Alignment: Overall Summary

The instructional materials reviewed for Reach for Reading Grade 3 partially meet expectations of alignment. The Grade 3 instructional materials partially meet expectations for Gateway 1. The materials partially meet the criteria that texts are worthy of students' time and attention, of quality, and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for the grade level. The materials partially meet the criteria that materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The materials partially meet the criteria for materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards. The Grade 3 instructional materials partially meet expectations for Gateway 2 and provide some opportunities for students to build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

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Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
20
37
42
32
37-42
Meets Expectations
21-36
Partially Meets Expectations
0-20
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
22
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

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

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Partially Meets Expectations

+
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Gateway One Details

The Reach for Reading Curriculum for Grade 3 partially meets the expectations that high-quality texts are the central focus of lessons, are at the appropriate grade level text complexity, and are accompanied by quality tasks aligned to the standards of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language in service to grow literacy skills. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade; however, not all of the text selections support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the year. Materials provide some opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts. The instructional materials miss some opportunities for explicit and systematic instruction and diagnostic support in phonics, vocabulary development, morphology, syntax, and fluency.   

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
17/20
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-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that texts are worthy of students' time and attention, are of quality and are rigorous, and support students' advancing toward independent reading. Anchor texts are of publishable quality and reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade; however, not all of the text selections support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the year. Materials expose students to a broad range of text types and disciplines and include a volume of reading so students can achieve grade-level reading proficiency by the end of the year. 

Indicator 1a

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

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

The majority of the anchor texts are of publishable quality and are worthy of careful reading. Many texts are rich and engaging and require a close read. Many of the informational texts are accompanied by photographs that support students’ understanding of the topic itself. Science topics are throughout the fiction and non-fiction texts.

Examples of texts that are of publishable quality include:

  • In Unit 1, students read Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts, published in 2007, which contains content that is relatable for students as the text discusses fitting in at school. The illustrations contain age-appropriate, modern images, and students learn about empathy throughout the story.
  • In Unit 4, students read Ba’s Business by the well-known author and illustrator Grace Lin. It contains colorful illustrations and multiple short stories that are multicultural.
  • In Unit 5, students read “Quicksand: When Earth Turns to Liquid” by Kris Hirschmann, which is a science article that is of high interest with real photographs and academic vocabulary.
  • In Unit 6, students read “Blind Lemon Jefferson” by Libby Lewis, which is a biographical article that shares information about a musician who was a seminal blues performer in the early 1900s. The article has concepts and vocabulary that are evocative and rich and provides interest to students as they learn about music, geography, and history of American popular culture.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. Students are exposed to various texts throughout the program. The whole group and read aloud texts include a mix of nonfiction and fiction texts with a variety of genres including folktales, science articles, plays, biographies, interviews, and poems. Students are exposed to various texts throughout the entire program.

Examples of fiction texts include:

  • In Unit 2: When the Pigs Took Over  byArthur Dorros - humorous story
  • In Unit 4: The Bird Bankby by Grace Lin - realistic fiction
  • In Unit 6: The Legend of Raven and Fog Woman by Susan Blackaby - legend
  • In Unit 7: "An Island Grows" by Lola M. Shaefer - narrative poem
  • In Unit 8: The Golden Apples by Colleen Peller - myth

Examples of informational texts include:

  • In Unit 1: Joseph Lekuton: Making a Difference  by Philip Kennedy - biography
  • In Unit 3: "A Projected Place" by Elizabeth Sengel - science article
  • In Unit 5: "Meet Maycira Costa" by Nora Brook - interview
  • In Unit 7: "Ready for an Emergency?" Lilliana Klein - procedural article
  • In Unit 8: "One Man’s Goal" by Catherine Clarke Fox - human interest feature

Indicator 1c

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

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

Students read a variety of texts throughout the program within the grade band Lexile of 420-820. Some books are outside of this band, but they are used for small group reading instruction where students receive tailored instruction.

Examples of texts that students read during shared reading that have appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures include:

  • In Unit 2, students read Be Careful What You Wish For by Katie Owens which has a Lexile of 470 and is qualitatively middle low. In addition, they read Would You Rather Be a Fish by National Geographic Kids, which has a Lexile of 1030 and is qualitatively middle low. This reading is done with a shared reading format.
  • In Unit 4, students read Belling the Cat which is an Aesop Fable told by Katie Blankshain, which has a Lexile of 690 and is qualitatively middle high.
  • In Unit 5, students read Saved in Ice: Baby Mammoth Found! by Christine Dell Amore, which has a Lexile of 580 and is qualitatively middle high. They also read Lisa Rubio’s Field Notes by Lisa Rubio, which has a Lexile of 800.
  • In Unit 8, students read Three Golden Apples by Colleen Peller, which has a Lexile of 470 and is qualitatively middle high.

Students also read texts in their small group reading groups. The complexity levels range from low to high.

Examples of texts students read in small groups that are lower level include:

  • In Unit 3, students read The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin, which has a Lexile of 520.
  • In Unit 4, students read Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine, which has a Lexile of 300.
  • In Unit 7, students read Pompeii... Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt, which has a Lexile of 520.

Examples of texts students read in small groups that are higher level include:

  • In Unit 2, students read Ecosystems by Nancy Finton, which has a Lexile of 880.
  • In Unit 5, students read Matter, Matter Everywhere by Steven Tomecek, which has a Lexile of 870.
  • In Unit 6, students read The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac, which has a Lexile of 810.

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials supporting students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the school year. (Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band.)

Throughout the year, students read a variety of texts and genres; however, not all of the text selections will help students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the year. The qualitative measures are in the middle low to middle high range. Over the course of the year, students do not engage with texts with increasing quantitative measures, nor do the tasks associated with the texts increase in rigor. The complexity of texts are scattered throughout the year, with some lower leveled, less complex texts in the second half of the year through the last unit. There are  20-40 minutes a day of whole group reading to read complex texts.

Examples of how the materials partially support students’ increasing literacy skills over the course of the year include:

  • In Unit 1, students read texts that aim to teach students point of view. The texts are used as close reads, but the complexity does not increase throughout the unit. Students start with the biography, Joseph Lekuton: Making a Difference by Phillip Kennedy, which is labeled middle low with a Lexile of 520. Students finish with the biography, Boy Between Two Cultures by Olivia Hodgson, which is labeled as middle high and a Lexile of 580.
  • In Unit 2, students close read Be Careful What You Wish For by Katie Owens, which is labeled at middle low with a Lexile of 470 and the tasks involve figurative language. Then students read two texts, that do not focus on figurative language and students are instead asked literal questions about the details in the text. These texts are Mega-Fish Man by Michael Sandler, which is labeled at middle low with a Lexile of 670 and "Would You Rather Be a Fish," which is an interview and is labeled at middle low with a Lexile of 1030.
  • In Unit 4, students read four texts written by Grace Lin, though the quantitative features of these texts do not grow and instead decline. Students begin by reading a realistic fiction text called Ba’s Business and has a Lexile of 650, and students are asked questions about story elements and important details. Then students read three short stories for close read. These texts, "The Bird’s Bank" (670L), "Shopping" (340L), and "Tweet Tweet" (510L) all focus on the details of the story and using the details to identify themes. All four of these texts have qualitative features that are listed as middle low.
  • In Unit 6, the students read two folktales and a myth, which are labeled middle-high; however, the tasks are all simple, which does not support an increase in literary skills. Students are asked many questions about details and sequence with a few questions about theme and text comparison. These texts include The Rainbow Bridge retold by Elizabeth Lindsey (680L), The Firefly’s Light by Katie Omachi (580L), and The Two Frogs by Katie Omachi (790L).
  • In Unit 8, students read myths, but the complexity does not increase in order to help students’ literacy skill grow. The two myths are both Lexiles of 470, though Three Golden Apples by Coleen Pellier is labeled middle high and Turtle and his Four Cousins by Margaret Mead McDonald is labeled middle low.

In addition to the whole class read, students participate in small group instruction and work in homogenous reading groups based on their interests and reading levels. After reading and discussing in homogenous groups, students then move to heterogeneous groups to engage in a discussion about the different texts and to identify connections from text to text. For each unit, the program provides four books above level, four books below level (400L-550L), eight books lower than that (250-400L), and eight books on level.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.
1/2
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis and rationale for purpose and placement in the grade level.

The materials provide a qualitative measure in the form of Complexity Rubrics found under the Resource list tab; however, the rubrics do not share the rationale for why the specific text was chosen. Additionally, the qualitative measure provided is very broad such as middle low, with inconsistent explanation of what makes the text qualitatively middle low. The program materials give a general rationale for why all of the texts were chosen for the program, but none are specific. The materials state that the Student Edition includes National Geographic content and authentic literature worth reading and rereading and that the units are four weeks long, built around a science or a social studies topic.

Indicator 1f

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

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

Throughout the year, students engage in a broad range of text types and disciplines as well as a volume of reading to achieve grade-level reading proficiency. Throughout the week, students read anchor texts in their anthology and participate in small reading groups with leveled texts. There is also Learning Station Time where students participate in various reading and writing stations or participate in independent reading.

In addition, students are exposed to a broad range of text types and disciplines throughout the year during whole group instruction, small groups, learning centers, and independent reading. Units have a shared reading and a close reading pairing each week with additional supplemental texts. There are also leveled readers related to the topic of each unit for small group and independent reading.

Examples of the various disciplines a student might read include:

  • In Unit 1 students read:
    • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts (realistic fiction)
    • “The Letter” by Nikki Grimes (poem)
    • The World’s Greatest Underachiever by Henry Winkler (autobiography)
    • Boy Between Two Cultures by Olivia Hodgson (biography)
  • In Unit 3, students read:
    • Two Old Potatoes and Me by John Coy (realistic fiction)
    • “America’s Sproutings” by Pat Mora (haiku)
    • “Grandma’s Potato Salad" by Joseph Heinrich (recipe)
    • "A Protected Place" by Elizabeth Sengel (science article)
    • “Rosie’s Report” by Rosie Ruf (blog)
    • "Let’s Protect the Okapi Reserve!" by Emeka Obadina (web article)
  • In Unit 5 students read:
    • Melt the Snow! by Marisa Montes (play)
    • "Saved in Ice: Frozen Baby Mammoth Found" by Christina Dell’Amore (email and web-based news)
    • "Lisa Rubi’s Field Notes" by Lisa Rubio (blog)
    • "Quicksand: When Earth Turns to Liquid" by Kris Hirschmann (science article)
    • "Meet Maycira Costa" by Nora Brook (interview)
  • In Unit 7, students read:
    • "An Island Grows" by Nora M. Schaefer (narrative poem)
    • Volcano News by Carsten Peter (photo essay)
    • "Life Returns to Mount St. Helens" by Andrea Pilar (science article)
    • Selvakumar Knew Better by Virginia Kroll (historical fiction)
    • "Tsunami" (online article)
    • "Ready for an Emergency?" by Lilliana Kahn (procedural article) 

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
12/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills. Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based and require students to draw on textual evidence to support both what is explicit, as well as valid inferences, from the text. Some of the culminating tasks refer back to the texts in the unit and require integration of knowledge, while others ask students to make connections or share personal histories or knowledge that may not require comprehension and completion of the preceding questions and tasks. The materials provide practices and protocols for opportunities to discuss and interact with the curriculum content and vocabulary. Students have daily opportunities to practice speaking and listening; however, the practice opportunities are not always connected to the read-aloud text. Materials include multiple opportunities for both on-demand and process writing tasks that span the year’s worth of instruction and opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply narrative, opinion, and expository writing are provided; however, the majority of the writing lessons focus on expository writing and many of the writing prompts reference the texts read but do not require students to use textual evidence. Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for the grade level.

Indicator 1g

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

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

Students are asked text-dependent questions during and after reading the texts. While some questions are retell questions, others are text-specific that require the students to analyze the characters and make inferences.

Examples of questions that students are asked include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students answer how did the birds stop the snail and what new problem that causes while reading.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, students are asked to give two details about the Okapi Reserve that support the idea that it is an amazing environment and what would the environment of the Okapi reserve be like?
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, while reading Mama Panya’s Pancakes, students are asked how they would describe Adlka’s personality and what evidence for the text supports the answer.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, students are asked where Rudy finds the article about the mammoth and how does he send it. In addition, students are asked where mammoths lived 40,000 years ago.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, during reading an article called “Carving Stories in Cedar: How to Make a Totem Pole”, students are asked what happens during step five of the pole-making process.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, while reading Turtle and His Four Cousins, students are asked what happens to Deer on each hill and what is turtle’s goal.

Indicator 1h

Sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for having sets of high-quality sequences of text-dependent/specific questions and tasks build to a culminating task that integrates skills (may be writing, speaking, or a combination).

The culminating tasks are Unit Projects, some of which refer back to the texts in the unit and require integration of knowledge, while others ask students to make connections or share personal histories or knowledge that may not require comprehension and completion of the preceding questions and tasks. At the end of each unit, students are given a choice of four projects labeled Write It!, Talk About It!, or Do It!. Speaking and listening standards are addressed in the Talk About It! and Do It! options, while writing standards are addressed in the Write About it! option.

Examples of Unit Projects include:

  • In Unit 2, students learn how nature balances itself. Project options include writing something that could make an ecosystem lose its balance and then trade that with a partner and draw an example of their partner’s ecosystem, finding a picture of an ecosystem and deciding if it is in balance or out of balance, creating a riddle about something in nature, or writing a skit about an ecosystem. Some of these options require knowledge from the unit, while others, such as writing a riddle do not require that information. 
  • In Unit 3, students learn about plants. The Unit Project options include drawing a cartoon about an amazing plant and writing a caption to show what is amazing about it, prepare a talk show where students talk about the different texts from the unit, write a skit about people who work with plants, and or write a haiku about their favorite plant. In this option, students may choose to not engage with the text completely, and the preceding questions are disconnected from the task.
  • In Unit 6, students read and write about traditions. Project choices include writing song lyrics about their favorite singer or musician, interviewing characters from stories in the unit, write a set of steps about a tradition that a family member has taught them, or write a letter to future children about a tradition that they want to preserve. Many of the options require students to bring in knowledge from their home or background, instead of from the texts and lessons.
  • In Unit 8, students are asked to review math words about distance and measurement from the unit and then ask each other questions about preparing for a camping trip, prepare questions and take turns interviewing each other like a host on a talk show, pantomime and play a charade-like game about numbers, or draw and label their own map of places about one mile from school or home. Many of these options do not stem from a sequence of text-dependent questions nor do they integrate skills.

Indicator 1i

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small groups, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.

The materials provide practices and protocols for opportunities to discuss and interact with the curriculum content and vocabulary. The Best Practices Routines, which are the speaking and listening protocols, are located in the front of the Teacher Guide. There are protocols for partner discussions, group conversations, and presentations. Clear directions and protocols are provided and supported by the Academic Talk Flip Chart. Group conversations are scaffolded with roles that are clearly defined and supported with sentence stems to help students fulfill their role in the discussion.

The partner discussion protocol includes sentence stems and opportunities for each partner to talk. The group conversation protocol includes roles for each student including a facilitator, encourager, timekeeper, and note taker. There are also sentence stems to help students with the discussion. At the end of the discussion, the class comes back together and a few students share what their groups discussed.

The presentation protocols are outlines for students and include criteria such as stand up tall, speak clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear, and introduce the presentation. The protocols also include directions for listeners to listen attentively, ask questions if they do not understand something, and make eye contact. However, the materials provide no clear opportunity for students other than English Language Learners to engage in oral presentations.  The Cooperative Learning suggestions in the text also provide support for partner and group discussion configurations that can be used with the protocols.

Examples of opportunities for evidence-based discussions include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 4, Week 4, the teacher uses A Better Way and The Ant and the Grasshopper to review methods for preparing for the future. Then the teacher facilitates a jigsaw to have students discuss ways to prepare for the future, reminding students to use information from the texts to express their understanding of the topic. After moving through groups and sharing in the jigsaw, the experts report on their ideas and understandings to help other students learn more about the topic.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, the teacher uses the Numbered Heads Together strategy to help students summarize what they have read of Carving Stories in Cedar. Students incorporate the Key Words in their summaries and then discuss their summaries with group members. Then a random number is called and that student from the group will report the summary.

Indicator 1j

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

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

Students practice their speaking and listening daily, though it is not always connected to the texts that they hear in read alouds. Some of the specific opportunities come before the text is read during a vocabulary lesson or during an opportunity to make predictions. There is also a Speaking and Listening Learning Station that uses texts, but not the anchor texts from the unit.

Examples of opportunities for students to practice their speaking and listening, though not always in conjunction with a text include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, during the Speaking and Listening Learning Station, one option is for students to form groups of four and practice the four sentence types using digital language builder learning cards. Students pick up a card with an animal on it and the first student asks a question, the second answers with a statement, the third student responds with an exclamation and the fourth with a command.
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, students review how to make opinions. Using the text, A Better Way, students think, pair, share to discuss arguments based on the reading.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, students use Oye, Celia! to practice summarizing using a fishbowl structure. Different groups are responsible for summarizing different pages of the text.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, students present their research reports from the week. The teacher goes over how to present and how to ask questions, but the report is not connected to the text read in class.

Indicator 1k

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

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

Materials include multiple opportunities for both on-demand and process writing tasks that span the year’s worth of instruction. Throughout the day, students participate in power writing, daily writing skills, writing lessons, and practice writing during learning stations daily. Students also write on Day 5 of small group reading time. In addition, students participate in a week-long writing project each week that takes them through the writing process.

There are many opportunities for students to participate in on-demand writing. This includes timed writing to improve stamina, writing lessons, and writing in response to texts that are read.

Students participate in power writing each day. This writing is a timed one minute, on-demand quick write. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 1, the power writing prompt has students write as much as they can and as well as they can about the word want.
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 1, the power writing prompt has students write as much as they can about farmers.

Daily Writing Skills is a week-long lesson plan that addresses a single writing objective for the week to improve writing skills.. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, the writing objective is for students to choose and narrow a topic and to develop interview questions. The Daily Writing Skill lesson plans give short lessons to teach the skill, daily practice options, and review and assessment. The students then work in groups to develop a general topic about which they could ask a book character, and then narrow it down to complete a chart.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, the writing objective is for students to include dialogue in writing. The Daily Writing Skill lesson plans give short lessons to teach the skill, daily practice options, and review and assessment. Students then write four lines of dialogue, using each dialogue tag once, and then exchange papers with group members and check each other's work.

In addition, writing lessons are included each day, often in response to the reading text. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, Day 2, after reading the text, Joseph Lekuton: Making a Difference, students write responses to the biography and then add their responses to their weekly writing folders.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, students write questions and answers after reading What Makes an Ecosystem. Students write questions about the text and then exchange with a partner and answer the partner’s questions.

Students write on Day 5 of Small Group Reading Time and are given options. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Week 2, students read the text, Pitching in for Eubie by Jerdine Nolen, and are given three options:
    • Character Sketch - students complete a character sketch describing Lily.
    • Sequel - students write a paragraph telling what happens to Lily’s family after the story ends.
    • Journal Entry - students write about something they have done to help their family.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1 students read the text, The Cornfield Volcano by Audie Lee, and are given three options:
    • Interview Questions and Answers - students write interview questions for Antonio or Dominica. Then, students write how Antonio and Dominica might respond to each question.
    • Poem - students write a poem about the beginning of the cornfield volcano.
    • Journal Entry - students write about who they would tell and why if they made a discovery like Antonio and Dominica made.

Students write during daily Learning Station time. For example:

  • In Unit 5, Week 2, the two learning station writing options include “Ask an Ice-Age Expert” and “Preserved Treasures.” In the station, “Ask an Ice-Age Expert,” students write an interview about the Ice Age. In the station, “Preserved Treasures,” students draw and describe a treasure that could be preserved in ice.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, the two learning station writing options include “Journal Journey” and “Homograph Goals” In the station, “Journal Journey,” students write a journal entry for Erden Eruc after reading One Man’s Goal for the question: "What would he write about his trip?" In the station, “Homograph Goals,” students draw a cartoon strip to show the parts of Eruc’s trip.

Process Writing opportunities include students participating in a week-long writing project each week. Students are given a prompt, study a model, prewrite, draft, revise, edit, proofread, publish and present. One week a unit, students participate in a week-long Research Project that often has students plan, research, organize, draft, and present ideas. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, students engage in a research project on a place where nature’s balance has been restored. On Day 1, students plan, and on Day 2 and 3, students research. On Day 4, students organize their research and draft their research, and on Day 5, students present; however, the research project is more about the public speaking than the writing.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, the students write a realistic fiction story that is about gardening or takes place in a garden. It is suggested that on Day 1 students study a model, then engage in prewriting, drafting, revising and editing, and publishing and presenting. Specific directions are given for each step including revising.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, the writing project is to write a biography of a cultural musician. Students begin by studying a model, and then prewrite, draft, edit and revise, and publish and present.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, students write a folktale. Students think of a folktale that is about reaching goals and then rewrite it in their own words. They then read their folktales to other students and make an audio recording of it.

Indicator 1l

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

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

The materials provide opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply narrative, opinion, and informative/expository writing; however, the majority of writing prompts focus on expository writing and the teacher may have to supplement to assure students have adequate practice with the other types.  Narrative writing focuses on process writing and students have few opportunities for opinion writing. Materials provide tasks for students to use different modes of writing. Students write arguments, opinion pieces, persuasive essays, informative texts, interviews, letter or e-mails, reports, procedural texts, explanatory texts, narratives, stories, character sketches, poems, tall tales, myths, trickster tales, folktales, science fiction stories, and responses to texts. The instructional guide provides supports for teachers to assist students as students progress in writing skills such as graphic organizers, checklists, and rubrics.  

Each week focuses on a different writing genre, appropriately aligned to the text. Mini-lessons are scaffolded throughout the week in order to support student outcomes. Model writing samples and other instruction support accompanies each unit.

Students write narrative writings such as:

  • In Unit 1 Week  1, students write realistic fiction story about helping someone, making sure to include a beginning, middle, and end.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, students write a play about matter or how matter changes. Students write the play to perform for their class.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, students write a personal narrative.

Students write expository writings such as:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students make a biographical sketch as part of the process writing assignment for the week.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, students write about locating sources.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, students write an article that explains what they think is amazing about plants.
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, students work in groups to write for a purpose by responding to a topic from the unit.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, students write a paragraph comparing Birdseye’s Cold Idea and Frozen Fossils.
  • In Unit 6, Week 4, students write an interview as part of the week-long project. They interview someone who helps preserve a special tradition.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, students choose an illustration from the story and write sentence to describe it.

Students write opinion writings such as:

  • In Unit 4, Week 4, students write a persuasive essay about the best way to do something at school or in their neighborhood.
  • In Unit 5, Week 4, students write a literary response to describe how they felt about one of the selections they read in the unit.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, the daily writing skill is to support opinions, which is covered throughout the entire week.

Indicator 1m

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials include frequent opportunities for evidence-based writing to support careful analyses, well-defended claims, and clear information appropriate for the grade level.

Materials do not consistently provide opportunities for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Many writing prompts are related to the texts, but do not require students to use text evidence. Additionally, many prompts use the text as a model or they may use the reading skill as the writing skill, such as if the author uses a lot of detail in their writing, then the writing assignment is to incorporate detail in a paragraph.

Daily writing skills and writing lessons are not consistent with providing students with evidence-based writing opportunities. At times, students use the text as a model and are therefore not given the opportunity to practice evidence-based writing. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, students practice using colorful details to elaborate and write about working in an animal shelter or wildlife sanctuary. They are asked to visualize and write as many colorful details as they can.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, students write a paragraph about rainforest plants that they learn in the text, Desert Survivors.
  • In Unit 5, Week 4, students review the weekly writing skill by completing the task of thinking if ice cream should be offered in the cafeteria and then writing an opinion paragraph to support their opinion.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, students write three facts from a selection in Blind Lemon Jefferson in their own words.
  • In Unit 7, Week 4, students are given slips of paper that describe different types of author's purpose. Students then write a paragraph using the author’s purpose on the slip without stating the purpose. Slips include tasks, such as explain the steps in preparing a dish that you like, give information about an upcoming event at school, and tell a short, funny story.

Most weekly writing projects are not connected to texts and do not require students to support analysis or claims with evidence. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students write a funny short story that teaches a lesson.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, students write an opinion paragraph about whether they think it is easier to work with others or to work on their own.

In small groups, students write with evidence; however, because it is small group, not all students receive the same opportunity. In addition, students have choices with these activities, and some of the writing prompts require more evidence than others. Examples of this type of writing include:

  • In Unit 3, students read the text, Tropical Rain Forest by Tracey Reeder. Student options include writing a detailed description of one rainforest plant shown in the book, writing a brochure that they can give to visitors, explaining some of the plants that they will see as they walk through the forest, or writing about what surprised him/her most about rainforest plants.
  • In Unit 8, students read the text, The Golden Gate Bridge by Rachel Griffiths and Margaret Clyne. Student options include writing interview questions for Joseph Strauss who planned the Gold Gate Bridge, writing a news brief about the day the Golden Gate Bridge opened, and writing a journal entry pretending to be one of the first people who walked over the bridge.

Indicator 1n

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria for materials including explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.

The materials contain Daily Grammar practice throughout all eight units. During Days 1-3 of a week, students typically play a game to practice using the new grammar or punctuation skill. On Day 4, students complete a Practice Master to show their knowledge from the previous three days of instruction. On Day 5, there is a review of the skills and then an assessment of the skill. Some language standards are addressed in Daily Phonics Intervention and Vocabulary Strategy.
Students have opportunities to explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students are taught the definition of a noun. Students see examples of nouns in sentences. In Day 2, students learn about common nouns and proper nouns. Students generate sentences with common and proper nouns.
  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn: “Pronouns take the place of a noun. We use pronouns so we don’t have to repeat the same noun over and over.” Students play a game called Tails for Reading to practice using pronouns in sentences.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Days 1-3, during Daily Grammar, students learn about present-tense verbs, action verbs, and subject-verb agreement. On Day 4, students edit and proofread a passage for correct subject-verb agreement.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn that an adjective describes a noun. Students see examples of adjectives in eVisual 5.2. Students practice making a cumulative story that uses adjectives such as sunny, slippery, and blue.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, the teacher uses eVisual 7.2 to teach how adverbs function. Students learn that adverbs tell where, how, and when. Students play a game called Word Cards to sort adverbs into three categories.


Students have opportunities to form and use regular and irregular plural nouns. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Days 1-3, during Daily Grammar, students learn to make singular nouns into plural nouns. Students learn when to add -s to nouns and -es to nouns. On Day 4, students complete Practice Master PM3.15 to edit and proofread plural nouns.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Days 1-3, during Daily Grammar, students learn to make irregular plural nouns. For example, students learn that child (singular) becomes children (plural) and deer (singular) stays deer (plural). On Day 3, students write sentences about plants using the noncount noun, sunshine.

Students have opportunities to use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood). For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, during Daily Grammar, students are taught about concrete nouns and abstract nouns. Students learn abstract nouns are something you can think about, but cannot see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. Students practice identifying abstract nouns. On Day 5, students practice filling in a chart about common nouns, proper nouns, concrete nouns, and abstract nouns.


Students have opportunities to form and use regular and irregular verbs. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Weeks 1-4, during Daily Grammar, lessons contain instruction for present-tense verbs, action verbs, subject-verb agreement, helping verbs, and forms of do, be, and have.

Students have opportunities to form and use the simple verb tenses (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk). For example:

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 1, during Daily Phonics Intervention, the teacher uses Lessons 56 and 57 to teach sounds for the -ed ending. In Day 3, students write words with -ed endings and read past-tense verbs.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn about helping verbs. Students learn that some verbs are made up of a helping verb and a main verb. To practice using helping verbs, students play a game called Could You? You Can!

Students have opportunities to ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn about subject-verb agreement. The teacher uses eVisual 1.30 to show subject-verb agreement. Students play a game  to practice the skill called Do They Agree.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn: “A pronoun must agree with the noun it refers to.” The teacher uses eVisual 6.6 to teach the concept. Students play a game to practice pronoun-antecedent agreement called A Talent Show for Us.

Students have opportunities to form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified. For example:

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn about comparison adjectives. The teacher shows eVisual 5.6, which explains -er followed by than. There are examples of the adjectives in the context. Students place a game to practice the concept. On Day 3, students learn -est on adjectives.
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students are taught to add -est to some adverbs to compare three or more actions. For adverbs with -ly, students learn to use the most or the least to compare three or more actions. Students practice making adverbs with a game called Spin to Choose the Adverbs.

Students have opportunities to use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn to use coordinating conjunctions to join subjects and then account for subject-verb agreement.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn to use subordinating conjunctions. The teacher shows eVisual 3.2 to teach because, since, and after. On Day 2, students learn when, if, although.

Students have opportunities to produce simple, compound, and complex sentences. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 3, during Daily Grammar, students learn about subject and predicate to make a sentence. Students are directed to generate complete sentences that contain a two-word subject, three-word subject, or a five-word predicate.
  • In Unit 2, Week 4, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn the rules of combining verbs in a sentence. With eVisual 2.29, students learn to use a comma before the conjunction to join to independent clauses. Students play a game to practice making compound sentences called Coordinate Your Ideas.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Days 1 and 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn how to make complex sentences. Students learn that a complex sentence has an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. On Day 2, students print conjunctions on cards, and students print clauses on cards. Students select a cards to create complex sentences.

Students have opportunities to capitalize appropriate words in titles. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn to capitalize titles of works. The teacher displays eVisual 2.2 to show capitalization the first word and key words in titles. Students play a game to practice writing the title of work iwth correct capitalization called Name that Title.

Students have opportunities to use commas in addresses. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn to separate parts of addresses. Students see on eVisual 2.7 examples of commas used to separate city, state; state, country; and address, city, state. Students play a game to practice using commas to separate addresses called Here and There.

Students have opportunities to use commas and quotation marks in dialogue. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, during Daily Grammar, students learn how to punctuate dialogue. Students learn to use quotation marks for a speaker’s exact words and a comma to offset the speak. Students learn to use ending punctuation inside dialogue. Students practice punctuating dialogue with a game called Says Who?

Students have opportunities to form and use possessives. For example:

  • In Unit 5, Week 4, Day 1, during Daily Grammar, students learn about a possessive noun. The teacher displays eVisual 5.28, which defines and shows how a possessive noun works. Students play a game to practice possessive nouns called Whose is It?
  • In Unit 5, Week 4, Day 2, during Daily Grammar, students learn about possessive adjectives. The teacher displays eVisual 5.31, which defines and shows examples of possessive adjectives. Students play a game to practice possessive adjectives called Your Game? My Game? Our Game!

Students have opportunities to use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness). For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Phonics Intervention, students are taught five high frequency words, from, home, new, go, there. On Day 2, students learn five more high frequency words, many first, next, then, one.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 1, during Vocabulary Strategy, students learn the meaning of -y and -less.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, during Daily Phonics Intervention, students are taught 5 high frequency words, been, four, sound, cause, between. On Day 2, students learn five more high frequency words, could, almost, life, often, never.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 3, students play a game to sort words by the suffixes of -y and -ly.

Students have opportunities to use spelling patterns and generalizations in writing words (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts). For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 2, students learn to sound out syllables. The teacher states: “Bamboo has two word parts, or syllables. Listen for the vowel sound in each syllable: bam boo.” Students play a game to identify syllables in spelling words.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 2, students learn -ed on verbs. The teacher states: “When a verb already has an e at the end, like provide, you drop the e and add -ed to form the past tense verb. Students complete a word sort to practice adding -ed to verbs.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 2, students learn to divide r-controlled syllables. The teacher models dividing words into syllables. Students match word parts to recreate each original spelling word.

Students have opportunities to consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 4, during Daily Spelling & Word Work, students use a dictionary to look up each of the 19 spelling words. Students write the definition of each spelling word on an index card.

Students have opportunities to choose words and phrases for effect. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, students select playful language to put into riddles. Students see sample of an Animal Riddle. Students use a T-chart to brainstorm words that relate to the email they will write about.

Students have opportunities to recognize and observe differences between the conventions of spoken and written standard English. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, during Daily Writing Skills, students learn about informal and formal language. Students start by comparing how they speak to each other. Students learn how writers use formal and informal language. The teacher shows eVisual 1.31. Students analyze two passage for formal and informal language.

Students have opportunities to practice grammar and conventions in-context. For example:

  • After learning to form and use possessives, students apply their skills as they write sentences:
    • Write a sentence about taking a boat ride through a wetland. Use a possessive noun to show who owns the boat.
    • Write a sentence that tells about something a passenger on a boat has. Use a possessive adjective to show ownership.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, after learning to create complex sentences, students write sentences about gardening: "In one sentence, use a dependent clause in the first position. In another sentence, use an independent clause in the first position, and a dependent clause in the second position."

Criterion 1o - 1q

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria for materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards. Foundational skills across Grades 3-5 contain a focus on similar skills rather than focusing on skills for the grade level standard. Students have opportunities to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected tasks, but opportunities for students to apply word analysis skills in connected texts are limited. Materials include few word analysis assessments to monitor student learning of word analysis skills. While fluency practice opportunities are regularly included, some days of practice lack an explicit focus on fluency.   

Indicator 1o

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

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

Foundational skills across Grades 3-5 contain a focus on similar skills rather than focusing on skills for the grade level standard. For example, in Unit 3 of all three grade levels, there is a focus on long vowel and making plural words with -s and -es. While the level of the word gets longer, the skill is similar in all three grade levels.

Materials contain phonics and word work instruction based in prior grade level phonics learning rather than providing explicit instruction in Grade 3 phonics and word recognition. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1,  students are taught short vowel sounds in multisyllabic words and students learn commonly misspelled words.
    • In Week 1, the teacher shows bonds and grand. The teacher stretches out the vowel sounds in the words. The teacher states: “The short /a/ in grand is spelled with the letter a, and the short /o/ in bonds is spelled with o.” Students write the 15 words on index cards, cut out the letters, and mix-up the letters for a partner to put the words back together.
    • In Week 3, the teacher shows hectic and submit. The teacher places a line between the syllables and emphasizes the short vowel sounds. The teacher states: “When a syllable ends with a consonant, the vowel is usually short.” Students write the 15 words on index cards and play a game with partner based on pointing out the syllable with short /i/ or /u/, naming the consonant after the vowel, pronouncing the word, and spelling the word.
  • In Unit 2, students are taught short vowels, digraphs, and consonant blends.
    • In Week 2, the teacher displays and reads buck and clash. The teacher circles the digraphs. The teacher explains what a consonant digraph is. Students write the words on two different colors of paper in order to practice reading the words.
    • In Week 3, the teacher displays and reads thorny, neither, and strength. The teacher circles th. The teacher explains that th can be anywhere in a word. The teacher displays and says stung. The teacher circles ng and explains that ng comes in the middle or end of a word. Students write the 15 words on index cards and circle th with one color and ng with a different color. Students cut up the cards at the digraph in order to scrabble and match the word parts.
  • In Unit 3, students are taught long vowels and plural words with -s and -es.
    • In Week 1, the teacher displays and says armload and beaming. The teacher explains, “When two vowels are next to each other in a word, the first vowel is usually long and says its name.” In partners, students write the words that contain two vowels. Students highlight the vowels, cut out each word, and sort the words based on the vowels.
    • In Week 4, the teacher displays floods, messes, and bushes. The teacher underlines the s and es and explains when to add -s or -es. Students write the words on index cards to play a game to learn about -s and -es.
  • In Unit 4, students are taught long vowels with vowel combinations, and students are taught verbs with endings.
    • In Week 2, the teacher displays and reads aloud cheap, asleep, and roam and circles the two vowels. The teacher explains that when two vowels are together, the first vowel says the long sound. Students sort the words into four categories (long /e/ with ee, long /e/ in ea, long /o/ in oa, long /o/ in ow).
    • In Week 4, the teacher displays and reads collect, realize, notify. The teacher explains verbs ending in -ing: “When a verb ends with e, drop the e before you add -ing. When a verb ends in a consonant and y, just add -ing.” Students sort words into one of two columns: just add-ing or drop the e and add -ing.
  • In Unit 5, students are taught long vowels with vowel combinations, and students are taught r-controlled vowels.
    • In Week 1, the teacher displays flight and higher. The teacher circles igh and states the words.The teacher also shows and reads lied and die. The teacher explains that igh and ie make a long /i/. Students write the words on index cards and sort the words into one of two categories: /i/ as in in pile and /i/ as in night.
    • In Week 2, the teacher displays and reads value. The teacher circles ue and states, “The letters ue make the long /u/ sound you hear in value.” The teacher displays and reads juice. The teacher circles ui and states, “The letters ui can also make the long /u/ sound, as they do in the word juice.” Students write the 15 words on index cards and use one color with ui words and one color with ue words.
  • In Unit 6, students are taught r-controlled vowels, words with y, words with oi, oy, ou, ow and words with oo, au, aw, al, and all.
    • In Week 1, the teacher displays adore and divides it into syllables: a/dore. The teacher circles the r-controlled syllable. The teacher states: “When a vowel is followed by an r, the vowel blends with the r to make a new sound.” The teacher shows how to divide margin, birthday, nervous, and purple. Students write the 15 words with r-controlled vowel on index cards and mark the syllable break.
    • In Week 3, the teacher displays coins, circles oi, and states the word. The teacher explains that oi makes /oy/. The teacher shows royal, circles oy, and explains that oy make /oy/. Students write the oy words on cards, cut the words apart and shuffle the letters for a partner to unscramble.
  • In Unit 7, students are taught words with hard and soft c and g, words with oo, words with VCV pattern and VCCV pattern, and multisyllabic words with VCCV pattern and VCCCV pattern.
    • In Week 1, the teacher shows and states the word crayon. The teacher underlines c and explains that /k/ can be spelled with c. “When the letter c is followed by the vowel a, o, or u, or by a consonant, it usually make the hard /c/ sound, /k/.” The teacher shows and states fierce. The teacher explains that c can make /s/ when c is followed by c, i, or y. Students print the following words on index cards and cut the letters apart: canyon, secure, distance, surface, cyclone, fierce, iceberg, exciting, arctic. Students scramble the letters for a partner to make into words.
    • In Week 4, the teacher says and displays pollute and tender. The teacher explains that two syllable words with two consonants together in the middle are usually divided between the consonants. Students print the following words on index cards using different colors for the middle consonants: blizzard, continue, effort, garden, happened, mountain, outdoors, sudden, windy. Students cut the words between the middle consonants in order for a matching game.
  • In Unit 8, students are taught words with prefixes and words with suffixes. Students also learn about syllable types and multisyllabic words.
    • In Week 3, the teacher displays about and around. The teacher circles the a and explains, “When the first syllable of a word is a-, that syllable is usually not stressed.” Students write the seven words starting with a on index cards and show the syllable break.
    • In Week 4, the teacher shows and says imagine. The teacher circles the stressed syllable and explains stressed syllables. Students write the words on index cards, and students draw vertical lines where there are syllable breaks.

Some tasks and questions are sequenced to application of grade-level work (e.g., application of prefixes at the end of the unit/year; decoding multi-syllable words). Examples include:

  • In Unit 4, Week 2, during Vocabulary Strategy, students learn prefixes. On Day 1, the teacher explains and models how to figure out a prefix such as pre-, un-, and super-. On Day 2, the teacher displays unable, reread, disagree, misbehave, preview, and supersize. Students use prefixes and base words to determine meanings for remaining words.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 2, during Daily Spelling & Word Work, students learn words with re- such as recall, replay, recount. Students write eight words with re-  on index cards and write the definitions of the words on the back of the card.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 2, during Spelling & Word Work, students learn words with two suffixes ( -ly and -y). Students learn that -ly means “in a way that is” and -y means “like.” Students write the words with -ly and -y on index cards and sort the words into categories based on -ly and -y.

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

  • In the Reach for Phonics Foundations, there are the following assessments: Placement/Summative Test and Mastery Progress Checks.
  • The materials contain a Phonics and Decoding Test for reading placement.
  • At the end of a week, there are spelling tests for assessing the phonics and word work skill for the week. If students need additional practice, there are reteach opportunities.

Materials contain some explicit instruction of word solving strategies (graphophonic and syntactic) to decode unfamiliar words in the Reach into Phonics Foundations. Examples include:

  • In Script 13 Procedure, the teacher helps students decode words with short /a/. The teacher shows eVisual 13 and has students use Whole-Word Blending Routine to blend and read an. The teacher covers the c and shows the last to letters an. “There are many words that end in an and rhyme with can, like these two words below it.” Students blend the initial consonant with the phonogram an to read words.
  • In Script 32 Procedure, the teacher shows students to use word patterns to decode words. First the teacher shows students to find the pattern. Then the teacher summarizes and models the strategy: “Look for patterns in words to help you read.” The teacher points to no in Item 1 and states: “I see one vowel and it is at the end, so I will say the long vowel sound.” Students practice the process to decode words.

Indicator 1p

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

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

Opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis skills in connected tasks. Opportunities for students to use word analysis skills are limited for applying the skills to connected texts. Examples of students using word analysis in connected tasks are:

  • In Unit 1, students are taught short vowel sounds in multisyllabic words and students learn commonly misspelled words.
    • In Week 1, in a small group, students write a short tale using words from the spelling list which includes short /o/ and short /a/ words.
    • In Week 2, students create comic strips using the short /o/ and short /a/ spelling words.
  • In Unit 2, students are taught short vowel sounds in multisyllabic words, digraphs, and consonant blends.
    • In Week 3, students work in a team to write a sentence about animals and habitats and use either/or and neither/nor.
    • In Week 4, students use the spelling words (consonant blend words) to start a story and add to the story.
  • In Unit 3, students are taught long vowels and plural words with -s and -es.
    • In Week 2,  students use the spelling words (multisyllabic words) to start a story and add to the story.
    • In Week 3, students write 10 questions and the answer to each question must be a spelling word (words with long and short vowels).
  • In Unit 4, students are taught long vowels with vowel combinations, and students are taught verbs with endings.
    • In Week 1, students write a skit using from the spelling list (long /a/: ay, ai).
    • In Week 4, students create comic strips using verbs ending in -ing from the spelling words.
  • In Unit 5, students are taught long vowels with vowel combinations, and students are taught r-controlled vowels.
    • In Week 1, students compose a rap that contains long /i/ words using the spelling list.
    • In Week 3, students write a story about a scientist who studies matter. The story has to contain words from the spelling list (r-controlled vowels).
  • In Unit 6, students are taught r-controlled vowels, words with y, words with oi, oy, ou, ow, and words with oo, ew; au, aw, al, all.
    • In Week 2, in groups of four students, students select two spelling words. Those words are told to another group, which as to use the two spelling words in a sentence.
    • In Week 4, students create graphic organizers for owe, choose, crew, mood, pauses, and recall. Students figure out synonyms of the spelling words.
  • In Unit 7, students are taught words with hard and soft c and g, words with oo, words with VCV pattern and VCCV pattern, and multisyllabic words with VCCV pattern and VCCCV pattern.
    • In Week 2, students learn how to pronounce /oo/ in wooden. Students create rebus sentences for the oo words on the spelling list.
    • In Week 3, students use the spelling words (VCV and VCCV words) to write short stories with dialogue.
  • In Unit 8, students are taught words with prefixes and words with suffixes. Students also learn about syllable types and multisyllabic words.
    • In Week 1, students make a comic strip with the four Watch-Out words. Students are to also use a word with re -.
    • In Week 3, students create memory tips (drawings or rhymes) to help them remember words with the syllable types -le, -y, a-.

Students practice using prefixes and suffixes from Units 3 and 4 in connected tasks. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 1, Listen and Comprehend, students learn about suffixes. Students figure out the meaning of vineless and uniqueness.
  • In Unit 3, Week 4, Day 4, Read and Comprehend, students use the meaning of suffixes (-less, -ness, -y, -er, -tion, -ful, -est) and context clues from the sentence to figure out the meaning of words.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1, Listen and Comprehend, students learn about prefixes. Students figure out the meaning of prepurchased and repay.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, Read and Comprehend, students use prefixes (pre-, re-, super-, un-, mis-, dis-) and base words to determine the meanings of words.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 4, Daily Spelling and Word Work, in groups of four, students select two spelling words. Those words are told to another group, which as to use the two spelling words in a sentence.

Materials include few word analysis assessments to monitor student learning of word analysis skills. During the weekly vocabulary tests, students usually fill in a blank with a missing spelling word. This does not require students to analyze word parts. In Unit 3 and Unit 4, students do need to use prefixes and suffixes to analyze word parts to answer the assessment. For example, in Unit 3, Week 4, students are asked the following question: “What does the word shoeless mean? I walked shoeless in the sand.” Students select from the following answers: one who wears shoes; with a lot of shoes; without shoes.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and achieve reading fluency in oral and silent reading, that is, to read on-level prose and poetry with accuracy, rate appropriate to the text, and expression.
1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

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

Fluency is included almost daily, although some days the fluency practice lacks an explicit focus on fluency especially on Days 3 and 4. On Day 1, students hear the teacher model a fluency aspect such as expression, phrasing, accuracy, and intonation. On Day 2, the teacher is to have partners read aloud a text and the teacher circulates and listens for fluency such as expression. On Day 3, students read the whole group text and the teacher is to monitor their expression, accuracy, and rate. On Day 4, students read the whole group text, and the teacher is to monitor their expression, accuracy, and rate. On Day 5 of Weeks 1 and 3, students use the Comprehension Coach to practice reading fluently or students can use a Practice Master to read.

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate sufficient accuracy and fluency in oral and silent reading. For example:

  • Students have opportunities to read grade-level text with purpose and understanding. For example:
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, a student reads aloud the following purpose statement: “Jeremy wants new shoes, but there is a problem. Find out what it is.” The class discusses the purpose.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, a student read aloud the following purpose statement: “Don Carlos wants more food for his restaurant. Find out what he and his brother, Alonzo, got.” The class discusses the purpose.
    • In Unit 6, Week 4, Day 2, the teacher reads aloud the introduction and states: “As you read, think about how each text tells about ways people preserve traditions.”

Materials support reading or prose and poetry with attention to rate, accuracy, and expression, as well as direction for students to apply reading skills when productive struggle is necessary. Explanation to the teacher as to how to teach expression is not always specific besides general directions such as model expression and listen for intonation. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, the teacher explains fluent readers as: “Fluent readers read with expression. They change their voices to show feelings as they read the text.” The teacher models reading aloud “Tanya’s Helping Hand.” Students practice reading with expression by reading aloud “A Friend Helps Out.”
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher circulates and listens as students read a riddle. The teacher is listening for intonation.  
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 5, students can practice fluency by reading Practice Master 6.7. The teacher can assess expression, rate, and accuracy.
  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 4, students can practice fluency with a play. The teacher is to state: “When you read a play aloud, stress important words and phrases in the dialogue to match the feelings of the characters in the play.” The teacher models expression. Students practice expression by reading the first two paragraphs orally several times.

Materials do not consistently support students’ fluency development of reading skills (e.g., self-correction of word recognition and/or for understanding, focus on rereading) over the course of the year (to get to the end of the grade-level band). Opportunities are limited to units later in the year, and the instruction is not connected to texts. Instruction is during Vocabulary. For example:

  • In Unit 6, Day 4, Week 5, during Vocabulary Practice, the teacher models how to figure out the meanings of homophones. Students list out the homophone pairs in the paragraph and take turns writing an explanation of each homophone. Students are to include context clues that helped them determine the meaning of homophones.
  • In Unit 8, Week 4, Day 2, during Vocabulary Strategy, students use the dictionary to look up the meaning of record, tear, and present. Then students write sentences with the words.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current fluency skills and only suggest to teachers to use the Fluency Routines to make instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery of fluency.

  • During Day 5 of Week 1 and 3, there are opportunities for students to be assessed in their fluency. Students can use the Practice Master to read and show fluency. The teacher evaluates expression, rate, and accuracy.
  • In each unit, a teacher can use the Oral Reading Assessment to document student fluency. If a student needs to be retaught, the manual points the teacher to the Fluency Routines.
    • In Fluency Routine 1, the focus is Choral or Echo Reading/Marking the Text. The teacher is directed to select a short passage. The teacher is to model reading the text or use an audio CD or MP3 format. Students mark the passage for the reader’s phrasing and intonation. Students chorally read the text or echo read the text. Students read the text multiple times with a partner until they can read the passage fluently.
    • In Fluency Routine 2, the focus is Paired Reading. The teacher is directed to select an appropriate text. Students are paired with a partner or an adult. Partners alternate reading sentences. The teacher is to encourage students to read with prosody.
    • In Fluency Routine 3, the focus is Recording and Tracking. The students use the Comprehension Coach to record and analyze their readings. Students are to re-record as needed. Students note their accuracy and rate.
    • In Fluency Routine 4, the focus is Timed Reading. Students use the Comprehension Coach to record their reading. “The Comprehension Coach encourages students to read carefully and thoughtfully, repairing miscues, thinking about vocabulary, and actively comprehending." Students graph their WCO each time they use the Comprehension Coach.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the expectations for Gateway 2. Some unit texts are organized around a topic to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently and other unit texts are organized around the development of a specific strategy or skill. Coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts are included but opportunities for students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts are limited. Some questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary and words in and across texts. Writing instruction and tasks do not consistently increase in complexity or lead to students independently demonstrating grade-level proficiency by the end of the year. The materials provide opportunities for focused research projects that encourage students to develop knowledge by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and sources. While the materials include a design for independent reading, a plan for how independent reading is implemented and a system for accountability for independent reading both inside and outside of the classroom are not present.

Criterion 2a - 2h

22/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students' ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that texts are organized around a topic/topics (or, for grades 6-8, topics and/or themes) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

The text sets within each unit that the whole class reads build students’ knowledge in some units. In other units, the texts and text sets are in service of supporting students’ development of a specific strategy or skills instead of progressing depth of understanding with a topic.

The eight units contain themes and topics. Over the course of four weeks per unit, students participate in listening, reading, writing, and discussion around a science or social studies topic and Big Question. There are National Geographic videos to build background knowledge for the unit.

The following units explore science content and each week of the unit has a different topic about an overarching topic for the unit.

  • In Unit 2, the overall topic is “Nature’s Balance” and the Big Question is “What happens when nature loses it balance?” Over the four weeks, students read texts, stories, riddles, and articles to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn about the following skills: compare and contrast, ask and answer questions, plot, cause and effect, and analyze details. To wrap-up the unit, students can share their ideas about answering the Big Question through trading cards, sharing pictures, creating a riddle, or performing a skit. The following topics are focused on each week: Week 1: Population, Week 2: Conservation, Week 3: Profile of an Ecosystem, Week 4: Comparing Ecosystems.
  • In Unit 3, the overall topic is “Life in the Soil” and the Big Question is “What is so amazing about plants?” Over the four weeks, students read texts, poetry, recipes, and articles to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn about the following skills: sequence, evaluate sensory details, text features, and main idea and details. To wrap-up the unit, students share their ideas about answering the Big Question through making a cartoon, a talk show, performing a skit, or writing a plant poem. The following topics are focused on each week: Week 1: Growing Plants, Week 2: Agriculture and Crops, Week 3: Plant Diversity, and Week 4: Plant Products.
  • In Unit 7, the overall topic is “Blast! Crash! Splash!” and the Big Question is “What forces can change Earth?” Over the four weeks, students read texts, poetry, and articles to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn about the following skills: imagery, explain the relationship between events, cause and effect, and determine author’s purpose. To wrap-up the unit, students share their ideas about answering the Big Question through making a storyboard, giving a news report, performing a dance, or writing an email. The following topics are focused on each week: Week 1: Volcanic Eruptions, Week 2: Studying Earth’s Forces, Week 3: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Storms, and Week 4: Earth’s Shifting Surface.

Other units that are the social studies texts focus more on skills and strategy and are centered around a theme. Examples of text sets focused on thematic learning that support students skills and strategy development, but do not build knowledge on a topic or set of topics include:

  • In Unit 1, the overall theme is “Happy to Help” and the Big Question is “How do people help each other?” Over four weeks, students read texts and poetry to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn the following skills: plot, elements of poetry, character analysis, making comparisons, and point of view. To wrap-up the unit, students can share their ideas about answering the Big Question through drawing a self-portrait, forming a panel, writing a mini-biography, role-playing workers.
  • In Unit 4, the overall theme is “Let’s Work Together” and the Big Question is “What’s the best way to get things done? Over four weeks, students read texts, short stories, and fables to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn the following skills: determine theme, compare story elements and themes, and determine importance. To wrap-up the unit, students share their ideas about answering the Big Question through writing a skit, being a reporter, doing a chore together, writing a letter.
  • In Unit 8, the overall theme is “Getting There” and the Big Question is “What tools can we use to achieve our goals?” Over four weeks, students read texts and articles to address the Big Question. Students use the texts to learn the following skills: determine author’s purpose, cause and effect, choose reading strategies, and analyze character. To wrap-up the unit, students share their ideas about answering the Big Question through a talk show, planning a trip, a guessing game, making a map.

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts.

Throughout the program, students are asked a series of questions that prompt them to analyze the details, key ideas, craft, language, and structure of individual texts. Many questions are analysis questions and some ask students to compare different aspects of the text, such as the language.

Students are asked a variety of questions throughout the program that require them to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, while reading the poem, “Guardian Angel” by Francisco X. Alarcon, students answer analysis of detail questions: "How do they think the girls feel? How do they know" In addition, students look at the lines on page 30 and 31 and report how they differ by giving specific examples.
  • In Unit 1, Week 4, students read Making a Difference by Philip Kennedy and answer a point of view question and a text feature question: "Is the story told from the first-person or third-person point of view? How do you know? What can you learn about Kenya from the picture of the globe?"
  • In Unit 2, Week 2 students read Animals, More or Less by Mike Thaler to analyze language by identifying the two words in the riddle that have similar meanings. In addition, they answer language questions: "What is the literal meaning of herd? What is the unexpected meaning of the answer to the riddle?"
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, during the small group instruction of the text Piggyback Plants by Rebecca L. Johnson, students analyze the text: "How do strawberry poison dart frogs use tank bromeliads?"
  • In Unit 4, Week 4, during the small group instruction of First Flight by Glen Phelan, students answer many analysis questions about the details of the text: "Why did the Wright brothers test their plane in Kitty Hawk? How can Amelia Earhart be an inspiration to people today?"
  • In Unit 6, Week 2 students read Blind Lemon Jefferson and answer language questions: "What phrase is an idiom? What is the non-literal meaning of kept the music alive?"
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, students read the Meet the Illustrator section for Xiaojun Li. Students answer analysis questions: "How does the biography help you understand the illustrations in the story? What was important to Mr. Li about creating the illustrations?"

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

The materials include series of texts that build knowledge; however, the materials do not regularly contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.

Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 4, students read Joseph Lekuton: Making a Difference. The focus of this unit is helping others and the teacher reminds students that they read a text the previous week, The World’s Greatest Underachiever. The students complete a chart comparing the point of view in each of the texts. No questions are provided to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students build knowledge around the Big Question, "What happens when nature loses its balance?" Students watch a video about ecosystems and how they maintain balance or what happens when they do not. Students also complete a concept map. Later in the week, students read When the Pigs Took Over and share information about ecosystems and balance again; however, there are no text-based questions to help students analyze the integration of knowledge.
  • In Unit 5, Week 4, students read an interview called, Meet Maycira Costa by Nora Brook and compare Dr. Costa’s ideas to their own ideas about wetlands either from real life or in images. Students are required to use the text to answer questions and to use prior knowledge.
  • In Unit 8, Week 4, students read Climbing Toward Her Goal, which is a profile of an archaeologist. Students are reminded about the text they read previously, One Man’s  Goal, and are asked a series of questions to make connections and build comprehension: "How are the mountains Ceruti climbs like the ocean Erden Eruc crossed? What was life like for the Incas of the Llullaillaco?"

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that the questions and tasks support students’ ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

At the end of each unit, students complete Unit Projects. Students have a choice of four different projects that they can choose from; however, only some of the projects require students to demonstrate knowledge of a topic through integrated skills. Students have choice in which project they complete and students may elect the projects that do not require knowledge from the unit.

For example:

  • In Unit 2, students learn about what happens when nature loses its balance. The project choices require students to show demonstration of knowledge through integration of skills.
    • Students write something that can make an ecosystem lose its balance on a piece of paper. They then trade slides with a partner and draw an example of the partner’s ecosystem.
    • Students look for pictures of a forest, pond, or other ecosystem and decide whether the place is in balance or out of balance and explain the picture to the class.
    • Students write a riddle about something in nature and then share their riddle with other students to see if they can guess it.
    • Students write a skit about an ecosystem. The characters are animals, plants, water, etc. They must include information about the home of the characters.
  • In Unit 3, students learn about plants. While the majority of the projects require students to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic of plants through an integration of reading, listening, speaking, and writing, some of the projects do not require students to use the text to demonstrate knowledge.
    • Students draw a cartoon about an amazing plant and write a caption to show what is so amazing about the plant. They then explain the cartoon to the class.
    • Students pretend they have a talk show and invite guests on to talk about some of the information they have learned about plants in the unit.
    • Students write a skit about people who work with plants and they must include why the people think the plants are amazing.
    • Students write a haiku about their favorite plant. This project shows an understanding of haikus, but does not require students to demonstrate their understanding of plants
  • In Unit 6, students learn how to preserve traditions. Many of the project choices do not require students to demonstrate knowledge through an integration of skills.  Some options do not require the use of texts or the discussions to complete.
    • Students write song lyrics about their favorite singer or musician and share it with the class.
    • Students think of something traditional that a family member has taught them to do. They write or draw a short set of steps to teach a partner about the tradition. While this integrates skills, it does not require students to demonstrate knowledge from the unit.
    • Students pretend to be the characters Cruz and Jefferson and they interview each other. While this demonstrates an understanding of a text in the unit, it does not demonstrate knowledge of a topic.
    • Students pretend they are making a time capsule and they want to include a letter to future children about a tradition that they want to save. They write this letter and share why it is important to preserve this tradition.
  • In Unit 7, students learn about what forces can change Earth and study different natural disasters. In many of the project choices, students demonstrate their knowledge through an integration of skills.
    • Students make a storyboard to show what causes a tsunami or how an island forms.
    • Students work with a partner to pretend that a natural disaster has taken place and they are news reporters. They create a skit as if they are reporting on the scene from one of the disasters.
    • Students work with two or three classmates to create a dance that represents a force of nature. This does not necessarily require students to integrate skills to demonstrate their knowledge of natural disasters.
    • Students pretend that they are family members that have just experienced a natural disaster. They write an email telling friends what has happened.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.

Five to 10 new vocabulary words are introduced each week and are integrated throughout the week with stand alone activities, in texts, in questions and answers, and in some writing assignments. The Tier II words are weaved into the year long curriculum and students regularly interact with them each week. Some weeks students learn words that are in the text, and other weeks students focus on vocabulary learning skills such as using context clues or breaking apart a word.

The Teacher Edition includes a vocabulary section in the prefatory material that provide routines for vocabulary practice throughout the week. Routine 1 includes activities for identifying a word when it is unknown, definitions of words, and practice discussions with new words. Routine 2 includes expanding word knowledge with graphic organizers. Routine 3 includes activities for paired work with new words. Routine 4 includes more complex graphic organizers to extend and possibly reteach words (options and samples are provided). Routine 5 includes “Text Talk Read Aloud” to teach text specific vocabulary after a selection has been read aloud. These include sentence frames and stems. Routine 6 is for reteaching with some guidance for direct instruction.

Following these routines is a selection of possible vocabulary games and activities to incorporate into class time. The section also includes activities and games for vocabulary practice from vocabulary bingo and whole group to other partner and individual activities.

In the individual units, after learning the words, the words appear in the text for the day. The comprehension questions following the text also include the words or the answers require the use of the vocabulary words. The Teacher Edition also provides information on how to reteach words if they are using them incorrectly. Specific examples of vocabulary words and or lessons within the materials include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, students learn 10 new words over the course of the week. The teacher engages in Routine 1. Students then practice using the words in a story that they orally tell. Some of the words include kindness, need, understand, value, and want. On the third day of the week, students engage in Routine 2 and on the fourth day of the week, students engage in Routine 3. The writing prompt on Day 3 asks students to write a paragraph about the main characters in Those Shoes and they are asked the guiding question of what does the character want, need, and value, which are all vocabulary words for the week. On the final day of the week, students apply their knowledge of the keyword to create and perform a multiple keyword skit. The week one assessment also includes a vocabulary section.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students learn multiple-meaning words, such as soil, roots, taste, and pile. These words are found in the texts throughout the week. Students learn how to use context clues to figure out the meaning of the words in specific sentences. Students discuss what is amazing about how a plant grows by incorporating what they learned from the unit’s story, haiku, and facts and the key words. On Day 4, they continue to practice the strategy of using context clues with multiple meaning words to complete fill in the blank sentences.
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, students learn various science vocabulary words to help them understand the text during the week, including ground, mixture, sand, water, and wetland, and engage in Routine 1 to learn the words. These words are found in the read-aloud for Day 1. On Day 2, students learn additional words using Routine 1. Students also complete Routine 2 to further their understanding of the words and the words are integrated into the comprehension questions. Students also use Routine 3 and the comprehension questions require the students to use the vocabulary words in their answers. On the final day, students write skits using the key words and present them to the class. The end of week assessment includes the vocabulary words.
  • In Unit 7, Week 4, students learn how to define compound words, such as earthquake and seashore. Students learn additional vocabulary words related to the text, Tsunami. Students practice using the key words in a discussion about Tsunami and Selvakumar Knew Best. Students revisit compound words toward the end of the week by defining new compound words and identifying them in poems. Students are assessed on their key words at the end of the week.

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials support students’ increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.

Materials include multiple and varied opportunities for both on-demand and process writing tasks that span the year’s worth of instruction. Students write daily through multiple means such as one minute power writing, writing about what they read, and writing to improve grammar.  Students also write on Day 5 of small group reading time. Students participate in a week-long writing project each week; however, not all writing tasks increase in rigor from the beginning to the end of the school year. Week-long writing projects are introduced during the fourth week of every unit; however, the same routine happens each week, with a different writing prompt. The writing prompts involve different opinion, expository, and narrative assignments; however, the narrative prompts do not vary greatly. In Unit 8, students write a narrative story, following the same directions given in Unit 1. The writing prompts for opinion and expository writing do increase in rigor. Each writing project begins with students studying a model, prewriting and completing a RAFT, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

Daily writing skills lessons do not consistently increase in rigor nor lead to students independently demonstrating grade-level proficiency by the end of the year. The same guidance and supports are provided throughout the year. Each week students write each day, but the progression of writing lessons do not increase in rigor, and at times the skills do not connect across the days. Examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 1, students write a comparison paragraph, and on Day 2, students write a different paragraph about how they clarified something they did not understand in Kemal’s letter. Then on Day 3, students write a prediction on what will happen next in the text, and on Day 4, students write one sentence about how they feel about going to school using words that sound like their own voice. Finally on Day 5, students write a letter to the author Henry Winkler.
  • In Unit 4, Week 2, students write about story elements on Day 1 with a group of peers, and on Day 2, they write about how a character changes in Ba’s Business. Then on Day 3, students select one of the readings from the week and write a paragraph describing part of its plot. The focus of the lesson is making sure students write using present tense action verbs. On Day 4, students write comparisons about Ba’s Business and The Bird Bank, but no emphasis is given on the previous lesson on present - tense verbs. On Day 5, students compare the themes of the two stories of the week.  
  • In Unit 7, Week 4, students write a paragraph about the main idea of the Background Builder Video and on Day 2, students write a response that states an opinion about the article they read and explain how the text features support their opinions. On Day 3, students focus on writing a description of a photo, map, or diagram, with emphasis on prepositional phrases, but this is not reinforced in the remainder of the writing assignments. On Day 4, students write a paragraph using the author’s purpose, and then on Day 5, students write a paragraph that compares the author’s purposes in the texts from the Unit.

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 meet the criteria that materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.

In every unit, there is a week-long research project. Students are introduced to the concept and skills of research in Unit 1, and this is revisited in each unit. Students research a variety of topics including people, places, animals, and cultural books. Students present their research in a variety of means including oral presentations, multimedia presentations, and formal research papers. Throughout the week-long research projects, students are taught to plan by choosing a topic, asking research questions, taking notes from a variety of sources, making a draft, and ending with a published copy. The topics researched and the means to present research increases in complexity for each unit. These research projects include:

  • In Unit 1, students begin the year by writing a biographical sketch, which requires students to interview a person to find out about him or her. Students present the information in an oral report, with visuals. Students learn how to choose a topic and write interview questions.
  • In Unit 2, students gather information about a place using several resources and then prepare a paragraph and a presentation. Students begin by writing three questions on index cards and then research in books, magazines, or the internet.
  • In Unit 3, students research an animal or place that is protected. They research and write about the plant or animals, the difficulties it has faced, and why it needs to be protected. Students present their ideas in a multimedia project.
  • In Unit 4, students research a place where an area or animals living there were saved. They research information from both texts and digital resources and then present their paper as an oral presentation.
  • In Unit 5, students choose a form of matter and conduct research on how it changes. They use the information they find to develop a detailed outline and then present to the class.
  • In Unit 6, students choose a story that they want to share with the class and rewrite it in their own words. Students begin their research by finding stories that they know from different cultures, or a culture they find interesting. The stories can be passed through families or they can be stories from books or magazines.
  • In Unit 7, students write a report about a force of nature that can change Earth. Students choose a topic, write research questions, create a research plan, find sources, create source cards, make note cards, draft ideas into a research report, revise, and then publish.
  • In Unit 8, students choose a person who has accomplished a goal, and write a research report about this person.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Grade 3 partially meet the criteria that materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Independent reading is mentioned in this program; however, materials do not include a plan for how it is implemented and a system for accountability for how students will engage in a volume of independent reading both inside and outside of the classroom. While all the information for independent reading is found in the Small Group Reading Guide, materials do not explain when this should occur in or outside of the classroom nor for how long each day. There is no recording device provided nor accountability for how much students read or how well students read.

The Teacher Edition provides an independent reading routine, but it does not include specific information. It suggests that teachers select topics and provide a rich collection of books to choose from, though teachers need to select these books. Recommended Books for each unit are listed in the Teacher Edition and are identified by fiction and nonfiction, and are connected to the overall unit and topic/theme. It is suggested that the books include known texts, classroom favorites, and picture books. Students should be supported in selecting their books of interest for independent reading according to the Teacher Edition, but how a teacher should do this is not explicitly stated. After independent reading, materials suggest that students should share their reading experiences and summarize what they read. Teachers are encouraged to extend the independent reading by giving extension activities, such as rewriting the story with a different ending or writing a letter to the author.

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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

Criterion 3a - 3e

Indicator 3a

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

Indicator 3b

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

Indicator 3c

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

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

Indicator 3f

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

Indicator 3g

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

Indicator 3h

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

Indicator 3i

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

Indicator 3j

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

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

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

Indicator 3l

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

Indicator 3l.i

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

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

Indicator 3o

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

Indicator 3p

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

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

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

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

Indicator 3s

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

Indicator 3t

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

Indicator 3u

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

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

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

Indicator 3v

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

Report Published Date: 10/02/2019

Report Edition: 2017

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.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

Educator-Led Review Teams

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

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

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

Rubric Design

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

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

ELA 3-8 Rubric and Evidence Guides

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

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

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

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

  • Instructional Supports and Usability

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

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