Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Literacy By Design do not meet the expectations for alignment. The materials partially meet the expectations for providing high-quality texts that help to grow students reading skills and content knowledge. The materials do not provide consistent opportunities for building strong skills in reading, writing, and speaking through rich, evidence-based materials, discussions, and tasks. The foundational skills included in the materials only partially meet expectations.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
19
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
23
30
34
N/A
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards, though some included texts are worthy of students' time and attention. Questions are frequently literal or related to personal connections and do not provide opportunities for rich and rigorous, evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Speaking and listening activities may need to be supported with extensions to dive deeper into the text, specifically as it relates to evidence based discussion. Materials partially address foundational skills to build comprehension and provide questions and tasks that guide students to read with purpose and understanding, making connections between acquisition of foundational skills and making meaning during reading. Materials provide opportunities to practice oral and silent reading fluency across the grade level. Opportunities to practice and apply re-reading and self-correction are limited.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
10/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for including anchor texts that are of publishable quality, are worthy of especially careful reading and/or listening, and consider a range of student interests. Texts partially meet the criteria for text complexity and are not accompanied by a text complexity analysis. Materials meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for anchor texts being of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading and consider a range of student interests.

The read-aloud modeled reading texts are of publishable quality and worthy of careful reading; however, the other texts, including those found in shared reading and interactive reading are not all of publishable quality. Many of the well-known anchor texts are included only as modeled reading in the Teacher Edition. There is very limited representation of well-known authors or widely-accepted works of children's literature except for the modeled reading at the start of each theme. Expository texts provide interesting information or engaging illustrations around the theme, but the highest quality texts are those in the modeled readings

Below are examples of publishable, high quality texts. These texts are worthy of students' time and attention, and worthy of multiple readings. The texts listed below are engaging, contain strong content and academic vocabulary, and are thought-provoking. Examples include:

  • A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  • On This Spot by Susan E. Goodman
  • Yellowstone National Park: Land of Wonders by Marjorie Murray
  • Chickens May Not Cross the Road and Other Crazy (but true) Laws by Kathi Linz
  • “A Big Town with a Small Idea” by John Andrews
  • “A Light in Our Tent” by Tonya Leslie
  • Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
  • Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare a Cherokee Tale retold by P. Okeyson
  • Female Firsts by Michelle Sale
  • “History’s Witness” by Molly Smith
  • Space Trash by Peter Ernst

Below are examples of texts that are not considered publishable, high-quality texts. The majority of these texts are simple, with explicit language and themes, and a predictable storyline. Because of these features, the texts are not appropriate for rereading.

  • The Great Butterfly Flutterby by Margaret Fetty
  • Danger Lurks in the Sinkhole by Mike Graf
  • Scrappy Steve by Margaret Fetty
  • A Big Town with a Small Idea by John Andrews

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.

There is a mix of literary and informational texts and are evenly divided between science and social studies. The core texts and supplemental materials include a wide distribution of genres and text types as required by the standards. Genres and text types include action stories, articles, texts about art, biographies, diary entries, encyclopedia entries, folktales, historical fiction, history texts, journal entries, poetry, science texts, and science fiction.

The following are examples of literary texts found throughout the curriculum:

  • Theme 1: A Big Town with a Small Idea by John Andrews
  • Theme 3: A Light in Our Tent by Tonya Leslie
  • Theme 4: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
  • Theme 6: True Heart by Marissa Moss
  • Theme 7: Into the Volcano By Donna O’Meara
  • Theme 10: The Wisest Wish of All retold by Lorraine Sinetos
  • Theme 12: Floating Home by David Getz
  • Theme 13: Why the Opossum’s Tail is Bare a Cherokee Tale retold by P. Okeyson

The following are examples of informational text found throughout the curriculum:

  • Theme 2: A Symphony of Whales by Steve Schuch
  • Theme 4: Franklin’s Spark by Chris Bennett
  • Theme 5: Female Firsts by Michelle Sale
  • Theme 8: On Hurricane Watch by Michelle Sale
  • Theme 11: The Solar System by Dana Meachen Rau
  • Theme 14: History’s Witness by Molly Smith
  • Theme 16: Space Trash by Peter Ernst

Indicator 1c

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.
2/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for texts having the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

While some texts are in the appropriate grade level Lexile band for text complexity, the qualitative features of the majority of the texts are either slightly complex or moderately complex. The texts are read aloud. The associated student tasks do not bring texts to an appropriate complexity level.

One of the first literary texts students hear is The Great Butterfly Flutterby, which has a Lexile measure of 550. All of the qualitative features are only slightly complex. Another example, is in Unit 2, Theme 3, Week 1, where students engage with the biography Snowflake Bentley, which has a Lexile of 830. However, while the language features are very complex, the purpose and text structure is only slightly complex. Similarly, in Unit 3, Theme 5, Week 2, students hear the story, An Adventure in Time, which has a Lexile of 550 but has qualitative features that are only slightly complex.

Informational texts are similar in that the Lexiles fall within the lower end of the Lexile Band, but the qualitative features are only slightly complex. For example, in Unit 6, Theme 12 and Unit 8, Theme 16, students hear Reach for the Stars! and Space Trash respectively, with Lexiles of 650, but only slightly complex qualitative features. In Unit 4, Theme 8, Week 2, students hear the story Wild Weather which is within the grade level Lexile band, but has basic sentence structure and simple vocabulary. Simple ideas and events are presented clearly, making the qualitative features only slightly complex.

The small group readers have a range from Level J to Level Q, which converts to a Lexile range of 400-700, which is the appropriate band for grade three for small group instruction. The curriculum considers level J - L to be "intervention", M - O to be "on target", and levels P - Q to be "enrichment". While the majority of the small group readers are within the Lexile band for Grade 3, they do not represent the descriptors given by the program. For example, A Blue Birthday and What is Gravity? are both level J texts, used for intervention. However, the Lexiles of the two texts are 510 and 490, respectively, which puts them in the Grade 3 grade level band. Mr. Kean’s Garden has a Lexile of 540, which is in the low end of the Grades 2 - 3 Lexile band, but is considered a Level O, and has a lower Lexile than some of the Level M texts. In the enrichment texts, some of the texts are appropriate, such as Sports on the Edge with a Lexile of 890, but others have Lexiles that are too low for being above grade level expectations, such as Simon’s Scoop, which has a Lexile of 660.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.).

Across the Grade 3 materials, the core texts are all read-alouds. The program consists of modeled read-alouds, shared reading, and interactive reading, where the teacher begins the reading and the students finish it. There are suggestions for trade books and independent reading, but there are no plans included for implementing these into the reading routine. There is small group instruction where students read texts at their own level. The materials suggest that at the end of small group reading, the class returns to discuss what happened in small group and interactive reading; however, it does not explicitly provide students time to independently read or practice the literacy skills independently.

The first two days of a theme is modeled reading. On the first day, the students listen to the text, such as in Unit 3, Theme 5, where students hear On This Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time. On the second day, the students practice the skill of monitoring their comprehension as they listen to the text a second time. The next day is shared reading, which is followed by seven days of interactive reading. In the prior example, students read one page of the text during shared reading. Students also hear the poem, “WIlliamsburg, VA” and echo read with the teacher. On the fourth day, which is the first day of interactive reading, students receive a biography that the teacher reads aloud. On the fifth day, the students read the remainder of the biography Female Firsts with a partner. The student anthology has a spread for the modeled reading, but the text is not provided for the student. Therefore, the bulk of time in complex texts is spent with the teacher reading or scaffolding student reading, thus limiting growth across the course of the year.

Materials do not fully support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. Materials focus on comprehension strategies. They do not focus on analysis of a text. The strategies are focused on for a week and then new or different strategies are introduced, which does not give students an opportunity to become proficient over the course of the school year. According to the Program Overview booklet in the Comprehensive Teacher Edition, there are “8 key research strategies from the foundation of comprehension instruction across all grade levels.” For the first half of the year, the comprehension strategies are taught with a two-week focus on each, followed by follow-up instruction and practice in the second half of the year to reinforce comprehension strategies.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
0/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The publisher does not provide a rationale for the placement of the texts in Grade 3. There are no text complexity analyses provided. Quantitative and qualitative measures are not included, nor discussed in the instructional materials. The only rationale given is that the texts are chosen for the social studies and science content. The publisher includes a general statement in the Program Overview that states, “Whole class materials for Learning by Design feature fiction and nonfiction selections linked to science and social studies themes based on national standards for each grade level. The focus of instruction is on listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the context of content area themes.”

Indicator 1f

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that anchor and supporting texts provide opportunities for students to engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade level reading proficiency.

In Grade 3, students engage with a variety of topics, including action, art, history, and science. They also engage with a variety of genres such as articles, biographies, data, diary entries, encyclopedia entries, expository texts, fairy tales, folktales, historical fiction, journals, poetry, realistic fiction, and science fiction. The students are exposed to a variety of text types within a single theme. For example, in Theme 5, students engage with a poem, a biography, a photo essay, and an adventure story. Students engage in a broad range of text types and disiplines, as well as a volume of reading.

Throughout the week, students are given opportunities to participate in a modeled read-aloud, shared reading, and interactive reading, where the teacher begins reading and the student finishes the text. During the modeled reading, students often turn and talk to discuss the comprehension strategy with a partner. During the shared reading, Unit 3, Theme 5, Lesson 3, students reread the vocabulary story. During this shared reading, students also engage in an echo reading of a poem. During the interactive reading, students often hear the teacher read the text on the first day, and then partner-read on the second day. For example, in Unit 4, Theme 7, Unit 1, Week 1, students begin with a modeled reading for two days of Into the Volcano. Then students utilize the text for one day when they read Danger Lurks Underground. For the final two days, students use the text, Yellowstone National Park: Land of Wonders during interactive reading. Students are also given photos to analyze, articles with vocabulary words, articles about the reading strategies, and mentor texts for writing. There is also a 45 minute block of time for students to participate in small group reading with leveled readers.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
6/16
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet expectations for alignment to the standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. Few questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, and there are no culminating activities at the end of a theme or unit. The instructional materials provide some opportunities to practice speaking and listening skills, but the skills are practiced in order to build background knowledge prior to reading a text and the materials do not support evidence based discussions with relevant follow-up questions. There are few opportunities provided for evidence-based writing. Materials partially meet the expectations for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-dependent, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
1/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that most questions, tasks, and assignments are text dependent/specific, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).

Questions throughout the curriculum are largely personal connection questions related to themes and events in the texts. Many of the questions prompt the students to compare a personal experience with something that happened in the text and are labeled in the Teacher’s Guide as "Make Connections." At the end of each selection, there is a page titled "Think and Respond" that has different sets of questions. These tasks include a Reflect and Write section as well as a Critical Thinking section, both of which include one to three text-dependent questions. In the Comprehensive Teacher’s Guide, some of the questioning builds background knowledge prior to reading the text. There are questions in the margins Titled Precise Listening and Think Aloud! Or Think Along. In the Precise Listening sections, the questions often direct students back to the text to employ a reading strategy or to identify a text feature. In the Think Aloud! section, questions are mostly about making personal connections. In addition, in the Small Group Reading Teacher’s Guide, there are both explicit and inferential text-dependent questions. Overall, the majority of questions, tasks and assignments are not text dependent. Many of the questions that do require students to look back in the text are on the application of a reading strategy or a word study technique being taught in the lesson.

There are examples of text dependent questions in this series. Some of these questions are found in the Think and Respond section which a teacher may use as an assignment after the reading. Some examples include:

  • “What do you think would have happened to the Monarch Festival if the community had not made decision and acted on it? (The Great Butterfly Flutterby in Unit 1, Theme 1, Week 2, Lesson 10)
  • “Why did the frog say that Claire’s last wish was the wisest wish of all?” (The Wisest Wish of All in Unit 5, Theme 10, Week 1, Lesson 5)
  • “Why does the girl say she is not brave?” (Thundercake in Unit 2, Theme 4, Week 1, Lesson 2)
  • “What do you think has happened to the students at the museum? (An Adventure in Time in Unit 3, Theme 5, Week 2, lesson 9)
  • “How do you think the author wants you to feel about the Hoopers at this point in the story?” (The Wisest Wish of All in Unit 5, Theme 10, Week 1, Lesson 5)
  • “Was the family better off before they met the frog? Why or why not? (The Wisest Wish of All in Unit 5, Theme 10, Week 2, Lesson 6)
  • “How has your picture of Hare changed as you read?” (The Lazy, Lazy Hare in Unit 8, Theme 15, Week 2, Lesson 9)
  • “Why is recycling important to the characters in the story?” (Scrappy Steve in Unit 8, Theme 16, Week 1, Lesson 5)
  • “Why do you think the other Comanche people take their gifts back to their home?” (The Legend of Bluebonnet in Small Group Reading Teacher's Guide, Level L)

When working on specific reading comprehension strategies in the SourceBook, some tasks require text-evidence. For example, in Unit 2, Theme 3, students hear the teacher read the text Snowflake Bentley and then make an inference. The teacher models the task of inferring, then students turn and talk to discuss what knowledge is in their head while the teacher reads aloud and how can inferring make students a better listening. Then it is suggested that students “try to infer” as they read the other sections of the story and to create a chart similar to the one given in the story. Similarly, in Unit 2, Theme 4, the teacher begins a read aloud of Thunder Cake and students are taught the strategy of synthesizing. The teacher models synthesizing three sentences in the story and then it is suggested that students use a chart to help them synthesize their ideas while reading. In both of these cases, specific text evidence is not required nor is a structure provided for students to complete this type of assignment.

There are also opportunities for students to answer questions that are not text dependent. Some of these non-examples include:

  • “What kind of festival is there where you live?” (The Great Flutterby in Unit 1, Theme 1, Week 2, Lesson 10)
  • “What questions do you have in your mind after you read this page?” (Country Mouse, City Mouse in Unit 1, Theme 2, Week 1, Lesson 4)
  • “How are the city and the country alike? How are they different? (City Mouse in Unit 1, Theme 2, Week 2, Lesson 6)
  • What television show or movie have you seen about a wild animal? (How Ruby Came to the Farm in Unit 1, Theme 2, Week 2, Lesson 9)
  • “What puppet characters could you use to tell your story?” (Unit 2, Theme 3, Week 1, Lesson 5)
  • “What does it mean to monitor understanding?” (Female Firsts in Unit 3, Theme 5, Week 2, Lesson 6)
  • “What strategies could you use to figure out the meaning of ‘erupted’ (Yellowstone National Park: Land of Wonders in Unit 4, Theme 7, Week 1, Lesson 4) It is important to note that in the previous lesson, only one strategy was taught.
  • What is a charity that you’ve heard about that helps people?” (One Dollar at a Time in Unit 5, Theme 10, Week 2, Lesson 9)
  • “Would you like to explore a planet like Mars? Why or why not? (Home, Sweet Mars in Unit 6, Theme 12, Week 2, Lesson 6)
  • “How could giving a speech help you get support for your ideas?” (How to Run for Office... and Win! In Unit 7, Theme 14, Week 2, Lesson 10)
  • “How can you protect water sources for the future?” (The Lazy, Lazy Hare in Unit 8, Theme 15, Week 2, Lesson 10)

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

There are no culminating activities at the end of a theme. Enrichment Activities are available in the margin of the Comprehensive Teacher’s Guide that ask the students to do some independent writing, and present their ideas and findings to the class, however, there is no teacher guidance for these activities. One such enrichment activity is in Theme 3, Week 2, Lesson 6, where students can write a short script for a shadow puppet play. In Theme 4, Week 2, students brainstorm a list of words that describe electricity in nature and then write a Haiku about electricity in Lesson 7.

There are no culminating tasks or activities that provide a synthesis of texts, information, or skills taught throughout a theme, and no rubrics are included for standard alignment or mastery. The culminating tasks provided do not have a coherent sequence of text-dependent questions. A generic rubric for writing is provided in the Appendix, however, there is no reference to it in the materials encouraging teachers to reference it. An assessment book is provided, but the assessment tasks are a mix of multiple choice questions and extended response questions. The questions are not consistent and only a portion are text-dependent questions.

At the end of each text, there is Think and Respond page, which could be used as response questions or as a culminating task; however, there is no rubric and only a small number of questions are text-dependent. For example, in Theme 1, Week 2, students write a connection with the text. Students turn and talk to discuss the connection. Critical thinking questions are also asked at the end of the text such as, “How do you think town meetings help communities?” However, the integration of skills is absent from the materials. Critical Thinking Skills questions are not always text-dependent, nor do they evaluate students on their understanding of the skills or text from the week. For example, in Theme 12, Week 1, Lesson 5, students are asked if they would like to explore a planet like Mars.

The materials include paper and pencil assessments. Each theme includes Ongoing Test Practice, which is intended to be used as homework after Lesson 7 of each theme. The Ongoing Test Practice includes a passage to read, multiple choice questions, and an extended response question. For example, in Theme 14, two of the questions include the student identifying the line from the passage that contain a metaphor and the line from the passage that contain an analogy. There are also mid-year and end-of-year reviews that include essay prompts. Again, the questions posed are not necessarily text-dependent, nor are they sequential.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidencebased discussions that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. (May be small group and all-class.)
0/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The Think Aloud! teacher modeling occurs in the first lesson of every theme. It includes modeling of specific listening skills such as active or precise listening and then asks students to think about the focus questions prior to reading and then they answer the focus questions, usually two evidence-based questions are provided during the turn and talk with a partner activity after reading the text. Focus questions do not provide any indication of what types of responses the teacher should expect or a guide to model responses for the students.

Throughout the curriculum, students have opportunities for turn and talks; however, these discussions are frequently not evidence-based. Students are often asked to make connections they had while reading with a partner and/or to reflect on their application of the comprehension strategy. There is no evidence of the teacher modeling these discussions or protocols. There is an explanation of the turn and talk model in the Comprehensive Teacher’s Guide Professional Handbook section (p. T63), but there is no protocol or modeling of the structure for the students. The teacher is often instructed to say “Discuss with a partner...” but how to do this appropriately is not evident in the curriculum. There are no opportunities embedded in the curriculum for the teacher to model for students the use of academic vocabulary and syntax in discussions that are connected to a text. There are no protocols for evidence-based discussions. There is some modeling of speaking with correct syntax and academic vocabulary outside of these discussions, but this is not consistent throughout materials.

There are structured vocabulary discussions for each theme in the Sourcebook, but they are not evidence-based discussions. Discussions are started with a prompt from the teacher and then students are asked to share with a partner. This is no reference to using text-based evidence in the responses. There are few opportunities where the teacher encourages the use of academic vocabulary in evidence-based discussions.

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading and researching (including presentation opportunities) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

There are some opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening skills throughout the curriculum. They are asked to share their thoughts about vocabulary words, parts of the text, personal text connections, and a few times, specific details from the text. In Lessons 1 and 2 of each theme, there is a modeled reading lesson that focuses on one of the five listening skills taught in the materials. The teacher reads the text aloud and stops throughout to ask questions about the text, which are usually about connections, vocabulary words, and the reading strategy of the day. In addition, questions are asked before the text is read to build background knowledge and after the text is read. During the last lesson of each week, students participate in an interactive reading where they answer questions with a partner, however, they are not required to return to the text or support their responses and reasoning with evidence.

There are opportunities for students to focus on the language of the text. In the Precise Listening section, the teacher often asks students to listen for specific words. For instance, in Unit 5, Theme 9, Week 1, Lesson 1, before listening to How is Paper Made, the teacher tells them to listen for special words that tell about how paper was made in the last and how these words help one understand the process. However, there are not structured, meaningful opportunities for the students to engage in rich discussions about the content.

During the reading of the texts in the Sourcebook, there are questions asked of students that they can discuss. For example, in Unit 1, Theme 1, Week 1, Lesson 4, students answer questions such as what what volunteers in your community do after reading Special Olympics: Where the World Comes Together. In Unit 2, Theme 3, Week 2, Lesson 9, students are asked what questions they have about a prism while reading the book The Other Side of the Rainbow. In Theme 8, Lesson 1, the teacher is directed to have the students "Turn and Talk to share with a partner a word or phrase they have enjoyed learning in the story.” This discussion has students speaking about what they are reading, but does not promote an evidence based discussion or deep examination of the content

One technique used in the curriculum is the Reverse Think Aloud Technique where the students are instructed to listen to a partner read a part of the text and then choose a point to stop the partner and ask what he or she is thinking about in the moment. This does not facilitate evidence-based discussions, but does have students practice speaking. This occurs while reading Space Trash in Unit 8 for instance. Another technique used is the Say Something Technique. In this technique, students work with a partner to read a text. They choose various points to cover up a portion of the text and then say a thought or an idea that the text makes them think. Again, while this helps them practice speaking, it does not reinforce evidence-based discussions. This occurs in Unit 5, Theme 10, Week 2, Lesson 9, while reading Helping Others One Dollar at a Time.

During the reading of the texts in the Sourcebook, there are questions asked of students that they can discuss, which supports speaking and listening. For example, in Theme 1, Week 1, Lesson 4, students answer questions such as what "What do volunteers in your community do?" after reading Special Olympics: Where the World Comes Together. In Theme 3, Week 2, Lesson 9, students are asked what questions they have about the prism while reading the book, The Other Side of the Rainbow. In Theme 8, Lesson 1, students are asked to Turn and Talk to "Have students share with a partner a word or phrase they have enjoyed earning in the story.”

Indicator 1k

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials, including a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

Each theme includes a daily instructional routine that includes explicit instruction, modeling, and exemplar texts. Each two week theme includes a whole group project that takes place across ten lessons. Writer's craft and grammar are taught within the context of written assignments. Each theme addresses different types of writing and small group writing gives multiple supports to students. In the Writing Bridge resources, there are theme-connected prompts to offer options for small group or independent writing.

After Shared Reading and Word study students are often asked to write as one of the three activities. For example, in Theme 5, after reading the text Williamsburg, VA students respond to the prompt, “Write a short paragraph about technology that you use every day. Use as many words with ou and ow as possible from the activities above. Have a partner circle all the words with ou or ow that make the sound you hear in cow.”

After Interactive Reading, students are asked to Reflect and Write. For example, in Theme 8 students read the text, The Storm Chasers and respond to the on-demand writing prompt, “On one side of an index card, write a piece of important information that you noticed in the story. On the other side, write why you decided it is important.”

Each theme includes a different writing type. At the end of the theme, the student Sourcebook includes a Writer’s Model of the writing type. Students respond to the writing in the Respond in Writing section of the resource. For example, in Theme 1 students read a Writer’s Model that is in the form of a story and respond to the following questions, “How does the writer hook the reader in the beginning of the story? Include details from the story to support your answer,” and “How do the exclamation points show the main character’s feelings? What words show his feelings?” Students are then assigned the task to write the same type of writing through each of the writing process steps, including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials providing opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

In the Grade 3 materials, while students have opportunities to write narrative and informational pieces, no opinion writing is found in the materials. Each theme focuses on one genre or organizational structure. There are opinion-based discussion questions in the SourceBook, but no direct instruction on writing opinion pieces is present.

In narrative writing, students encounter a writer's model first. For example, in Theme 2, Week 1, Lesson 1, students hear the story A Symphony of Whales that includes the seven traits of writing designated by the program. In Theme 14, Week 1, Lesson 3, students work on writing personal narratives. After hearing the writer's model, History’s Witness students complete a shared writing. In Writing Bridge Lesson 28, students have more opportunities to reinforce and apply what they have learned in small groups. The Writing Bridge lesson states that it has a graphic organizer for the “strongest group of students”. These advanced writers begin writing a personal narrative while the others analyze writing for correct use of conventions. Narrative writing is taught in Themes 1, 11, and 14.

Students are introduced to Informational Writing in Theme 4, Week 1, Lesson 3 using the text Franklin’s Spark to learn how to write reports. In Lesson 4, students begin researching lightning and then engage in interactive writing. Students begin their own report in Lessons 8 and 9. In Lesson 10, students learn how to write procedures. Students brainstorm topics with a group and then begin writing their own. In Theme 12, students learn how to write compare and contrast paragraphs. Students write a piece on Mars and Earth. Collectively, students list three features of Earth and three features of Mars. Students then work on their own compare and contrast piece. Informational writing is taught in Themes 8, 10, and 12,.

While there is no opinion writing instruction, in the SourceBook, some opinion questions are included in the materials. For example, in Theme 6, Week 2, Lesson 7, students write sentences telling how they feel about lightning.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 do not meet the criteria for materials including frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

There are few opportunities for evidence-based writing to develop or support claims. There are a few writing prompts that require evidence-based writing with claims, however, there is also no explicit instruction to support this type of writing. Students are not taught how to support answers with evidence from the text. Writing tasks can often be answered without analysis of the text because the focus is more on the traits of writing versus understanding the topic or text. Many of the evidence-based questions are meant to be discussions versus writing prompts and can be answered with prior background knowledge.

The Critical Thinking section in the Sourcebook provides evidence-based questions, but the students are expected to discuss the answers instead of writing responses. For example, in Theme 15, Week 2, Lesson 9, students talk about how water is an important resource in the book The Lazy, Lazy Hare. Students discuss questions such as, "what would happen if this water became polluted?" and "how do we protect water sources for the future?" There is no writing required and even though the book is mentioned, the question does not require text-based evidence.

For example in Theme 4, Week 2, Lesson 6, students are asked to discuss with a partner what ways Alex uses power after reading the story Electrified. Similarly, in Theme 9, Week 2, Lesson 6, after hearing How an Idea Became a Toy, students discuss with a partner what other companies could learn from Megan about making a successful new toy and what advice Megan may give to someone who wanted to make and sell a product for the first time. In both cases students are not expected to write or provide a rationale for their conclusions, nor is explicit instruction provided in how to answer these questions in written form.

Indicator 1n

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context. Some standards are not explicitly taught and the teacher would have to supplement the material such as the use of commas in addresses, capitalization in titles, commas and quotation marks in dialogue, and writing complex sentences.

Examples of language standards are in the material are:

  • L.3.1a Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
    • In Theme 9, Week 1, Lesson 1, students learn about the function of nouns by studying what a noun describes and examples of nouns.
    • In Theme 13, Week 2, Lesson 6, students learn about the functions of pronouns. The teacher states a sentence and then adds in a pronoun. The teacher writes contractions on the board, and the students find the pronoun in each contraction.
    • In Theme 6, Week 2, Lesson 8, students learn about the helping verb can and may. They read the story, “Zooming into the Future,” and identify places in the story where there this verbs may or can.
    • In Theme 11, Week 1, Lesson 1, students learn about adjectives by looking around the room and finding an object and then writing 5 adjectives to describe it. Then students try to guess each other's object.
    • In Theme 14, Week 1, Lesson 3, students learn about adverbs when the teacher writes examples up on the board. Students work from the story, “Vote Now,” by identifying the words strongly, really, usually, wisely, and well.
  • L.3.1b Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
    • In Theme 8, Week 2, Lesson 7 of the Writing Resource Guide, the teacher reviews singular and plural nouns and explains how to make singular nouns plural. “Plural nouns are formed by adding -s or -es to the end of the singular noun most of the time. Irregular nouns follow different rules and their plural forms must be memorized.” Students then work with a partner to practice finding singular nouns in books that they can turn into plural nouns.
  • L.3.1c Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
    • In Theme 9, Week 2, Lesson 7, students work on identifying abstract nouns such as countries and holidays. Students come up with a list of other nouns that would fit in these categories.
  • L.3.1d Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
    • In Theme 15, Week 1, Lesson 4 of the Writing Resource Guide, students learn about irregular verbs. The teacher then checks to ensure students understand how to use irregular verbs in context by looking at their writing.
    • In Theme 15, Week 2, Lesson 7 of the Writing Resource Guide,the class works together to change present tense verbs into the past tense. The teacher also explains, “You cannot form the past tense of an irregular verb by adding -ed. Sometimes the past tense of an irregular verb looks very different from its present tense.” Students are then given a two column chart with the headings present tense and past tense, students must work to fill in the empty spaces on the chart on their own.
    • In Theme 15, Week 2, Writing Resource Guide-Review all Verbs - The teacher shows students a series of sentences and asks questions about the sentences and verbs such as, “What tense is it? Is it an action or a linking verb? Is the verb regular or irregular?” The teacher also provides an explanation to students about the different types of verbs. Students then look through books to find examples of the different types of verbs.
  • L.3.1e Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
    • In Theme 13, Week 2, Lesson 7, students focus on learning main and helping verbs during writing and expanding on their understanding of verbs using resource writing guide page 26.
    • In Theme 14, Week 1, Lesson 4, students focus on writing present and past tense verbs, run/ran, teach/taught & write/wrote during the spotlight on grammar section.
  • L.3.1f Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
    • In Theme 1, Week 2, Lesson 7, students work on subject-verb agreement during the writing assignment in writing resource page 2.
    • In Theme 9, Week 2, Lesson 7, focus on finding the antecedent and using pronouns during the writing resource activity in the guidebook.
    • In Theme 1 of the Writing Resource Guide, Subject-Verb Agreement, the teacher demonstrates subject and verb agreement using the following sentence, “Jin and Anika like ice cream. Explain that the subject, Jin and Anika, is plural because there are two people. That means that the verb, like, must also be plural.” The teacher then creates a two column chart with one side labeled plural and the other side labeled singular and the class proceeds to sort nouns into the correct columns. The class then works on writing sentences with correct subject and verb agreement.
  • L.3.1g Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • In Theme 8, Week 2, Lesson 8, students are given an example of an -est adjective and the teacher explains what this type of adjective is, then students read the story, “A rancher saw the world’s largest snowflake,” and identifies other superlative adjectives.
    • In Theme 11 of the Writing Resource Guide, the teacher provides students with examples of comparative and superlative adjectives and explains the two by saying, “An adjective with the ending -er compares two things, and an adjective that has the -est ending compares three or more things. You can add more or most before longer adjectives.” The teacher then gives students the following activity to complete, “Have students compare the heights of three people they know. Tell them to draw a picture showing the heights of the three people. Then have students write a sentence below each picture using adjectives, including an -er adjective and an -est adjective.”
  • L.3.1h Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
    • In Theme 6, Week 1, Lesson 1, students learn about the conjunction but. The teacher points to an object in the room and says, “I like this one,” and then she points to another one and says, “But I don’t like this one.” The teacher then reads the story, “True Heart,” and states an example of the conjunction but describing more about the purpose of the conjunction.
    • Subordinate conjunctions are mentioned in Theme 15, Week 1 in the spotlight on grammar section - "Use Writing Resource Guide page 29 to provide a focus lesson on subordinate conjunctions. Remind students to use subordinate conjunctions in their writing."
  • L.3.1i Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
    • In Theme 2, Week 1, Lesson 4, students focus on writing simple and compound sentences. They utilize these types of sentences in independent and small group writing.
    • In Theme 1 of the Writing Resource Guide,Simple and Compound Sentences, the teacher gives examples of a simple and a compound sentence and then explains each type of sentence. The teacher says, “A simple sentence expresses one complete thought. A compound sentence is two simple sentences joined by a comma and a connecting word, such as and, but or so.” The teacher then has students try to find two simple and two compound sentences in a book.
  • L.3.2d Form and use possessives.
    • In Theme 8 of the Writing Resource Guide, Singular/Plural Possessive Nouns, the teacher explains what a possessive noun is to students and provides examples. The teacher also explains that, “Most singular nouns are made possessive by adding an apostrophe and -s. Many plural nouns take only an apostrophe at the end of the word. Plural nouns that don’t end in an -s take an apostrophe plus -s.” Afterwards students are given sentences where they must choose the correct possessive noun to complete the sentence, for example, “My ______ name is John. (father) (father’s).”
  • L.3.2e Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • In Theme 14, Week 2, Lesson 7, students study suffixes in ful, able, less. Students start with a suffix lesson with the teacher writing -ful, -able and -less in three columns on the board. Students come up with words using the suffixes and defining the words.
    • In Theme 14, Week 2, Lesson 8, students continue their work with suffixes by writing the root word and making new words in small groups.
  • L.3.2f Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    • In Theme 3, Week 1, Lesson 1, students learn about VCE words and then use them in their writing about Snowflake Bentley.
    • In Theme 7, Week 1, Lesson 5, students work on writing with ending rules, with the story, “Landslide.”
  • L.3.2g Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.
    • In Theme 10, Week 1, Lesson 3, students utilize 3 reference tools, encyclopedia, dictionary, and thesaurus. Students complete an activity using the reference materials in context.
  • L.3.3a Choose words and phrases for effect.
    • In Theme 10, Week 1, Lesson 2, students choose one aspect of a word choice to improve their writing
    • In Theme 10, Week 2, Lesson 7, students add action verbs and descriptive words to revise the procedural text in Lesson 5. They then discuss how to incorporate this into their own writing.
    • In Theme 16, Week 1, Lesson 3, students review the word, shipped and reminded that they can improve their spelling when they double the “final consonant before adding an ending to a word.”
  • L.3.3b Recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English.
    • While there is no direct evidence that I found for this standard, there is times when students work on learning synonyms which does help students learn this standard.
    • In Theme 7, Week 1, Theme 4, students use their sourcebook to write synonyms and antonyms for each word.
    • In Theme 7, Week 1, Lesson 1, students practice anytonyms and synomns by creating sentences.

Students have opportunities to apply some language standards in context. For example:

  • In Theme 8, Week 2, Lesson 10, students write sentences with superlative adjectives.
  • In Theme 8, Week 2, Lesson 10, students work on identifying word endings in context including plural -s, by identifying plural words in the sourcebook story, “Extreme Weather.”

Criterion 1o - 1q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression. Materials partially meet expectations that materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. Materials partially meet expectations that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Indicator 1o

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks address grade-level CCSS for foundational skills by providing explicit instruction and assessment in phonics and word recognition that demonstrate a research-based progression.

Literacy by Design materials provide consistent, explicit instruction in phonics and word recognition over the course of the year. There is a progression of phonics skills that are taught over the course of the year starting with short vowels, leading to long vowels, suffixes, word families and homophones. Students are taught word recognition, phonics and tasks and questions are sequenced for grade level in both the small group and the whole group with starting with multiple syllable words and ending with suffixes and prefixes in theme 15. The assessment system also provides ongoing assessment of phonics and word recognition through its theme level tests, plus the mid-year and end-of -year tests. Suggestions are provided for how teachers can find extra support for students in need of more instruction and practice. The assessments are located in the appendices. Opportunities to further Grade 3 students’ word analysis skills are missed in the early themes because the materials contain whole class review foundational skills such as initial consonant sounds, short vowels, and vowel teams.

Materials contain explicit instruction of phonics and word recognition consistently over the course of the year. Examples include:

  • The introduction to the Small Group Reading Teacher’s Guide states that phonics and word study are correlated to reading levels. The levels for Grade 3 are J-Q. Sound-symbol patterns, including vowel patterns, r-controlled vowels and word families, consonant patterns and diphthong word families, and consonant patterns occur within levels J-M. For example:
    • In Level J, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, students learn the ue vowel pattern. Students use the magnetic board to practice with the b, l, and ue tiles. Students also form other words with this pattern. In Lesson 1, there is a review the word families ew, aw, and awn.
    • In Level K, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, students learn orn and ire word families, with r-controls. Students review the definition and use the magnetic board to form words using r-control.
    • In Level L, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, students learn the consonant patterns -dge and -tch. Students review the definition and use the magnetic board to form words.
  • Word study, including prefixes and suffixes, occurs within levels N-Q. For example:
    • In Level O, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, the focus is on the suffixes -ful and -less. Students review the definition and build suffix sentences using words from the story.
    • In Level P, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, the focus is homonyms. Students review the definition and build homonyms in sentences of their own.
    • In Level Q, Small Group Reading, Lesson 1, the focus is on synonyms. Students review the definition and build synonyms in sentences of their own. They also look at antonyms with a similar activity.
  • In Theme 11, Week 2, Lesson 6, Interactive Reading, the teacher explains that the prefix un- means, “the opposite of or not.” The teacher is then provided with the following instructions to have students complete an activity with the prefix un - , “Have partners create question and answer pairs. One students asks a questions using a word with un-, such as Do you unfold your shirts and hang them up? Then the partner answers the question by saying he or she does the opposite: No, I fold my shirts and put them in a drawer, Have them use these words: unbuckle, unhappy, uncover, unwilling.”
  • In Theme 11, Week 2, Lesson 7, Interactive Reading, the class works again with the prefix un- and the teacher is instructed to complete the following activity with students, “Read the article, What is a Comet? on page 342. Ask students to listen for words beginning with the prefix un- (unusual, unaided, unseen, unreal, undiscovered). Have students work in pairs to complete the prefix un- in Context on page 343 of the sourcebook.”
  • In Theme 12, Week 1, Modeled Reading, the teacher provides students with a definition for prefixes, “A prefix is a word part that can be added to the beginning of a root word to change the word’s meaning. The prefixes non-, in-, and dis- mean ‘not.’ Some words with these prefixes are nonliving, invisible, incomplete, distrust, and disagree.” The class then practices adding prefixes to change the meanings of a series of words.
  • In Theme 14, Week 2, the teacher provides students with a definition for suffixes, “Suffixes are word parts added to the end of some words. Suffixes change the meaning of the word. Tell students -ful means “full of,: -able means “able to”and -less means “not having” or “without.”’ The class then plays the following game, “Ask students to choose a word from the spelling list that has a suffix. Tell students not to reveal the word they chose. Next have them take turns giving the class a “clue,” such as My suffix word means “without pain.”’

Tasks and questions are sequenced to application of grade-level work (e.g., application of prefixes at the end of the unit/year; decoding multi-syllable words) except early Themes contain review foundational skills. Examples include:

  • A review of initial consonants and short vowels takes place within Theme 1, at the beginning of the year. Consonant blends and word families occur in Theme 2.
  • In Theme 4, students study particular word families (ai, ay, ea, ee, ie, igh, oa, and ow).
  • In Theme 6, students study silent consonants. In Theme 7, they study synonyms, antonyms, and multiple-meaning words.
  • In Theme 7, Week 2, Lesson 9, students work on learning how to read multiple-meaning words.
  • In Theme 8, students learn homonyms and word endings.
  • In Themes 11 and 12, prefixes are taught.
  • Suffixes are studied in Themes 14 and 15.
    • In Theme 15, Week 2, Lesson 9, students identify using the Sourcebook on page 467, ly and -fully suffix words.
  • In Theme 16, Week 1, Lesson 1, students are taught about consonant doubling. The teacher than explains words that last letter is a consonant is doubled before adding the endings, -er, -ed, and -ing.

Multiple assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year to inform instructional adjustments of phonics and word recognition to help students make progress toward mastery. Examples include:

  • The Assessment Guide for Grade 3 contains Theme Progress Tests and test practice aligned to the Comprehensive Teacher’s Guide units. Word study is included in each of the Theme Progress Tests, which are given on the last day of each Theme. For example:
    • In Theme 1 there is a multiple-choice question on initial consonants, “Which word has the same initial consonant as raspberry?” It also asks the students to select the correct word with a short vowel sound. This is below grade level though.
    • In Theme 5, the assessment includes four questions about diphthongs. “Which word in sentence 1 has the same vowel sounds as the word found?” This is below grade level though.
  • Mid-year and End-of-Year review tests are cumulative. The mid-year test contains questions about word families, long vowels, synonyms and antonyms, multiple-meaning words, and homonyms. ‘Which word has the same meaning as the word divided?” The end-of-year review texts prefixes, synonyms, and word solving strategies using root words.
  • The teacher can utilize the Rigby Reads diagnostic assessment twice a year to give a baseline assessment and in order to determine progress. The teacher can document once at the beginning and and the end of the year.
  • There is a Benchmark Book Assessment that students can take 3-4 times a year or more as necessary in order to guide instruction.

Materials contain explicit instruction of word solving strategies (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words. Examples include:

  • In Theme 6, Week 1, Lesson 3, students work on identifying words with silent consonants w, b and h in context.
  • In Theme 7, Week 2, Interactive Reading, teachers are instructed to, “Reteach using fix-up strategies by reading a portion of It’s Not My Fault!, modeling an example of each type of strategy: using illustrations, using phonics, reading on, and breaking a word into parts to understand unclear information.”
  • In Theme 15, Week 2, Interactive Reading, when reading the story The Lazy, Lazy Hare, the teacher is instructed to, “Reteach using fix-up strategies by modeling decoding and word analysis with an unfamiliar or challenging word in the story.”
In Sourcebook Volume 2, (pp. 450-451), after the teacher models using fix-up strategies in the text, Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson, students are told, “Fix-up strategies, such as using letter sounds and word parts, will help you figure out the meaning of a word. First sound out the word. If you have never heard the word, look at word parts, such as endings. They may give you a clue about the word’s meaning. Use a chart like the one below to help you.” The chart contains columns for the word the student got stuck on and possible strategies the child could use to decode the unknown word.

Indicator 1p

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials, lessons, and questions provide instruction in and practice of word analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Literacy By Design materials include opportunities for students to complete tasks in order to learn word analysis skills. The skills are similar in nature each week and include brief instruction. There are opportunities for students to complete activities that are in- and out-of-context. Assessments are provided in the materials such as the Theme assessments, but reviewers were unable to evaluate all the assessments for word analysis in-context including evaluating word analysis in Rigsby Reads.

Multiple and varied opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected texts and tasks. Examples include:

  • In Theme 5, Week 2, students practice finding oy, oi words in context: “Together read the directions for the activity on page 157 of the sourcebook. Ask students to write down the oi and oy words in An Adventure in Time (voice, annoying, choice, enjoyed, boy, point, joined) and then to add more oi and oy words to share with a partner.”
  • In Theme 7, Week 1, part of the synonyms and antonyms in-context activity includes the following instructions: “Read Ask a Scientist! aloud. Ask students to look for words that have the same or opposite meanings. Have students work in pairs to complete Synonyms and Antonyms in context on page 201.”
  • In Theme 7, Week 2, students listen for multiple meaning words such as “saw, watch, waves, bound, dash and safe” while the teacher reads aloud the story A Ten-Year-Old Hero.
  • In Theme 11, Week 2, Interactive Reading, Lesson 6, the teacher explains that the prefix un- means, “the opposite of or not.” The teacher is then provided with the following instructions to have students complete an activity with the prefix un-: “Have partners create question and answer pairs. One students asks a questions using a word with un-, such as ‘Do you unfold your shirts and hang them up?’ Then the partner answers the question by saying he or she does the opposite: No, I fold my shirts and put them in a drawer, Have them use these words: unbuckle, unhappy, uncover, unwilling.”
  • In Theme 11, Week 2, Interactive Reading, Lesson 7, the class works again with the prefix un- and the teacher is instructed to complete the following activity with students, “Read the article What is a Comet? on page 342. Ask students to listen for words beginning with the prefix un- (unusual, unaided, unseen, unreal, undiscovered). Have students work in pairs to complete The Prefix un- in Context on page 343 of the sourcebook.”
  • In Theme 12, Week 1, Modeled Reading, the teacher provides students with a definition for prefixes, “A prefix is a word part that can be added to the beginning of a root word to change the word’s meaning. The prefixes non-, in-, and dis- mean “not.” Some words with these prefixes are nonliving, invisible, incomplete, distrust, and disagree.” The class then practices adding prefixes to change the meanings of a series of words.
  • Word study, including prefixes, suffixes, and root words, occurs within levels N-Q at Grade 3. For example:
    • Level O, Small Group Reading Lesson 1, focuses on the suffixes -ful and -less. Students review the definition and build suffix sentences using words from the story. They also look at plural -s, -es, and -ies.

Some materials include word analysis assessment to monitor student learning of word analysis skills. Examples include:

  • There is a benchmark assessment and evaluation kit. This assessment is said to give teachers ongoing progress monitoring for students in the area of word study and comprehension. Teachers individually administer this assessment several times a year and the texts are fiction and nonfiction.
  • There is another assessment called Rigby Reads that is an evaluation and diagnostic tool to help the teacher evaluate students' word analysis skills. This assessment is given at the beginning and end of the year or when a new student moves into the teachers’ class. This provides teachers with information about a students’ word analysis skills in order for them to access books at their reading level. This assessment is used twice a year rather than for monitoring and adjusting instruction of word analysis skills.

Indicator 1q

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

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.

Materials include opportunities for students to have access to small group readers where they practice a variety of fluency strategies. Students have opportunities to practice oral and silent reading. Also, included are different assessments in order to help the teacher identify how students are doing in overall fluency. Opportunities to practice and apply re-reading and self-correction are limited. Opportunities to practice and build fluency with poetry are limited.

Multiple 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. Examples include:

  • In Theme 1, Week 1, Teach Fluency, Use Punctuation to Inform Meaning, “Model reading page 14 of the sourcebook aloud, pausing for commas and periods and reading sentences with questions marks or exclamation marks with expression. Have students echo read the text with you to practice using punctuation.”
  • In Theme 2, Week 1, Teach Fluency: Read in Phrases, “Discuss how good readers read phrases or groups of several words together at a time. This makes their reading sound smooth and clear. Use choral reading as you reread a portion of page 44. Model reading in phrases as students read together and follow your phrasing.”
  • In Theme 3, Week 1, Teacher Fluency, Use Punctuation to Inform Meaning, “Tell students that good readers use punctuation as they read to help them understand the text. Use echo reading as you reread a portion of page 76. As you read, draw attention to the commas, periods and exclamation points.”
  • The Small Group Reading Teacher’s Guide states on page T14 that fluency skills are modeled in whole class instruction, and that systematic and explicit fluency instruction exists in every small group reading lesson. There are Fluency Readers for independent reading and practice and Fluent Reader software for repeated practice and assessment. All the fluency lessons are grounded in the readings. For example:
    • In Level L, Small Group Reading, students practice reading, “Savannah’s Concert.” Students are encouraged to practice a couple of different paragraphs for fluency practice. When students return to the group, they read their paragraphs out loud. On page 84, students in the area of fluency focus on reading for emotion. The teacher models how to read with emotion using pages 10 and 11 and then students take turn reading the text with emotion.
    • In Level M, Small Group Reading, the teacher introduces a fluency focus on stressing words with special type treatment and reading in phrases. The teacher models chunking a reading into phrases for smoother reading. Students then take turns reading the text section they have practiced.

Materials 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. Opportunities were missed over the course of the school year to have students pay attention to rate, accuracy and expression when reading poems. Examples include:

  • In Theme 1, Week 2, students read the poem “No Place Like Greenville.” The instructions are: “Have partners read the poem together softly. Then ask them to think about the exaggerations the poet used and how they create a picture for the reader.” No mention is made of rereading the poem to build fluency or work on specific fluency skills.
  • In Theme 3, Week 2, Lesson 7, students read the poem “Jack and Jill.” The teacher explains that the rhythm is the beat in poetry that is used to move the rhythm of the poem up and down.
  • In Theme 3, Week 2, students read the poem “My Shadow.” The instructions for the lesson are to, “Have partners of mixed abilities reread the poem together, each reading four lines at a time. Have them stop to identify each pair of rhyming words at the end of their turns: me, see; head, bed; grow, slow; ball, all.”

Materials 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). Opportunities are modeled by the teacher, but student practice opportunities are limited. Examples include:

  • In Theme 7, Week 1, Think Aloud, Use Fix-Up Strategies, “Donna O’Meara says the lava tube is ‘exposed.’ ‘Exposed’ is a hard word. One way to figure out what the word means is to read on. As we read on, we learn that the water can “seal the tube.” This means that the tube must be visible, so the word “exposed” must mean “can be seen.”
  • In Theme 13, Week 1, Think Aloud, Monitor Understanding: Strategic Reading, “After reading this section I’m not sure I understand what to do if I think there should be a new law. I need to choose a reading strategy to help me understand. I will reread these paragraphs more slowly. Oh! I think I understand now. If I have an idea for a law, I can write down my idea and then have people sign the paper. That way, my state leaders will now that many other people also want this law. Then the government officials can decide whether or not to make the law. To make sure I understand the rest of this text, I am going to read more slowly.”

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills and provide teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency. Examples include:

  • With the Fluent Reader Software, students choose from five text passages, three from fluency readers and two that are unseen. Students listen and read along. Then students record themselves reading, and they listen to the playback, comparing their recordings to the fluent reader.
    • The software evaluates students’ initial reading rates and measures their progress up against the words per minute goal. The teachers use a fluency rubric to assess where students are at in this area.
  • Teachers use the Rigby READS diagnostic test for reading level placement. This includes fluency as one of the five-pillars.
  • There are no fluency questions in any of the 16 theme progress tests or in the mid-year or final year exams.
  • The fluency assessment rubric and tracking form are provided in the Appendix of the Small Group Reading Teacher’s Guide. There is also instruction in taking and analyzing an oral reading record. The materials do not say how student mistakes will be used to help students make progress toward mastery in fluency.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Two Details
Materials were not reviewed for Gateway Two because materials did not meet or partially meet expectations for Gateway One

Criterion 2a - 2h

Indicator 2a

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

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
N/A

Indicator 2c

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

Indicator 2d

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

Indicator 2e

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

Indicator 2f

Materials support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
N/A

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
N/A

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
N/A

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

+
-
Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
N/A

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
N/A

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
N/A

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
N/A

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
N/A

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
N/A

Criterion 3o - 3r

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
N/A

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
N/A

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
N/A

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
N/A

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
N/A

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 12/05/2018

Report Edition: 2013

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Student Sourcebook, Volume 1 Grade 3 978-0-5476-9164-0 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Essential Resource Guide Grade 3 978-0-5477-2973-2 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Student Sourcebook, Volume 2 Grade 3 978-0-5477-3456-9 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Writing Resource Guides Grade 3 978-0-5477-3506-1 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Assessment Guide Grade 3 978-0-5477-4163-5 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Benchmark Book Evaluation Guide Grade 3 978-0-5477-4243-4 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Comprehension Organizers Grades 3-5 978-0-5477-4247-2 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Comprehension Bridges Grade 3 978-0-5477-4253-3 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Skills Master Grade 3 978-0-5477-4268-7 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Writing Bridge Grade 3 978-0-5477-4282-3 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Small Group Reading Teacher's Guide Complete Grade 3 978-0-5478-2628-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Whole Class Complete Package with Grade 3 978-0-5478-3689-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Small Group Complete Package with Grade 3 978-0-5478-3703-1 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Benchmark Assessment Package Grade 3 978-0-5478-4874-7 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Complete Comprehensive Teachers Guide Package Grade 3 978-0-5478-4996-6 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Small Group Teacher Resources Grade 3 978-0-5478-5181-5 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Comprehensive Teacher Resources Grade 3 978-0-5478-5366-6 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Common Core Correlation Booklet Grade 3 978-0-5478-6490-7 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013
Leveled Reader Bundle, Level P Digital Content Grade 3 978-1-3289-2539-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Leveled Reader Bundle, Level Q Digital Content Grade 3 978-1-3289-2541-1 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012
Literacy by Design Teacher's Guide Small Group Reading Grade 3 978-1-4189-3303-6 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008
Literacy by Design Comprehensive Teacher?s Guide Grade 3 978-1-4189-3309-8 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008

About Publishers Responses

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

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

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. 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).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, 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.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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