The Open Court Kindergarten materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. Materials include high-quality texts throughout the year; however, not all texts are appropriately complex for the grade-level. It is difficult to determine if the complexity of most anchor texts students listen to provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth, since the majority of anchor texts do not have a quantitative measure that can be located in Lexile or provided by the publisher.
Some text-based opportunities, protocols, questions and tasks support students as both listeners and speakers; however, speaking and listening is not varied across the year. The majority of discussions are done in the whole group with the teacher asking questions, meaning that all students may not be engaged in speaking and listening about what they are reading. Additionally, some discussion questions do not focus on developing students' speaking and listening skills anchored in what they are reading or listening to, but rather focus on thoughts and opinions.
Process writing opportunities encompass all the genres set forth in the standards, though informative/explanatory writing accounts for nearly half of instruction. There are limited opportunities for students to engage in on-demand writing aligned to the text. The program includes explicit instruction in and practice of most grammar skills; however, there are limited opportunities for students to apply grade-level grammar and usage standards to their individual writing.
Materials include a research-based synthetic approach to teaching foundational skills. Explicit instruction in all phonological and phonics standards is included in the materials; however, there is a lack of encoding practice for both newly taught phonics skills and high frequency words. Materials include decodables aligned to the scope and sequence of phonics and high frequency word instruction. Materials include instruction in print concepts with opportunities for student practice using a variety of physical books. Materials include instruction in 50 high-frequency words; however, students do not have opportunities to spell the high-frequency words. Automaticity is practiced through the use of the Sound-by-Sound Blending Routine and the Whole-Word Blending Routine. Multiple assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence of foundational skills; however, teacher guidance for instructional strategies for assessment area deficits is lacking. Materials guide teachers in scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level. Additionally, English Language (EL) Tips are integrated throughout the lesson at the point of use.