision process of their final project (an opinion piece) and review word choice with a focus on nouns and verbs.

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence.

The following are examples of the different text types of writing across the units:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 4, students create their own About the Author page to use with pieces they will write and publish this year. This on-demand task asks them to write about themselves, sharing information that they would like others to know. (i.e., personal narrative)
  • In Unit 1, students culminate this unit of study by publishing two pieces of writing, a narrative and an argument.
  • In Unit 2, Week 8, Day 1, students pick one visual they think is especially informative and explain what information it communicates.
  • In Unit 2, students conclude the unit of study by publishing an informational text on a researched topic that demonstrates their expertise.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3, students use the core novel to complete the following writing task, “Who will be the most important character in this book? Why? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 2, students describe the fictional protagonist from their independent books and begin designing their own protagonist using a graphic organizer as an aid.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, students are asked to respond to a prompt pertaining to viewpoint: “What is your point of view on (a key concept from this Research Question)? State an opinion and support it with evidence from today’s reading.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 1, students use a graphic organizer for their current reading, and they take notes related to a research question.

Indicator 1m

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for the materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information. Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Writing opportunities are focused around students’ analyses and claims developed from reading closely and working with sources. Materials provide opportunities that build students' writing skills over the course of the school year.

Students are required to write daily for 15 to 20 minutes using suggested writing prompts. Most writing prompts relate to text but some do not require evidence-based writing. The suggestions are divided into categories such as opinion/argument, personal nonfiction/narrative, fiction narrative, and informational.

Prompts are available from each category including the following::

  • Students write an opinion/argument response to the prompt, “I agree/disagree with the author’s theme in ___ because ___. If everyone would just learn this one lesson ___, then ___.”
  • Students write a personal/nonfiction narrative response to the prompt, “What important lesson have you learned in your life so far? Write the story of how you learned it.”

Other evidence-based writing opportunities include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Days 1-2, students use the core informational text to write a summary with textual evidence.
  • In Unit 1, Week 6, Days 1-2, students use graphic organizers that have various argument structures to rewrite an argument piece that has a careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 5, students complete a graphic organizer that includes textual evidence to draft a short essay.
  • In Unit 2, Week 6, Days 1-5, students use careful analyses and clear information from their research about animal adaptations to draft an informational book.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, students are prompted to include textual evidence to write about the setting of a text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Days 1-5, students compare and contrast two mysteries from the core curriculum in order to write a comparative essay with a well-defended claim and clear information.
  • In Unit 4, Week 5, Day 1, students review a text, collect textual evidence, and write notes related to a research question.
  • In Unit 4, Week 6, Days 1-5, students use a graphic organizer and teacher guidance to draft an opinion piece from a research topic related to the United States that includes a careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet expectations for explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of the context. Students engage with grammar and conventions as they complete tasks throughout the units; however, few opportunities for explicit instruction in context are presented. No evidence of students engaging with grammar and conventions out of context is found.

The following evidence provides examples of how the program encourages the engagement with grammar and conventions in context, but does not show any explicit instruction based on Grade 4 standards:

  • Unit 1, Week 5, Day 5: Students edit their narratives using an editing checklist for grammar.
  • Unit 2, Week 8, Day 1: The teacher works with individuals as they edit to ensure that their work is reasonably error-free.
  • Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3: Students work in pairs to edit their papers for mechanics, usage, and structure.
  • Unit 4, Week 1, Day 4: Students read their paragraphs to a partner, and students check that quotation marks indicate direct quotations and that the source is cited correctly.

Criterion 1o - 1q

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
3/6
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills that build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, and decoding in a research-based and transparent progression. All lessons contain general guidance, however, some lack specific teacher directions for explicit instruction of some skills.

Students have multiple opportunities to silently read on-level texts. Opportunities to orally read grade-level text are in partner reading. Instruction of accuracy, rate, and expression are not modeled and explicitly taught to Grade 4 students in on-level materials.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet expectations that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills that build comprehension by providing instruction in phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, morphology, and reading fluency in a research-based and transparent progression.

The program includes IRLA: Independent Reading Level Assessment Framework, which is a standards aligned assessment to help teachers provide targeted instruction. Grade 4 students assessed through IRLA and placed in appropriate groupings for instruction which could include small-group instruction. Students placed in White (Grade 3), Black (Grade 4), or higher, do not receive Foundational Skills instruction for syllabication patterns (RF 4.3.a) through small group instruction. Students placed in Black are expected to cover parts of unfamiliar words to look for familiar chunks in order to read multisyllabic words. Students are expected to use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology in order to be in the Black group. “Any student having significant trouble with this (RF 4.3.a) is working at the wrong level.”

Materials include word study suggestions and activities that allow students to use prefixes and suffixes to determine the meaning of words. These are found in Literacy Lab 4-5, Week 3.

Students placed in Black are expected to have 99-100% word accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression. Fluency practice methods are suggested in the Red (Grade 2) Foundational Skills Toolkit lessons. Choral reading, echo reading, and Buddy, or Paired Reading, are described.

Indicator 1p

Materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks, guiding students to read with purpose and understanding and to make frequent connections between acquisition of Foundational Skills and making meaning from reading. The lessons for teaching students how to determine the meaning of unknown words is in the Literacy Lab Grade 4-5. The lessons contain general guidance, but not exact directions to the teacher as to how to teach students to explicitly apply word analysis skills in decoding multisyllabic words and to read grade-appropriate, irregularly spelled words to make meaning.

In the Literacy Lab, Week 3: Days 2-3, students practice different types of context clues (definition/explanation, restatement/synonym, contrast/antonym, comparison, cause and effect, and inference/general) to determine the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases. In Read/Write/Discuss Complex Text, during Use Context Clues to Learn New Vocabulary students identify new vocabulary and use context clues to figure out synonyms. The teacher asks: “Context Clues: What might this word/phrase mean? What in the text supports your answer? Synonym Check: What is a good synonym for this word? Reread the sentence, replacing the unknown word with your synonym. Does this change the meaning of the sentence? Why or why not? Analysis: Why do you think the author chose this word/phrase instead of __(synonym)__?” In Readers’ Workshop, students independently read with the Set Focus to flag at least one new word they want to learn and share. In Accountable Talk, students explain how they figured out the meaning of a new word from their reading.

In the Literacy Lab, Week 3: Days 4-5, students practice analyzing word parts. In the CCSS Mini-Lesson R.4/L.4, the teacher introduces and reviews looking at word parts. The teacher explains affix and root. Students demonstrate using word parts to determine meaning. During Read/Discuss Complex Text, students are to practice noticing new vocabulary and word parts for making meaning based on the Core Novel or Core Informational Text). Students also use word parts to learn new vocabulary. In Readers’ Workshop, students’ Set Focus is to flag at least one new word to learn and share. In Accountable Talk, students explain how to figure out the meaning of a new word during reading.

In the Vocabulary Best Practices, the Literacy Lab instructs the teacher to put up a Word Analysis Chart in the room. The chart contains commonly-used prefixes, suffixes, and roots, which will help students figure out word meanings. The teacher is also directed to post and hand out copies of high-leverage roots that students should learn. The lists can come from the Black Independent Reading Level (4.00-4.99) or Orange Independent Reading Level (5.00-5.99). Examples of roots on the Black Independent Reading Level are: act, rupt, vol. Examples of roots on the Orange Independent Reading Level include: eco, grad, schem. Students in the Black Independent Reading Level (Grade Level Equivalency 4.00-4.99) have to determine the meaning of 3-5 words and/or phrases.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for providing students frequent opportunities to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, as well as to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression. Students have multiple opportunities to silently read on-level texts. Opportunities to orally read grade-level text are in partner reading. Instruction of accuracy, rate, and expression are not modeled and explicitly taught to Grade 4 students.

All units include opportunities for independent reading. Students read silently from self-selected books. During Readers’ Workshop, students build stamina to read 15-30 minutes each day during Independent Reading time.

There are potential opportunities for students to read orally with a partner. The directions do not explicitly state that students should read orally. For example, in the Literacy Lab Grades 4-5, Day 3 Lesson Focus: Literature Text Features, there is a time to have students participate in a second read of the core text. “Students return to the text as they work with partners to answer each question.” No explicit directions suggest students should read orally with the partner.

The teacher can use the Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) to assess students’ accuracy, appropriate rate, and fluency. The teacher can also document students’ fluency and ability to read text comfortably, with confidence, purpose, and understanding in the Black foundational skills assessment. The materials do not provide teachers with direction as to how to use the assessment to teach students how to purposely practice accuracy, rate, and expression.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening through comprehensive texts sets organized around grade-appropriate topics. Students engage in developmentally-appropriate research as they build and demonstrate knowledge and skills in tasks that integrate all areas of ELA.

Criterion 2a - 2h

32/32
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Units and corresponding text sets are organized around specific topics and guiding questions to build student knowledge. There is a wide variety and volume of motivating content and Lexile levels from which students can choose topics of interest related to the unit.

Students engage in analyzing parts of texts often for class discussion, supported by questions and tasks that require them to draw on textual evidence to support their answers. Culminating tasks give students the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics as well as mastery of several different standards across all areas of ELA.

Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials and call on students to think about the meaning of words.

Students are supported through the writing process, and various activities are placed throughout units to ensure students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year as well as to develop their stamina and a positive attitude about writing. Students examine and identify a range of text structures, and they are guided to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing. At the end of each unit, students produce, present, and publish writing pieces as part of a final project.

Units are designed for students to act as researchers to gather details or ideas from texts throughout the unit to build a body of evidence for the culminating task.

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for texts organized around topics to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently. Each unit and the texts within as well as boxed text sets are organized around specific topics and guiding questions to build student knowledge around topics such as survival in nature, animal adaptations, mystery, and the United States.

Teachers can also utilize read alouds and boxed sets (Hook Books, 100 Book Challenge, thematic sets) that are labeled according to the publisher’s self-determined readability levels (IRLA) and organized by topic. Teachers can also access thematic text sets organized around topics in life science, physical science, world history, geography, American history, and literary genres that provide differentiated reading practice.

Topics for each unit include:

  • Unit 1: ARC Literacy Lab: A Community of Readers and Writers: As a class, read and discuss at least two related grade-level texts, one literature and one informational. Take at least two pieces of writing through to publication.
  • Unit 2: Research Lab: Animal Adaptations: Each student will become an expert on one wild animal. Each student researches a topic of his/ her choice and publishes a final project.
  • Unit 3: Research Lab: Mystery: Students will read, analyze, and write about one grade-level novel in this genre as part of a whole class intellectual community. Students also read multiple books in the genre on his/her own (at any level, from the Genre Library or elsewhere) and write four very short essays (constructed responses) and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre. Finally students write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre.
  • Unit 4: Research Lab: U.S. States: Each student will become an expert on one state. Each student researches a topic of his/ her choice and publishes a final project.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.

Throughout the units, students independently and in pairs complete questions and tasks that require analysis of individual texts. Examples of sets of questions found in the instructional materials include the following:

  • In Unit 1, Week 6, students are asked, “Show your partner an example of strong, interesting, beautiful language. Why do you think the author chose this word instead of other synonyms?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 4, students are asked, “What is Lambeth’s main idea in Use It, Then Lose It, and what details does she use to support it? Write in paragraph form and use text evidence to support your answer.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students are asked, “What is a theme/message of this text? What key details (story elements) does the author use to communicate this theme/message?”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, students are asked, “How does this compare to what you already knew/thought about ___? How does this relate to what other authors have written about ___?”

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

In Unit 1, Week 6, Day 1 students, “Analyze the Structure in Self-Selected Text Set Focus: Read informational texts. Locate an example of the Elements of Argument structure. Is it actually an argument? Why or why not? Teacher Work: Begin small-group lessons for groups of 1-4 students who have the same Power Goal. Accountable Talk: Show your partner an example of the Elements of Argument structure. Is it actually an argument? Why or why not?”

In Unit 2, the beginning of the teacher materials that accompany the research lab provides a text-dependent question sheet for each text that has a “Going Deeper” and “Compare and Synthesize Across Texts” section. In Week 2, Day 1 teachers are given the questions stems of, “How does this compare to what you already knew/thought about...? How does this relate to what other authors have written about...?” during the lesson wrap up.

Unit 3 takes students through a novel study in which they focus on plot, character, setting, and theme. In Week 1, Day 4, students practice identifying and describing plot in a variety of texts in this genre. They also begin to generalize about plot in this genre.

Research Labs for Units 2- 4 take students through a series of Research Questions (RQ) that at times ask students to analyze information from several texts. In Week 1, Day 1 students are given the prompt, “Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.”

In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 4 when discussing how the author point of view and purpose shapes a text, the Teacher’s Edition states, “It is easiest to see how an author’s point of view or purpose might have shaped his/her text when you compare two texts on the same topic. Have students work together to compare and contrast the information, presentation, and language of two texts by different authors on the same topic (these can be the same texts used on Day 2 of this week). Ask them to analyze how these choices change the way the reader receives the information/topic and to speculate on how each author’s point of view or purpose might have influenced the choices s/he made.”

Other examples of text-dependent questions and tasks that support this indicator include:

  • In Unit 1, students are asked, “ What did the author say? Why did s/he say it? How did s/he say it? How did it affect me? What new knowledge did I get from this? What questions do I have? What confused me? What did I love/hate?”
  • In Unit 2, students read What is Adaptation, by Richard Spilsbury and answer the “Compare and Synthesize Across Texts” question for “Look back to 'Under the Ice.' Describe the Weddell seal’s behavior and explain how these adaptations help it survive.”
  • In Unit 2, students read Life of a Puffin, by Robin Byerly and Use It, Then Lose It, by Ellen Lambeth. Students complete this task: “According to this text, what physical adaptation do all baby birds have? Why is this adaptation important? Give evidence from the text to support your answer."
  • In Unit 3, students read a mystery and analyze the plot by completing the “Plot Lines of Dialogue” graphic organizer.
  • In Unit 3, students answer the following question about their novel: “What might be the author’s position/lesson about this topic? How does the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist convey this theme/message?”
  • In Unit 4, students compare previously read texts to answer the following question: “How does this relate to what other authors have written about...?” This question is generalized to be used across other texts and grade levels.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills (e.g., combination of reading, writing, speaking, and listening).

Within the materials, students have the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics through completion of culminating tasks and/or final projects. Students are asked to produce work that shows mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) at the appropriate grade level throughout their thematic units of study.

  • In Unit 1, students explore how to create a written response to answer key, standards questions. A piece of the culminating project includes providing a proficient answer to the key question.
  • In Unit 1, students examine nuances in word meanings in the core text which includes answering questions such as, “Where does the author use a particularly strong, interesting, or beautiful word? What are some synonyms for this word?” and “Why do you think the author chose this word instead of the other options?” Students then review their own argument piece of writing, which is a part of the culminating task, and revise the language.
  • In Unit 2, students research information pertaining to an endangered animal’s behavior, physical characteristics, biome, food web, and life cycle to be able to create a research project about the endangered animal as part of the unit’s culminating task.
  • In Unit 2, the teacher models how to draft text-based features that should be included in their informational books as part of the final project.
  • In Unit 3, students add ideas to a story elements chart in order to be able to write and publish a short story as part of the final project.
  • In Unit 3, students examine an author’s writing style and are told to” write something in which they attempt to mimic the techniques and style they just analyzed” to increase their writing abilities.
  • In Unit 4, students are introduced to the element of argument through discussion and culminate the unit with the creation of an opinion piece on their researched topic.
  • In Unit 4, the teacher models how to reread writing for areas to clarify and how to add an analogy to make the piece more plausible. Students add analogies to their opinion pieces that are a part of the culminating task.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Opportunities to build vocabulary are found throughout the instructional materials. For example, in Unit 2, the teacher’s edition provides suggested vocabulary and tasks for the student exemplar text packet.

Vocabulary instruction calls for students to think about the meaning of words. Definitions are provided in student-friendly language, and word meanings are taught with examples related to the text as well as examples from other, more familiar contexts.

  • In Unit 1, students identify new vocabulary and flag at least one new word that they want to learn and share.
  • In Unit 2, students explore the term eventually and respond to the following questions: “What does eventually mean? What in the text supports your answer? Why is this word important to this text?"
  • In Unit 3, students study word choice and respond to the following questions: “Who found an especially effective example of a powerful noun/verb/descriptor/technical vocabulary? What does this word mean? Why is it a better choice than __(everyday/more common synonym)__?”
  • In Unit 4, students are shown how they will use a class glossary to identify, define, and correctly use new words as the teacher says the following: “As we research, we will encounter new vocabulary words. Words that are specific to our Unit and help us become experts on our Unit are called technical vocabulary words. You will each be responsible for being able to define and correctly use these terms. Today as we read, I noticed the word _____. I think this word is important in understanding __(In Unit)__. I’m going to add this word to our class glossary.”

Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation for materials supporting students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year. Students are supported through the writing process and various activities are placed throughout units to ensure students' writing skills are increasing throughout the year.

Students are encouraged to develop stamina and a positive attitude towards and writing by writing daily and for various purposes. They engage in activities that include reading and discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write, examine and identify a range of text structures, and they are guided to assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing. At the end of each unit, students produce, present, and publish writing pieces as part of a final project.

  • In Unit 1, students explore theme and poetry and write a poem that communicates the same theme as the core novel.
  • In Unit 2, students begin to go through the writing process and start drafting their books. They are told that by the end of this week, they will need to have a complete draft of their final project. They are told that next week, they will revise and edit the entire draft to make it the best informational text they’ve ever written.
  • In Unit 3, students are guided through the writing process and do a "quick write” of a first draft of an essay. They are told the following: “We will write multiple drafts, so do not worry about perfection. If you get stuck, draw a line and keep going.”
  • In Unit 4, teachers coach students as they write bibliographies.

The daily literacy block includes a 20 to 60 minute writing segment. The teacher models how the day’s focus will be applied to writing, and students are provided time to practice while the teacher confers with students in one to one conferences or small groups to provide coaching and feedback. By the end of each unit, students will have practiced writing in a variety of genres, both in and out of context. Additionally, they will take a fiction piece and informational piece of writing to publication.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

Units are designed for students to act as researchers and to gather details or ideas from texts throughout the unit to build a body of evidence for the culminating task. For these tasks, students select a topic and spend about nine weeks reading, writing, and speaking about their topic. By the end of each unit, students write and publish an informational book or other project demonstrating their increased knowledge about their selected topic. Students are provided with daily independent reading, research, and discussion times for about 20 to 40 minutes. Additionally, students engage in research writing daily for about 20 to 40 minutes and write about what they are reading.

  • In Unit 2, students will read an exemplar pack and many high quality nonfiction books, all within their Reading Zone. Students will become an expert on one animal species, learning its behavior, physical characteristics, life cycle, and much more. After researching an animal’s adaptations, students will create final projects to share their knowledge.
  • In Unit 3, students read, analyze, and write about one novel in this genre with the class. They read many books in the genre on their own, write four constructed responses and one longer literary essay analyzing multiple texts in this genre, and write and publish a short story/picture book in the genre.
  • In Unit 4, students look closely at an individual state, discovering the characteristics that make it unique from other states in the region and other states across the In United States. They investigate the state’s geography, its government, its people, its economic contributions, and its history, including which Native American nations first lived in the region that became this state. Each student chooses a U.S. state to research in depth.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Lessons require daily independent readings of text and tasks that reflect student accountability.

The 100 Book Challenge is an “instructional system” that addresses independent reading done in and out of school. Students select from a library of leveled readers and select texts of their choice in school to read daily (“eye on the page” independent reading) for fifteen to thirty minutes (any book counts for 100 Book Challenge reading). The goal of the 100 Book Challenge is for every student to have 800 steps a year: 60 minutes a day/200 days a year (1 step is equal to 15 minutes of reading). A “Home Coach” is provided (parent, guardian, or older sibling) to monitor reading done at home. Additionally, skill cards are provided to the “Home Coach” to support students. Each unit also provides students with reading logs to record their class and independent reading as well as track their reading levels and growth.

In Unit 1, a guide/instructions for the teacher to hold students accountable for daily independent reading is included: “Introduce the Rules for Independent Reading Anchor Chart. There are 3 rules for our reading time. The first rule is READ. The second rule is READ. And the third rule is…(students will supply, READ). And there is only one answer to any of your questions: May I go to the bathroom? May I get another book? May I ask you a question? May I switch books with Mary? Would you help me with this word? NO.”

In Unit 2, students complete a daily reading log sheet at home and parents sign the reading log sheet to verify that students read at home: “ATTENTION HOME COACHES: Please sign only if you heard or saw the student reading. 1 Step=15 minutes of reading."

In Unit 3, daily reading activities include, “1. Pre-Reading. Establish Today’s Learning Goal. By the end of today, each of you will be able to... introduce key concepts when necessary and introduce any key vocabulary, concepts, or thought processes required that are not taught by the text. 2. Read Text. Use a combination of teacher read alouds, partner reading, and/or independent reading as appropriate to the text and your students’ current abilities. 3. Discuss Literary Analysis, Text-Dependent Questions, Academic Vocabulary Work, Repeated Close Reading. Students participate in intellectual discourse around the text, genre, and Focus Standards.

Gateway Three

Usability

Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway Three Details

Overall, the materials provide good structural support and consistent routines. Use of technology is encouraged, but supplemental support may be needed for students for whom English is a new language and students or teachers with limited technology skills or adaptive needs. Materials provide evidence of connections between the parts of the program, the assessments, and the college and career-ready standards.

Criterion 3a - 3e

null
8/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Grade 4 materials are well designed, taking into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The 4 units and 36 weeks of instruction provide flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed while still being able to complete the materials within a normal school year. Materials are well-aligned to the standards and provide documentation for that alignment. Student resources are clear, well-designed, correctly labeled and do not distract from the lessons. There is adequate support for all included resources.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

The year is divided into 4 Units of Study. The Literacy Lab is a 6 week unit of study, while the 3 Research Labs are 9 week Units. Each lesson is broken up into a suggested 90-120 minute reading blocks.

Each week of the Literacy Lab instruction has weekly goals for standards-based instruction, reading culture, and IRLA coaching. There is a teacher checklist for the week to help measure success. Focus Standards are listed for each week as well as an overview of the daily lesson plans. Each Lesson contains an overview of the key objectives, teacher work, and student work for each part of the literacy block. Daily lesson plans have a two column format. This provides detailed support for how to teach each part of the literacy block. During Week 1 there is a day by day detailed instruction, after that there is a framework in the following weeks. There is a lesson ticker at the top of the pages to show where you are in the lesson. Blackline masters that will be needed for each lesson are found at the end of each lesson. Literacy Lab lessons include a CCSS Mini-Lesson, Read-Discuss Complex Text-Readers’ Workshop, Writing, Read-Aloud, and Reflection. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

Each Week of Research Labs instruction includes goals for expertise, reading, writing, vocabulary, art, and final projects. A unit introduction and research questions help to establish the unit. All graphic organizers and blackline masters can be found within the unit’s opening pages of the unit. There are weekly overview calendars and every lesson includes three parts: Read Complex Text, Independent Reading, and Writing. Standards are listed at the beginning of each week, as well as in the daily learning goals. Each daily lesson plan has two columns with teaching notes, suggested answers, and guided tips. Suggested times are given both at the beginning of the unit in a pacing guide and also in the ticker that runs across lessons.

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed meet the expectations that the teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.There are 165 lessons provided, broken into four units. This will allow flexibility for teachers to adjust lessons as needed.

The Teacher’s Guide states, “Our curriculum is a FRAMEWORK, not a script. What should students argue about while they study the Civil War? What lessons should they take away from a study of Science Fiction? It depends. It depends on the children in your classroom. It depends on you. There is no perfect script that will work for all personalities and all classrooms. Instead, we give you a highly structured framework that works in general from which you will need to create the version that works for you, in your district, in your school, in your classroom, with your students.”

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that the student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).

Materials provide review and practice resources such as, note catchers, reference charts, anchor charts, checklists, graphic organizers, rubrics, and blackline masters.

Student resources include clear explanations and directions. Activities that are completed with teacher guidance have directions included in the teacher lesson plan notes. Resources that are completed independently or in small groups without direct teacher guidance include clear directions and explanations so that the task can be completed. Examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 3 students are provided with and complete a final project organizer.
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 4 students are provided with an organizer to compare two texts on the same topic.

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

Instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the criteria that materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.

Each day standards are listed at the beginning of the lesson and often referenced in the daily Learning Goal.

For Example, in Unit 2, Week 3, Day 2 students are reading and discussing complex text while discussing the difference between Topic and Main Idea and working toward meeting RI.4.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text. A rubric on page 99 supports the teacher in quickly assessing if students are able to differentiate between the topic and main idea as well as recognizing the key ideas in the passage as taught and practiced throughout the lesson.

Standards are also listed on student facing blackline masters and handouts, organizers, elements of genre cards, common core mini-lessons, rubrics, writing tasks and extended writings.

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 contain visual design (whether in print or digital) that is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

The material design is simple and consistent. Units are comprised of materials that display a simple design and include adequate space. The font, size, margins, and spacing are consistent and readable. Units include graphic organizers, charts, worksheets, tables and other blackline masters that are easy to read and understand. There are no distracting images, and the layout of the student consumables is clear and concise.

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
7/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The Teacher edition contains many useful annotations and suggestions to support teachers who may not be as familiar with the material or content, however there are places in the materials where additional support for the teacher, particularly for students who are not responding to specific aspects of instruction would be helpful.

Abundant educative materials are included in the program to support teachers’ professional learning, including outlines for Professional Learning Communities. Additionally, the materials clearly define the role of research in the development and improvement of the program, and consistently delineates research-based best practices and the source of those practices for teachers who wish to learn more on the topic.

The role of the standards in the materials is well-defined and aligned to college and career ready standards.

There is a clear plan for engaging all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers in the goals and work of the program.

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials.

There are places throughout the materials where explicit teacher directions are present and accompanied by additional support for teachers who may need additional help in presenting the materials. For example, in Unit 3, Week 2, Day 4, the teacher is instructed to have the students engage in discussion groups or a whole class literacy debate on the topic: Which supporting character is most important to this novel? Why? The text suggests the following possible structures with additional support:

"Debate Game Structures The following are suggestions, ideas, and resources to help you design a debate experience that will work best for your students. Whatever structure you choose, remember to keep the focus on engaging students in the critical thinking skills of asserting an opinion and justifying that opinion with convincing, credible evidence. Don’t allow the structure to bog down this work.

  • I Couldn’t Disagree More A student/group stands and states his/her/ their opinion. Another student stands and disagrees using reasons to support why they disagree. A third student then stands and decides who is more convincing and why. The game then starts over with a new student.
  • Alley Debate Organize students into two lines with space, or an “alley,” in between. Assign each line a position on a topic. Alternating lines, students give reasons/evidence to support their side. The teacher stands in the middle of the “alley” and moves one step closer to the side whose reason is more convincing. Whichever side the teacher is closer to by the time the last student speaks is the winning side.
  • Four Corners One student presents an argument, piece by piece. Students listen and move based on the strength of each piece of the student’s argument to one of four corners: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. Stationary Variation: Students hold four cards (e.g., green, light green, orange, red) and hold up a card instead of moving
  • Fishbowl Debate Debaters sit center stage (in a “fishbowl”); other students observe from outside the fishbowl. They are the judges that keep a running tally of points introduced by each side."

Annotations and suggestions are presented within the Literacy Lab and Research Lab Teacher Editions. These annotations and suggestions present the structure of the lesson; however, some teachers may need more support and guidance with presenting material. For example, in Unit 2, Week 2, on Day 1, during a Close Reading of Informational Text, the Teacher’s Edition states, “Select a rich passage from the Central Text that will build students’ knowledge of the key Science or Social Studies concepts at the heart of today’s Research Question. The class will read and re-read this selection over the course of the next two days, so select a passage (or set of passages) that is worth the time and attention. Read the text in appropriate chunks (1–2 pages at most). First Read: Experience Connected Text Read the text without interruptions. Interject with a quick one or two-sentence aside only when necessary to avoid a major misunderstanding.” Teachers may need more guidance on what a rich passage from the Central Text would need to have in order for students to be able to discuss with a partner the main idea of the text. Also, there is no guidance about what types of information teachers should be interjecting in the asides to help students determine what the author is saying.

During Research Labs, the Teacher Work section gives an overview of what the teacher should be doing, for example, In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, the Teacher Edition asks teachers to, “Monitor for Engagement: Ensure all students are on task. Formative Assessment/Writing Coach: Check for Understanding: Observe students as they write. Make sure students are making adequate progress. Share Good Examples: As you locate great examples in students’ work, point them out to the class.” Teachers may need more guidance as to what would constitute adequate progress at that point in the unit as well as what a great example might look like.

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet expectations that materials contain a teacher’s edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

The Literacy and Research Lab Teacher Editions include notes that give adult-level explanations and examples. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, “Prevent Frustration and Failure: Only topics with enough information in the Research Library should be approved. Don’t assign topics to students. Allowing them to choose is their first step toward real engagement in the materials. Don’t allow students to choose topics that:
  • Don’t have enough books at their reading success levels. Although the Research Library is only the start of the research materials students might use (other texts, the internet, etc.), it will be difficult to have a student productively engaged in 15–30 minutes of Independent Reading each day without at least some resources from the Research Library. Also, it is particularly difficult to locate good resources outside the Library which will work for struggling readers. Struggling readers will need to build background knowledge and vocabulary from the easier Research Library books before they will be able to work productively with independent research in the kinds of harder texts most often available in libraries and online.
  • Don’t fit the assignment; For example, if the recommended subtopic is a wild animal, don’t let students pick a habitat to research. All of the Research Questions and graphic organizers are structured to provide content and research scaffolds based around the assigned type of research topic. These scaffolds support the success of both whole-group instruction and independent work. If you allow students to select other types of topics, you may end up with a lot more work for yourself.
  • Require the student to work exclusively on his/her own."
  • In Unit 3, Week 5, Day 3, “Answering Questions: The Parts of an Essay A typical essay contains many different kinds of information, often located in specialized parts or sections. Even short essays perform several different operations: introducing the argument, analyzing data, raising counterarguments, concluding. Introductions and conclusions have fixed places, but other parts don’t. It’s helpful to think of the different essay sections as answering a series of questions your reader might ask when encountering your thesis. (Readers should have questions. If they don’t, your thesis is most likely simply an observation of fact, not an arguable claim.) “What?” The first question to anticipate from a reader is “what?”: What evidence shows that the phenomenon described by your thesis is true? To answer the question, you must examine your evidence, thus demonstrating the truth of your claim. This “what” or “demonstration” section comes early in the essay, often directly after the introduction. Since you’re essentially reporting what you’ve observed, this is the part you might have most to say about when you first start writing. But be forewarned: it shouldn’t take up much more than a third (often much less) of your finished essay. If it does, the essay will lack balance and may read as mere summary or description. “How?” A reader will also want to know whether the claims of the thesis are true in all cases. The corresponding question is “how?”: How does the thesis stand up to the challenge of a counterargument? How does the introduction of new material—a new way of looking at the evidence, another set of sources—affect the claims you’re making? Typically, an essay will include at least one “how” section. (Call it “complication” since you’re responding to a reader’s complicating questions.) This section usually comes after the “what,” but keep in mind that an essay may complicate its argument several times depending on its length, and that counterargument alone may appear just about anywhere in an essay. “Why?” Your reader will also want to know what’s at stake in your claim: Why does your interpretation of a phenomenon matter to anyone beside you? This question addresses the larger implications of your thesis. It allows your readers to understand your essay within a larger context. In answering “why,” your essay explains its own significance. Although you might gesture at this question in your introduction, the fullest answer to it properly belongs at your essay’s end. If you leave it out, your readers will experience your essay as unfinished—or, worse, as pointless or insular. —Elizabeth Abrams for the Writing Center at Harvard University, ©2000

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials contain a teacher’s edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum. Standards are addressed throughout the front material of each Literacy and Research lab. The Teacher Editions explain the role of the specific ELA/Literacy standards and how they shaped the reviewed curriculum.

For example, in Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “The books in the Research Lab Libraries are leveled and organized by IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment) levels. The IRLA is a color-coded Developmental Reading Taxonomy that integrates Common Core State Standards for reading acquisition with a deep knowledge of the demands of literature and informational text for students, grades PreK through 12. Each book’s IRLA level is a result of multiple reading experts independently assessing the specific combination of quantitative, qualitative, and reader/task challenges presented by that title.”

The Teacher Edition also include Standards Mini Lessons which give explanations of what the teacher work looks like based on the standard being taught. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5 the Teacher Edition states, “Genre as a Support Student Work: Use genre to predict the content of a new TV show/movie/video game. Teacher Work: Introduce/review how genre is a clue to meaning. Texts within a genre share commonalities in literary elements (e.g., characters, settings, plot, themes), structures, and/or craft (e.g., language choices). These “rules”/consistencies/generalizations, help readers familiar with the genre know what to expect/tolerate and how to make meaning in the genre (e.g., tolerating uncertainty in Fantasy, distinguishing between fact and fiction in Historical Fiction, etc.). Student Work: What genre is our Core Novel? Why does it matter?”

In Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “The Research Lab Units of Study integrate the 3 Shifts and the CCSS into teacher's’ daily practice. Teachers provide grade-level rigor through the use of complex text, grade-level ELA CCSS and Science/Social Studies content, and academic vocabulary. Leveled libraries of informational text and a carefully structured project-based learning format provide the differentiated support needed to ensure that every student is successful. Phase I: Content Area Research includes,

  • 1. Teachers use close reading of complex text to teach the core content of a Science or Social Studies Unit, national/state content area standards, and gradelevel Common Core State Standards.
  • 2. Students develop expertise on a specific Research Topic within the Science or Social Studies Unit through daily research in informational texts.
  • 3. Students practice reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence in order to produce a final written product demonstrating their expertise in both the Unit and their individual Research Topics.

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.The front material of each Research Lab includes multiple citations and explanations of instructional approaches. Research based strategies are included throughout the program in lesson sidebars. There are also a Research Lab works Cited/Consulted pages that lists all research materials cited or consulted for the program.

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

Each Research Lab Unit includes parent letter templates that are sent home to inform caregivers about what students are learning and how they can help support student progress. For example in Unit 2, the parent letter includes, “...By the end of the unit, your child will be able to say to you, “Ask me ANYthing about my animal.” You will be impressed with your child’s newfound knowledge and excitement about life science. You will also see improvements in reading, writing, and vocabulary development as your child prowls through the exciting world of animal adaptations. Independent reading and discovery during this unit will set your child on his/her way to becoming a lifelong, self-sufficient learner. Thanks for helping your child have a fantastic learning experience! ”

It is also suggested that parents and caregivers be included in class presentations. For example in Unit 4, the Teacher Edition states, “This can be as simple as sharing with their partner or as formal as organizing an event to which parents and/or community members are invited as the audience. The following ideas are only to get you thinking.”

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
7/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. Most assessments clearly denote their alignment to the standards. Further, the materials provide good guidance for teachers to determine student performance and implications for instruction. Independent reading is clearly a strong and present focus throughout the materials, with emphasis on helping students to select books of interest and to engage in experiences that build stamina, confidence, and motivation. Students are accountable for their independent reading, supported by strong communication with their families or caregivers for supporting students in their independent reading.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.

The materials use the IRLA Conferencing & Formative Assessment Independent Reading Levels & Student-Teacher Conferences to consistently assess student progress. The Teacher Edition states, “The IRLA is used to determine, monitor, and research the full continuum of each student’s reading spectrum, from independent to instructional to frustration levels. Teachers’ careful research of their students’ reading competencies, by means of the IRLA, allows them to determine just what skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using the full range of instructional formats (e.g., whole-group, small-group, one-on-one), documenting success and progress in the IRLA. The skills/strategies taught may be essential for enhancement of the student’s current reading level, or they may prepare him for the next. The goal of all reading instruction is to produce successful independent readers; therefore, all of this work is designed to advance the students’ independent levels.”

Teachers are provided with checklists, rubrics, notetakers, protocols for conferencing, and student exemplars. There are pre and post assessments, writing rubrics, and assessment guides. Students are constantly assessed with immediate feedback given through student and teacher conferencing.

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations that assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. Daily formative assessments are connected to the daily lessons include the standards being emphasized for the day's lessons at the beginning of the lesson. Some rubrics, such as the CCSS R.2 Rubric for a Literature Plot Summary include the standard being addressed. However during the Research Lab Pre and Post Assessments there are no standards denoted. There are also rubrics such as the Final Project Rubrics that do not denote the standards being emphasized.

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up. Teachers are often directed to conference with students during small group time.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment ( IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance.

Teachers are prompted to use the formative assessment protocol and questions throughout daily lessons, examples include, but are not limited to,

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, One-on-One Conferences, Once students are making adequate progress in their research, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with R.2. Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re) teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, Observe as students write/discuss to identify gaps in content knowledge or text comprehension. Use what you learn to inform your instruction. Document, Record evidence and observations for individual students.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Formative Assessment, 1-on-1 Conferences, Once students are making adequate progress in their research, check individual students to assess their current proficiency with RI.6. What do you think is the author’s purpose is for writing this book? What makes you think that? Look for patterns in students’ misconceptions. Where should you (re)teach to everyone? Pull a small group?”

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation that materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress. The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Final projects are presented to the class, a rubric is used to help teachers interpret student performance. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily.

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.

Independent Reading is built into every daily lesson during Reading Workshop. Students build stamina in early units to read 15-30 minutes daily. Students are held accountable in many ways, including accountability talks with partner, groups, and whole class, as well as individual check-ins with the teacher. Rules for independent reading are presented on a class chart and posted in the classroom.

Students are given a focus to think about as they read independently, for Example in Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, the Teacher Edition states, “Set Focus, Read to learn more about your topic and today’s Research Question. Ask students to find and flag information they will want to add to their FPOs. 2. Independent Reading, Students read for 15–30 minutes from self-selected Research Lab books on their topics.” Students share answers to Focus with a partner and share out to class after independent reading and writing. The teacher uses Accountable Talk to inform instructional decisions.

The 100 Book Challenge Library rotates weekly or biweekly. Students are encouraged to read whatever they want. Students complete a Reading Survey and are provided with a Reading Level Checklist that helps them to determine if a text is too hard, too easy, or in the Reading Zone. In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, the Teacher Edition states, “Student Work: Read from self-selected books, building stamina towards 15-30 minutes of Independent Reading. Accountable Talk: What was the best book you read today? Why? Share a question you asked yourself while you read this book. What in the text made you wonder that? Were you able to answer your question? Why or why not?”

Teachers are given specific instruction on how to monitor, encourage, and redirect students. Teachers document student status daily, as engaged, compliant, resistant, or challenged. The Teacher Edition gives suggestions and follow up to keep students engaged during independent reading time.

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
8/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards, including opportunities for extensions and advanced learning. There are some explicit support within the materials for English Language Learners, however the bulk of instructional strategies falling into the same strategies applied for all students with the use of the IRLA.Flexible grouping strategies are used throughout the materials to facilitate student processing and discussion.

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectation that materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment ( IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards,while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectation that materials provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.

The Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. A chart of Common Blockers is provided for teachers to help provide follow-up for students who struggle at specific levels. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students use the 100 Book Challenge books to read at multiple levels, from below, at, and above their mastery levels. This provides students with opportunity to exceed grade level standards, while allowing those who need more time with at-level texts to reach grade-level standards.

Support for Language Learners can be found in lesson annotations, for example, in Unit 1, the Teacher Edition states, “Support for Language Learners, Find opportunities to support beginning English Language Learners with partners who speak the same native language. Encourage students to use their home language as a support for learning the new language. Speaking, reading, and writing in another language, even during ELA time, will only help, not hurt, students’ English language growth. If this is not possible, try to find these students partners who have previously had the experience of having to learn English or other students who are sensitive to the challenge of trying to learn new content in a new language.” Another example can be found in Unit 1, Week 3, Day 3 the Teacher Edition states, “Accommodating ELLs and Remedial Readers, Ideally all students do Independent Reading in the genre. However, it is paramount that students experience success-level reading: reading where their own skill base is self-extending (i.e., learning to be better readers by reading). When faced with the choice between having a student do his/her Independent Reading with success level books or with books in the genre that are too hard for her/him, choose success level first. “

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet requirements for regularly, including extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level. Extension activities are provided throughout the materials.

Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) is used to determine, monitor, and research a student's reading level. The teacher determines the skills and strategies each student has mastered and which he needs to learn next. Teachers then address those needs using whole-group, small-group, and one-on-one conferencing. Materials are provided for documenting student progress in the IRLA. Teachers are provided with reading level guides and formative assessment conferencing protocol that is used daily to monitor and interpret student performance. Teachers and students set Power Goals at the student’s level. There is guidance for teachers to assist students in reaching the goal set. Both small group and writing protocols and action plan documents are provided.. Every lesson includes specific formative assessment opportunities for teachers to monitor student progress. Teachers meet with students, monitor progress, and document student performance daily. Students are encouraged to choose books from the Book Boxes to reach beyond their reading levels. Students who complete a task early are often instructed to work with a peer to better help the peer understand the process.

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations of providing ample opportunities for teachers to use grouping strategies during lessons. Students work in pairs, small groups, as a whole group, and one on one with the teacher during Reading Workshop.

For example in Unit 3, Week 3, the Teacher Edition states, “Partner Share, Each partner takes one minute to share about the physical setting of his/ her book and themes/messages developed through this setting. What is the most important part of the physical setting of your novel? How does the author use this setting to communicate a theme/message ? What generalizations can you make about physical settings in this genre? What makes you think that? Discussion Group, Each group works together to identify one generalization about physical settings they want to share with the whole class. Did anyone find something in the informational books that helped you understand setting in this genre?”

Criterion 3s - 3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.
0/0

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), “platform neutral” (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices. Accessibility was tested on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an iPad. All access was successful.

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

While students regularly are invited to use technology to research topics, there is little explicit support for teachers to guide students in developing navigation skills for this area. The Teacher Edition notes that teachers should pull in help from librarians and other resources to help aid the use of technology.

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed meet the expectations that digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. The use of adaptive or other technological innovations is not present in materials.

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials can be easily customized for local use. Lessons are personalized for all learners through independent reading and Reader’s Workshop. There is also a Building Instruction of Units of Study section of the Teacher’s Edition that provides the framework for teachers to plan and build their own personalized units of study. Teachers are given autonomy for choosing the appropriate core text for their classrooms. Text-Based questions and tasks found throughout the units can be used across multiple texts. The Book Boxes can be customized to address local students’ needs.

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations that materials include or reference technology that provide opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g., websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.). Teachers and/or students collaboration using technology comes into the form of Publishing. For example, in Unit 4, Week 8 the Teacher Edition states, “Publishing: Decide how you want your students to publish their essays. The following ideas are only to get you thinking. Publishing Ideas, Formal essay (cover page, typed, bound, etc.), Blog entry, Class/school website, Submit to relevant periodical/newspaper, Class newspaper/periodical/journal/portfolio, PowerPoint, or Create a book.”

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 UTC 2018

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
IRLA Toolkit - CCSS - Black 978-1-63437-829-1 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCSS Version 8 978-1-63437-885-7 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017
IRLA CCS Version 8 Conference Notebook 978-1-63437-982-3 Copyright: 2017 American Reading Company 2017

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complement the rubrics by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

X