Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Puzzle Piece Phonics partially meet the criteria for alignment to standards and research-based practices for foundational skills instruction. Materials provide limited instructional support in general concepts of print. Materials provide systematic, explicit instruction in phonological awareness and phonics. Students have opportunities to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics and materials provide opportunities for application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks. Materials provide limited opportunities for students to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence. Materials provide limited systematic instruction of high-frequency words and opportunities to practice the reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials explicitly teach word analysis strategies based on the requirements of the standards and provide limited practice opportunities for students to apply word analysis strategies.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

|

Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Standards and Research-Based Practices

0
28
50
58
47
50-58
Meets Expectations
29-49
Partially Meets Expectations
0-28
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Implementation, Support Materials & Assessment

0
24
44
50
30
44-50
Meets Expectations
25-43
Partially Meets Expectations
0-24
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Alignment to Standards and Research-Based Practices for Foundational Skills Instruction

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet expectations for  materials provide explicit instruction for letter identification of all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase) and materials engage students in sufficient practice of letter identification. Students have opportunities to practice forming the 26 letters (upper and lowercase). Materials provide limited instructional support in general concepts of print. Materials provide explicit instruction in phonological awareness through systematic modeling across the K-1 grade band and provide practice of each newly taught sound (phoneme) and sound pattern across the K-1 band. Materials meet the criteria for materials emphasize explicit phonics instruction through systematic and repeated modeling and also include frequent practice opportunities for students to decode words that consist of common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns. Students have opportunities to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics and materials provide opportunities for application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials include systematic instruction of high-frequency words and opportunities to practice reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials explicitly teach word analysis strategies based on the requirements of the standards and provide limited practice opportunities for students to apply word analysis strategies.  Materials partially meet the criteria for materials provide teacher guidance to support students as they confirm or self-correct errors and emphasize reading for purpose and understanding.

Criterion 1a - 1b

Materials and instruction provide embedded support with general concepts of print, and systematic and explicit instruction and practice for letter recognition.
9/10
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria  for materials provide explicit instruction for letter identification of all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase) and materials engage students in sufficient practice of letter identification. Materials provide explicit instruction to print and to practice forming the 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). Materials partially meet the criteria for materials provide instructional support for general concepts of print and connect learning of print concepts to books and provide cumulative review of print concepts, letter identification, and printing letters.

Indicator 1a

Letter Identification
0/0

Indicator 1a.i

Materials provide explicit instruction for letter identification of all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase) (K).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials provide explicit instruction for letter identification of all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). (K)

The materials contain isolated, systematic, and explicit instruction for all 26 letters. At the beginning of the program, three letters are taught each week, and by Week 12, all 26 letters have been introduced. 

Materials contain isolated, systematic and explicit instruction for all 26 letters (recognize and name uppercase and lowercase).  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 17, students participate in an activity called Word or Letter. The teacher writes words and letters on the board, and students circle the letters and underline the words. 
  • In  the Teacher's Guide, the Big Reveal on page 38, the teacher holds up the puzzle piece and says, “This is the mop piece. It represents the letter m.”
  • In the Teacher's Guide Concept 2, Week 1, Day 3, pg. 30, during the Big Reveal the teacher says, “On Day 1, we learned the puzzle piece ‘dig’. It represents the letter d. On Day 2, we learned the type puzzle piece, it represents the letter t.” The teacher holds up the hat puzzle piece, and says, “This represents the letter h.”

There is a defined sequence for letter instruction to be completed in a reasonable time frame over the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Each week, students learn three new letters and complete letter identification activities such as Word or Letter, Writing Letters Activity, and Letter Matrix.  These activities start during Week 3 and end in Week 12. By Week 12, students will have practiced all 26 letters. For example, in Week 5, Day 3, the teacher models and students practice uppercase letter I and lowercase letter i

Indicator 1a.ii

Materials engage students in sufficient practice of letter identification.(K)
2/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials engage students in sufficient practice of letter identification.

The materials and activities provide students with frequent opportunities to engage in practice identifying, locating, and naming all 26 uppercase and lowercase letters. The students have explicit activities in Week 3 through Week 12 that assist them in mastering identification of uppercase and lowercase letters.

Materials provide students with frequent opportunities to engage in practice identifying, locating, and naming all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase).  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Fluency Notebook, page 2, students engage in repeated readings of the poem “The Alphabet Song” during Week 2. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, Day 1, during the Big Reveal, the teacher leads the students in saying the alphabet by pointing out the consonant and short vowel puzzle pieces. 
  • In the Teacher's Guide, Concept 1, Week 2, Day 1, page 16, the teacher writes: popcorn, y, quiet, fort and d on the board. Students come to the board and circle the letters and underline the words.
  • In the Teacher's Guide, Concept 1, Week 2, Day 2, page 17, students say the alphabet, and the teacher points to the consonants and the short vowel puzzle piece. Students tell a partner one letter. In the Learner’s Notebook, page 90, students locate and circle the upper and lowercase letters j, l and o
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 62, during the Big Reveal, the teacher holds up the puzzle piece that correlates with the letter g and says, “We learned this letter yesterday. It represents the letter g.” Then, students do the motion for the gum puzzle piece together. 

Indicator 1a.iii

Materials embed letter identification practice in meaningful print use.(K)
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials embed letter identification practice in meaningful print use.

Materials include activities for students to practice tasks and activities that apply letter identification. There is an alphabet poem students read all week.  Following weekly word and picture sorts, the teacher labels items in the classroom that represent taught letters of the alphabet.

Materials contain a variety of tasks that apply letter identification and naming of all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase) to meaningful print use (e.g. initial letter of a child’s name, environmental print, letter assortments, alphabet books, shared writing). Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 61, and Learners Notebook, page 43, students complete the weekly sort by cutting and sorting picture and word cards by letter (g, p, e). Pictures include grass, pets, elephant, goat, poodle, empty, grapes, popsicle, egg, garden, pen, elk, Grace, Pat, and Ella.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 65, students complete the Fluency Drill. Students examine a letter chant, search for the letter b, and circle and produce the /b/ sound as they find it.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, following weekly sort, the teacher labels items in the classroom that represent focus letters for the sort.

Indicator 1a.iv

Materials provide explicit instruction to print and to practice forming the 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase).(K-1)
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials provide explicit instruction to print and to practice forming the 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase).

Materials include opportunities for the teacher to model and explain how to correctly form each of the letters. There is consistent explicit instruction on how to print and practice all of the letters during different parts of the lessons.

Materials include clear directions for the teacher concerning how to explain and model how to correctly form each of the 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase).  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 29, students complete the Grab and Write Routine. Using word lists, students identify the first letter of the word and then write it on the paper. The teacher is prompted on page I-44 of the instructional routine to model the routine for students. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, the teacher uses the Handwriting Routine and models for students how to write the letters. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 121, there is explicit instruction on the formation of uppercase and lowercase v
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 128, in the Handwriting Check Routine, the teacher models each of the letters introduced during the week’s lessons.

Materials include frequent opportunities for students to practice forming all of the 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 29, students complete the Grab and Write Routine by writing their list of words on handwriting paper.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 66, Review Patterns of the Week, students write the letters on their partners’ backs with their finger. Students form the letters g, p, and e.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, the materials state that on page 62 of their Learner’s Notebook students write three uppercase and three lowercase w, n and i. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 84, students complete the Formation, Writing Letters activity on page 65 of their Learner’s Notebook. Students form two lines of uppercase Q and two lines of lowercase q.  
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 103, students complete a Handwriting Check.  The teacher asks students to turn to page 82 in the Learner’s Notebook. The teacher models and students form three of the following letters: uppercase X, lowercase x, uppercase K, lowercase k, uppercase O, and lowercase o.

Materials include frequent opportunities for students to practice forming letters using multimodal and/or multisensory methods. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-52, the instructional materials contain a routine in which students color-code their writing. Students write the first letter of the word in pencil. Then, they use a marker, crayon, or colored pencil to write the spelling pattern.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 66, Handwriting Check, after the teacher models the formation of letters, students write g’s, p’s, and e’s in both uppercase and lowercase forms.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, students tell a partner how to form the letters for the week's pieces from this week’s pieces, w, n, and i. Students then write the letters on their partners’ backs with their fingers.

Indicator 1b

Materials provide instructional support for general concepts of print and connect learning of print concepts to books (K-1) and provide cumulative review of print concepts, letter identification, and printing letters. (K-early Grade 1)
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide instructional support for general concepts of print and connect learning of print concepts to books (K-1) and provide cumulative review of print concepts, letter identification, and printing letters. (K-early Grade 1).

There are limited routines embedded in the program to teach general print concepts. The Puzzle Pieces program has decodables, poems, and chants, but the materials do not contain explicit instruction of all print concepts standards. Some routines help students understand that letters make up words; however, there are no explicit routines in which the teacher states that print is written from left to right or that spoken words correlate to sequence of letters. The materials do not include explicit instruction on the organization of print concepts of directionality, spoken words correlating to sequences of letters, or spacing within or between words.

The materials contain limited daily review opportunities during which the teacher reminds students about previously learned letter names, letter identification, and letter formation from the previous week.

Materials include limited lessons, tasks, and questions for all students about the organization of print concepts (e.g. follow words left to right, spoken words correlate sequences of letters, letter spacing). Examples include:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-16, the Supported Blending Routine explains that the teacher places one finger under the first spelling in the first word (e.g place one finger under m for the spelling /m/), says the remainder of the word, and then drags her finger underneath all of the spelling in the word. This lesson does not explicitly teach directionality of print.

Materials include limited physical books (teacher-guided, such as big books) that are suitable for teaching print concepts. Examples include:

  • In the Fluency Guide, page 27, students use their Fluency Notebook which contains the following passages: “Buzz,” “The Bug at Dusk,” “Jan’s Map,” and “Jan and Dan at Camp.” 

Materials include no instruction about the organization of print concepts (e.g. follow words left to right, spoken words correlate sequences of letters, letter spacing) in the context of a book.

  • No evidence found

Materials do not include opportunities for students to engage in authentic practice using print concepts in the context of student books. 

  • No evidence found

The materials do not contain periodic cumulative review opportunities during which the teacher reminds students about previously learned grade level print concepts, and students practice the print concepts.

  • No evidence found

The materials do not contain periodic cumulative review opportunities during which the teacher reminds students about previously learned letter naming, and students practice identifying previously learned letters.

  • No evidence found

The materials contain limited periodic cumulative review opportunities during which the teacher reminds students about previously learned letter formations, and students practice forming the letters.  Examples include:

  • In Teacher’s Guide, page 73, the Big Reveal, the teacher reviews previously learned letter formations for the letter w.
  • In Teacher’s Guide, page 125, the Big Reveal, the teacher reviews previously learned letter formations for the letters v and h.

Criterion 1c - 1e

Materials emphasize explicit, systematic instruction of researched-based and/or evidence-based phonological awareness.
12/12
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria that materials have frequent opportunities for students to engage in phonological awareness. Materials provide explicit instruction in phonological awareness through systematic modeling across the K-1 grade band and provide practice of each newly taught sound (phoneme) and sound pattern across the K-1 band.

Indicator 1c

Materials have frequent opportunities for students to engage in phonological awareness activities during Kindergarten and early Grade 1.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The Kindergarten materials reviewed meet the criteria that materials have frequent opportunities for students to engage in phonological awareness activities through Kindergarten and early Grade 1.

The Kindergarten Puzzle Piece Phonics program includes a variety of activities for rhyming, blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds orally. Quick, two-minute activities are provided for daily practice of oral language skills. The teacher tells students about the concept, models how to do the skill, and then directs students to practice the skill. Lessons begin with rhyming in Concept 1 and move to blending and segmenting throughout the Concepts. The activities start with teacher modeling followed by students responding orally. Students practice blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds for grade-level standards throughout the Concepts. Students engage in blending activities in which they read words to other students that blend cvc words together.  Students engage in oral practice that provides daily activities for distinguishing long and short vowels and isolating and pronouncing single-syllable words. The materials outline daily lesson activities provided in the phonemic awareness exercises in the Teacher’s Guide with models provided and examples for use in the instruction. However, the phonemic awareness exercises often employ “choice” responses that do not require the students to manipulate or produce sounds/syllables. Furthermore, because students choose the correct sound, the format of the task allows them to respond correctly 50% of the time by chance. “Production” responses provide opportunities for students to manipulate and practice sounds. A phonemic awareness skill is generally taught for a week with no measure of whether mastery has been established before introducing the next level of phonemic awareness tasks. The skills that are taught are introduced in simplified contexts and are not often incorporated into more complex tasks.

Materials include a variety of activities for phonological awareness. For example: 

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 33, during the Review Patterns of the week, students find a partner and tell their partner the names of the week’s pieces, dig, type, and hat. They tell their partner the sounds of the week’s pieces, /d/, /t/, and /a/. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 71, during the Phonemic Awareness activity, students listen to the sounds in a word and put the sounds together to form a word.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 150, during the Phonemic Awareness activity, students change the initial sound of a word to a different sound.

There are frequent opportunities for students to practice phonological awareness. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Daily lessons include activities to practice phonemic awareness in oral exercises at the beginning of each lesson for two to three minutes. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 336 during the Phonemic Awareness Listen activity, students hear a word and then change the initial sound to form two rhyming words.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 8, students identify pairs of rhyming words and then practice the format for 10 consecutive days through Concept 1, Week 2, Day 5, page 20.
  • Phoneme segmentation, i.e., the student is expected to pronounce the separate phonemes in a word given orally, is taught and reviewed throughout the program.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages 368-372, students segment sounds and say the whole word when the teacher says a word. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages 392-395, students segment sounds and say the whole word when the teacher says a word.
  • Sound comparison and contrast tasks, in which students identify words with similar or different beginning, middle, or ending sounds, are limited to identifying whether a word has a long or short vowel sound. In the Teacher’s Guide, page 411, students determine whether the vowel sound in a given word is long or short.
  • Oral blending tasks occur in 2 types of exercises: (1) Students blend word parts, and (2) the teacher breaks down words into individual sounds, and the students put the sounds together to form a word. For example, in the Teacher’s Guide, page 33, students blend word parts to say the whole word when the teacher has broken the word into 2 parts.

Indicator 1d

Materials provide explicit instruction in phonological awareness through systematic modeling across the K-1 grade band.
4/4
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials provide explicit instruction in phonological awareness through systematic modeling across the K-1 grade band.

The materials in the program provide students with explicit modeling by the teacher in rhyming, blending syllables in spoken words, and isolating sounds. The teacher demonstrates blending, segmenting, and manipulating phonemes that align with grade-level standards. Throughout the program, examples and tasks are modeled for students at the beginning of each phonemic awareness exercise when initial instruction is occurring. Modeling is phased out in later review lessons when students have mastered the concept. 

  • Students count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-17 the routine for blending is explained. “The Blending Routine takes ten minutes or less, and is done on Days 1-4 beginning in Concept 3. Students look at a word, say the sounds of each spelling pattern within the word, and put them back together to decode the word.”
    • Phoneme segmentation, i.e., the student is expected to pronounce the separate phonemes in a word given orally, is taught and reviewed throughout the program.
      • Teacher’s Guide, Concept 9, Week 2, Days 1-3, pages 368-372 requires the students to segment sounds and say the whole word when the teacher says a word. 
      • Teacher’s Guide, Concept 9, Week 4, Days 1-3, pages 392-395 requires the students to segment sounds and say the whole word when the teacher says a word.
  • Students blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages 26-44, the teacher identifies the onset and rime for words, and students blend and say the word.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages 71-91, the teacher identifies the sounds in words, and students blend the sounds and say the word.
  • Students recognize and produce rhyming words. 
    • Rhyming is modeled in exercises, such as on pages 8-20 of the Teacher’s Guide. However, there is no explicit instruction on what rhyming means or why words rhyme. The concept of rhyming is taught through the examples or non-examples being presented. Each of these lessons model one example and one non-example, and they use the same examples in each lesson. 
      • In the Teacher’s Guide, Concept 4, Week 1, Days 1-4, pages 215-220.
      • In the Teacher’s Guide, Concept 6, Week 1, Days 1-5, pages 268-273.
  • Students isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 96, the teacher models the individual sounds in the word bat. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 368, the teacher models saying the sounds in map, /m/ /a/ /p/
  • Students add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words.  
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages 148-154, the teacher says a word and tells the student to change the initial sound and make a new word (e.g.,“For example, if I say ‘cat,’ change the initial sound to /b/, you say ‘bat.’”). 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 151, the teacher models changing the initial sounds of words to a different sound. For example, during Phonemic Awareness, the teacher models changing the /l/ in lad to /f/ to make the new word fad. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 194, students practice final sound substitution. During Phonemic Awareness, the teacher models changing moss to mob, tad to tap, rub to rut, pat to pad, and lick to lid.  
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 206, students practice medial sound substitution. During Phonemic Awareness, the teacher models changing punt to pant, hip to hop, got to get, head to had, and pop to pup. 

Materials provide the teacher with examples for instruction in syllables, sounds (phonemes), and spoken words called for in grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Each phonemic awareness skill is taught using a specified instructional format with follow-up activities provided in the Learner’s Notebook. Each of these daily instructional lessons provides the teacher with examples to use when teaching the routines and activities specified in each lesson. For example,      
    •  In the Teacher’s Guide, page 121, teachers are provided a list of words to say (hug, Tom, clap, add, right, punt, hi, slip), and students tell how many sounds they hear.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 360, teachers are provided a list of words to say (clap, top, drop, step, lip, cup, pup, map, hip, flap), and students identify the vowel sound they hear in each word. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 115, during the Supported Blending exercise, teachers are directed to discuss the -ot and -ump word families and review sounds from the previous weeks.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 114, students participate in the Phonemic Awareness activity. The teacher says a word, and students break the word into parts. The materials include  examples for the teacher that illustrate how the words should be broken up. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 368, the teacher completes the Phonemic Awareness Routine. The teacher says the word, and students tell the teacher the sounds in the words. For example, if the teacher says map, the students say /m/, /a/, /p/

Indicator 1e

Materials provide practice of each newly taught sound (phoneme) and sound pattern across the K-1 band.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials provide practice of each newly taught sound (phoneme) and sound pattern across the K-1 band. 

The materials provide practice for different phonemes. Practice is provided on a daily basis through the Phonemic Awareness Routine. The teacher models, and then students practice. In most activities, students respond orally to the teacher’s question/direction.  Later in the materials, students are asked to give a thumbs up or down if the words rhyme or make the motion for short vowel sounds.   

Materials include systematic, explicit instruction on new phonemes and provide ample opportunities for students to learn and practice each new phoneme called for in grade level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-15, the learning outcomes for the materials indicate that students will: listen for rhyming words, isolate initial sounds in words, segment words into sounds, orally break words into syllables, change initial, medial and final sounds in words, compare and contrast spoken words, and identify short and long vowels. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, during Phonemic Awareness, students change the initial sound of a word to a different sound and say the word. For example, the teacher says cat and then gives the direction to change the initial sound to b to make the word bat.
  • In the Fluency Notebook, page 9, students practice the sounds /g/, /p/, and /b/ with chants (g g g Gum! g g g Gum! The ____ gave me gum!  g g g Gum! g g g Gum! The ___ gave me gum!)

Materials include a variety of multimodal/multisensory activities for student practice of phonological awareness. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-10 to I-12, the materials provide descriptions of the puzzle pieces that come with the program and how they can be used to reinforce the concepts taught. Each puzzle piece has a picture prompt and color coding to provide additional visual prompts on how the sounds are used and linked together. The Big Reveal Routine, described in the introduction to the program and used in every lesson of the program, teaches a motion for students to connect to the sound or sound combination for the puzzle piece that is the focus of weekly instruction. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 273, students are asked to determine if two words presented orally rhyme.  Students are directed to give a thumbs-up if the words rhyme and a thumbs-down if they do not. Students are asked to determine if the following pairs of words rhyme: his/hip, fit/kit, hint/lint, hid/did, lid/flip.
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 23, Weekly Sort, students sort picture cards according to their initial sound of /m/, /s/,  and /a/ (mouse, soap, apple, map, sat, ant, movie, seed, ax, maze, snail, add, Monday, Saturday, Adam).

Criterion 1f - 1j

Materials emphasize explicit, systematic instruction of researched-based and/or evidence-based phonics.
18/20
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials emphasize explicit phonics instruction through systematic and repeated modeling. Materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to decode words that consist of common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns and provide brief daily opportunities for students to review previously taught phonics skills. Materials meet the criteria for materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics, including common and newly-taught sounds and spelling patterns and provide application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence.

Indicator 1f

Materials emphasize explicit phonics instruction through systematic and repeated modeling.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials emphasize explicit phonics instruction through systematic and repeated modeling.

Students participate in sound sorts during which they read and tap out the words and then place the words under the correct heading. The Spell It Out activity provides a picture on the left hand side of the page in their Learner’s Notebook, and students use their knowledge of sounds to write out the words. Students have opportunities to read the sounds in their Fluency Notebooks and during activities such as Read and Trade and Act It Out.

Materials contain explicit instructions for systematic and repeated teacher modeling of all grade-level phonics standards. Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Students have opportunities to demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound of many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant. For example: 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 50, Supported Blending, the teacher displays the following words on the board one line at a time and facilitates a discussion about the blending  focus after each line (line 1:  cow, cat, cut:  Discuss initial sound of /k/, line 2:  cake, cup, clip:  Discuss initial sound of /k/).
  • Students have opportunities to associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels. For example: 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 90, students complete the Dictation Routine for the words quilt, rabbit, inchworm, Friday, and radio. During this routine for words 1 and 2, the teacher says the words and says a sentence. The students say the first vowel sound in the word, point to the first vowel, and then write the first vowel. In words 3-5 the teacher says the word, uses it in a sentence, and then says, “Write the first sound or vowel sound you hear in the word.” 
  • Students have opportunities to distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ. For example: 
    • In theTeacher’s Guide, page 434, students complete a Quick Switch and manipulate words to make new words. Students identify the vowel sounds to create new words. For example, students change pin to pine, pine to pane, pane to pan, and pan to pen


Lessons provide teachers with systematic and repeated instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read each newly taught grade-level phonics pattern. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Teacher’s Guide provides systematic and repeated opportunities for students to hear, say, decode and encode each newly taught phonics pattern through the following sections of each lesson: Phonetic Awareness, The Big Reveal, Blending, and Dictation. Independent practice activities from the Learner’s Notebook and reading passages from the Fluency Notebook provide students with additional practice. Spelling Dictation and Quick Switch Routines provide daily practice for students to encode words.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 254, the lesson begins with a phonemic awareness activity during which students change the initial sound of words and produce rhyming words. 
    • The phonemic awareness activity is followed by The Big Reveal in which the previous week’s short e families (-et, -ed, -en) are reviewed before introducing the current week’s short e families (-ell, -eck, -est). 
    • The current week’s focus short e families are then practiced in the Blending section of the lesson and in the Learner’s Notebook, page 191. 
    • The Spelling Dictation and Quick Switch Routines are practiced with the focal elements. Then, students turn to page 187 (Group 1) or 189 (Group 2) to complete a sorting activity independently. 
    • The last section of the lesson incorporates the Fluency Notebook, page 31, for contextual practice with the focus families.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 370, students hear a word and then tell the teacher all of the sounds in that word. The words are: ram, hem, plum, stem, sum, dim, Tom, swim, jam and gum
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 196, students read sentences with -ell and -est words and then circle the sentence that goes with the picture. 
  • In the Fluency Notebook, page 36, during the fluency section, students read the stories “Bud in the Tub” and “Zoo Trip.”

Indicator 1g

Materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to decode words that consist of common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns and provide opportunities for students to review previously taught phonics skills.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to decode words that consist of common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns and provide brief daily opportunities for students to review previously taught phonics skills.

The materials include opportunities for students to decode words daily. The Teacher’s Guide provides daily activities to decode words in both decontextualized and contextualized practice activities. Blending activities require students to put the words back together after decoding each sound. Fluency Notebooks provide contextualized practice on a daily basis. In addition, students are provided independent activities to practice the focus elements presented in each lesson.  

Lessons provide students with frequent opportunities to decode (phonemes, onset and rime, and/or syllables) words using newly taught grade level phonics pattern. Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 272, the materials present words in a blending format, and students read the words. Students then practice the sight words for the week both in isolation and in a sentence for contextualized practice. Students read the corresponding poems in the Fluency Notebook, page 32.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 342, students participate in the Sorting with Words Routine. They take out their words, tap out the sounds, read the word, and then place it under the correct heading. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 407, the teacher presents words in a blending format, and students read the words. They then practice the sight words for the week both in isolation and in a sentence for contextualized practice. Students read the corresponding poems in the Fluency Notebook, page 42.

Lessons provide students with frequent opportunities to read complete words by saying the entire word as a unit using newly taught decoding grade level phonics. Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • In each lesson of the Teacher’s Guide, the students are required to read the word as a unit after using the Blending Routine to decode the word.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-26,  Sorting With Separate Picture and Word Cards is a five to ten minute activity done on Days 1-4. Students match pictures to printed words that represent each picture. They then sort the pictures and words under headers that represent the weekly focus patterns.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 74, students read one or more of the following chants: “Wiggle,” ”No,” and “Zip.”  The teacher circulates and provides support as needed.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 309, students complete the Read and Trade activity during which they read their list of words and then trade them with a partner. Students complete this activity until the teacher says stop or when they have read all of their words. 

Lessons provide frequent opportunities for students to apply grade level phonics when decoding common sound and spelling patterns. Evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Students are taught the letter/sound patterns for each of the phonetic elements and common spelling patterns and are then provided daily practice on the focal element for that week’s lessons. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-43, during the Highlighter Hunt, students  identify the focus pattern within each weekly word. Students will: 

1.  Lay each sort header out in front of them. 

2.  Take one word at a time out of their bags. 

3.  Say the word out loud. 

4.  Identify the focus pattern within the word. 

5.  Highlight the letters that make up the focus pattern.

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 329, students complete a Spelling Check activity during which the teacher says the words and students write the words the teacher says. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 433, students complete the Blending Routine in which there is a list of words on the board. The teacher says, “Sound,” then moves his/her hand to the middle of the word and says, “Word.” The students read the word based on the spelling pattern they have learned during the week. 

Indicator 1h

Materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence. 

Materials provide explicit routines for teachers to use in blending words. During each day’s blending lesson, students have the opportunity to practice decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence. Correlated readings in the Fluency Notebook provide examples of words containing the week’s focal elements. Each day, students practice reading the passage in the Fluency Notebook. Although the materials provide frequent decoding practice opportunities for students, the program does not provide teachers with explicit instruction on teaching students how to decode words in context.

Materials provide explicit, systematic practice for decoding phonetically regular words in a sentence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, the program introduces instruction on reading sentences. The focus elements are short a and short e for the entire week of the program. Although students read chants in the Fluency Notebook during previous lessons, explicit instruction on reading in context was not provided.
      • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, materials introduce the sentence,”The hat is red”, followed by Day 2, “I can tap.” Day 3’s sentence is, “The cat is bad” and the sentence for Day 4 reads, “The sled is flat.”  
      • Each of these lessons, Days 1-5, references page 23 in the Fluency Notebook. While these selections practice short a and short e words, the teacher is not provided with explicit instruction on teaching students to read in context. The instructions state students read the page. The teacher will have students read to a partner or will pull a group of students together if they need additional help.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 283, the teacher writes a sentence on the board and helps students to decode any challenging words and practice word attack skills. Students read the provided sentence silently. Then, they chorally read the sentence. The teacher places his or her hand below each word as s/he chorally reads the sentence with students. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 393, students complete the Dictation Routine with the sentence, “The dog is lost.” After the teacher says all the words in the sentence, the teacher goes back through the sentence and writes each word. Students check every letter. The teacher reviews the focus pattern, says the sight word, writes it, and points to the sight word on the wall. 

Lessons provide students with frequent opportunities to decode words in a sentence based on grade level phonics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 195, students learn short i and short u. During the fluency segment of the lesson, students use their Fluency Notebook to read short u and i words in sentences. There are four different short passage. Each sentence in the fluency practice has a short i and a short u word in it. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 272,  during the Blending Routine, students read the sentence, “The rip was very big.” During the week, students study -ip words. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 386, students read a sentence and circle the picture that matches the sentence.

Indicator 1i

Materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics, including common and newly-taught sound and sound patterns.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials include frequent practice opportunities for students to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics, including common and newly-taught sounds and spelling patterns.

Students have a varying number of routines that allow them frequent practice for building, manipulating, and encoding grade level phonics. Each lesson in the Teacher’s Guide provides opportunities for students to spell/encode words through spelling dictation activities and the Quick Switch Routine. On Day 5 of each week, students complete a spelling check to assess their encoding skills. Routines included as part of the Puzzle Piece Phonics materials that provide opportunities for students to build/manipulate/spell and encode grade-level phonics include: Dictation, Quick Switch, Spelling Checks, Spell It Out, Color-Code Writing, Partner Spell, Rainbow Write. Teacher modeling is included. 

The materials contain teacher-level instruction and modeling for building/manipulating/spelling and encoding words using common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns grade level phonics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 65, materials provide a Dictation: Stretch out Your Words practice on spelling words. Students use the corresponding pages in their Learner’s Notebook, page 65. The teacher says the word, and students slow the word down and say the sounds. Students identify the beginning, medial, and ending sounds and write the word in their notebook. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 272, the materials present a Quick Switch: Manipulate Your Words practice on spelling words. Students use the corresponding page in their Learner’s Notebook, page 200. The teacher says the word and students slow the word down. The teacher changes one sound within the word. The student says the new word and writes it down. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 296, students participate in the quick switch activity using page 229 of their Learner’s Notebook. Students use different sounds to change words: log to frog, frog to dog, dog to dock, and dock to block
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 342, students participate in the Dictation Routine on page 250 in their Learner’s Notebook using the words stuff, dunk, and luck. The teacher says the word and then uses it in the sentence. Students write down either the first sound or the first vowel sound they hear. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 407, the materials present Dictation: Stretch out Your Words to provide practice saying the sounds in the words and spelling words containing short vowels and the vowel_e pattern with a. Students use the corresponding page in their Learner’s Notebook, page 295. 

Lessons provide students with frequent opportunities to build/manipulate/spell and encode words using common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns grade level phonics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-35 through I-55, the materials provide a number of independent activities that give student additional opportunities to build/manipulate and spell or encode words from the day’s lesson.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 216, Dictation, Stretch Your Words Out , the materials state: Have students turn to page 163 of the Learner’s Notebook. Follow the Dictation Routine on page I-21 of the Introduction to dictate the following words: 1. cap 2. lag 3. rat.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 245, students write the -et and -en spelling patterns in the air with their finger during the Big Reveal. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 259, the teacher follows the Quick Switch Routine and dictates the following words rest-best-jest-pest-test. Students record the words in their Learner’s Notebook.  
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 315, the teacher says a word from their word group, and the students write the word. 
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 139, Quick Switch for Weekly Spelling Patterns, Short Vowels, o and i, the teacher dictates the words found on page 178 of the Teacher’s Guide: bid, lid, slid, sod, nod.

Indicator 1j

Materials provide application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks. (mid K-Grade 2)
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials provide application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks (mid K-Grade 2).  

The materials provide opportunities for students to encode phonetically regular words in context.  Students read from the Fluency Notebook daily and practice the weekly sounds. Writing sentences occurs during the Dictation Routine. There are spelling checks that include writing of one sentence incorporated into Day 5 of each week’s lesson. Activities where students generate their own sentences occur at the end of the program. 

Materials include explicit, systematic teacher-level instruction of teacher modeling that demonstrates the use of phonics to encode sounds to letters and words in writing tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-21 through I-24, the materials describe two encoding routines that are practiced throughout the program. 
    • The Dictation Routine is completed weekly on Days 1 and 3 of Concepts 3-10. Students use their Learner’s Notebook to write sounds, words, and sentences dictated by the teacher. 
      • The routine on page I-22 prompts the teacher to, “Say the word. Say it in a sentence. Repeat the word. Tell the students to tap out the sounds they hear in the word. Point to the puzzle piece sounds they hear while saying each sound. Tell the students to write the word.”
      • The teacher uses this model for the first two words on the list.
      • Other words are said aloud to the student and repeated in a sentence. Then, students use the strategy on their own and write the word. 
      • Sentences are repeated slowly, one word at a time with pauses in between, so students can be “mindful of sight words, focus patterns, and writing conventions introduced so far.” 
    • The Quick Switch Routine is completed weekly on Days 2 and 4 of Concepts 3-10. Students write a list of related words that are dictated by the teacher. 
      • The routine specifies that the teacher should model the first change: Say the word. Prompt the students to segment the word. Have students tap out the sounds. Then write the sounds they hear. Record the correct spelling of the first word. Then ask, “How can we change __ to __?” Call on a student to answer, and then state, “To change ____ to ____, we change ___ to ____.” (e.g., To change tag to bag, we change t to b.)
      • Students then complete words three through five as the teacher calls out the word.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 176, students write three words (e.g., hot, lip, and pig) that are related to the day’s blending practice and then write the sight word you.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 385, students write the word den then change it to hen, hen to hill, hill to fill, and fill to fin. The teacher is instructed to, “Help students segment the words and reference puzzle pieces as necessary.” 
  • The Teacher’s Guide, page I-34, provides a routine for teachers to use during the Spelling Checks section of the lessons. Spelling Checks are completed on Day 5 of each instructional week and are identified as formal assessments for the encoding of words with the week’s focus element. Beginning in Concept 3, Week 1, these Spelling Checks also include writing a sentence which contains words with the focus elements. In some lessons there are differentiated spelling lists for Group 1 and Group 2 (e.g., Concept 3 and during Week 2 of Concepts 4-8). 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 184, Spelling Check, the teacher provides words for Group 1 (e.g., hid, mob, dig, plot, sip and the sentence “You got the pig!”) and for Group 2 (e.g., slid, crop, dig, loft, slip and the sentence “Get the pig to its pen.”).
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 423, Spelling Check, the teacher provides words for Group 1 (e.g., hen, here, pet, Pete, eve and the sentence “The men eat.”) and for Group 2 (e.g., west, eve, Steve, tent, Pete and the sentence “I will rest when I am done.”) The focus of the week’s lesson is short e and vowel_e. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 433, during the Dictation Routine, students write: “I took a big bite out of the time.” At the end of the routine, the teacher writes the sentence, and students check their work. The teacher reviews the focus pattern, sight words, and conventions for the sentence. 
  • Several practice activities also provide opportunities for encoding words with the week’s focus elements. The Spell It Out activity found in the Learner’s Notebook provides a picture prompt for a word and students are expected to write the word beside the prompt.  
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 231, students turn to the Learner’s Notebook, page 175, and complete the Spell It Out activity on their own. Teachers are instructed to “coach as needed.” 

Lessons provide students with frequent activities and tasks to promote application of phonics as they encode words in sentences, or in phrases, based on common and newly-taught grade-level phonics patterns. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 221, students write the sentence “We see a bat”  during the spelling check. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 383, the teacher dictates the sentence, “The hen can run,” and students write it down. 
  • There is one sentence included in the daily encoding activities described in the Dictation Routine that appears on Days 1 and 3 of each instruction week.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 342, students dictate three spelling words using the focus element, short u, and one sight word. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 355, the materials introduce the first sentence in the Dictation Routine.  The teacher presents four words with the focus elements, one sight word, and the sentence “The cup is big.”
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-53, the Super Sentences routine provides an independent activity in which students use their weekly words in context. Students look at their words for the week and select a word. Students orally construct a sentence that contains the word. Then, students record the sentence on a sheet of paper, and circle the weekly word used.
    • The first instance of Super Sentences occurs on Teacher’s Guide, page 360, during the last nine weeks of the school year.
    • Super Sentences appear on Day 4 of the remaining eight weeks of the year. 

Criterion 1k - 1m

Materials and instruction support students in learning and practicing regularly and irregularly spelled high-frequency words.
4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials include systematic instruction of high-frequency words and opportunities to practice reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity. Materials meet the criteria for materials provide frequent practice opportunities to read and write high-frequency words in context. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials explicitly teach word analysis strategies based on the requirements of the standards and provide frequent practice opportunities for students to apply word analysis strategies.

Indicator 1k

Materials include systematic instruction of high-frequency words and opportunities to practice reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials include systematic instruction of high-frequency words and opportunities to practice reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity.

Students receive systematic instruction on 52 sight words over the course of a year. Routines embedded within the program support students in learning the high-frequency words. The materials do not identify which high-frequency word list was referenced when developing the scope and sequence for the introduction of sight words. While there is some slight variation among the different high-frequency word lists, lists of high-frequency words are fairly consistent in what they identify to be the 300 most common words in the English language. Of the 52 high-frequency words taught in this level of the program, 18 do not appear on any example list of the first 100 high-frequency words in English. As a result, the Teacher’s Guide only provides explicit instruction on approximately 34-40% of the first 100 most commonly used words. Students receive instruction on high-frequency words during two different routines during which students use their sight words. 

Materials include some systematic and explicit instruction of sight-based recognition of high-frequency words (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does). Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-19 and I-20, there is a Sight Words Routine that is mapped out for the teacher. The Sight Words Routine occurs during the Blending routine. 

1.  The teacher places his or her hand below the word.  

2.  The teacher says the word.  

3.  The students repeat the word. 

4.  The students orally spell the word.

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-22, the Dictation Routine is explained. During the routine, the teacher says the sight word and then uses the sight word in a sentence. The teacher then says, “Write.” The students write the word, referencing the word wall as needed.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-63 and I-64, a scope and sequence chart is provided for the introduction of sight words. The scope and sequence is organized under the concepts introduced and weeks of instruction throughout the year. This sequence indicates a total of 52 words that are taught over the 36 weeks of instruction.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 50, the sight word be is practiced during the supported Blending Routine.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 182, students complete the Sight Words Routine with the sight words to and you. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 242,  students participate in the Dictation Routine with the sight word red.

Materials include a limited quantity of grade-appropriate high-frequency words for students to make reading progress. No rationale is provided for the sequence of word introduction. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-63, the materials identify the sight words for Kindergarten. There are 52 sight words that students learn over the course of the reading material. During Concept 2, students learn one sight word. During Concepts 3 - 9 and most of Concept 10, students learn two sight words. In Weeks 3, 4, and 5 during Concept 10, students review the sight words that they have learned. 
  • Of the 52 high-frequency words introduced throughout the Teacher Guide for the 36 weeks of instruction, 34 of the 52 (65%) words appear on the list of the first 100 high-frequency words in English. Thirty-five percent (18) of the words taught as high-frequency words do not appear within the first 100 on that list. 

Indicator 1l

Materials provide frequent practice opportunities to read and write high-frequency words in context (sentences).
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide frequent practice opportunities to read and write high-frequency words in context (sentences).

Materials provide some opportunities during the Blending Routines for students to read high-frequency words in sentences and in some of the fluency stories. However, this practice is not consistent because not every fluency passage contains the weekly high-frequency words. There are limited practice opportunities for students to write high frequency words. Opportunities for writing high-frequency words take place in the Dictation Routine and the Spelling Check. The Teacher’s Guide provides limited practice opportunities for students to read and write high-frequency words during the daily lessons and provides little to no cumulative or distributed practice over subsequent lessons. Routines are included in the Teacher Guide that provide multimodal practice for sight words. Practice opportunities include: Spelling Checks, Read and Trade, Super Sentences, Rainbow Write, and Partner Spell. Only sight words included on the scope and sequence are introduced and practiced in the Blending Routine or incorporated into the spelling activities. However, students are expected to read many other words and letter/sound patterns by sight that have not been formally introduced or practiced prior to reading them in their Fluency Notebook.  

Lessons provide students with limited opportunities to read grade level high-frequency words in a sentence. Examples include:

  • In the Fluency Notebook, page 23, students practice the sight word is in the story:  “That is a mat. That is a cat. The cat is on the mat. The mat is on the cat.”
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 107, students read fluency pages. The word no, which is a sight word for the week, is included in the Oo fluency passage.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 149, students are referred to page 23 in the Fluency Notebook. Students read passages that have a ‘short a’ focus.
    • The week’s sight word is appears five times in four short passages.
    • The week’s sight word can does not appear in any of the sentences.
    • Of the 10 previously taught sight words, up, on,  and a are each repeated four to five times.
    • Many other words that are used in the passages contain letter-sound patterns that the students have not been taught. Students would not have the skills to decode the letter-sound patterns, but they are not introduced as sight words before practicing them in context. Untaught words in the passages include that, the, snack, wakes, happy, back, take, out, then, path they, down, friends. The letter-sound patterns are not systematically reviewed in later lessons.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 213, students read fluency pages. The word and, which is a sight word for the week, is included in the “What is That Tap?” passage.
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 234, the sight words for the week include got and hot. Students read three sentences and circle the sentence that matches the picture (e.g. The frog got a lily pad. The frog got a rock. The frog got a bug.)
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 272, students complete the Blending Routine. The teacher writes a sentence on the board with the high frequency word very. Students read the sentence chorally. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 340, students complete the Read and Trade activity, during which they take their words out and read one, a partner reads one of their words. Students trade the words until they are done or the teacher says to stop. The high-frequency words, its and ask, are included in the the activity. 

Lessons provide students with limited opportunities to write grade level high-frequency words in tasks (such as sentences) in order to promote automaticity in writing grade appropriate high-frequency words. Examples include:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, the sight words can and is are introduced. The word is is utilized in the Dictation section after it has been introduced. In the Dictation activity, the teacher says the word and then says the word in a sentence. Students write the word. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 155, the word is appears once in the Spelling Check for Group 1 when they write a sentence. The word is appears again in the Comprehension Check on page 124 of the Learner’s Notebook. The word can, the other high frequency word for the week, does not appear in either activity.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 161, students complete the Dictation Routine, in which the teacher dictates words, and students write them. During this Dictation Routine the words practiced include: is, in
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 233, Spelling Check, sight words for the week include: got, hot. The teacher dictates the following sentence for the students to record in the Learner’s Notebook:  “I got the mop.”
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 346, Spelling Check, the teacher dictates a sentence for students to record in the Learner’s Notebook, page 253. The sentences include: Group 1:  “The duck got its grub.”  Group 2 : "The bus got its back end stuck in the mud." The sight words for the week are: its, ask.

Indicator 1m

Materials explicitly teach word analysis strategies (e.g., phoneme/grapheme recognition, syllabication, morpheme analysis) based on the requirements of the standards and provide students with frequent practice opportunities to apply word analysis strategies.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials explicitly teach word analysis strategies (e.g., phoneme/grapheme recognition, syllabication, morpheme analysis) based on the requirements of the standards and provide frequent practice opportunities for students to apply word analysis strategies.

The Teacher’s Guide teaches all the phoneme-grapheme relationships for individual letters and short vowels. Materials provide a Blending Routine to teach students how to break the word down into its individual sounds, put the sounds back together, and then read the word. Word families are taught so that students learn to “chunk” larger pieces of the word in order to read more fluently. At the end of the program materials introduce the concept of the vowels saying their names instead of a short sound, and instruction is included on long and short vowel sounds when spelled with the ‘vowel_final e’ pattern. There are opportunities for the teacher to model explicit instruction on word analysis strategies. However, explicit word analysis instruction does not occur frequently, and opportunities for explicit instruction  concerning word solving strategies to decode unfamiliar words ist evident. Students learn to tap out sounds during the Blending Routine, but there is no guidance for teachers about how to assess whether words are familiar/unfamiliar or how to teach students to analyze and decode unfamiliar words. Lessons typically only present words with that week’s focal element and; therefore, provide limited review opportunities. The word sort activities provide students with multiple opportunities to learn, practice, and apply word analysis strategies.  Students also apply word analysis strategies in the Fluency Notebook.

Materials contain limited explicit instruction of word analysis strategies (e.g. phoneme/grapheme recognition, syllabication, morpheme analysis). Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-21 , Dictation Routine, the teacher says a word, such as tiger and says the word in a sentence. Then, the teacher cues students to tell her the first vowel sound you hear. Students isolate the first vowel and give the sound. Students complete this activity regularly throughout the program for kindergarten. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 192, students complete the Quick Switch activity with the words, bug, bud, mud, mid, and lid. The teacher says the first word. The teacher then prompts students to segment the word. Students tap out the sounds they hear. Then, students write down the sounds they hear in the word. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 208, Puzzle Piece Review provides prompts for the teacher:  1. Say, “When I point to the piece, you tell me its name “ (sun, hat). 2.  Say, “When I point to the piece, you tell me its sound” (/s/, /h/). 3. Say, “When I point to the piece, you tell me its spelling” (s, u).  4. Say, “Write the spellings in the air with your finger” (students form the letters s and u).
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 323, the Supported Blending segment prompts the teacher to “Display the following words on the board one line at a time.  Facilitate a discussion about the blending line focus after each line (line 1:  tub, sub, cub:  Discuss -ub word family  line 2: bun, fun, sun:  Discuss -un word family  line 3. cut, nut, but:  Discuss -ut word family)”.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, Concept 10 is devoted to teaching the five long vowel sounds that use the ‘vowel_e’ spelling pattern (silent ‘e’ rule) 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 406, materials begin teaching the discrimination between ‘short a’ and ‘long a’ using the spelling pattern ’a_e’ continuing through Day 5, page 411.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 417, materials begin teaching the discrimination between ‘short e’ and ‘long e’ using the spelling pattern ’e_e’ continuing through Day 5, page 423.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 430, materials begin teaching the discrimination between ‘short i’ and ‘long i’ using the spelling pattern ’i_e’ continuing through Day 5, page 435.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 441, materials begin teaching the discrimination between ‘short o’ and ‘long o’ using the spelling pattern ’o_e’ continuing through Day 5, page 448.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 454, materials begin teaching the discrimination between ‘short u’ and ‘long u’ using the spelling pattern ’_e’ continuing through Day 5, page 461.

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

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, the Blending Routine portion of the lesson uses the following examples to teach students to distinguish between similarly spelled words and to blend the sounds together to form a word: (1) hat, mat, sat, (2) bed, red, Ted  (3) bag, beg, peg.  This routine is repeated often throughout the program.
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 161:  Weekly Sort -at, -ap, -ag, students read and sort words from word families into groups (cat, cap, tag, mat, rap, sag, bat, sap, lag, rat, tap, rag, sat, lap, wag, pat, nap, nag).
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 232, the teacher uses the Quick Switch Routine to review the -an family, changing: ran↠man↠fan↠can↠scan.  This routine is repeated often throughout the program.

Opportunities are provided over the course of the year for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis strategies. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 179,  Weekly Sort: Word families -et -ed -en,  students apply word analysis strategies to sort words into word families -et, -ed, -en (jet, bed, Ben, wet, led, hen, set, fed, men, pet, Ted, zen, get, wed, ten, bet, med, den).
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 272, students complete the Sorting with Words Routine. They take a word out of their bag, tap out the sounds of the word, read the word, say the sound-spelling pattern, and then put the word under the correct heading. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 395, students complete the Color-Code Writing Routine. They write the words in pencil. Then they go over the spelling pattern with marker, colored pencil, or crayon. 
  • The Blending Routine and the various sorting routines appear daily in the lessons to provide practice reading words and sentences containing the week’s focal element. Cumulative review and distributed practice of previously introduced words is limited. Lessons review and practice elements that are introduced during that week of instruction but do not necessarily review previous spelling patterns learned.
  • The Teacher’s Guide provides systematic and repeated opportunities for students to apply the blending strategy to read newly introduced words with a focus pattern. Throughout the course of the year, the students blend words containing each of the consonants, short vowels and long vowel_final e patterns. For example, on page 410, the Blending Routine provides practice on the focus element (short vowels and vowel_e words containing "a” by reading a list of words and a sentence).

Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis strategies. Examples include:

  • The Fluency Notebook, page 42, is used for contextual practice for students to apply word analysis skills.
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 296 is used for a dictation activity entitled Quick Switch during which students apply word analysis skills to change a word into another minimally different word. Quick Switch is followed by a word sort activity using the word cards with the focus element and analyzing how to sort the words according to patterns.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 407, students read the “Magic E” and “Poof” fluency passages which have long vowel e words in it. 
  • Other activities for applying word analysis skills that are interspersed throughout the lessons include Word Hunt, Sort Your Own Way, and Highlighter Hunt.
  • The same activities are used repeatedly over the course of the year for students to practice word analysis skills. There are many word sort activities, but the other word analysis strategies are not varied.

Criterion 1n - 1q

Materials and instruction support students in learning and practicing regularly and irregularly spelled high-frequency words.
4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide opportunities for students to engage in decoding practice focused on accuracy and automaticity.  Materials partially meet the criteria for materials provide teacher guidance to support students as they confirm or self-correct errors and emphasize reading for purpose and understanding.

Indicator 1n

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in decoding practice focused on accuracy and automaticity in K and Grade 1.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide opportunities for students to engage in decoding practice focused on accuracy and automaticity in K and Grade 1.

The materials provide poem, alliteration, and chant fluency routines that help students build automaticity. There is also a choral reading fluency routine and a passage routine; however, the materials include limited systematic and explicit instruction with these routines to help build fluency. The Teacher’s Guide provides several routines to teach students how to accurately read words; however, these routines are not integrated into reading in context, and teachers are not provided explicit instructions for their use in sentence reading. There are no specific correction procedures recommended for use when students do not read accurately in context. Fluency selections are reread throughout the week to build automaticity, but daily rereading of the passages is not incorporated into the lessons. There is a limited amount of teacher modeling of fluent reading.

Materials provide limited systematic and explicit instruction and practice in fluency by focusing on accuracy and automaticity in decoding. Examples include:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pg. I-31, there is information on the fluency chants and alliteration couplets routines. The teacher should select the chant or couplet to read for the day. The teacher either has the students open their fluency notebook or the teacher displays the enlarged version in front of the class. The teacher tells students the focus pattern or the title of the pattern and then reads it all the way through. Then the teacher invites the students to read the chant or couplet. The teacher reviews the hand signals for my turn, your turn. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pg. I-32, during the Fluency Passage Routine, there is a 15 minute activity completed on Days 1-4. In Concept 3, students repeatedly read one of two weekly passages. The teacher encourages the students to read the passage out loud with a partner at least three times to build fluency. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-16 through I-20, three instructional routines designed assist students with building accuracy in word reading by modeling blending and sight word reading are provided.
    • The Supported Blending and Blending Routines provide explicit routines for the teacher to assist students in accurately decoding words.  
    • These routines are incorporated into each day’s lesson, beginning first with Supported Blending in which students produce some of the sounds within a word and the teacher supplies the rest. Then, students blend the sounds together to read the word. This routine appears in Concept 2 on Days 1-4.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 26, students identify the “initial sound of d. The teacher says the remainder of the word, and students blend or say the whole word (i.e., dig→student identifies d→ teacher says ig→student says dig).
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 96, the teacher uses the Supported Blending Routine to teach the sound of x in both the final and initial sound positions. 
    • The Blending Routine begins in Concept 3 and continues throughout the remainder of the program. Here students identify all of the sounds/spelling patterns within the word and then put them together to read the entire word. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-19 and I-20, The Sight Word Routine provides explicit instruction for sight words that are introduced during each day’s lesson in order to build fluency with reading words. The first 12 weeks'  lessons introduce one sight word per lesson. After the first 12 weeks of instruction, lessons introduce two sight words for the remainder of the year. Beginning with Concept 3, students are also introduced to reading a sentence at the end of the blending and sight word instruction. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, materials introduce short a and short e vowels. Students blend three letter CVC words applying their knowledge of sounds to decode and blend the words.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 192, materials introduce two sight words (i.e., for, go) and one sentence (The gift is for Bill.).
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 443, students practice the Blending Routine while discriminating between short o and o_e vowel sounds. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 443, the teacher introduces ask and its as sight words and the sentence, “‘It’s a globe,’ said Mom.”

Materials provide limited opportunities for students in Kindergarten to engage in decoding practice focused on accuracy and automaticity. Examples include:

  • The Teacher’s Guide has selected poems and chants, etc. contained in the Fluency Notebook that are correlated with the instructional lessons and practiced daily each week. However, there are no explicit instructions as to how to use the Blending Routine within the context of reading these selections or what to do if students can’t read them. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 11, materials reference the Fluency Notebook, Concept 1, page 1, students read one or more of the poems. However, students have not yet received instruction on the letter-sound patterns of the alphabet or on any sight words. No instructions are provided to the teacher as to how the students should be led through these poems or taught sight words prior to trying to read them in context. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 179, materials reference the Fluency Notebook, Concept 3, page 25 and instruct the teacher to “...have the students read one or more of the passages. Circulate and listen to students read or gather a small group of students who need additional support.” 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 455, students turn to the Fluency Notebook, page 46, and read one or more of the poems. The teacher is instructed to circulate and listen to students read.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 81, students read fluency pages “Quiet,” “Fan,” “Run,” and “Zip” in the fluency segment of the lesson. During the fluency reading, there are chants that are described to be interactive and have a space where students can illustrate part of the chants. Students can read the chants with a partner, or they can use words from their sort bags to fill in the blank during the chants. Students may read the chants independently or with a partner. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 225, students read short vowel poems. The materials state that this helps students continue to practice the three components of fluency. Students turn to the page in their fluency notebook, they read the poem out loud three times, and they continue to practice until they have achieved fluency. 

Indicator 1q

Materials provide teacher guidance to support students as they confirm or self-correct errors (Grades 1-2) and emphasize reading for purpose and understanding.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials provide teacher guidance to support students as they confirm or self-correct errors and emphasize reading for purpose and understanding.

Materials include limited lessons for students to learn to confirm and self-correct errors and emphasize reading for purpose and understanding during Fluency Routines and Comprehension Checks.

Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year for students to read emergent-reader texts (K) for purpose and understanding.

  • Teacher's Guide, page I-30, the purpose for the Fluency: Chants and Alliteration Couplet Routine states: The chants and alliteration couplets help students continue growing their confidence as readers. They are simple, allowing students to memorize them throughout the week. Students can then independently read the chants and couplets, matching spoken words to print and identifying the focus patterns within words. The Basic Routine for the Fluency: Chants and Alliteration Couplet Routine includes directions for the teacher to state, "Tell students the title or the focus pattern and read the chant or couplet all the way through."
  • Teacher's Guide, page I-31, the purpose for the Fluency: Passage Routine states: Fluency passages are short, highly decodable texts that allow students to take on more responsibility for independently reading. As students master the passage throughout the week, they will be practicing the three major components of reading fluency: reading the words accurately, reading at a natural pace, reading with expression. Students will also build confidence in themselves as readers and see that they can read on their own. 
  • Teacher's Guide, page I-32, the purpose for the Fluency: Short Vowel Poems Routine states: The short vowel poems will help students continue to practice the three components of reading fluency. As they repeatedly read the poems throughout the week, students become more familiar with each one. They add expression and personalize how they read the poems. Students begin to see themselves as readers, and reading as enjoyable.

Materials contain explicit directions and/or think-alouds for the teacher to model how to engage with a text to emphasize reading for purpose and understanding.

  • No evidence found. 

Gateway Two

Implementation, Support Materials & Assessment

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet expectations for implementation, support materials, and assessment. The materials meet the criterion for materials are accompanied by a systematic, explicit, and research-based scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program and the order in which they are presented. Foundational skills lessons are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. The materials meet the criterion for program includes work with decodables, following the grade-level scope and sequence to address securing phonics; however, the fluency passages within the materials do not include the high frequency words that are addressed each week. The materials partially meet the criterion for materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the standards. There are missed opportunities to provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards within the materials. The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic and supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Criterion 2a - 2e

Materials are accompanied by a systematic, explicit, and research-based scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program and the order in which they are presented. Scope and sequence should include phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, and print concepts.
18/20
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials contain a teacher edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student materials. Materials contain full, adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skills concepts included in the program so teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.materials contain full, adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skills concepts included in the program so teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary. Foundational skills lessons are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Content can reasonably be completed within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. Materials partially meet the criteria for scope and sequence clearly delineate the sequence in which phonological awareness skills are to be taught, with a clear, evidence-based explanation for the expected hierarchy of phonemic awareness competence. Materials include a scope and sequence that clearly delineates an intentional sequence in which phonics skills are to be taught, with a clear explanation for the order of the sequence. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the Foundational Skills program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement. 

Indicator 2a

Materials contain a teacher edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade K meet the criteria for materials contain a teacher edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.

Puzzle Piece Phonics provides a well-defined Teacher’s Guide for content presentation that includes detailed lesson plans for each concept to be taught, the number of weeks of instruction on each concept, and lessons for each day of every week designated for instruction on that concept. The Teacher’s Guide contains detailed descriptions of foundational skills content (i.e. phonological awareness, print concepts, letters, phonics, high-frequency words, word analysis, decoding). Foundational skills content descriptions include the purpose of teaching each component. Explicit instructional routines that help the teacher to effectively implement each instructional format are delineated in the Teacher’s Guide. There are online resources to provide support and guidance for the teacher. The online resources are referenced at the beginning of the week’s lesson and again on Day 5 at the close of the week’s lessons.  

Materials provide a well-defined teacher resource (teacher edition, manual) for content presentation.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 71, instructions are provided for the Supported Blending Routine on page I-16, including an explanation of the routine, learning outcomes, purpose of the routine, and the basic routine. The routine includes 16 explicit steps to complete this learning routine.
  • In Teacher’s Guide, page 178, students complete the Quick Switch Routine to manipulate the words. The teacher is instructed to follow the Quick Switch Routine on page I-23 of the Introduction to dictate the following words: big - lid - slid - sod - nod. The Quick Switch Routine explanation states that this is a 10 minute routine and is completed on Days 2 - 4 starting in Concept 3. The routine includes the learning outcome and purpose and a description of the 11 steps of the routine. 

The teacher resource contains detailed information and instructional routines that help the teacher to effectively implement all foundational skills content (i.e. phonological awareness, print concepts, letters, phonics, high-frequency words, word analysis, decoding).  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages l-9 through I-61, materials contain detailed information on the features of the puzzle pieces (consonants, vowels, short vowels, and long vowel combinations), color coding system, materials preparation, display, a set of teaching routines, and pacing guides for word study sounds, sight words, and sound/motions. These routines focus on phonological awareness, print concepts, letters, phonics, high-frequency words, and decoding.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-22, there is a basic routine to address initial or medial sounds (Concept 2), Words 3 - 5. The teacher says the word, uses the word in a sentence, and repeats the word. The teacher says and writes the first vowel sound heard in the word, and students write the letter they hear in the sound. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-22, there is a basic routine that includes teachers completing the sight word routine. The teacher says the word, uses the word in a sentence, and repeats the word. Then the teacher says, “Write,” students write the word, referencing the word wall as needed. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, Highlighter Hunt Routine, page I-43, students identify the focus pattern within each weekly word. Students place each sort header out in front, take one word at a time out of the bag, say the word out loud, and identify the focus pattern within the word. Students highlight the letters that make up the focus pattern. 

Technology pieces included provide support and guidance for the teacher and do not create an additional layer of complication around the materials.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • At the end of the Table of Contents in the Teacher’s Guide, there is a reference to the companion website available for downloadable Weekly Celebration certificates, Word Explorer poster teaching tips, and other resources (e.g., backline masters). A small icon on the left of the teaching page denotes there are resources available on the website. These resources are for the teacher.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 266, Online resources are referenced  in the section Preparing for Your Week. Materials state that a teacher may refer to this section and to resources.corwin.com/puzzlepiece phonics-gradeK for resources and ideas. Materials restate the reference to the website resources under Weekly Celebration, page 274.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain full, adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skills concepts included in the program so teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials contain full, adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skills concepts included in the program so teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.materials contain full, adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skills concepts included in the program so teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.

Materials include adult-level explanations that are provided in the introduction pages of the Puzzle Pieces Teacher’s Guide. On the Puzzle Piece website is a paper entitled, “Puzzle Piece Phonics Research Base Alignment: A Summary of Salient Research and Description of Program Alignment.” Full, adult-level explanations of concepts such as phonemic awareness, phonemes, morphemes, semantics, syntax, and explicit and systematic instruction are available. The paper defines each of the salient terms, provides research that supports the rationale for teaching, and describes how the terms are incorporated into the design of Puzzle Piece Phonics. However, there is no reference of this article mentioned in the teacher materials.

Materials provide full adult-level explanations and examples of the foundational skill concepts included in the Puzzle Piece Phonics program.  For example: 

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-5, explanations are provided for the color codes of the Puzzle Pieces used for display. The code includes: red--consonants; blue--short vowels; muted blue--short a vowel families, short e vowel families, short i vowel families, short o vowel families, and short u vowel families; orange--digraphs; purple--blends, and green--long vowels. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-10, explanations are provided for how the puzzle pieces are used on the reference wall, match the weekly word sort, and appear in the Learner’s Notebook. “Each puzzle piece represents one sound/spelling pattern.  The puzzle pieces show the spelling, a picture of one word that has that spelling, and the written word of that spelling. The focus pattern appears in bold and is color-coded within the example word. There is a motion for each puzzle piece that helps students remember the example word on the puzzle piece. The motions engage learners and aide retention. The reference Puzzle Pieces only have the lowercase letter(s) representing the focus sounds(s).” Additional information is provided regarding the major patterns of phonics. The pieces are created in a way to fit together and illustrate those patterns.
    • “Vertically: The spellings of a particular sound connect vertically. Students will see these vertical connections in first and second grade. For example, the a_e, a, ay, and ai patterns can all be used to represent the long a sound. They snap together vertically. This helps students understand that the long a sound can be represented in any of those ways.”
    • “Horizontally: Similar patterns connect horizontally. For example, all of the pieces in the vowel _e family connect horizontally. This helps students understand that the vowel _e rule applies to long a, e, i, o, and u.”
  • In the Teacher's Guide, Introduction, page I-15, the materials describe the phonemic awareness format, how long it will take to teach, what learning outcomes are expected, the purpose for students, and a basic routine to follow when teaching.

Additional information is provided in the Teacher’s Guide, page I-10, to help further explain the times when various patterns may be applied. Examples include:

  • “Spellings that are only used at the beginning of a word have a straight edge on the left side. No pieces can be physically placed before that spelling. This helps students recognize that those spellings (such as tr and dr) always come at the beginning of a word.”
  • “Spellings that are only used at the end of a word have a straight edge on the right side. No pieces can be physically placed after that spelling. This shows that these spellings (such as at, ap, and ag) can only come at the end of a word.”
  • “The vowel _e spellings have an opening at the top.  The bottom side of a consonant piece sticks out and can be inserted into the opening to create a vowel _e pattern (e.g., the bottom of the no piece snaps into the top of the bone piece to form the one spelling in the word bone.)”

Adult-level explanations are provided for the various routines included in the materials.  Explanations include specific information regarding the following:

  • What is it?
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Purpose
  • Basic Routine

Explanations are provided in the Teacher’s Guide Introduction for the specific foundational skills concepts, including:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Word or Letter? Routine
  • Supported Blending
  • Blending
  • Sight Words Routine
  • Letter Formation
  • Dictation
  • Quick Switch 
  • Fluency Routines

Indicator 2c

Foundational skills lessons are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Content can reasonably be completed within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for foundational skills lessons are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing. Content can reasonably be completed within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding. 

The Puzzle Piece Phonics Grade K Level Teacher’s Guide provides a clear overview of the rationale for the instructional routines and detailed instructions for explicit teaching of each of the concepts. Each lesson component is defined. The explanations of lesson components include expected learning outcomes and the purpose of the activity. A routine for teaching each lesson component is provided along with the expected amount of time to allocate for teaching it. The Teacher’s Guide provides a scope and sequence chart for pacing of concepts and lessons indicating the phonetic elements that are the focus of each week. At the introduction of each new concept, teachers are provided an overview of the skill to be taught, the resources they need to prepare for the week, and tips for managing and differentiating instruction. Concept overviews refer to the specific pages in the Introduction section of the Teacher’s Guide that fully explain the instructional routines. Each concept overview refers to the additional student resources that can be found online, and these references are repeated in the Weekly Celebration section of the Day 5 lesson for each week. Daily lessons are composed of activities that follow consistent formats repeated throughout the program. Lessons clearly refer to student materials that are required for the day’s lesson. Each week has five days of instruction, and each concept has a defined number of weeks of instruction in order to support student learning. There are 36 weeks (180 days) of instruction which meets the required length of a standard school year allowing Grade K students to be able to maximize understanding of content. There is a clear scope and sequence that maps out the concepts, weeks, and instructional days that students learn concepts. 

Lesson plans utilize an effective, research-based lesson plan design for early literacy instruction.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-3, the materials discuss how research supports the methodology for the research-based approaches to word study. The materials state that a take-home spelling list is not included in the program because, in a balanced literacy environment, “word study should not be taught in isolation.”
  •  In the Teacher’s Guide, page 15, instruction begin with Phonemic Awareness, then Puzzle Piece Review, word or letter instructional routine, initial assessment, a sort, and then practice, and ends with fluency.
  • Lesson plans utilize an effective, research-based design for early literacy instruction by incorporating modeling, explicit teaching, guided and independent practice activities. 
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 43, the teacher models phonemic awareness skills using an oral exercise that consists of segmenting words into parts and students putting the words back together. The teacher then models a Supported Blending Routine and guides students in practicing the routine. The lesson contains a review of previously taught sounds.

The effective lesson design structure includes both whole group and small group instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 84, the Supported Blending Instruction is completed in whole group following the instructional routine on page I-16. During the fluency task, the teacher is prompted to circulate and listen to students read or pull a small group of students who need additional support.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 168, the teacher begins the lesson with whole group instruction and then has the students practice the next routine with a partner. Students are divided into word study groups for differentiated instruction on page 131 of the Learner’s Notebook and then given independent work to complete on page 132 of the Learner’s Notebook.

The pacing of each component of daily lesson plans is clear and appropriate.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The phonemic awareness aspect takes about two minutes, the Word or Letter Routine is three to five minutes, and the Puzzle Piece Review is one to three minutes. The Practice Pieces Routine is recommended to be 15 minutes long, and the fluency activity is approximately 15 minutes. 
  • The pacing of each component of the daily lessons plans is clear and appropriate and provides for a consistent pacing from day to day.   In the Teacher's Guide, page I-17, materials indicate that the Blending Routine takes 10 minutes or less and is completed on Days 1-4 of each concept.

The suggested amount of time and expectations for maximum student understanding of all foundational skill content (i.e. phonological awareness, print concepts, letters, phonics, high-frequency words, word analysis, decoding) can reasonably be completed in one school year and should not require modifications.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • There are 36 weeks  (180 days) of instructional material in the scope and sequence located at the beginning of the Teacher’s Guide. The scope and sequence delineates the pacing of instruction and the use of resources. 
  • The 11 concepts have a different number of weeks depending on the concept.
    • Concept 1, Building the Sorting Routine, has two weeks. 
    • Concept 2, Letter Identification, Formation, and Sound, has ten weeks. 
    • Concept 3, Short Vowels, has five weeks.
    • Concept 4, Short a Families, has two weeks. 
    • Concept 5, Short e Families, has two weeks.
    • Concept 6, Short i Families, has three weeks.
    • Concept 7, Short o Families, has two weeks.
    • Concept 8, Short u Families, has two weeks.
    • Concept 9, Mixed Short Vowel Review, has four weeks.
    • Concept 10, Short Vowels and Vowel_ e , has five weeks.

Indicator 2d

Order of Skills
0/0

Indicator 2d.i

Scope and sequence clearly delineate the sequence in which phonological awareness skills are to be taught, with a clear, evidence-based explanation for the expected hierarchy of phonemic awareness competence. (K-1)
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for scope and sequence clearly delineate the sequence in which phonological awareness skills are to be taught, with a clear, evidence-based explanation for the expected hierarchy of phonemic awareness competence (K-1).

The Puzzle Piece Phonics Kindergarten Level Teacher’s Guide provides an overview of phonemic awareness and a list of outcomes for students. There is a clear hierarchy of phonemic awareness noted on page I-15 of the Teacher’s Guide. A more in-depth description of the skills to be taught and a rationale for their inclusion is presented in the article, “Puzzle Piece Phonics Research Base Alignment,” published on the companion website. The program provides a detailed scope and sequence chart for the introduction of letter-sound correspondences but does not delineate, in a similar fashion, the scope and sequence for phonemic awareness skills to be taught. Phonemic awareness skills are briefly referenced in the list of outcomes with no other delineation of the sequence of skill introduction or amount of review and practice provided. 

Materials contain a clear, evidence-based explanation for the expected hierarchy for teaching phonological awareness skills. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-15, a definition of phonemic awareness, the purpose of phonemic awareness, the learning outcomes, and a basic routine for teaching phonemic awareness is provided.
  • Kindergarten Learning Outcomes for Phonemic Awareness include:
    • Listen for rhyming words.
    • Isolate initial sounds in words.
    • Segment words into sounds.
    • Orally break words into syllables.
    • Change initial, medial, and final sounds in words.
    • Compare and contrast spoken words.
    • Identify short vowels and long vowels.
  • On the Companion Website an article entitled “Puzzle Piece Phonics Research Base Alignment,” provides a clear definition of phonemic awareness (page 3) and a detailed description of the research-base supporting the routines (pages 9-11) used in the Puzzle Piece Phonics program to teach phonemic awareness.

Materials contain a phonemic awareness sequence of instruction and practice based on the expected hierarchy. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-15, while the “learning outcomes” listed on pg. I-15 correspond to the level of tasks for phonemic awareness, there is no actual scope and sequence chart provided for the introduction of the different phonemic awareness tasks, e.g., rhyme, sound comparison, phoneme segmentation, phoneme manipulation. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-61 and I-62, the program contains a scope and sequence chart that delineates 36 weeks of instruction, organized under ten concepts, with each week focusing on specific letter-sound correspondences. However, the scope and sequence does not reference the sequence of phonemic awareness skills. 

Materials have a cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 77, students complete a Supported Blending Routine explained on page I-16 of the Teacher’s Guide. The teacher displays the following words on the board one line at a time: winter, nest, iguana. The teacher shows students how to blend the sounds. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 361, students conduct a word search of the short phonic sounds - ap, -ep, -ip, -op, and -up. Students are instructed to search other texts in the classroom for the words with these short vowels. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 420, the teacher says the word and the students tell the teacher what sound they hear in the word. Students are asked whether they hear a short or long vowel and to complete the motion of the sound they hear.

Indicator 2d.ii

Scope and sequence clearly delineate an intentional sequence in which phonics skills are to be taught, with a clear explanation for the order of the sequence.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for scope and sequence clearly delineate an intentional sequence in which phonics skills are to be taught, with a clear explanation for the order of the sequence. 

The Teacher’s Guide provides a chart indicating the scope and sequence used to introduce letter/sound patterns throughout this level of the program. The companion website provides a research paper, “Puzzle Piece Phonics Research Base Alignment” which provides a broad overview of the research on the need to incorporate explicit and systematic phonics instruction in the early grades. The Teacher's Guide highlights several research findings that guide the design of their program. 

Materials clearly delineate a scope and sequence with a cohesive, intentional sequence of phonics instruction and practice to build toward application of skills. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, the Contents Page, Short Vowels heading, indicates this instruction begins in Concept 3 with students learning short a and short u practice. On the Contents page, Concepts 1 and 2 are letter identification, formation, and sound. Concept 4 is short a families, and Concept 5 is short e families. Concepts 6 and 7 are short i and o. Concept 8 is short u families. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-61, the Scope and Sequence Resources lists the Word Study Sound Pacing beginning with Concept 1: Building the Sorting Routine, Concept 2: Letter Identification, Formation, and Sound for Weeks 3-12, Concept 3: Short Vowels, Concept 4: Short a Families, Concept 5: Short e Families, Concept 6: Short i families, Concept 7: Short o families, Concept 8: Short u families, Concept 9: Mixed Short Vowel Review, Concept 10: Short Vowels and Vowel_e.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-61 & I-62, materials clearly delineate a scope and sequence that is organized by concepts and weeks of instruction. The scope and sequence specifies all phonics skills to be taught across 36 weeks. 

 Materials have a clear research-based explanation for the order of the phonics sequence.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the article, “Puzzle Piece Phonics Research Base Alignment,” published on the companion website, the materials explain of the research supporting the approach to reading instruction.  
    • The materials cite Blevins’ (2017) research which indicates instructional programs should sequence high-utility sound/spelling patterns before the introduction of less useful patterns. 
    • The Teacher’s Guide, page I-61, indicates the sequence of introduction teaches q and x before the letter i. The letters/sounds y, short u, short o, and h are taught at the end of the Puzzle Piece Phonics sequence. 

Indicator 2e

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the Foundational Skills program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade K partially meet the criteria for materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the Foundational Skills program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement. 

The Puzzle Piece Phonics Grade K Level Teacher’s Guide includes a Weekly Celebration on Day 5 of each instructional week. The teacher is instructed to display a celebratory message identifying the puzzle pieces that have been introduced during that week, and students copy the message onto a weekly certificate. A copy of the certificate is included in the online program resources. These certificates are taken home to show parents what the student has learned. The Learner’s Notebook consists of perforated pages that can be torn out and sent home at the end of each week so that parents or caregivers can be informed regarding the concepts that are being practiced. However, there are no specific strategies or suggestions for how stakeholders could support progress and achievement by working with students at home. The materials do not provide stakeholders with strategies and activities for practicing print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency to support students in progress toward achievement of grade level foundational skills standards.

Materials contain jargon-free resources and processes to inform all stakeholders about foundational skills taught at school. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-3, Easy Ongoing Assessment, the program states that assessments and Practice Pieces can be shared with families so they are able to see student progress.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-34, Spelling Checks, Purpose, the materials state that the purpose of the spelling check is to allow families to see their child’s progress toward grade level expectations.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79,  students copy this celebratory message on their certificates: “Wahoo! You learned the wiggle, no, and zip puzzle pieces!” 

Materials do not provide stakeholders with strategies and activities for practicing phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, and print concepts that will support students in progress towards and achievement of grade level foundational skills standards.

  • The Teacher’s Guide and the companion website do not provide resources or information for stakeholders to use to support foundational skills.

Criterion 2f - 2f.ii

Program includes work with decodables in K and Grade 1, and as needed in Grade 2, following the grade-level scope and sequence to address both securing phonics.
4/8
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed meet the criteria for materials include decodable texts with phonics aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings. Materials do not meet the criteria for materials include decodable texts with high-frequency words aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings.

Indicator 2f

Aligned Decodable Texts
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Indicator 2f.i

Materials include decodable texts with phonics aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials include decodable texts with phonics aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings. 

The materials contain fluency passages that work on a specific phonics skill based on the word list students are reading and practicing. Students read the decodable texts for the purpose of securing the phonics sound they are working on. The Teacher’s Guide includes decodable texts that are aligned with the focus elements incorporated in each lesson. The texts often include one or two words containing the focus element. The text reading is repeated for five days. 

Materials include decodable texts to address securing phonics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Teacher’s Guide provides for daily readings of correlated text found in the student’s Fluency Notebook. 
  • The decodable texts provide opportunities to practice the focus elements taught in the lessons.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 135, materials focus on the letters y, z, and u. The corresponding page 22 in the Fluency Notebook provides the following text for the students to read: “Zack saw a black and white striped zebra at the zoo. Zoe saw chimpanzees, lizards, and grizzly bears too.” Students are  instructed to read the selections.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 148, materials state the focus elements are short a and short e for the entire week of the program. Materials introduce the sentence,”The hat is red,” followed by the sentence for Day 2, “I can tap.” The sentence for Day 3 is, “The cat is bad,” and the sentence for Day 4 is, “The sled is flat.” 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 277, students read the two decodable texts, “Quick, Quick” and “Summer Picnic.” Puzzle Pieces Fluency pages align to the phonics students are working on.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 378, students read the fluency passages, “What’s in the Pan?” and “There’s a Hen in the Den.” Both passages are decodable texts. 

Decodable texts contain grade-level phonics skills aligned to the program’s scope and sequence. For example:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 262, short i families are discussed. Students read the following fluency decodable passages with short i: “Zip, Zip,” “Stuck,” and “Fred and Frida Fish.”
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 451, students read decodable texts in the Fluency Notebook while working on the short u spelling pattern: “Wait, Bus, Wait” and “No-Good Pets.” 
  • In the Fluency Notebook, page 19, students read one or more of the following chants to enforce the focus letters v, h, u: “Violin,” “Hot,” “Sun.”

Indicator 2f.ii

Materials include decodable texts with high-frequency words aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials include decodable texts with high-frequency words aligned to the program’s scope and sequence and opportunities for students to use decodables for multiple readings.

Fluency passages included in the materials do not include the high-frequency words that are addressed each week. While the Teacher’s Guide provides a scope and sequence chart for words introduced in the sight word routines, a scope and sequence chart for all of the high-frequency words used within the decodable texts is not provided.  

Materials include decodable texts that utilize high-frequency words. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Many high frequency words are regularly included in the daily texts; however, there is not a complete list of high frequency words or a scope and sequence provided for when they are introduced. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 265, students read the passages “Zip, Zip, Stuck” and “Fred and Frida Fish;” however, the sight words for the week, sit and very, are not included in the passages. 

Decodable texts contain grade-level high-frequency/irregularly spelled words aligned to the program’s scope and sequence. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • There is a scope and sequence of words introduced as sight words within the lessons, but this is not a complete list of all high-frequency words introduced in the decodable texts.

Criterion 2g - 2i.iii

Materials provide teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards. Materials also provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that students demonstrate independence with grade-level standards.
8/22
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress through mastery of print concepts, letter recognition, and printing letters.  Materials do not meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonological awareness. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonics.  Materials partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of word recognition and analysis. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment and assessment materials clearly denote which standards are being emphasized. Materials do not regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen in a language other than English with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade-level with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards. Materials partially meet the criteria for materials regularly provide extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade-level.

Indicator 2g

Regular and Systematic Opportunities for Assessment
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Indicator 2g.i

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress through mastery of print concepts (K-1), letter recognition (K only), and printing letters (as indicated by the program scope and sequence) (K-1).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress through mastery of print concepts (K-1), letter recognition (K only), and printing letters (as indicated by the program scope and sequence) (K-1). 

The materials offer frequent assessment for letter formation. The teacher indicates which letter the student cannot form correctly, but little guidance is provided for how teachers should reteach or reassess as students continue to work towards mastery. Weekly handwriting checks are used as a formal assessment of the weekly letters, and there is one pre-assessment that teachers are to administer during Concept 1, Weeks 1 and 2. Assessment results do not include instructional suggestions to help students to progress toward mastery in letter formation. The materials do not include assessments for the directionality, reading print left to right, opening and closing a book, sequence, or spacing within or between words. 

Materials provide a limited variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate students’ progress toward mastery and independence of letter recognition.  Examples include:

  • In Teacher’s Guide, pg. I-13, the first pre-assessment is administered during Concept 1. This is an initial check to determine students’ knowledge of letter identification, sound, and formation.
  • In Teacher’s Guide, page 3, there is an initial check to evaluate students on their recognition of upper- and lowercase letters and identification of letter sounds. 
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, page 3, Initial Check, the teacher checks the letters the student recalls and circles the letters that the student cannot recall. Students are evaluated on the identification of uppercase and lowercase letters and the sounds of all 26 letters.  

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information concerning students’ current skills/level of understanding of letter recognition.

  • No evidence found

Materials support teachers with instructional suggestions for assessment-based steps to help students to progress toward mastery in letter recognition.

  • No evidence found

Materials provide a limited variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate students’ progress toward mastery and independence in letter formation.  Examples include:

  • There is one pre-assessment in Kindergarten Puzzle Piece, in Concept 1, page 3, in which students write uppercase and lowercase letters, and the teacher assesses letter formation. 
  • In the Learner’s Notebook, Concept 1, pages 4-5, the teacher asks students to form each uppercase and lowercase letter and circles the letters that the students cannot form correctly
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 91, Handwriting Check, the teacher models the formation of uppercase and lowercase Qq, Ff, and Rr. Then, students write these letters in their Learner’s Notebook.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information concerning  students’ current skills/level of understanding in letter formation.

  • No evidence found 

Indicator 2g.ii

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonological awareness (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). (K-1)
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonological awareness (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). 

There are five pre- and post-assessments administered to students during certain Concepts, but the program does not contain systematic assessment opportunities to genuinely measure students' progress toward mastery of phonological awareness. The materials do not contain record keeping materials for data (e.g., anecdotally, on daily or weekly lesson performance) on any of the phonemic awareness skills taught. The responses requested are choice responses (i.e., “Tell me if these words rhyme”) causing students to have a 50/50 chance of giving a correct response regardless of the students' level of understanding.  

Materials do not regularly and systematically provide a variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate students’ progress toward mastery and independence in phonological awareness. 

  • The five pre- and post-assessments do not include a phonemic awareness assessment.  
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 3, the program provides Pre-Assessment 1 to be administered at the beginning of the program. Assessment 1 measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondence for the initial sound heard in a word, letter identification formation skills for uppercase and lowercase letters, and letter-sound correspondences for upper- and lowercase letters.


Indicator 2g.iii

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonics in- and out-of-context (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). (K-2)
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonics (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). (K-2) 

The Teacher’s Guide provides five pre-assessments and five post-assessments throughout the 36-week instructional program. Assessments measure letter-sound relationships and word recognition skills. Assessments do not provide immediate information on when concepts need to be retaught or reviewed and do not provide any direct measures of decoding skills. 

Materials provide resources and tools to collect ongoing data about students’ progress in phonics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • There are five pre-assessments that the teacher can administer at any time within the first week that a concept is assigned. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 3, the materials provide Pre-Assessment 1 which is given at the beginning of the program and measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondence for the initial sound they hear in a word, letter identification formation skills for upper- and lower case letters, and letter-sound correspondences for upper- and lowercase letters.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 129 the teacher post-assesses students'  knowledge of the correct letter-sound correspondence for the initial sound they hear in a word, letter identification formation skills for upper- and lower case letters, and letter-sound correspondences for upper- and lowercase letters. This assessment allows the teacher to initially test for prior knowledge of letter/sound patterns and to post-test after 12 weeks of instruction.
  • There are five post-assessments that the teacher administers at the end of the concept. The first post-assessment after Concept 1, assesses consonant and short vowel sounds, the second one assesses short vowels, the third one assesses word families, the fourth assesses mixed short vowels and consonants, and the final one is a summative assessment.    
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 164, students complete the Dictation Routine, in which the teacher reads a word, and students write the word by changing a sound. 

Materials offer assessment opportunities to determine students’ progress in phonics that are implemented systematically. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The five pre-assessments are given at any time during the first week of the concept in order to give teachers an idea of where students are.
  • Pre-assessment Concept 3 is a word family spelling check. The teacher says three words in the word family. Only one of the three words will have a picture in the box. The students write the word family that matches the three words they hear in the box. 
  • Within each Concept, Day 5 lessons include a quick spelling assessment.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, the material provide a spelling check in which the teacher says a sound, and students writes the corresponding letter.
    • The Teacher’s Guide, page 315, provides a spelling check in which the teacher dictates and students spell words containing the week's focus letter-sound correspondences. 

Limited assessment opportunities are provided for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence with phonics. Examples include:

  • There are 10 total formal pre- and post-assessments that focus on a specific phonics pattern. 
  • In the Learner's Notebook, page 151, Concept 3, post-assessment, the teacher says the word, and students write the sounds they hear.
  • While each of the lessons contains word blending exercises, there is no corresponding assessment on Day 5 lessons in which students orally read and teachers record accuracy and fluency data. The assessment provided on Day 5 is an encoding spelling assessment on the words practiced during the week. 
  • No assessments for generalization are provided to determine whether the student can apply the newly learned phonetic elements to words they have not practiced in the daily lessons.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with limited information about students’ current skills/level of understanding of phonics. Examples include:

  • The Teacher’s Guide, Concept 1, includes a pre-assessment in which the teacher says the word, and the student writes the sound they hear. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 299, students complete a spelling check in which the teacher says the word with the spelling pattern they have been working on, and students write the word.

Materials provide limited opportunities to measure students’ progress to support teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery in phonics. Examples include:

  • In the Teacher's Guide, page 1-14, the post-assessment explanation states that the teacher can use the results for a one-on-one conference with students to set goals with students, to guide the students’ writing, or to recommend books that would be a good fit for them. Directions further state that teachers use the data for follow-up instruction; they can re-teach students using the extension or remediation activities.

Indicator 2g.iv

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of word recognition and analysis (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). (K-2)
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that measure student progress of word recognition and analysis (as indicated by the program scope and sequence). (K-2) 

Assessments measure letter-sound relationships and word recognition skills with limited applicability. Assessments do not provide immediate information on when concepts need to be retaught or reviewed and do not provide any direct measures concerning decoding skills. There is a pre- and post-assessment to evaluate word recognition skills; however, assessments are not systematic. The high frequency assessment that is completed during the Spelling Check Routine checks students’ recall of spelling but does not test reading accuracy. For those students who do not pass the pre-assessment, the materials guide the teacher to use different words with the student throughout the week. No other methods or instructions for remediation are given.

Materials provide a variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate students’ progress toward mastery and independence of word recognition (high-frequency words or irregularly spelled words) and analysis. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • The Spelling Check is completed throughout the Concepts (example: Concept 2, Week 6, Day 5). This is the only assessment that evaluates students’ mastery of high-frequency words. It assesses whether students have knowledge of how to spell the word not whether they can read the word. 
  • The Teacher’s Guide, page 3, provides Pre-Assessment 1 which measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondence for the initial sound they hear in a word, letter identification formation skills for upper- and lowercase letters, and letter-sound correspondences for upper- and lowercase letters.  The assessment is given again as Post-Test 1 on Teacher’s Guide, page 129.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 104, materials provide Pre-Assessment 2 in which the student is provided a picture prompt and the first and last letters of a word. Students are asked to write the medial vowel sound they hear in the word. The assessment is given again as Post-Test 2 on Teacher Guide, page 199.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 169, materials provide Pre-Assessment 3, which is labeled Word Families Spelling Check. The test provides the student with a picture prompt. The teacher orally presents three words that belong in the same word family and asks students to write the word family under the picture. This pre-test measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondences for the word families taught in the program. When given again as Post-Test 3 (Teacher Guide, page 331), it provides information on mastery of letter-sound relationships taught.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 301, materials provide Pre-Assessment 4, which is labeled Mixed Vowels and Consonants Spelling Check. The test provides student with a picture prompt. The teacher orally presents a word, and students write the sounds they hear and spell the word under the picture prompt. This pre-test measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondences for the words. When given again as Post-Test 4 (Teacher’s Guide, page 387), it provides a measure of letter-sound relationships taught in the program.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 363, materials provide Pre-Assessment 5, which is labeled Short Vowel and Vowel-e Spelling Check. The test provides students with a picture prompt. The teacher says a word, and students write the word under the picture prompt. This pre-test measures whether the student knows the correct letter-sound correspondences for long vowels with the silent e spelling rule/pattern in the words. When given again as Post-Test 5 (Teacher’s Guide, page 449), it provides information on mastery of letter-sound relationships and the vowel_finel e spelling pattern.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with limited information concerning students’ current skills/level of understanding of word recognition and word analysis. Examples include:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 363, during Concept 9, the teacher conducts the pre-assessment of short vowel and vowel e spelling. During the assessment, the teacher says a word, and the student writes down what word the teacher says for the short vowel and long vowel e sounds. 
  • Within each Concept, Day 5 lessons include a quick spelling assessment, but the assessments are not testing decoding skills directly. Students do not read orally to the teacher.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 79, the materials provides a spelling check in which the teacher says a sound, and students write the corresponding letter.
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 315, the materials provide a spelling check in which the teacher dictates and students spell words containing that week’s focus letter-sound correspondences.

Materials provide limited support to teachers with instructional suggestions for assessment-based steps to help students to progress toward mastery in word recognition and word analysis. Examples include:

  • The recommendations for the teacher following  assessment consist of determining  which word list the student uses throughout the week. There are no other suggestions. 

Indicator 2h

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment and assessment materials clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment and assessment materials clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.

There is a document on the companion website for Puzzle Piece Phonics that identifies the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, conventions of standard English, and vocabulary acquisition and use) that align with the Grade K level of Puzzle Piece Phonics in general.  However, there is no alignment to CCSS provided by the publisher to indicate which standards are being addressed by specific questions, tasks, or assessments. There is a publisher-produced alignment document for the concepts to be addressed during each week; however, there is no standards-alignment document which contains specific standards correlated to specific lessons. 

Alignment documentation is provided for tasks, questions, and assessment items.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 3, the materials contain a pre-assessment Initial Check. Below the assessment, the explanation tells the teacher which skills to look for during whole group The skills include initial sounds and final sounds, knowledge of consonants, and knowledge of short vowels. In the individual section, teachers are prompted to look for identification of upper- and lowercase letters and identification of consonant and short vowel sounds.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-61, there is a scope and sequence for the Word Study Pacing that tells teachers which concept is targeted in each week.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-63, there is a scope and sequence of the sight word pacing for each week.

Alignment documentation does not contain specific standards correlated to specific lessons.

  • The alignment document provided on the companion website for Puzzle Piece Phonics lists the standards addressed. It does not connect the standards to a specific lesson, task, or instructional routine included in any of the lessons. 

Materials do not include denotations of the standards being assessed in the formative assessments. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher's Guide, page 4, the pre-assessment states that it assesses initial and final sound knowledge of /x/, knowledge of consonants, and knowledge of short vowels. The assessment also measures students’ understanding of upper- and lowercase letters and identification of short vowels and consonants.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-13, the materials delineate five pre-assessments used as formative assessments throughout the program. The Teacher's Guide states the information can help teachers form student groups for word sorting , etc., and helps determine the focus of lessons for each group. However, it does not clearly identify which standards are being addressed.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 3, the materials provide the first pre-assessment which covers upper- and lowercase letter formation, identification of initial sounds within short words, and whether students can identify all upper- and lowercase letters. The instructions tell teachers what to look for and provide tips for scoring. The materials do not link this assessment to any standards.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 105, the materials provide the second pre-assessment which covers one-to-one sound correspondence and knowledge of short vowels, but the pre-assessment is not correlated to any standards.
  • Each of the remaining three pre-assessments follow the same format. They provide what to look for, tips for scoring, and suggestions on how students can be grouped based on the assessment, but do not specify correlation to standards. 

Materials do not include denotations of standards being assessed in the summative assessments. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page I-14, the materials delineate five post-assessments used as summative assessments throughout the program. The Teacher's Guide states that the information can help teachers determine whether students have mastered the spelling patterns that have been formally introduced. While the materials state that each post-assessment tests the kindergarten standards, materials do not clearly identify which standards are being addressed in any of the assessments.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 129, materials provide the first post-assessment which covers knowledge of consonants and short vowels. The instructions tell teachers what to look for and provides tips for scoring. The materials do not link this assessment to any standards.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 199, the materials provide the second post-assessment which covers one-to-one sound correspondence for consonants and knowledge of short vowels, but it does not correlate the post-assessment with any standards.
  • Each of the remaining three post-assessments follow the same format. They provide what to look for, tips for scoring, and suggestions on how students can be grouped based on the assessment, but do not specify any correlation to specific standards.

Indicator 2i

Differentiation for Instruction: 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 grade-level standards.
0/0

Indicator 2i.i

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen in a language other than English with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen in a language other than English with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards. 

There is no mention in the program of what teachers should do to support ELL learners. There is no mention of ELL students and modifications or opportunities for reteaching that might address their needs for additional practice on skills. Skills introduced on Day 1 are practiced through Day 5 of a concept week providing some opportunities for reteaching and review. However, with no criterion for performance specified at the end of the Day 5 lesson, teachers are not provided guidance as to when a concept needs to be retaught before moving on to the introduction of new skills. After Day 5, teachers move on to the next week’s focus element without assessing students’ level of comprehension.

Materials do not provide support for ELL students. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pages I-9 through I-60, the materials describe the teaching routines and practice activities that make up each day’s lesson. There is no mention of modifications that could be made for students who speak a language other than English.  
  • Throughout the program in lessons for Days 1-5, there is no specific mention of modifications, extended practice, extended modeling, or remediation for students who are experiencing difficulties as second language learners. During the Fluency section of lessons, teachers are told that they should “circulate and listen to students read” or “gather a small group of students who need additional support.” 
  • There is no criterion for student performance specified with any section or routine included in the lessons that would indicate when a teacher needs to provide reteaching or additional practice on skills.

General statements about ELL students or few strategies noted at the beginning of a unit or at one place in the teacher edition are then implemented by the materials throughout the curriculum. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Other than generalized statements as to how groups can be flexible depending on student performance, there is little information that would lead to differentiation that could assist ELL students.

Indicator 2i.ii

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade-level with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade-level with extensive opportunities for reteaching to meet or exceed grade-level standards. 

During the Fluency Routine, the teacher is prompted to pull a small group of students if they notice they are struggling, but there are no other directions concerning this. There are routines in which the teacher circulates and “coaches,” as needed. There are some additional tips placed at the beginning of each concept for students who are struggling in certain routines. Some scaffolding occurs within a lesson and across the weeks’ lessons from sounds first being introduced in the phonemic awareness section of the lesson, moving into Supported Blending and Formation: Writing of Letters,  followed by sorting activities, and finishing in Fluency Notebook readings. There is a letter to teachers that says they can switch up the routines if needed and there are additional resources. However, the website listed could not be accessed to determine which other resources are provided. There is little attention given to providing extensive opportunities for reteaching that might address the needs of students performing below grade-level and their need for additional practice on skills. 

Materials provide some opportunities for small group reteaching.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, pg. I-40, in the Make a New Category Routine, the directions state that teachers can complete this activity with students in whole or small group. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 63, when students are completing the fluency section, the teacher is prompted to walk around and listen to students or gather a small group of students who need additional support. 
  • At the beginning of each week’s lesson plan, the Teacher Guide provides a section called Tips for Management and Differentiation. These tips provide broad guidelines for accommodating students who might need additional practice:
    • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 94, the materials provide a section called Tips for Phonemic Awareness which instructs the teacher, “If you notice your students need additional practice, extend the activity with additional words.” However, those extension words are not provided or suggested.
    • Throughout the lessons for Days 1-5, there is no further mention of modifications, extended practice, extended modeling, or remediation for students who are experiencing difficulties and/or performing below grade-level standards. 
    • There is no criterion for student performance specified with any section or routine included in the lessons that would indicate when a teacher needs to provide reteaching or additional practice on skills. 

Materials provide some guidance to teachers for scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support students who read, write, speak, or listen below grade-level in extensive opportunities to learn foundational skills at the grade-level standards. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 239, in Tips for Management & Differentiation, the materials state that for students who are struggling with the Dictation and Quick Switch Routine, the teacher can have the students write the rime on each line. It states, “when they hear the word, they will only need to focus on the initial sound.”
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 336, in Tips for Phonemic Awareness, the materials state that if the teacher notices students are struggling to change the initial sound of a word to make two words, extend the activity and have the students make more words.
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 336, during Tips for Puzzle Piece Review, the materials state “students who have not yet mastered the -ub, -un, and -ut families from last week will sort using last week’s words.” Students who have mastered those words will move on to the -uff, -uck, and -unk families. 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 453, in Tips for Practice Pieces, the materials state that students who are struggling can make a magic e flip book by writing CVC words on one side and the e on the edge of the backside. Then, they turn the word from a cvc word into a magic e word.

Indicator 2i.iii

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials regularly provide extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade-level. 

Students who read, write, and speak or listen above grade-level have extension activities that are embedded in the routines section of the materials. Students complete the same word sorts and other sort activities as their peers using different words. However, the routines for phonemic awareness, or dictation, include the same words for the whole class. Therefore,  a student who already knows a pattern is engaged in sitting through lessons or activities in which they already know the material. While there are some pre-assessments incorporated into the Puzzle Piece Phonics Kindergarten Level Program, there are no recommendations for how that information can be used to accelerate students through the instructional program if the pre-assessment indicates they are performing above grade-level. All students are presented the same lesson, regardless of prior knowledge, and are assigned the same independent work activities. There are two sets of weekly sorts for each week but there is very little difference in difficulty level between the two sets.

Materials provide limited opportunities for advanced students to investigate grade-level foundational skills at a greater depth. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher’s Guide, page 233, students who are more advanced complete the spelling check with different words. The words they write are: land, ram, stand, fan, and can. The words the first group of students write are:  lap, nag, rat, sap, and lag. Group 1 writes the dictated sentence: “I pat the cat.” Group 2 writes the dictated sentence:  “The band is big.” 
  • Materials include two different fluency passages for students to read each week. One passage is for students working and completing sorts with words in Group 1 and the other is for students completing sorts with Group 2 words. In Concept 10, Week 1, Day 3, students from Group 1 read the poem, “Magic E,” and students from Group 2, read “Poof! Magic E.” 
  • In the Teacher’s Guide, Super Sentence activity, page I-40, an extension activity is to have students write a story using the words from the week. Students are encouraged to brainstorm a story line with the week's words. Then, students create a story that makes sense and has a beginning, middle, and end. Students are encouraged to work together with members of their sort group to co-write a story. 

There are some instances of advanced students simply doing more assignments than their classmates. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In the Teacher's Guide, page 457, students take out the words they are working with which may be List 2 words and complete the same Words with Picture Sort as their peers who are working on Sort 1. 
  • In the Teacher's Guide, page I-43, in the Highlighter Hunt Routine, the materials state that extensions are embedded within the differentiation of the sorts. Students in Group 2 will examine longer words in order to find the focus pattern.

Criterion 2j - 2n

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

The instructional materials reviewed do not meet the criteria for digital materials (either included as a supplement 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. Materials do not support effective use of technology to enhance student learning and do not meet the criteria for digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.  Instructional materials cannot be easily customized for local use. Materials meet the criteria for the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.

Indicator 2j

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for digital materials (either included as a supplement 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. 

There are no digital materials available for teachers to use with this program. There are references that are highlighted for teachers to look up online; however, these are references or blackline masters that can be used by teachers. There is no digital curriculum included in this program.

Indicator 2k

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. 

There are no digital materials available for teachers to use with this program. There are references that are highlighted for teachers to look up online; however, these are references or blackline masters that can be used by teachers. There is no digital curriculum included in this program.

Indicator 2l

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.

There are no digital materials available for teachers to use with this program. There are references that are highlighted for teachers to look up online; however, these are references or blackline masters that can be used by teachers. There is no digital curriculum included in this program.

Indicator 2m

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria for materials can be easily customized for local use.

There are no digital materials available for teachers to use with this program. There are references that are highlighted for teachers to look up online; however, these are references or blackline masters that can be used by teachers. There is no digital curriculum included in this program that can be customized for local use.

Indicator 2n

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for the visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject. 

There are no digital materials available for teachers to use with this program. There are references that are highlighted for teachers to look up online; however, the resources are references or blackline masters that may be utilized by the teacher. The Puzzle Piece Phonics puzzle pieces provided with the Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide provide simple picture prompts for each letter/sound pattern that is introduced in the program. The puzzle pieces are intended to be posted on classroom walls and used as reference points during the daily lessons and to review previously taught letter/sound patterns. The same visual prompts are repeated in the Fluency Notebook and in the Learner’s Notebook. The visual prompts create student engagement without distracting from the lessons.

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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 11/13/2019

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Puzzle Piece Phonics: Student Resource Kit 978-1-544331-87-4 Puzzle Piece Phonics 2018
Puzzle Piece Phonics: Teacher's Resource Kit 978-1-544337-53-1 Puzzle Piece Phonics 2018

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 Foundational Skills Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

The ELA foundational skills rubric evaluates materials based on:

  • Alignment to Standards and Research-Based Practices for Foundational Skills Instruction
  • Implementation, Support Materials & Assessment

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.

NOTE: The ELA foundational skills rubric contains only two gateways. The structural pieces that we normally review as a part of Gateway 3 (e.g. differentiation) in our comprehensive reviews are critical to the success of a program, and are, therefore, interspersed and combined with other indicators in Gateway 2.

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