Alignment: Overall Summary

The materials for Fountas and Pinnell Classroom Grade 4 do not meet the expectations for alignment to the standards. Texts are of high quality but do not reflect the balance of text types called for in the standards. Texts partially meet the expectations for text complexity, though students may never grapple with grade-level text during the year. Texts may not demonstrate a progression in text complexity with appropriate scaffolds over the course of the year due to the variability of what is implemented. 

Questions and tasks, including speaking and writing tasks, used throughout the program, include some text-based options, however many do not require a return to the text to support answers in oral or written responses. Additionally, many of the discussion activities are labeled as optional and may be eliminated at the teacher’s discretion, thus reducing the volume of writing, speaking, and listening practice. 

Students have opportunities to engage in all writing types called for by the standards, however, there may be a span of several months between opportunities to engage in a particular writing type. Because of this, students do not have opportunities for robust evidence-based writing activities as called for in the standards. There is very limited grammar instruction provided in the program, and many of the standards are not addressed. The materials provide suggested activities with vocabulary instruction, but there is no explicit instruction of academic vocabulary and its usage after being introduced.

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis consistently over the course of the year. Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year; however, assessments do not clearly inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students progress toward mastery, and many assessments are optional.

Materials contain explicit instructions for systematic and repeated teacher modeling of all grade-level phonics standards. However, materials recommend that foundational skills lessons occur for 10 minutes each day, which may not provide sufficient time for students to receive explicit instruction to work towards mastery of newly learned foundational skills. Lessons provide teachers with systematic and repeated instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read each newly taught grade-level phonics pattern.

While some Guided Reading lessons include fluency, there is no guarantee that all students will have an opportunity to receive these lessons since they are not a part of core instruction. A fluency rubric is included, but there is not sufficient support for the use of the rubric, nor is there support for instructional adjustments to help students progress toward mastery of fluency. There is no evidence of students receiving instruction on using self-correction while reading.

Alignment

|

Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality and Complexity

0
20
37
42
17
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

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

Usability

|

Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
15
23
25
N/A
23-25
Meets Expectations
16-22
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality and Complexity and Alignment to the Standards with Tasks and Questions Grounded in Evidence

Does Not Meet Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The materials for Fountas and Pinnell Classroom Grade 4 do not meet the expectations for Gateway 1. Texts are of high quality but do not reflect the 50/50 balance of text types called for in the standards. Texts partially meet the expectations for text complexity as all anchor texts are read aloud to the students as a part of the Interactive Read-Alouds, therefore students may never grapple with grade-level text during the year. Texts may not demonstrate a progression in text complexity with appropriate scaffolds over the course of the year due to the variability of what is implemented. Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety and volume of reading over the course of the year. The materials provide some support for independent reading tracking and accountability. 

Questions and tasks used throughout the program include some text-based questions and prompts, including opportunities for evidence-based discussions, some may not require a return to the text to support answers in oral or written responses. Additionally, many of the discussion activities are labeled as optional and may be eliminated at the teacher’s discretion, thus reducing the volume of speaking and listening practice. While the materials provide some protocols for speaking and listening, they are largely focused on behavior and affective interchanges between students and may not provide a strong support system for evidence-based discussions. 

Students have opportunities to engage in all writing types called for by the standards, however, these types are not distributed across the school year and there may be a span of several months between opportunities to engage in a particular writing type. Because of this, students do not have opportunities for robust evidence-based writing activities as called for in the standards. There is very limited grammar instruction provided in the program, and many of the standards are not addressed. The materials provide suggested activities with vocabulary instruction, but there is no explicit instruction of academic vocabulary and its usage after being introduced. 

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis consistently over the course of the year. Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year; however, assessments do not clearly inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students progress toward mastery, and many assessments are optional.

Materials contain explicit instructions for systematic and repeated teacher modeling of all grade-level phonics standards. However, materials recommend that foundational skills lessons occur for 10 minutes each day, which may not provide sufficient time for students to receive explicit instruction to work towards mastery of newly learned foundational skills. Lessons provide teachers with systematic and repeated instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read each newly taught grade-level phonics pattern.

While some Guided Reading lessons include fluency, there is no guarantee that all students will have an opportunity to receive these lessons since they are not a part of core instruction. A fluency rubric is included, but there is not sufficient support for the use of the rubric, nor is there support for instructional adjustments to help students progress toward mastery of fluency. There is no evidence of students receiving instruction on using self-correction while reading.

Criterion 1a - 1e

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.

7/18
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The materials for Fountas and Pinnell Classroom Grade 4 do not meet the expectations of Criterion 1.1. Texts are of high quality, including many by published and award-winning authors, however, the text types included in the program do not reflect the 50/50 balance of text types called for in the standards. While the materials may include texts at the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level, all anchor texts are read aloud the students as a part of the Interactive Read-Alouds, therefore students may never grapple with grade-level text during the year. Texts may not increase in complexity across the year as the design of the program does not provide for appropriately complex grade-level anchor texts that assure students see a progression in text complexity with appropriate scaffolds over the course of the year. Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety and volume of reading over the course of the year. The materials provide some support for independent reading tracking and accountability.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of high quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests.

4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 meet the expectations for Indicator 1a. 

The Grade 4 materials include a variety of informational and literary texts that are of publishable quality. Anchor texts are found in Interactive Read-Alouds and Shared Readings. Materials include full-length, high-quality texts, including many published by award winning authors. Many texts include engaging pictures, colorful illustrations, character relationships and motives, and rich vocabulary. The range of topics are appealing and engaging to Grade 4 students. 

Anchor texts are of high-quality and consider a range of student interests, are well-crafted, content rich, and engage students at their grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Figuring Out Who You Are, students read La Mariposa by Francisco Jimenez. The realistic fiction story uses a “metaphor to symbolize a character’s transformation.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Telling a Story with Photos, students read Wolf Island by Nicholas Read. The nonfiction text uses real photographs of “wolves living in their natural habitat.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Author Study, students read A Million Fish...More or Less by Patricia C. McKissack. The realistic fiction story includes “detailed illustrations that enhance and extend comprehension.”

  • In the Reading Minilessons, Umbrella 1, students read The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a high interest book that features colorful illustrations and an engaging story. The text deals with a sensitive subject, segregation, in a manner that is appropriate and thought-provoking for students. 

  • In the Reading Minilessons, Umbrella 13, students read The Upside Down Boy/El Nino de cabeza by Juan Felipe Herrera. The text features parallel stories in Spanish and English. The engaging story features colorful figurative language highlighting the story of a young boy’s triumph over challenge. The fantasy element of the illustrations adds a visual appeal to the story.

  • In the Reading Minilessons, Umbrella 26, students read The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco. The literary text about a struggling student is of high interest to many students. The story is inspirational and has a universal theme of the importance of perseverance that will appeal to readers.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1b. 

The Grade 4 materials include Interactive Read-Aloud and Shared Reading that function as anchor texts texts, and these do not reflect a 50/50 balance of literary to informational texts. The Interactive Read-Aloud and Shared Reading texts are disproportionately literary. When considered together, they do not reflect a balance between informational and literary texts required by the standards. 

Materials partially reflect the distribution of text types/genres required by the grade level standards. Examples include:

  • Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Fairy Tales, Beauty and the Beast by Jan Brett

  • Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Poetry, On the Wing by David Elliott

  • Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Memoir, The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

  • Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Friendship, Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar, legend

  • Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Biography: Artists, Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter by Barbary Herkert 

  • Guided Reading, Lurking Deep Below Lake Monsters, no author, expository nonfiction

  • Book Club, Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival, by Janet Wyman Coleman, nonfiction

Anchor texts do not fully reflect a 50/50 balance of informational and literary texts. Examples include include:

  • Interactive Read-Aloud: 65% literary, 35% informational - 77 literary and 41 informational.

  • Shared Reading: 66% literary, 34% informational - 25 literary and 13 informational. 

  • Total: 65% literary, 35% informational

Indicator 1c

Core/Anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation should also include rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the criteria for Indicator 1c. 

The Grade 4 materials include suggested anchor texts that do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. The only core texts outlined are the Interactive Read-Alouds, which are read-aloud by the teacher and never read independently by students; therefore, it is possible for students to go through the year without ever independently reading a complex, grade-level text. Minilessons are tied to Interactive Read-Alouds and the skills acquired in those lessons are practiced using the students’ Independent Reading books. Additionally, due to the low complexity of the associated tasks, the texts are not sufficiently complex for Grade 4 students. 

Quantitative levels are provided for the Interactive Read-Aloud texts. Quantitative information is only provided for Independent Reading and Guided Reading texts. Materials include their own leveling system (The Fountas and Pinnell System), however, the levels are not included on the texts or lesson plans for the Interactive Read-Alouds. The Interactive Read-Aloud Lesson Folders include a qualitative rationale for each book in a section titled, About This Book, but it does not include a quantitative text complexity. The section includes the genre focus, how the book works, and important characteristics to notice or important text characteristics. The section does give additional information about the text characteristics, but does not provide text analysis. 

There are no formal qualitative rubrics present in the materials. There is no explanation of how the texts are associated with student tasks and no rationale for the purpose or placement of the texts at this grade level. Although not explicitly stated on the Interactive-Read Aloud cards, the materials direct teachers to refer to the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum to select appropriate learning goals for students. 

The methodology for placing students in texts for independent reading or for group instruction does not ensure students are reading complex text and may not provide adequate support for students to ensure adequate growth towards mastery of the standards for their grade level.

Most texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Examples include:

  • In the Reading MInilessons, no specific texts are provided. Teacher guidance from Reading Minilessons LA.U9.RML1 states that teachers use a familiar fiction book and provide direct instruction on how to identify the theme of a text. After teacher instruction, students read their Independent Reading book. After reading, the teacher asks which students read a fiction book and asks those students to think about the theme of their book to discuss with a partner. Students choose which book to read with no guidance, including any directive that the book should be fiction, so some students may not haver an opportunity to take part in the discussion.

  • Examples of texts that mostly fall within the appropriate quantitative complexity range are found in various Interactive Read-Alouds. While students listen to multiple texts, they do not have the opportunity to read the anchor texts independently. Additionally, the majority of associated tasks are low to moderate complexity and not consistently aligned to grade-level standards. Examples include but are not limited to: 

    • Ma Dear’s Aprons (800L) is a historical fiction text that takes place in the early 1900s. It is the story of an African American widow and mother who works hard on every day but Sunday. The book has an author’s note connecting the story to the author’s family experience. It has a straightforward story structure that is predictable through the days of the week. The characters, settings, and events reflect African American experiences through dialogue and behavior. Teacher choice of tasks include a shared writing of details that show the setting, creating a schedule of their family’s activities, or acting out a scene from the text. The tasks are of low complexity.

    • Action Jackson (760L) is a biography that tells about abstract artist Jackson Pollock and the way he worked while focusing on the time in his life when he created the painting, Number One, 1950. It features third-person narration while written in the present tense with dialogue and has some direct quotes. The concluding pages provide a more detailed biography, endnote, and a bibliography. The text is sparse and lyrical with many sensory descriptions. Teacher choice of tasks include an independent writing listing words to describe Jackson Pollock’s art and evidence to support the trait, discussing how sand art could have influenced Jackson Pollock’s art, or creating paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock. The tasks range from low complexity to moderately complex.

  • Examples of texts that are not at the appropriate complexity level are found in various Interactive Read-Alouds. While students listen to multiple texts, they do not have an opportunity to read the anchor texts independently. Examples include but are not limited to:

    • The Boy and the Whale (510L) is a realistic fiction text that includes a plot about a boy and his father who fish for a living. The story is based on real world events. The text includes colorful, vibrant illustrations, different font styles and sizes for emphasis, long and short sentences and narrative interspersed with dialogue. This text falls below the text complexity stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. Teacher choice of activities include an independent writing from the main character’s point of view, researching the characteristics of mammals, or illustrating story events. 

    • A Symphony of Whales (600L) is a realistic fiction text based on actual events near the Bering Strait from Alaska. It recounts events that led to a massive rescue of trapped beluga whales in the winter of 1984-1985. The book is told as a third-person narrative in chronological order. The description of the setting is enhanced by illustrations that show the darkness and black cold that mark winter in the far north. It also includes detailed descriptions of daily life and of the culture. This text falls below the text complexity stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. Teacher choices of tasks that accompany the text include a shared writing to create a short poem, shared reading interpreting the language of the text, or creating art. The choices include low complexity to moderately complex tasks. 

    • The Gold Threaded Dress (710L) is a chapter book with several subplots and multiple problems. The book contains well-developed characters who change over time. The text has varied sentence structures and complexities including sentence fragments. This text falls below the text complexity stretch Lexile band for Grades 4-5. Teacher choices of tasks that accompany the text include a paired writing based on the text, researching as a class, or creating an art project. The task choices range from low complexity to moderately complex.

Anchor/Core texts and series of texts connected to them are not accompanied by an accurate text complexity analysis and a rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

Indicator 1d

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year.

0/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the criteria for Indicator 1d. 

The Grade 4 materials provide suggested titles for Interactive Read-Aloud texts; however, very few of the Interactive Read-Aloud texts are above grade level complexity, despite being read aloud to students. The teacher has the option to use the suggested text as an anchor text or “use books that have similar characteristics.” The System Guide includes a suggested sequence of texts within text sets according to complexity levels by month. However, the System Guide also indicates that the Interactive Read-Aloud texts can be presented in a different order or mixed and matched to create new collections, meaning that not all students are exposed to more complex texts as the year progresses. Additionally, materials do not include grade-level anchor texts that provide all students opportunities to read independently, therefore, text complexity across the year will vary widely depending on the texts selected by the teacher and students according to their independent reading level. 

Materials provide scaffolds in Teacher Edition within lessons throughout the year, though they are the same for all text sets, and at times do not match the complexity of the text. The associated tasks include many of the same question stems at the end of the year that are modelled at the beginning of the year. The program suggests teachers use their preferred benchmark assessment to determine if students can move up in complexity levels in independent reading books. Therefore, teachers cannot assure a year’s worth of growth in complexity of student reading because a student could stay in the same text complexity all year. 

Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

The complexity of anchor texts students read/listen to do not provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, and may not provide an entire year’s worth of growth. 

  • In the System Guide, teacher directions state that the Interactive Read-Aloud texts can be presented in a different order or even mix and match to create new collections. Since the Reading Minilessons are connected to the Interactive Read-Aloud texts, the questions and tasks within the Minilessons can be sequenced in whatever way the teacher chooses. This does not support growth in complexity across the year. 

  • In the Reading Minilessons book, teacher directions state that in many Minilessons teachers will use books from several different text sets and they will see the same books used in more than one Umbrella: “Use these suggested mentor texts as examples in the minilessons in this umbrella or use books that have similar characteristics This does not show growth in complexity over the course of the year. Another example states that the mini lessons “in month eight, might draw on texts introduced earlier in the year.”

  • Students listen to and read a variety of texts throughout the year ranging in text complexity that are organized by theme and do not appear to be sequenced in a way that attends to a growth in complexity over the course of the school year. Very few Interactive Read-Aloud Texts are above grade level complexity, despite being read aloud to students. The suggested sequence for Grade 4 is:

    • The texts provided in Months 1-2, Text Set: Friendship: The Other Side (490L), Better Than You (640L), The Dunderhead (630L), Snook Alone (890L), Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India (600L). The complexity ranges from low to moderate complexity. Associated tasks are low to moderate.

    • The texts provided in Months 3-4, Text Set: Craft: Gecko (820L), Dingo (720L), Giant Squid (990L), and Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World (1040L). The complexity ranges from low to moderate complexity. Associated tasks are low to moderate.

    • The texts provided in Months 5-6, Text Set: Perseverance: Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship (550L), Strong to the Hoop (520L), King for a Day (600L), Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education (680L), and Barbed wire Baseball: How One Man Brought Hope to the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII (800L). The complexity ranges from low to moderate complexity. Associated tasks are low to moderate.

    • The texts provided in Months 7-8, Text Set: The Idea of Home: The Lotus Seed (810L), Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk (880L), Grandfather’s Journey (650L), My Name is Sangoel (550L). The complexity ranges from low to moderate complexity. Associated tasks are low to moderate.

As texts become more complex, appropriate scaffolds and/or materials are provided in the Teacher Edition (i.e., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings, skill lessons).

  • In various lessons, teachers provide the same question stems to support students throughout the year, such as “turn and talk” and “tell what you noticed.” For example, in Reading Minilesson LA.U4.RML1, students “turn and talk” about a book with a partner and, in Reading Minilesson LA.U22.RML8, students “turn and talk” about how a text fits the definition of a fairy tale by having romance and/or adventure. The same “turn and talk” strategy is used with no variation later in the year. 

  • In Reading Minilessons throughout the year, skills do not repeat; therefore, a gradual release of responsibility of a skill cannot be measured. 

  • In Reading Minilessons, the format is the same from the beginning of the year to the final Minilesson. Advanced scaffolds are not introduced, even with more complex texts. The Minilessons format includes: 

    • The teacher uses a previously read text and presents the skill. 

    • The teacher records the student observations on a chart. 

    • Students talk with a partner about the skill. 

    • The teacher summarizes the learning and directs the students to pay attention to determine if the skill is applicable in their Independent Reading for the day. 

    • After Independent Reading, the teacher asks students to share if the skill was present in their independent reading for the day.

Indicator 1e

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1e.

The Grade 4 materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety and volume of reading; however, teacher guidance and protocols to foster independence are limited. There is no provision to ensure that students are regularly engaged in reading grade-level text. While students do have access to a wide range and volume of texts, structures to establish and foster independence are not evident throughout the materials. Students listen to texts, read aloud together in groups, and read independently throughout the program. Students listen to texts in the Reading Minilessons and Interactive Read-Alouds. Students read independently in the Independent Reading program and Book Clubs. 

Accountability and tracking is limited to a downloadable reading log listing the title and author of the book and a check box to indicate completion of the text. No other method of accountability is present. Texts are not organized with built-in supports/scaffolds to foster independence because students and teachers can choose what to read within their assessed level at any time.

Instructional materials provide opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres to become independent readers at the grade level. Examples include:

  • Interactive Read-Alouds: In the System Guide, Suggested Time Frame for Literacy Opportunities, directions state that teachers read aloud to students each day from an Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set. The Interactive Read-Aloud text sets include four to six texts that are read aloud to the students. There are 25 text sets for Grade 4 for a total of 120 books, including both fiction and nonfiction genres.

  • Guided Reading: In the System Guide, Suggested Time Frames for Literacy Opportunities, directions state that the teacher meets with three to four Guided Reading groups each day. Each Guided Reading group is composed of students reading at approximately the same level. There are 200 guided reading titles available for Grade 4 spanning F&P Levels N-V. 

  • Book Clubs: Each student has read or listened to the same book prior to taking part in literature circle conversations about the book. Teacher guidance suggests that most students will be able to read the books independently, but that some students may need to have it facilitated by audio recording or another student reading it aloud. Book Clubs are suggested to be held once a month for 20-30 minute.

Instructional materials identify some opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading. Examples include:

  • The Interactive Read-Aloud Session lasts approximately 15 minutes at the start of the literacy block. There are 120 texts included that comprise 25 Interactive Read-Aloud Text Sets,

  • The Reading Minilessons last approximately 5-15 minutes. 

  • During the next 60-minute block of instructional time, students are engaged in one or more of the following:

    • Teacher-led Guided Reading Groups (20-25 minutes each). There are 200 Guided Reading Text titles included in the program. 

    • Book Clubs (20-25 minutes each) include 32 text titles organized into eight text sets. 

    • Individual conferences (3-5 minutes each). 

    • Students not involved in these groups take part in independent reading or write in a Reader’s Notebook. The lesson ends with a five minute Group Share.

  • The proposed schedule of independent reading is 45 minutes daily while the teacher conferences with students using Conferring Cards. There is not a set number of texts a student will read during independent reading due to the flexible nature of how leveled texts are assigned to students. There are no recommendations regarding the suggested number of texts students should be reading across each unit or the year as a whole. 

Teacher guidance is limited to foster independence for all readers (e.g., independent reading procedures, proposed schedule, tracking system for independent reading). Examples include:

  • In the System Guide, a general plan is provided for how to implement independent reading, but not a specific lesson plan. Directions suggest that teachers introduce students to independent reading through book talks, listen while individual students read a portion of a book, observe student’s control over their reading, and confer individually with students. The directions do not state how often these should take place. 

  • In Reading Minilesson 2, LA.U1.RML2, Share, directions state how independent reading is woven into lessons: “following independent reading time, gather students together in the meeting area to talk about their reading.” 

  • In the Reading Minilessons, Management Umbrella 3, Getting Started with Independent Reading, the following lessons are included: 

    • MGT.U3.RML1 focuses on how to work during independent reading time where students are provided guidance on how they will mostly read silently during silent reading time with some time spent conferencing and some spent writing. Writing about what they read is an optional activity. Suggestions are provided for students on how they might take notes on their thoughts as they read.

    • MGT.U3.RML2 focuses on different approaches students might use to choose a book to read.

    • MGT.U3.RML3 focuses on how students can determine if a book is on an appropriate level for them to read.

    • MGT.U3.RML4 focuses on reasons students may have for abandoning a book and when it is appropriate to do so.

    • MGT.U3.RML5 focuses on helping students understand how to keep their independent reading books and materials organized. 

  • Each Independent Reading book has a Conferring Card on different genres of fiction texts. They provide a brief introduction of the book, a summary for teachers who may not have read the book, and key characteristics of the book that the teacher may wish to focus on, general prompts that can be used with fiction texts, and academic vocabulary for teachers to begin using in conferring with students to build student experience with the academic language. Suggestions are provided in the System Guide to extend thinking beyond the book with a notation that it is optional and can be modified: "Occasionally you may want to encourage students to expand their thinking about the book through writing or drawing. Choose or modify a Writing About Reading prompt that would best support and extend a student's understanding of the text." 

  • In the System Guide, directions are provided for individual conferences and state that the teacher can have “brief conversations, between a young reader and an expert reader, [that] help you expand a student’s thinking about what makes a ‘good’ book.” Teachers use Conferring Cards during the conferences.

  • In the System Guide, directions state that when students discover a book they like, “point them to similar books in your classroom or school library to encourage more independent reading.” It also states that students should be allowed to choose books by topic of interest, not reading level: “Students read books of their choosing. Minilessons, brief conferences, and opportunities to share ideas support students’ learning.”

Criterion 1f - 1m

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

6/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Questions and tasks used throughout the program include some text-based questions and prompts, some may not require a return to the text to support answers in oral or written responses. While the materials provide some protocols for speaking and listening, they are largely focused on behavior and affective interchanges between students and may not provide a strong support system for evidence-based discussions. While there are frequent opportunities for evidence based discussions, there is little variety in the groupings utilized and nearly all discussion opportunities are labeled as optional within the program, therefore the classroom teacher may elect to eliminate or reduce time for students discussions. 

The bulk of writing tasks in the program are connected to reading response activities. Students have opportunities to engage in all writing types called for by the standards, however, these types are not distributed across the school year and there may be a span of several months between opportunities to engage in a particular writing type. Because of this, students do not have opportunities for robust evidence-based writing activities as called for in the standards. There is very limited grammar instruction provided in the program, and many of the standards are not addressed. The materials provide suggested activities with vocabulary instruction, but there is no explicit instruction of academic vocabulary and its usage after being introduced.

Indicator 1f

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or 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).

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1f. 

The Grade 4 materials provide questions that are text-specific and text-dependent; however, the questions do not require students to return to the text to answer them, nor are the students required to provide text evidence to support their responses. The materials provide inconsistent support for students in making meaning of the topics being studied through teacher support accompanying the Interactive Read Alouds.There are some general pieces of instruction for teachers but not specific directions to assist students. Some questions that serve as writing prompts provide sample student answers but do not include any specificity in what students should be providing in their answers. In the Interactive Read Alouds, teachers are provided with some support for planning and implementation of text-based questions and tasks through the inquiry task cards and the lesson folder.

Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks provide some support for students in making meaning of the core understandings of the texts being studied; however, students are not consistently required to return to the texts to provide support for their responses. Examples include:

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, Text Set: Friendship, students listen to The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and verbally answer: “I wonder why Mama says it is not safe to climb over the fence. Who is narrating the story? What makes you think that? Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from the perspective of a young African American girl? An act of resistance shows someone’s refusal to accept something. Sitting on the fence was an act of resistance. What did Clover and Annie refuse to accept?” Students are not directed to return to the text to support their responses.

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, Text Set: Illustrator Study: Floyd Cooper, students listen to These Hands by Margaret H. Mason and verbally answer: “Who are the characters in this story? What can you tell about their relationship so far? What does Grandpa teach Joseph about in this story?” Students are not directed to return to the text to support their responses.

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, students listen to The Other Side and in the Discuss the Text, verbally answer teacher-directed questions: “Now that you’ve heard the whole story. Let’s talk about the fence and why it is important in the story. Who can tell us what a symbol is? In what ways is the fence a symbol of segregation? What does Annie mean by, ‘Someday somebody's going to come and knock this old fence down?’” Students are not directed to return to the text to support their responses.

  • In Book Clubs, Text Set: Author/Illustrator Study: Patricia Polacco, students read Mrs. Mack by Patricia Polacco and verbally answer: “Talk about Patricia’s challenges in learning to ride. What do you think helped her? What did you learn about Patricia’s strong connection with Penny? How did the language and illustrations help your understanding? Why do you think the author titled the book Mrs. Mack? What do you think Patricia learned from Mrs. Mack? Talk about what you learned on page 40. Why do you think Old Hap was able to change after that summer? Who do you think gave Donnie money for veterinary school?”

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U24.RML2, students verbally answer teacher-directed questions: “Where does _____take place? Is that a real or an imagined place? How do you know? When does _____ take place? What details in the story helped you figure that out?” 

Teacher materials provide limited support for planning and implementation of text-based questions, tasks, and assignments. Examples include:

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, the Teacher Guide states that the teacher revisits the book so that students can “notice more about the text and illustrations.” The Teacher Guide also has teachers assess student learning by having teachers “observe students to find evidence that they can connect ideas between stories.” This support does not require that students engage in text-dependent activities to connect these ideas.

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, students listen to Better Than You and in the Respond to the Text, students complete an independent writing assignment where they write a paragraph or two in their reader’s notebook explaining why they think Jake went home and their opinion about what he did. An example student writing response is given in that section to provide teacher guidance for an appropriate response. 

  • In the Interactive Read Aloud, teacher instructions on the inquiry task cards state: “Think about the essential question and big ideas on the previous page in order to formulate some questions that will help guide students in identifying projects for further exploration of the essential question.” In the lesson folders, teacher instructions state: “Invite students to share their thinking about the book.”

  • In Book Clubs, teacher instructions are provided for discussions. In Prepare for Discussion subheading, teachers instructions state: “Tell children when you will be meeting. To prepare for book club, read or listen to the book and think about what you want to say about it. Use a sticky note to make one or two pages that you want to talk about.” In the Discuss the Book subheading, teacher instructions state: “Invite children to talk about the book, building on each other’s ideas and providing a variety of perspectives. Remind them to demonstrate respectful listening behavior.” No support for what this should look or sound like is provided.

Indicator 1g

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1g. 

The Grade 4 materials provide some opportunities and behavioral protocols for students to engage in speaking and listening activities; however, materials do not provide strong protocols for a variety of evidence-based speaking and listening opportunities across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Speaking and listening instruction may not be applied frequently over the course of the school year. It does not include facilitation, monitoring, or instructional supports for teachers. The development of speaking and listening skills are not prioritized and teacher guidance on how these discussions are to be structured are not apparent throughout the materials. 

The Reading Minilessons provide nine lessons on setting up Book Clubs that include establishing protocols for speaking and listening in these activities; this is the only instruction on speaking and listening. Teacher guidance also indicates that the Minilessons can be omitted at the teacher’s discretion. 

Materials provide limited protocols to support students’ developing speaking and listening skills across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Examples include:

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U1.RML2, teachers create a chart to help students remember the guidelines for Turn and Talk conversations:

    • Turn your body toward your partner.

    • Look at your partner.

    • Use a soft indoor voice.

    • Take turns telling your thinking.

    • Be silent and listen carefully while your partner speaks.

    • Say whether you agree or disagree with your partner or add on to what he said.

    • Give reasons for your thinking.

  • In the Reading Minilessons, the recommended teaching schedule for Umbrella 4: Getting Started with Book Clubs may be taught in Month 2. The nine lessons that teach speaking and listening protocols are scattered in the Minilessons. Examples include:

    • In Reading Minilesson LA.U3.RML2, teachers provide an inquiry-based lesson to help students understand possible ways to begin and end Book Club discussions.

    • In Reading Minilesson LA.U3.RML4, teachers provide an interactive lesson on ways that students can prepare for and give a good book talk during Book Clubs.

    • In Reading Minilesson LA.U4.RML3, students are instructed to turn and talk with a partner about their Book Club discussion ideas but no guidance or protocols are provided.

    • In Reading Minilesson LA.U4.RML4, students engage in a fishbowl discussion and then discuss their observations on respectful behaviors during a discussion. The students and teacher work together to create a chart together that shows their observations and establishes protocols for respectful book club discussions. No teacher instruction or protocol is provided for how to implement a fishbowl discussion or lead the post-fishbowl conversation.

    • In Reading Minilessons LA.U4.RML5, LA.U4.RML6, and LA.U4.RML7, students continue conversations and reflections to develop guidelines for Book Clubs and how to hold conversations.

  • In Interactive Read-Alouds, Independent Reading, and Book Clubs, protocols for speaking and listening are not varied across the academic school year. The same directions are provided to teachers for the protocols in each section:

    • In Interactive Read-Alouds, all lesson folders tell teachers to “invite students to share their thinking about the books. Stop a few times to invite thinking and a brief conversation. Students may turn and talk in pairs or threes. Some stopping points and quick comments are suggested below.”

    • In Independent Reading, all conferring prompts suggest that teachers “may want to select from the prompts below to check in on the student’s enjoyment and understanding of the book, and to answer any questions. Sample and support the student’s oral reading and discuss writing in the Reader’s Notebook.”

    • In Book Clubs, all Conferring Cards tell teachers to “invite students to talk about the book. Remind them to take the group to places in the book they have marked and want to talk about. Facilitate the discussion by guiding students to think about the big ideas in the text.”

Speaking and listening instruction includes limited facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. This includes discussions during Interactive Read-Alouds, Independent Reading, and Book Clubs. Specific speaking and listening support provided is for students who are English Language Learners (ELLs).

  • Although there are nine Reading Minilessons focused on speaking and listening and developing protocols for Book Clubs, the teacher guidance in the Reading Minilesson Book states: “If you are new to these minilessons, you may want to follow the suggested sequence, but remember to use the lessons flexibly to meet the needs of the students you teach: Omit lessons you think are not necessary for your students (based on assessment and your experiences with them interactive read-aloud). ...The minilessons are here for your selection according to the instructional needs of your class, so do not be concerned if you do not use them all within the year.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Innovative Thinking and Creative Problem Solving, teacher instructions state: “Invite students to write an essay describing how they have practiced creative problem solving in their own lives or community. The problem might have been at school, at home, with friends, or a problem they encountered in the world. Encourage them to focus on how they demonstrated innovative thinking, and to thoroughly explain the steps they took to resolve the issue. Students can then decide how to share their experience with the rest of the class. For example, they might create a graphic text or a slide presentation or a poster.”

  • In the Word Study Lessons Book, Group Share (Reading), teachers are provided guidance that “[n]ot every student needs to share something every day. Also, you can have students share with a partner or in threes.” There is no specific guidance on how students should share or what form the conversations should take. 

  • In Book Clubs, Discuss the Book, teacher guidance states: “Invite children to talk about the book, building on each other’s ideas and providing a variety of perspectives. Remind them to use evidence to support statements about the text. If needed, select from the following prompts to support thinking and talking.” There is no specific evidence on how to teach students to build on each other’s ideas or how to use evidence.

Indicator 1h

Materials support students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and evidence.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1h. 

The Grade 4 materials include opportunities for students to engage in speaking and listening work to demonstrate what they are reading, however, the majority of the opportunities are a partnered turn-and-talk or large group discussion. Many questions require students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources. However, due to the structure of the lesson plans, speaking and listening opportunities are nearly always presented as suggestions. Student discussions are incorporated in the Book Clubs and Interactive Read-Alouds; however, these can be modified or not completed if the teacher chooses. 

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading, however there is little variation in the speaking and listening opportunities. The speaking and listening opportunities presented do not align to grade-level standards. Examples include:

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Figuring Out Who You Are, an optional project has students research one aspect of their family’s culture. They are encouraged to look for an aspect of the culture that makes them special or different. After students complete their research they create a project that highlights the cultural aspect they have researched. The class then discusses what is special or unique about each culture.

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U4.RML1, students listen to Pigling and turn and talk with a partner: “What do the illustrations show? What do they help you to understand in the story?”

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U15.RML2, students participate in a turn and talk. The teacher instructs: “Turn and talk to your partner. How does the author try to persuade you to protect the environment from household waste?”

Speaking and listening work requires students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources. Examples include:

  • In Interactive Read-Alouds, Discuss the Text, students listen to the text and the teacher asks text-based questions about the texts. Teacher-directed questions include:

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Empathy, students listen to The Boy and the Whale and verbally answer: “How do the boy’s actions towards the whate connect to the idea of thinking of others rather than yourself? How do the actions between the boy and his father also connect to this idea?

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Genre Study: Historical Fiction, students listen to Uncle Jed’s Barbershop and verbally answer: “Why did Uncle Ed come to Sarah Jean’s house every Wednesday? Why didn’t he cut Sarah Jean’s hair? What did he do instead? Why did Sarah Jean have to wait so long for the doctor to examine her?”

  • In the Book Clubs, Discuss the Book section, teacher instructions state: “Invite children to talk about the book, building on each others’ ideas and providing a variety of perspectives. Remind them to use evidence to support statements about the text. If needed, select from the following prompts to support thinking and talking.” Prompts from Book Club sections include:

    • In the Book Club Text Set 4: Illustrator Study: Ed Young, students read I Wish I Were a Butterfly and verbally answer: “Talk about the illustrations. How do they help you understand the setting and set the mood of the book?”

    • In the Book Club Text Set 10: The Idea of Home, students read When Jessie Came Across the Sea and verbally answer: “How does the author help you imagine the scene at Ellis Island? How do you think Jessie feels?”

Indicator 1i

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.

0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the criteria for Indicator 1i. 

The Grade 4 materials include no process writing instruction, tasks, and there are limited opportunities for students to edit and revise. Though there are numerous opportunities for on-demand writing to support a year’s worth of instruction, many of the assignments are optional. Interactive Read-Alouds, Minilessons, and Book Clubs all feature what may be considered on-demand writings, though no instructions are given on how students write their responses or if some should be over longer periods of time. While all students complete Minilesson writing activities, the Interactive Read-Alouds and Book Club writing tasks depend on which text sets the teacher chooses. The writing prompts in the Interactive Read-Alouds are one of multiple optional activities from which teachers may choose; other activities such as drawing or speaking about the readings are available. In Reading Minilessons, Writing About Reading sections introduce the Reader’s Notebook where students reflect on and respond to prompts about what they read. Within the other types of Reading Minilessons, the Extend the Lesson sections offer optional activities for extending the learning through writing over time or in other contexts. In many of the Minilesson Umbrellas, the Link to Writing section offers suggestions for writing or drawing about reading in a Reader’s Notebook. The materials do not include opportunities for students to write using digital resources where appropriate. 

Materials include some on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. The majority of optional on-demand writing tasks are not standards-based and can be answered without using the text. Examples of optional on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction include but are not limited to:

  • In Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Author/Illustrator Study: Allen Say, students listen to The Bicycle Man. One possible Respond to the Text activity is a short write: “Why did Allen Say choose to write about this day in his life? What are some reasons it stands out for him?”

  • In Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Nonfiction/Biography, students listen to Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter. One possible Respond to the Text is an independent writing task. Teacher directions state: “Have students turn and talk about their ideas. Then have students do a short write in the reader’s notebook in response to the following prompt: How do you think Mary Cassatt’s life would be different if she lived today instead of the 1800s?”

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U22.RML8, Extend the Lesson, Writing About Reading, teacher directions state: “Have students compare and contrast in writing the romance and adventure in two different fairytale. For example, Beauty and the Beast and The Dragon Prince or Beauty and the Beast and The Frog Prince.” This is an optional activity. 

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U4.RML1, Extend the Lesson, Writing About Reading, teacher directions state: “Encourage students to write in a reader’s notebook about a graphic text they have read.” This is an optional activity. 

  • In Book Clubs, Text Set: Friendship, students read The Mystery of Meerkat HIll. In Extend the Discussion: Further Response, students think about the main character and the qualities of a good detective that he displays in the book and write their ideas. 

Materials do not include process writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. There are limited opportunities for students to revise and edit writing. For example: 

  • In Reading Minilesson WAR.U3.RML2, the goal is for students to provide evidence for their thinking in their letter. The teacher models how to provide evidence that shows thinking when writing a letter. Students highlight the evidence they wrote and turn and talk about what they notice about thinking in their letter. Students have the option to “revise the letter they wrote in RML.1, or they can start a new letter.”

  • In Reading Minilesson WAR.U3.RML5, the goal is for students to identify the qualities of a strong letter including content and conventions. The teacher displays a sample letter and students compare it against a checklist and look for what is missing. The teacher creates a checklist that includes the qualities of a strong letter. Students write their own letters and talk with a partner about parts that could be improved in their letter. After referring to the checklist, students assess their own letters but are not expected to revise or edit. Students share their letters in the meeting area.

Materials include a limited number of digital resources to support student writing.

  • Graphic organizers are available online to print to assist students with planning writing. Otherwise, there are no digital resources for students to use online to produce or publish writing.

Indicator 1j

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1j.

The Grade 4 materials include many opportunities for students to complete a variety of writing tasks that reflect the distribution required by the standards; however, the genres are not evenly distributed nor offered throughout the school year, nor is explicit instruction offered in any of the required genres. Each umbrella includes writing tasks in the culminating lesson, but the tasks do not represent an even distribution across the genres. Optional writing tasks are listed on many of the Interactive Read-Aloud cards; however, the writing opportunity is a recommendation and is not required. Typically, three other tasks are offered on each card that are not related to writing, such as an art project, a math connection, a geography connection, or another discipline. Book Club cards also feature writing prompts; however, since the Book Club texts are optional, there is no guarantee which genres of writing a student may experience. While students do have the option to complete opinion, informative, explanatory, and narrative writing, there are fewer informative and narrative writing task options available throughout the program. 

Materials do not provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. There is no explicit instruction of the writing modes called for in the standards. Students have the option to respond to reading with writing, but are not required to do so and do not receive any instruction on the writing mode.

Different genres/modes/types of writing are not evenly distributed throughout the school year. 

Nearly all writing tasks are connected to a text that has been read to students; however, the writing tasks are frequently presented as one of a few options, therefore students may not choose to engage with these tasks.

  • Examples of optional informative/explanatory writing include but are not limited to: 

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Telling a Story with Photos, students listen to Wolf Island. One possible Respond to the Text activity is a paragraph responding to the prompt: “Why is family life important for wolves? Use examples from the book in your answer.”

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Cinderella Stories, students listen to Domatila. One possible Respond to the Text activity is for students to write a paragraph explaining what a particular saying from the text means and how it relates to the story. 

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Test Set: Writer’s Craft, Book Clubs, Text Set: Fiction/Realistic, students read Mr. Lincoln’s Way. An Extend the Discussion: Further Response activity is to write about why students “think Mr. Lincoln was able to earn Eugene’s trust and make such a difference in Eugene’s life?” Students use details and evidence from the text.

  • Examples of optional narrative writing tasks include but are not limited to: 

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Figuring Out Who You Are, students listen to The Gold-Threaded Dress. One possible Respond to the Text activity is a paired writing assignment. Teacher directions state: “Have students think about times when Oy felt uncomfortable making the choices or decisions before her. In The Gold-Threaded Dress, there are several times when Oy could have stood up for herself, or chosen to act differently. What are some examples? Have the partners work together to identify a scene in the story where Oy could have made a different choice. If necessary, suggest some possible scenes: telling Frankie to stop saying she is Chinese earlier in the story: explaining to Miss Elsa that she wants to be called by her real name; or sharing the reason for her loneliness with the playground monitor. Have partners write a paragraph describing how the scene would have played out if Oy had acted differently. If time permits, allow partners to share their writing.”

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Fiction/Realistic, students listen to The Boy and the Whale. One possible Respond to the Text activity is an independent writing assignment. Teacher directions state: “Recall your discussion about the difficult choices the boy had to make in The Boy and the Whale, such as diving into the ocean by himself or disobeying his father. Then have students write a journal entry in the reader’s notebook, from the boy’s point of view, describing one of the choices he made and how he felt about it.” 

  • Examples of optional opinion writing tasks include but are not limited to: 

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Friendship, students listen to The Other Side. One possible Respond to the Text activity is a short write: “Do you think that summer was an important one in Clover’s life? Why do you think that?”

    • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Friendship, students listen to Better Than You. One possible Respond to the Text activity is an independent writing assignment. Teacher directions state: “Revisit the conversation about why Jake headed home at the end of the story. Have students turn and talk with a partner about why they think Jake didn’t want to stay with Tyler and Niko and learn a new throw. Then, have students write a paragraph in the reader’s notebook telling why they think Jake went home and their opinion about what he did.”

Indicator 1k

Materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information.

0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 do not meet the criteria for Indicator 1k. 

The Grade 4 materials include writing opportunities that are focused on analyzing texts and developing claims from close reading; however, none of the writing tasks are required. Students may write in the Reader’s Notebook or other response activities that require them to practice and apply writing using evidence from texts and sources; however, there is little instruction on how to write using claims despite having many prompts across the year. 

On the Interactive Read-Alouds and Book Club cards, writing prompts require students to respond to a text and most require using evidence to support an idea. However, on the Interactive Read-Alouds cards, the writing prompts are one of four choices in the Respond to the Text sections; the other options are non-writing tasks. The Book Club cards include a writing prompt for each book in the optional Extend the Discussion: Further Response section. The Independent Reading Conferring Cards: Writing About Reading Prompts also include evidence-based writing activities, however, these prompts do not show a progression of skills throughout the school year. Across the year, students “write a sentence” or “write a few sentences” about the given texts; the expectation does not change. As all of the prompts in different sections are not required, it can not be assured that students would write on a regular basis. 

Materials provide some opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. The majority of writing opportunities are optional. Examples include:

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Illustrator Study: Floyd Cooper, students listen to These Hands by Floyd Cooper. Teacher directions state: “Reread pages 9-18. Then point out the sentence on page 11: ‘Well, these hands joined with others.’ The dictionary definition for the phrase ‘join hands’ is ‘to take hold of another person’s hand.’ But this phrase can also be used in a figurative way to mean ‘work together to achieve a goal.’ What is Grandpa talking about when he says his hands joined with other hands? Have students share their ideas with a partner. Then have them work independently to do a quick write in the reader’s notebook in response to the following prompt: How does Grandpa’s story show what can be accomplished when people join hands to work together? Students should include the phrase ‘join hands’ in their writing.” This is an optional task and doesn’t necessarily require evidence from the text. 

  •  In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Biography Artists, students listen to Action Jackson and complete an optional writing task using evidence. Teacher directions state: “Ask students to recall some of the words they used to describe Jackson Pollock. Have them turn and talk with a partner about Jackson Pollock and his art. Then print and distribute the Comments and Evidence Chart. Have students work individually to complete the chart. Students should list words or phrases that describe various aspects of Pollock’s work or life under ‘Comments About Jackson Pollock.’ Tell them to record evidence for each comment in the ‘Evidence’ column.”

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U23.RML4, (Optional), students fill in the Historical Fiction Evidence From Text graphic organizer. They record page numbers and historical evidence from books they read.

  • In Reading Minilesson LA.U26.RML2, (Optional), students fill in the Exploring Relationships Between Characters graphic organizer to show evidence of character relationships in books they read.

Writing opportunities are rarely focused on students’ careful analysis and claims developed from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources. Examples include:

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Telling a Story with Photos, students listen to Wolf Island and complete an optional writing task using evidence. Teacher directions state: “Discuss with students what life was like for the lone wolf before and after the female wolf came to his island. Then reread page 28. Have students write a paragraph in the reader’s notebook in response to the following prompt: Why is family important for wolves? Use examples from the book in your answer.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud Text Set: Telling a Story with Photos, students listen to Face to Face with Whales and complete an optional writing task using evidence. Teacher directions state: “With the class, discuss some of the threats that human activities pose to whales. If necessary, review the information on pages 23-26 to help frame the discussion. Flip and Linda Nicklin say people must change some of their habits to help oceans stay healthy. But most people will never see a whale up close and so may not feel the need to take action. What would you tell people about whales that might help persuade them? Have students turn and talk with a partner. Then have them write a paragraph in the reader’s notebook explaining how they would argue for the need to protect whales.”

  • In Book Clubs, Text Set: Biography, students read Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kinglsey in Africa. An optional prompt in Extend the Discussion: Further Response is included: “This book is filled with lovely quotes from Mary’s writing about Africa. Why do you think she enjoyed writing about her travels? Write your ideas, including details and some of Mary’s quotes from the book.”

  • In Independent Reading, Conferring Card: Hansel and Gretel and the Haunted Hut (Scary Tales Retold), Writing About Reading, Thinking Beyond the Text (Optional), students write about things that surprised them in the story, telling what they expected to happen and how they were surprised.

Indicator 1l

Materials include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for application in context.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1l.

The materials include some lessons on capitalization and spelling grade-appropriate words correctly. While there are a few lessons on using a dictionary, there is no explicit instruction on using a dictionary to find the correct spelling of a word. In The Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum, there is a Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Chart. On page 635, it specifically states this chart is not intended to be a curriculum for instruction in formal grammar. The authors suggest if a teacher wants to teach a short grammar lesson, it should be related to a book the teacher has read or some shared writing that the teacher and the students are doing together. Students have the opportunity to write a letter to the teacher on a weekly basis about their reading for that week. The materials have some teacher direction for a few of the grammar standards; however, opportunities are missed for students to receive explicit instruction in standards such as the use of progressive tense, correctly using frequently confused words, teaching auxiliaries, and producing complete sentences while recognizing and correcting inappropriate run-ons. Materials include opportunities for students to demonstrate application of some skills in context. However, materials do not have authentic opportunities for students to apply newly learned skills to their writing. 

Materials include limited explicit instruction of some grammar and usage standards for the grade level. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).

    • No evidence was found.

  • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Structure, Card 18, the teacher displays the words trespass, vanish, and govern. The class adds -ing to change the words to progressive tense.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Structure, Lesson 18, page 366, the teacher asks students what they notice about the words trespass, utilize, and other words. The teacher then uses the word trespass in the sentence, “By taking a shortcut, the hikers are trespassing on private property.” Students identify what is different in the sentence. 

  • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Meaning Vocabulary, Card 2, the teacher shows the words pleased and thrilled. Students discuss the synonym pair and create a “Shades of Meaning” chart.

  • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).

    • No evidence was found.

  • Form and use prepositional phrases.

    • No evidence was found.

  • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.

    • No evidence was found.

  • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Meaning Vocabulary, Card 5, the teacher writes pairs of homophones on a chart such as waste/waist, heel/heal, and serial/cereal. Students discuss the meanings and use in sentences.

    • In Fountas and Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Recognize and Use Homophones, page 211, the teacher write pairs of words, such as waste/waist, heel/heal, and cereal/serial, and students discuss the meaning of each word and then identify additional words that sound the same. 

  • Use correct capitalization.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Understand How to Use Capital Letters Correctly, page 105, the teacher explains that words can have a capital letter for different reasons. The teacher highlights words she wrote, such as Jeremiah, New York Aquarium, Spanish, and Mr. Manrique, and explains why they are capitalized. 

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Letter-Sound Relationships, Lesson 7, page 105, the teacher writes a sentence on chart paper. S/he reads the sentence and then asks students what they notice about the words she wrote on the chart paper. The teacher explains that the words can have capitals for different reasons. 

  • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Umbrella 4, RML2, page 584, the teacher tells students that if they copy the exact words from a book, they should use quotation marks. 

  • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.

    • No evidence was found.

  • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Spelling Patterns, Card 1, the class creates a chart about words with the same phoneme patterns.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Recognize Commonly Misspelled Words, and Rewrite Them Correctly, page 189, the teacher displays an example paragraph and guides students through the process of editing words spelling incorrectly.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word-Solving Action, Lesson 7, page 476, the teacher holds up a dictionary and asks students what they can find in a dictionary. Students talk to the teacher about how it is organized. The teacher gives dictionaries to students, and they look up words on the top of the page.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, High-Frequency Words 3, pages 189-192, the teacher shares a paragraph with some misspelled words and guides students to understand that they should try to notice misspelled words and rewrite them correctly. Students then practice writing some difficult to spell words. 

  • Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Meaning Vocabulary, Card 18, the teacher shows sentences with two different uses of curtain and forks. The class discusses the literal meaning and the figurative meanings of the word pairs.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Meaning/Vocabulary, Lesson 20, Online Resources, page 284, during the independent writing, the teacher works with students to identify comparisons. The teacher explains that writing with comparisons can liven up the students’ writing and that a well-crafted metaphor can improve students’ writing. 

  • Choose punctuation for effect.

    • In Fountas and Pinnell, Online Resources, page 22, the manual states that the teacher can guide students in using punctuation when they are talking to students in their personal conferences. 

  • Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion).

    • No evidence found

Materials include limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills in context, including applying grammar and convention skills to writing. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word-Solving Action, Lesson 7, page 477, in the “Apply” section of the lesson, the teacher has students select four words from their sort and look them up in the dictionary. The students write the word, guide words, part of speech, and definition of each word. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Letter-Sound Relationships, Lesson 7, 7page 107, students write three sentences using different phrases or words from the word cards with different words capitalized. 

  • In Fountas Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Word Study, Lesson 18, page 366, in the “Apply” section, students categorize the -ing verbs in their student notebooks.

Indicator 1m

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1m. 

The Grade 4 materials include some teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component and there is some attention paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words. There is limited attention paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words. The materials provide suggested activities with vocabulary instruction, but there is no explicit instruction of academic vocabulary and its usage after being introduced. Vocabulary instruction is included in the Word Study program and selected vocabulary is included in the lesson goals for Interactive Read-Alouds, Book Club selections, and Reading Minilessons. In Reading Minilessons, words are identified as being academic vocabulary that students need to understand but there is no protocol or guidance for how to teach the words nor are definitions included for the words that students encounter in texts. In Book Clubs and Interactive Read-Alouds, vocabulary words are not identified prior to the lesson but are included in teacher-led discussion questions to understand the text. Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are not identified..

Materials provide some teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component. Examples include:

  • In the Comprehensive Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study Guide, a plan for word meaning/vocabulary is included for grades PreK-8 that includes lessons related to figurative language, concept words, combined, and created words. These lessons do not provide support for growing students’ knowledge and application of academic vocabulary. 

  • In the Word Study Lessons: Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Book, teacher guidance states: “Lessons should be conversational. In most lessons, it is appropriate for students to derive the principle through inquiry and example, and you can state it at the end of the lesson and again at the end of the share time. Be sure to say the principle the same way each time. Your tone will be that of I’m going to show you something interesting about how words work or What do you notice about these words? Invite students to make connections to their names and words they know. Invite them to contribute further examples, and recognize their thinking even if the examples don’t quite fit.”

Vocabulary is not repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts. Examples include:

  • In the Classroom System Guide, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher guidance states: “Students learn to solve words ‘on the run’ while reading for meaning and writing to communicate. As teachers work alongside readers and writers, they demonstrate effective behaviors, draw attention to important information, and prompt students to use their knowledge.” Teacher guidance recommends balancing explicit teaching of vocabulary and implicit teaching embedded in the processes of reading and writing. There is no specific information given in this guidance on how to teach effective behaviors or how students use their knowledge.

  • In Reading Minilessons, some academic vocabulary is repeated in multiple lessons, such as author, illustrator, craft, and style. There is no context provided for these words nor a protocol for teaching the vocabulary to students.

Limited attention is paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words (e.g., words that might appear in other contexts/content areas). Examples include:

  • The Classroom System Guide does not include a plan for the instruction of Tier 2 and Tier 3 academic vocabulary words in context during reading and associated activities to help students build their knowledge in this area. 

  • In the Reading Minilessons, specific academic language and/or important vocabulary is identified for teachers. There is no specific protocol provided for introducing these words to students nor any support for students who may struggle to understand the words. 

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Figuring Out Who You Are, students listen to The Gold Threaded Dress by Carolyn Marsden and answer the following questions: “Reread the last paragraph on page 55. Let’s talk about some of the words Mrs. Cervantes uses to describe Oy’s behavior on the playground. She says Oy provoked or instigated the other girls, which means Oy encouraged them to misbehave. Is that true? What makes you think that?” Teacher guidance states: “Revisit pages 62-63. Oy is honest with Mere and explains that she behaved inappropriately on the playground. Guide the students toward understanding the meaning of inappropriately.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Coping with Loss, students listen to The Dam by David Almond and answer the following questions: “Reread page 20. It says, ‘What water rose.’ What does the word rose mean in this sentence? Does it name a kind of flower or does it mean ‘reached a higher level?’ Tell why you think that.”

  • In the Interactive Read-Aloud, Text Set: Author/Illustrator Study: Allen Say, students listen to Tea with Milk by Allen Say and answer the following questions: “Reread the first paragraph on page 8. The word gaijin is Japanese. What does it mean? How do you think May felt when her classmates called her gaijin?” Teacher guidance states: “Reread the second half of page 28. Joseph says they are transferring him. The word transferring is defined in context. What words tell you what transferring means?”

Criterion 1n - 1p

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.

4/8
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of phonics, word recognition, and word analysis consistently over the course of the year. Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year; however, assessments do not clearly inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students progress toward mastery, and many assessments are optional.

Materials contain explicit instructions for systematic and repeated teacher modeling of all grade-level phonics standards. However, materials recommend that foundational skills lessons occur for 10 minutes each day, which may not provide sufficient time for students to receive explicit instruction to work towards mastery of newly learned foundational skills. Lessons provide teachers with systematic and repeated instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read each newly taught grade-level phonics pattern.

While some Guided Reading lessons include fluency, there is no guarantee that all students will have an opportunity to receive these lessons since they are not a part of core instruction. A fluency rubric is included, but there is not sufficient support for the use of the rubric, nor is there support for instructional adjustments to help students progress toward mastery of fluency. There is no evidence of students receiving instruction on using self-correction while reading.

Indicator 1n

Materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level foundational skills by providing explicit instruction in phonics, word analysis, and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1n.

The materials include lessons on reading multisyllabic words out of context. There is some instruction in letter-sound correspondences in various lessons. The instruction generally requires the teacher to ask students what they notice about the letter-sound correspondences, after which the teacher guides students through the skill. All tasks and questions are not sequenced to the application of grade-level work. Several optional assessments are provided in the BAS2 Kit, along with assessments for books at Levels L-Z. There is no guidance provided about determining which assessments to use or when to use them. In addition, running records are suggested at the end of each guided reading lesson, but there is no guidance about how often running records should be completed. 

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of irregularly spelled words, syllabication patterns, and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word Meaning/Vocabulary, Lesson 22, page 280, the teacher writes the words motor, motion, and promote, and students read them. They discuss that each of the words contains the letters mot. The teacher explains this is a Latin root word. 

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Spelling Patterns 9-16, pages 147-178, these eight lessons focus on reading multisyllabic words using syllable patterns, short vowel phonograms, long vowel phonograms, and other vowel phonograms out of context. 

    • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word Meaning/Vocabulary, Card 11, the teacher writes the words poisonous, famous, glorious, and joyous on the whiteboard. The students notice the suffix -ous and discuss that the suffix means “full of.” Students read and define the words.

Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year; however, assessments do not clearly inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students progress toward mastery, and many assessments are optional. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, BAS2, 3rd Edition, Optional Assessments, there are several optional assessments provided in Fluency and Phrasing, Phonics and Word Analysis, Vocabulary, and Vocabulary in Context. There is only one assessment specifically geared toward Grade 4, the Grade 4 Word Features Test. There are scoring criteria for each optional assessment.

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, BAS2, 3rd Edition, Recording Forms, there is an assessment form for each of two books beginning at Level L and continuing until Level Z. There is one fiction and one nonfiction book at each level. The recording form includes oral reading, fluency, comprehension questions, and an optional writing prompt. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, Guided Reading Collection Guide, Grade 4, page 18, on the back of the guided reading lesson plans, there is an assessment section that suggests that teachers refer to the corresponding level in the Literacy Continuum and make notes of the behaviors and understandings the readers in the group control or need to control. The teacher notes what students have learned to control or what they need to learn how to control. In addition, this section also advises teachers to use the Recording Form to take a running record. After coding the reading, teachers are to select an immediate teaching point. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word Meaning/Vocabulary, Lesson 22, page 281, the teacher gives students an assessment to put up three or four words with Latin roots. Students explain the word and its meaning. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Assessment A, Spelling Patterns, this assessment assesses students’ knowledge of phonogram patterns. The instructions state that the teacher should have the student read the words to determine which phonograms students can read and note which ones they still need to learn. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word-Solving Action, Assessment B, students are assessed on using word parts to solve words. The teacher evaluates students’ ability to solve words when they are reading the passage. 

Indicator 1o

Materials include opportunities for students to practice and apply grade-level phonics, word analysis, and word recognition skills.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1o.

The materials provide limited opportunities over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice and apply phonics, word recognition, and word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. While materials include instruction in these skills, there is a lack of authentic application of newly learned skills in context. The materials provide some opportunities over the year for students to learn and practice word analysis skills through sorting, playing games, and shared and independent writing activities. After teaching minilessons about solving words from The Reading Minilessons Guide Book, teachers are provided with guiding questions when listening to students talk about their reading. On Guided Reading cards, in the Reading the Text section, it is suggested that teachers may want to sample the oral reading of a particular student with suggestions for helping students solve multisyllable words, such as, “Do you see a part you know?” The materials include goals that are listed for Shared Reading cards related to foundational skills, but there are no tasks or questions that provide opportunities for students to access different foundational skills within the anchor text and supporting texts.

Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected tasks. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Spelling Patterns, Lesson 16, students play the game “Concentration” with words that end in the same pattern, such as raccoon and balloon. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word Structure, Lesson 22, in the “Independent Reading” section, students find words with the suffixes -ful and -less and read them. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Lessons, Grade 4, Word Solving Actions 2, the teacher makes multisyllabic words with magnetic letters and  breaks them into syllables. The teacher says the words, and the students repeat them. The teacher explains that to read long words, it helps to break it into syllables. Students practice by drawing 10-word cards and dividing them into syllables to read them. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, The Reading Minilessons Book, Section 3, Umbrella 1-Solving Multisyllable Words RML 5, the teacher demonstrates covering the prefix or suffix in a word and then taking apart the base word first to read a multisyllabic word. Students are then invited to take apart a word by removing the suffix. 

Materials do not include limited tasks and questions that provide opportunities for students to access different foundational skills within the anchor text and supporting texts. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • In Fountas & Pinnell,The Reading Minilessons, Section 3: Strategies and Skills, students read a sentence from the book Gecko. Students talk about the word parts they see in the word disappear.

Indicator 1p

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in order to read with purpose and understanding.

1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 4 partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1p.

The materials include three reading minilessons focused on maintaining fluency, though there are no lessons that include successive readings. Additionally, the minilessons lack explicit instruction in accuracy, rate, and expression. While some Guided Reading lessons include fluency, there is no guarantee that all students will have an opportunity to receive these lessons since they are not a part of core instruction. There is a fluency rubric teachers can use when students are reading; however, the materials do not include guidance for how often teachers should use this rubric. In addition, when using the BAS2, it states to assess fluency. Neither the rubric nor the BAS2 assessment provides teachers with instructional adjustments to help students progress toward mastery of fluency. There is no evidence of students receiving instruction on using self-correction while reading. 

Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell, The Reading Minilessons Book, Grade 4, page 527, the students read the poem “Gecko”. The teacher prompts students to read naturally, like when they are talking. 

    • In Fountas and Pinnell, Guided Reading Lesson, Looking at Snowflakes, Level R, Reading the Text, page 2, in the “Reading the Text” section, the materials suggest that the teacher may want to sample the oral reading of a particular student while the other students read silently. The teacher can encourage a student to read with phrasing and intonation by prompting, “Make it sound like talking.” The teacher can reinforce reading with phrasing and intonation by saying, “You make it sound like talking.”

    • In Fountas & Pinnell, Independent Reading, Grade 4, Abby Takes a Stand, the story is one of the texts that students can choose to read independently. The materials give conferring prompts for teachers to discuss the text with the students to check for understanding. 

Materials do not support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell, The Reading Minilessons Book, Section 3, Umbrella 4, RML 2, pages 526-527, the teacher reads a page from a book to sound like fluent, natural speech. Then students read the page with the teacher. After reading, the teacher and students have a conversation about fluency. Some prompts are provided for the teacher to guide the conversation. The teacher creates a chart about fluent reading. Students later practice phrasing with a partner in connected text. 

    • In Fountas & Pinnell, The Reading Minilessons Book, Section 3, Umbrella 3, RML 3, pages 528-529, the teacher reads a page from a book with appropriate rate, expression, pausing, and stress. Students read with the teacher a second time. Students practice fluency with a partner.

Materials do not support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.

    • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, Word-Solving Action Assessment B, Grade 4, the assessment is used by teachers to notice if students are using self-corrective behaviors to read a word and if they are improving their ability to read a word. 

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with limited information of students’ current fluency skills and provide teachers with limited instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. Evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, Word-Solving Assessment B, the materials state to have the teacher assess how the reading sounds and whether students are reading with fluency and expression. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, BAS2, Optional Assessments, Assessing Fluency and Phrasing, a Six Dimensions Fluency Rubric is provided for teachers to assess students as they read a Benchmark Assessment book or another appropriate book. Teachers score the students on phrasing, pausing, stress, intonation, rate, and integration on a four-point scale for each to determine how much if any, teaching on fluency is necessary. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Online Resources, BAS2, Not Too Cold For a Polar Bear Recording Sheet, page 4, after taking a running record of a section of this book, the teacher calculates the accuracy rate, records the number of self-corrections, and rates the student’s fluency on a four-point scale. There is a section for calculating the reading rate, but this is marked optional. 

  • In Fountas & Pinnell, Benchmark Assessment System 2, Levels L-Z, allows teachers to give a running record to determine students’ fluency, including rate and accuracy, and what level they are reading.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

Criterion 2a - 2f

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a cohesive topic(s)/theme(s) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

N/A

Indicator 2b

Materials require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality questions and tasks.

N/A

Indicator 2c

Materials require students to analyze the integration of knowledge within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks.

N/A

Indicator 2d

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit's topic(s)/theme(s) through integrated literacy skills (e.g., a combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

N/A

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year.

N/A

Indicator 2f

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.

N/A

Criterion 2g - 2h

Materials promote mastery of grade-level standards by the end of the year.

Indicator 2g

Materials spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments.

N/A

Indicator 2h

Materials regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards.

N/A

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3h

The program includes opportunities for teachers to effectively plan and utilize materials with integrity and to further develop their own understanding of the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials, with specific attention to engaging students in order to guide their literacy development.

N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts and concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials include standards correlation information that explains the role of the standards in the context of the overall series.

N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials provide strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

N/A

Indicator 3e

Materials provide explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support instructional activities.

N/A

Indicator 3g

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3h

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3i - 3l

The program includes a system of assessments identifying how materials provide tools, guidance, and support for teachers to collect, interpret, and act on data about student progress towards the standards.

Indicator 3i

Assessment information is included in the materials to indicate which standards are assessed.

N/A

Indicator 3j

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities throughout the grade, course, and/or series to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

N/A

Indicator 3k

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of grade-level/course-level standards and practices across the series.

N/A

Indicator 3l

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

N/A

Criterion 3m - 3v

The program includes materials designed for each child’s regular and active participation in grade-level/grade-band/series content.

Indicator 3m

Materials provide strategies and supports for students in special populations to work with grade-level content and to meet or exceed grade-level standards that will support their regular and active participation in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials regularly provide extensions to engage with literacy content and concepts at greater depth for students who read, write, speak, and/or listen above grade level.

N/A

Indicator 3o

Materials provide varied approaches to learning tasks over time and variety in how students are expected to demonstrate their learning with opportunities for for students to monitor their learning.

N/A

Indicator 3p

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials provide strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards to regularly participate in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3r

Materials provide a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.

N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student home language to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student cultural and social backgrounds to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3u

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3w - 3z

The program includes a visual design that is engaging and references or integrates digital technology (when applicable) with guidance for teachers.

Indicator 3w

Materials integrate technology such as interactive tools, virtual manipulatives/objects, and/or dynamic software in ways that engage students in the grade-level/series standards, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3x

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3y

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic.

N/A

Indicator 3z

Materials provide teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/11/09

Report Edition: 2020

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Word Study System: Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary, Grade 4 978‑0‑325‑04802‑4 Heinemann 2019
The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum, Expanded Edition 978‑0‑325‑06078‑1 Heinemann 2016
Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades, Second Edition 978‑0‑325‑08684‑2 Heinemann 2016
Independent Reading Collection, Grade 4 978‑0‑325‑10815‑5 Heinemann 2019
The FPC Grade 4 System Guide 978‑0‑325‑11191‑9 Heinemann 2019
Guided Reading Collection, Grade 4 978‑0‑325‑11210‑7 Heinemann 2019
Interactive Read-Aloud Collection, Grade 4 978‑0‑325‑11213‑8 Heinemann 2019
"Book Clubs Collection, Grade 4 " 978‑0‑325‑11218‑3 Heinemann 2019

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA 3-8 Review Tool

The ELA review criteria identifies the indicators for high quality instructional materials. The review criteria supports 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 review criteria evaluates 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 review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations