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.