Alignment: Overall Summary

The Units of Study materials do not meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. The majority of anchor/core texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Additionally, anchor/core texts do not progress in complexity to support students in progressing towards reading at grade level. 

Materials do not include text-dependent questions and tasks that support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the text being studied. Rather, materials focus on including strategy questions and cueing, including meaning, syntax, and visual cues. Questions and tasks do not support students in text-based discussions or writing and do not align to grade-level standards. Speaking and listening opportunities are not varied or text-based. The majority of discussions occur in teacher-led whole group or turn and talk. 

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing and process writing. However, the genres are not evenly distributed across the year and there is a lack of on-demand writing. Materials lack explicit instruction and student practice opportunities in all grammar and conventions standards. Materials also do not include a cohesive plan for vocabulary development.

Foundational skills instruction does not include a research-based explanation for the order of phonological awareness and phonics instruction and there is no presence of a cohesive and sequential scope and sequence. Materials do not include systematic and explicit instruction in all foundational skills standards to provide students with opportunities to progress towards reading proficiency. While materials include some grade-level instruction in foundational skills, the instruction contained in the Units of Study for Reading, Units of Study for Writing, and Units of Study in Phonics do not align, and at times, contradict what is occurring within each unit. The reading units mainly utilize a cueing system for solving unknown words that focus on the initial sound and meaning cues rather than on decoding strategies. Materials have a limited selection of emergent-reader texts in the form of poems, songs, and a selection of decodable texts.

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
26
52
58
20
52-58
Meets Expectations
27-51
Partially Meets Expectations
0-26
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
N/A
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
15
22
25
N/A
22-25
Meets Expectations
16-21
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to the Standards with Tasks and Questions Grounded in Evidence

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway One Details

The Units of Study materials do not meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. The majority of anchor/core texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Additionally, anchor/core texts do not progress in complexity to support students in progressing towards reading at grade level. 

Materials do not include text-dependent questions and tasks that support students in making meaning of the core understandings of the text being studied. Rather, materials focus on including strategy questions and cueing, including meaning, syntax, and visual cues. Questions and tasks do not support students in text-based discussions or writing and do not align to grade-level standards. Speaking and listening opportunities are not varied or text-based. The majority of discussions occur in teacher-led whole group or turn and talk. 

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing and process writing. However, the genres are not evenly distributed across the year and there is a lack of on-demand writing. Materials lack explicit instruction and student practice opportunities in all grammar and conventions standards. Materials also do not include a cohesive plan for vocabulary development.

Foundational skills instruction does not include a research-based explanation for the order of phonological awareness and phonics instruction and there is no presence of a cohesive and sequential scope and sequence. Materials do not include systematic and explicit instruction in all foundational skills standards to provide students with opportunities to progress towards reading proficiency. While materials include some grade-level instruction in foundational skills, the instruction contained in the Units of Study for Reading, Units of Study for Writing, and Units of Study in Phonics do not align, and at times, contradict what is occurring within each unit. The reading units mainly utilize a cueing system for solving unknown words that focus on the initial sound and meaning cues rather than on decoding strategies. Materials have a limited selection of emergent-reader texts in the form of poems, songs, and a selection of decodable texts.

Criterion 1a - 1e

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.

5/18
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Criterion Rating Details

The Kindergarten Units of Study materials do not meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. Materials include some anchor texts of publishable quality with engaging content and vibrant illustrations; however, materials also include beginning guided readers that are used as core anchor texts. The materials include few anchor texts at the appropriate level of complexity for Kindergarten according to quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task analysis. The unit books include a brief rationale for a few of the recommended demonstration texts but do not include comprehensive information on quantitative or qualitative text complexity. 

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts are of high quality, worthy of careful reading, and consider a range of student interests. *This does not include decodables. Those are identified in Criterion 3.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria of Indicator 1a.

The Kindergarten Units of Study materials include some anchor texts of publishable quality with engaging content and vibrant illustrations. Other anchor texts are beginning guided readers that are less engaging, composed of simple sentences, and include minimal academic vocabulary.   

Some anchor texts are of high-quality and consider a range of student interests, are well-crafted, content rich, and engage students at their grade level. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  •  In Reading Unit 1, one read aloud text is The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, which has a simple sequential story that children can relate to and matching simple illustrations. The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone is also used as a read aloud text in Bend 2 of Unit 1. This book has a simple sequential story with matching illustrations which is engaging to students. It also has repetitive story parts. 

  • In Reading Unit 1, the shared reading book is Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley which includes engaging characters, rhyming words, and simple illustrations. Shared reading in Unit 1 also includes The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and David Beidrzycki. This book has colorful, detailed illustrations of insects with lots of rich vocabulary. The format is easy for Kindergarteners to understand. 

  • In Reading Unit 4, teachers and students do a shared reading with the poem, “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The poem includes rhythm and rhyme and is a subject Kindergarteners can understand. It has imagery and more complex sentence structure. Robert Louis Stevenson is a celebrated classic author.  

  • In Reading Unit 4, the teacher reads Not Norman, by Kelly Bennett. It is an engaging and vibrantly illustrated tale about a boy who reluctantly receives a goldfish for his birthday. This text is worthy of reading multiple times and appears in a number of lessons in this unit. The illustrations support the story structure and add more context furthering readers’ understanding.

Some anchor texts are not of high-quality, may not consider a range of student interests, are not well-crafted, content rich, and/or do not engage students at their grade level. For example: 

  • In Reading Unit 2, In the Garden by Annette Smith, Jenny Giles, and Beverley Randell is used to demonstrate how to use the pictures to figure out the words in the sentence. This book is a guided reader with simple sentence structure and matching photographs. It is not complex enough to build knowledge and does not provide students with opportunities for careful reading. 

  • In Reading Unit 2, the teacher reads the text, It’s Super Mouse! by Phyllis Root. The text is a brief narrative composed of simple sentences. The text does not include academic vocabulary.

  • In Reading Unit 3, Dragonflies by Margaret Hall is an informational text used as the unit read aloud. The subject is of interest to Kindergarteners, and it has large, vibrant photographs which will appeal to Kindergarteners. Although there is some vocabulary, the sentence structure is simple. There are two sentences on a page. The text is not complex enough for careful reading as a read aloud.

  • In Reading Unit 3, the teacher reads the trade book, Wake Up, Dad by Beverley Randell. The text is composed of simple sentences and does not include academic vocabulary. 

In Reading Unit 3, Picnic by Phyllis Root is the anchor text for teaching patterns in stories. The book is a simple pattern book with one unique word per page that matches the illustration.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level. *This does not include decodable. Those are identified in Criterion 3.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria of Indicator 1b.

The Kindergarten Units of Study materials provide opportunities for students to engage with several different genres throughout the units, including fiction, a folktale, an alphabet book, informational, nursery rhymes, and songs. No historical, scientific, or technical texts are included in the Kindergarten materials. While the materials include a mix of informational and literary texts, there is not a balance between the two text types, as there is more literary text than informational.  

  • Materials do not reflect the distribution of text types/genres required by the grade-level standards. For example: 

    • In Reading Unit 1, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley are fictional stories. The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone is a folktale. The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and David Beidrzycki is an informational alphabet book. Digital access for Unit 1 includes a song, “We are Gathering;” however, this text is not for knowledge building. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a fictional story. So Much! by Trish Cooke is a realistic fiction story. In the Garden by Annette Smith, Jenny Giles, and Beverley Randell is a guided reader informational book. Digital access to Unit 2 includes links to the Spiderman theme song and the Barney “Clean Up” song; however, these texts are not for knowledge building.

    • In Reading Unit 3, Wake Up, Dad! by Beverley Randell, Jenny Giles, and Annette Smith is a guided reader fiction book. My Bug Box by Pat Blanchard and Joanne Suhr is a realistic fiction book. Can You See the Eggs? by Jenny Giles is a guided reader informational book. Digital access to Unit 3 includes the song, “We Have Sound Power” and the nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock.” The song is not for knowledge building. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, Bend 3 focuses on poetry and includes “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Sarah Josepha Hale, “Click Beetle” by Mary Ann Hoberman, and “Read Words, Write Words” by Marjorie Martinelli. This Bend also includes classic poetry and songs, such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “I’m a Little Teapot,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and “Frere Jacques.”

    • In Reading Unit 4, a video, “Venus Flytraps: Jaws of Death” from BBC and an informational text, Honeybees by Martha E. H. Rustad are included.

    • In Reading Unit 4, Dragonflies by Margaret Hall is an informational text. Honeybees by Martha E. H. Rustad is an informational text. Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett is a fictional story. Unit 4 on digital access does include songs, “Brother John” and “I’m a Little Teapot”, poems “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (author not cited), “Rain” (author not cited), and “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson; nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and Youtube video link “Venus Flytraps: Jaws of Death.”

  • Materials do not reflect a 50/50 balance of informational and literary texts. For example: 

    • In Reading Unit 1, there are four shared reading texts that the unit book suggests teachers use for core instruction. Three of the texts are literary, and one is informational. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, there are four shared reading texts that the unit book suggests teachers use for core instruction. Three of the texts are literary, and one is informational. The model read aloud is a literary text.

    • In Reading Unit 3, there are six shared reading texts that the unit book suggests teachers use for core instruction. Five of them are literary texts; the other is an informational text. The model read aloud and sample shared reading texts are both informational texts.

    • In Reading Unit 4, there are four shared reading texts that the unit book suggests teachers use for core instruction. Two of them are literary texts; two are informational. The sample shared reading is a literary text.

Indicator 1c

Core/Anchor texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation should also include rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level.

0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1c.

The materials include few anchor texts at the appropriate level of complexity for Kindergarten according to quantitative, qualitative, and reader and task analysis. The materials do not provide a text complexity analysis document for its recommended texts. The unit books include a brief rationale for a few of the recommended demonstration texts but do not include comprehensive information on quantitative or qualitative text complexity. Some texts are not associated with comprehension tasks. Many of the tasks related to comprehension are limited to low level tasks, such as retelling. 

Core/Anchor texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to documented quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task. Documentation includes a limited rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. 

  • The majority of anchor/core texts do not have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. For example: 

    • In Reading Unit 1, the shared reading text is Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley (AD200L). The Unit 1 guide states this text was chosen because it is engaging and has repetition.The associated task for this text is retelling. Students complete a whole-class retelling, using the pictures to read the story. The text and associated student tasks are not complex. 

    • In Reading Unit 1, the read-aloud text is The Beetle Alphabet Book (AD620L). The qualitative measures suggest that students might need additional support due to high difficulty, but the tasks associated with the text focus on using the illustrations and are low level. 

    • In Reading Unit 1, the read aloud is The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (AD400L). The Unit 1 guide states this text was chosen, because it is a structured narrative with clear characters and plot. The guide also states the text is “brief and accessible enough that once your children have heard it often, some will be able to approximate reading the actual words.” Comprehension focuses on retelling the story. This text and associated tasks are not complex for a read aloud. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, the read-aloud text, In the Garden by Annette Smith, Jenny Giles, and Beverley Randell (No Lexile available) is a patterned beginning reader. This text is qualitatively low and is not used for comprehension. It is used for building fluency and phonics skills. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, the shared reading text is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin (AD200L). The picture book identifies different colored animals that the children in the class see. After reading, students discuss how each animal is feeling across the book, imagining what they’re thinking about the other animals and acting out each part. The associated tasks with this text are low level. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, the read-aloud text, So Much! by Trish Cooke (AD580L) celebrates the love of family. After reading this during read aloud time, students perform parts of the story, saying the words to sound like the character or sound like the author and making their voices sing the words that repeat. The associated task is low level and does not include making meaning of the text. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, the shared reading text is My Bug Box by Pat Blanchard and Joanne Suhr. No lexile level is available for this text, but the text is a beginning, patterned reader. The text is mainly used for fluency and strategies for figuring out unknown words. The Unit 3 guide says this story was chosen “because it is an engaging story at an instructional level, based on the benchmark for this time of year.” It says the book contains “prepositional phrases, contractions, inflected endings, and more complex pictures.”  The associated task is low level and does not include making meaning of the text. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, the read-aloud text is Dragonflies by Margaret Hall (360L). This text includes text features that help explain the concepts of the informational text. The text is accessible, and the use of text features adds to the complexity. The task associated with this task is retelling and is low in complexity. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, the read-aloud text is Wake Up Dad by Beverley Randell (60L). The story is used as a demonstration text. The sentences are short, and the story is one that students should be able to connect or have background knowledge  (i.e., waking up a parent). 

    • In Reading Unit 3, the read-aloud text, Can you see the eggs? by Jenny Giles (170L) is low qualitatively. This is a patterned beginning reader used for phonics lessons and strategies to figure out unknown words. The text is not used for comprehension.

    • In Reading Unit 4, the teacher reads portions of Dragonflies by Margaret Hall, which has a Lexile level of 360L and is a moderately complex text, and Honey Bees by Martha E. H. Rustad, which does not have a Lexile level but has a guided reading level of E. The unit book recommends that the teacher use these demonstration texts to guide children in thinking about what is similar and different between the two books. The associated text and tasks are not complex. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, the teacher uses the text The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. This is a text that students read multiple times in Unit 1. The text has a Lexile level of AD400L, and the qualitative complexity is low. The teacher uses the text to guide students in using sticky notes to record their reactions during reading.

  • Anchor/Core texts and series of texts connected to them are not accompanied by a text complexity analysis and include a limited rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. For example: 

    • There is no formal qualitative rubric included. The unit guides include some information about why texts were chosen. Texts were often chosen based on how engaging they are to Kindergarteners and the A–Z reading level metric. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, page xiii of the unit book includes brief information on a few of the recommended demonstration texts for the unit. The unit book states, “You’ll want to return to some old favorites you used at the beginning of the year, such as The Carrot Seed and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. You’ll also want to continue using the Mouse Books (from the Brand New Reader series), which you introduced earlier in the school year. Returning to old favorites will support your readers in the comprehension work they are doing.” 

    • Some information is included in the online resources, Units of Study for Teaching Reading. The online resources contain a book list of titles and reading levels. There is also a document titled, “Recommended Books and Supplies for Reading Workshop.” This document provides suggestions for class libraries: what to include, reading levels, and engaging titles that are reflective of students’ interests and experiences. Each unit outlines the read aloud and shared reading titles, but materials do not provide a rationale of the text and level.

Indicator 1d

Series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels appropriate for the grade band to support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1d.

Kindergarten texts are at a variety of complexity levels; however, texts are primarily of low complexity and do not build across the school year. Tasks associated with texts are primarily low complexity and do not build in complexity or change across the year. Associated tasks for read alouds and shared reading focus on using pictures to read the story and make predictions, reading the text chorally, and using the pictures to determine how characters feel. Demonstration texts are predictable patterned readers that are not leveled and often focus more on skills, such as visualizing and making predictions, as opposed to building students’ literacy growth across the year. Suggested read-aloud texts vary from two-five days within each unit. Unit 1 includes one read aloud for five days; Unit 2 and Unit 3 both include one read aloud for two days; and Unit 4 includes one read aloud for three days. For shared reading, the teacher is expected to take the model lessons at the end of the unit and replicate with other teacher chosen texts. There are no instances across the year of texts and tasks becoming more complex across the year. The Lexile levels of the texts do not increase in complexity throughout the year. 

  • The complexity of anchor texts students read do not fully provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills to increase across the year, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. For example: 

    • In the beginning of the year, the Reading Unit 1 texts range in Lexile level from AD200–500L. One text has a low qualitative complexity level; one has a moderate level; and two are considered high qualitative complexity levels. Considering levels and associated tasks, 50% of the texts in the unit are accessible, and 50% are of moderate level. No texts are complex.  

    • In the middle of the year, the Reading Unit 3 texts range in Lexile level from 60L–360L. Four out of five texts have a qualitative complexity level that is of low difficulty. 80% of Unit 3 texts have an overall complexity level that is accessible, and 20% are of moderate level. No texts are complex. 

    • At the end of the year, the Reading Unit 4 texts range in Lexile level from AD400L–460L. Four out of five texts have a moderate qualitative complexity; one text is of low qualitative complexity. 80% of Unit 4 texts have an overall complexity level that is moderate and 20% are of accessible level.

    • In Reading Unit 1, students listen to The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss (AD400L). This read-aloud text spans five days. On Days 1 and 2, the teacher introduces the book and provides the gist. The teacher points to the illustrations in the text and prompts students to say what’s on the page. Students then make a prediction. The teacher then reads the text with expression. Students participate in a whole class retelling. On Days 3 and 4, the teacher invites students to read along as the text becomes “increasingly familiar.” The class reads along and acts out simple gestures. Students act out what the character is doing. On Day 5, students think about how the boy feels across the story. Students answer questions such as, “What’s going to happen next? How can we describe who this little boy is? How does he act and behave? Turn and talk: say everything you know about the boy.” This patterned text used for a read aloud is of low complexity. Additionally, this is the only read aloud in Unit 1.  

    • In Reading Unit 1, students listen to the shared reading text, Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley (AD200L). This text spans five days. On Day 1, the teacher reads the text and rereads emphasizing different “things” readers do each time. Students complete a whole class retelling, looking at pictures to read. On Day 2, students consider the character's facial features in the picture to consider how they feel. Additionally, teacher guidance includes, “Cover a few of the words, encouraging children to use the picture and the pattern to read.” Students discuss the text with partners. On Day 3, guidance prompts teachers to use assessment and observation to choose what students may need to work on, such as print concepts or phonological awareness. Options provided for the teacher include: Print Concepts: Students then work on concepts of print, counting the words on the page. Phonological Awareness: Choosing a specific letter sound and students clap if they hear a word that starts with that sound. Word Play: Students use the word wall and hunt for those words in the text. On Day 4, the teacher rereads the text and students act out the parts. Students discuss how the characters feel and how they changed in different parts of the story. Students share their opinions and use the pictures to explain their opinions. On Day 5, students read the text chorally. Teacher directions state: Prompt students to problem solve if they get stuck. You might coach readers along by saying, “Use the picture to remember how that part goes. What might the words say here? Remember the pattern.” Materials include suggestions for students to act out the story, label details in the pictures, or add speech bubbles across different pages, or add an alternative ending. This text does not have the necessary complexity to serve as a read aloud, and the associated tasks are not connected to standards. This is the only shared reading text in Unit 1. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, students listen to Not Norman by Kelly Bennett (460L). This read-aloud text covers three days. On Day 1, students make predictions about the text, listen to the teacher read the text with expression, and retell what has happened so far. Students discuss the character and look closely at the picture on page 24 to discuss what happened to the boy. On Day 2, the teacher reads the text again with expression and models looking even more closely at the pictures to find clues about the character. The teacher places thought bubbles over the character to model what the character may be thinking. The students imagine what the character may be thinking. On Day 3, students look at Norman’s facial expressions to confirm or change their predictions. Students look at the pictures in the text to think of different feelings he may have and what is causing them. Students discuss what lessons Norman might have learned. This text is the only read-aloud text in the unit and is of low complexity for a read aloud in the final unit of the year. Additionally, associated tasks are not complex and are not aligned to the standards. Materials state: “After you finish Not Norman, you will want to continue reading aloud to your students each day. You can then take the post-it notes, with transferable prompts, and use them in another book of your choice.” 

    • In Reading Unit 4, students listen to Gossie by Olivier Dunrea (300L). The teacher reads this shared reading book for five days. On Day 1, the teacher reads the text smoothly, without stopping. On Day 2, the teacher rereads the text, along with the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, and uses MSV (meaning, structure, and visual cues) to cross-check words. On Day 3, students learn about pronouns and the teacher “Draw[s ]attention to a word they can all read, but then question[s ]what it means.” The teacher discusses the word them with the class. On Day 4, students practice fluency by reading the text all together. On Day 5, students choral read the text again, practice extending the story, and consider changes to make in order to turn the story into a circular story. The complexity of this text in the last unit and associated student tasks do not support growing students’ literacy skills. Additionally, tasks do not align to Kindergarten standards. This is the only shared reading text in Unit 4. 

  • As texts become more complex, appropriate scaffolds and/or materials are not provided in Teacher Edition (i.e., spending more time on texts, more questions, repeated readings). For example:

    • In Kindergarten, the overall complexity of texts are all accessible or moderate. There are no complex texts. There are more moderate level texts in Reading Units 1 and 4 than in Reading Units 2 and 3. This does not show that the texts become more complex throughout the school year or would require the teacher to provide more scaffolds.

Indicator 1e

Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to support their reading at grade level by the end of the school year, including accountability structures for independent reading.

1/2
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1e.

The Kindergarten materials give general guidance about supporting students in reading a variety of texts and engaging in a volume of reading. Since sessions are designed around suggested texts, there is no guarantee as to the variety and volume of texts students would engage with in a unit. Similarly, the materials offer some general guidance and suggestions on establishing routines for independent reading and partner reading. Much of the recommendations are in the supporting material, The Guide to the Reading Workshop. There is not a clearly proposed schedule for independent reading. Rather, there is a recommended structure for students’ reading time during Readers Workshop. The supporting material offers a sample schedule for the school day but notes that the schedule would vary according to grade level. Some sessions include specific guidance to foster independence. Some sessions also include procedures for managing independent reading. The materials offer multiple suggestions for an independent reading tracking system, by whole-group methods. 

  • Instructional materials provide limited opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading a variety of text types and genres. For example:

    • Students engage with anchor texts through recommended demonstration texts daily. Students also have independent reading time daily in which they read books in their Zone of Proximal Development. 

    • Each unit includes one read aloud with suggestions for before, during, and after reading. Materials recommend that the teacher select multiple texts to repeat the given strategies throughout the unit. “In most units of study, there are a few books threaded through the sequence of the unit. You could decide to substitute another book for any of the suggested demonstration texts (The Guide to Reading Workshop, 51).  

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 51, the authors recommend that students have bags or boxes for storing their books for independent reading and work time during the Readers Workshop. The authors recommend that students fill their book bags or boxes with about ten books. It is these texts that students work with during their reading time; when a reader finishes one book, they move on to another book from their selection rather than immediately returning to the classroom library to swap out a book. Once a week, students should refresh their selections with books from the classroom library. The text states, “Throughout the week, children read and reread their collection of books. Reading volume is key, and it’s important to supply children with enough reading materials, including not just books, but also copies of shared reading texts, word wall words, and so on, to keep early readers going across longer stretches of time, both in school and at home.” Materials include a stamina chart for Kindergarten. This chart shows the goal of 40 minutes of independent reading in one session. The guide does not include guidance on exposing students to a variety of texts.

    • The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 52, discusses having students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 engage in both independent reading and partner reading during each independent work time. The authors state, “In kindergarten and first grade, as students are working to build their reading stamina, the teacher will transition students from independent reading to partner reading midway through the workshop each day. Partner reading is designed to give young readers a second wind, renewing their energy to continue on, allowing for more time dedicated to eyes on print, this time with the company of a peer.” The authors also recommend that teachers help their students increase their independence by gradually adding more time to the independent reading portion and subtracting time from the partner reading portion of work time.

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 146, materials indicate that teachers may select texts other than literary works for the Read Aloud, noting that the read aloud could be a meaningful way to bring content-area texts to life. The text states, “You can bring this magic to expository nonfiction as well as to narrative nonfiction. Reading aloud is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate that expository and narrative texts sound sound and feel different and are structured differently.”

    • In Reading Unit 1, An Orientation to the Unit, page xiii, the text recommends that the teacher gather high-interest nonfiction books to read aloud. The text says, “Choose a variety of books and topics that will pique your children’s interest and leave them clamoring for more.” The authors recommend using The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedryzcki as an informative text for a read aloud.  

    • In Reading Unit 4, Session 9, the teacher encourages students to think about informational texts the way they would think about informational movies. The teacher shows a brief video clip, such as “Venus Flytraps: Jaws of Death” from the BBC. The teacher points out the students’ animated reactions to and questions about the event of the clip--a plant devouring a fly. The teacher points out that students can use these strategies when reading informative texts. During their work time, students work with their reading clubs to practice reading an informative text and recording their reactions and questions on sticky notes. 

  • Instructional materials identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in a volume of reading. For example: 

    • Students pick 10 new books a week. In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, a stamina chart is included for Kindergarten. This chart shows the goal of 40 minutes of reading in one session. 

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 16-27, provides guidance for teachers to understand the research of what all readers need - access to a high volume of reading; reading increasingly complex texts appropriate for grade level; direct, explicit instruction in strategies for proficient reading; opportunities to talk in response to text; assessment-based instruction and feedback specific to the needs of the learner; support in non-fiction text; the need for read alouds; balance of teaching reading and writing. 

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 51, the authors recommend that students have bags or boxes for storing their books for independent reading and work time during the Readers Workshop. The authors recommend that students fill their book bags or boxes with about ten books. It is these texts that students work with during their reading time; when a reader finishes one book, they move on to another book from their selection rather than immediately returning to the classroom library to swap out a book. Once a week, the students are to refresh their selections with books from the classroom library. The text states, “Throughout the week, children read and reread their collection of books. Reading volume is key, and it’s important to supply children with enough reading materials, including not just books, but also copies of shared reading texts, word wall words, and so on, to keep early readers going across longer stretches of time, both in school and at home.” 

  • There is limited teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers. (eg. Proposed schedule, racking system for independent reading, independent reading procedures are included in the lessons.) For example: 

    • The teacher tracks independent reading growth by doing running records. An independent reading level is determined by the running record and the teacher differentiates reading texts based on these levels. The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, includes teacher guidance on how to assess using running records and Chapter 14 provides information on how to differentiate for students.  

    • The digital document, “Recommended Books and Supplies for a Reading Workshop” gives detailed suggestions of books for each unit in K–2. It also recommends teachers have a classroom library with a minimum of 500 books on the student’s reading levels.

    • In Reading Unit 3, the teacher introduces a routine for students to organize their texts during their independent reading time. The students practice using this reading routine by themselves and with their reading partners.

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 5, there is a sample schedule for the day including Reading Workshop. The entire reading workshop is 45 minutes which includes a 10 minute mini lesson. The other 35 minutes is for independent reading, partner reading, small group lessons, and individual conferences with the teacher. Shared Reading and Read-Aloud are not included in the Reading Workshop time. There are separate allotted times on the schedule for these. 

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, there are suggestions to track independent reading time for the whole class and how to set individual goals for students. Examples of book logs are included for multiple grades. For Kindergarten, the book log is simple and focuses on the number of books read each day for the week. 

    • In the Reading Unit Guides, for each lesson, there is a “Link” that tells what the teacher says to start independent reading time. There is a reminder of what the students learned in the lesson and to use it when reading. Often, the teacher reminds students to use the anchor chart from the lesson while independently reading. 

    • Independent reading is part of the reading workshop model. After the mini lesson, teacher guidance is as follows, “You say those all-important words, ‘Off you go!’ and then students turn to their ongoing reading work” (The Guide to Reading Workshop, 51). For Kindergarten, this “means that readers get their self-chosen, just-right books out of their book baffies or their table tubs, and they settle down to read” (51).

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, pages 96–98, the authors describe a variety of ideas and strategies for managing reading time during Reading Workshop. For example, the text states, “Sometimes you may disperse children by saying, ‘If you are going to be doing (one kind of work), get going. If you are going to be doing (another kind of work), get going. If you are not certain what goals you can work toward today and what strategies you can try using and need some help, stay here and I’ll work with you.’ Soon you’ll be leading a small group of children who’ve identified themselves as needing more direction.” 

    • In Reading Unit 1, “An Orientation to the Unit,” the authors note a strategy to help teachers manage independent and partner reading time. The text states, “It works well for partners to sit back to back during private time and hip to hip during partner time.”

Criterion 1f - 1m

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.

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Criterion Rating Details

Materials do not include text-based opportunities, protocols, questions and tasks that support students as both listeners and speakers. Speaking and listening protocols and opportunities are not varied across the year and the majority of opportunities are teacher-led or partner turn and talk. Additionally, the majority of questions and tasks are not aligned to grade-level standards and students do not have opportunities to participate in speaking and listening or writing focused on using evidence from the text. 

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing and process writing. However, the genres are not evenly distributed across the year and there is a lack of on-demand writing. Materials lack explicit instruction and student practice opportunities in all grammar and conventions standards. Materials also do not include a cohesive plan for vocabulary development. Students rarely have opportunities to learn and study core academic vocabulary related to the text which may impede students’ core understanding of the text being studied.

Indicator 1f

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-specific and/or 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).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1f.

The majority of questions, tasks, and assignments in the Kindergarten materials are not text-specific and/or text-dependent. In Kindergarten, there is more of a focus on understanding the structure of books and building skills as readers, rather than building comprehension. Many sessions do not include text-based questions and/or tasks. Rather, students practice general strategies that they can use for any of their self-selected texts during independent reading time. Similarly, a few sessions include text-based strategies, but do not specify a text for the teacher to use in the demonstration. Shared readings and demonstration texts for Kindergarten have some comprehension tasks that are text-based but focus on using MSV (meaning, structure, and visual cues), including using the pictures and patterns of the text to comprehend the text.  Although there are some text-based questions, there are not many for each text that would provide opportunities for students to gain understanding of the text or build comprehension. Additionally, the majority of text-based questions that are provided do not align to grade-level standards.  

  • Text-specific and text-dependent questions and tasks do not support students' in making meaning of the core understandings of the text being studied. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Sessions within Reading Units 1–4 focus on what readers do when reading. Text-dependent questions occur loosely throughout the read-aloud and shared reading.  

    • In Reading Unit 1, after listening to the read-aloud text, The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki, students reread a page in the book by looking at the pictures closely.  

    • In Reading Unit 1, the read aloud includes some questions about The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. In the fifth session of reading the text, the teacher instructs the students to think about how the main character feels throughout the story. The teacher tells the students to signal when they have an idea by putting a thumb on their knee. During the read aloud, the teacher reads, “Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water. Then, the teacher asks, “How can we describe who this little boy is? How does he act and behave? Let’s try to use lots of words to talk about him. I think he is a smart boy, because he knows how to take care of plants. I think he works super hard. What else can we say about him? Turn and talk to your partners.” 

    • In Reading Unit 2, Session 12, the teacher shows the students that they can use the pattern of a text combined with the illustrations to determine unknown words. In the Active Engagement part of the lesson, the teacher reads the first three pages of the text, It’s Super Mouse! by Phyllis Root, and guides students in noticing the pattern of the story, (e.g., the character jumps off of different objects). The narrative of the lesson states, “I looked up from the book. ‘Whoah! I already see thumbs! Do you think you’ve figured out how this book goes?’ The class nodded. ‘Quick! Turn and tell your partner how you think the next page will go.’” The students make predictions about what the character will jump off of on the next page. The teacher coaches the students to phrase their answers using the pattern of the text, “Super Mouse jumps off a _____.” After the teacher turns the page, students confirm their predictions based on the content of the illustrations. Then, the teacher reads the text on the page.

    • In Reading Unit 3, the read aloud includes some text-based tasks about the text Dragonflies by Margaret Hall. After reading the text in the first session, the teacher invites students to retell key details from the first ten pages of the text. The teacher says, “Let’s turn back to the first part of this book and use the photographs to help us remember what we learned about dragonflies and how they look.” The students retell the key details to their partners. Then, the teacher reviews some of the details that students shared with each other. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, Session 6, the teacher and students read two texts about the same character, It’s Super Mouse! and Pizza both by Phyllis Root. The teacher models how to use the repetitive pattern of the text and the ending of the text to answer the question, “What is this whole book really saying?” The teacher models thinking aloud through the text, observing how the main character jumps off progressively taller objects, and then falls at the end. Then, the teacher says, “Mouse wants to be Super Mouse and fly, but he crashes to the ground instead.” After the teacher reads the second text, Pizza, the students work in pairs to practice answering the same question, “What is this whole book really saying?” The teacher summarizes students' ideas about the main character, saying, “He was hungry and didn’t want to keep burning things, so he ordered pizza! Now he won’t be hungry. Maybe he should have just ordered pizza instead of trying to cook.”

    • In Reading Unit 4, the teacher guides students in answering some questions during the first session of the sample shared reading. While the teacher is reading the text, Gossie by Olivier Dunrea, the unit book suggests stopping at least once to have students practice retelling the story. The sample shared reading notes stopping at a specific page in the text. The teacher says, “What has happened to Gossie so far in this story?” On a later page in the text, the sample shared reading suggests that students talk about how Gossie feels and discuss the word, heartbroken.

  • Teacher materials provide limited support for planning and implementation of text-based questions and tasks. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

    • Lessons are written in narrative style as a conversation between the teacher and student(s). Lessons do not include any specific guidance on planning or implementation of text-based questions and tasks beyond the few that are in the lesson. 

    • There is limited support for teachers in the form of thinking sentences and questions within the sidebar notes. 

    • The Guide to the Reading Workshop provides support to teachers in understanding the components of the Read Alouds and Shared Readings on pages 135–150, but does not provide specific support around planning or implementing text-dependent questions. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, the read aloud uses the text, Dragonflies by Margaret Hall. At the end of the second session of the read aloud, the materials suggest that the teacher lead students in a whole-class conversation to discuss their ideas and questions about dragonflies. The teacher says, “Now that we’ve read this book two times, let’s talk together about some of the ideas and questions we have about dragonflies.” The materials do not provide any sample question stems or protocols for the structuring of the class discussion. Rather, the materials state, “Don’t forget to refer to the text and reread the appropriate parts during the whole-class conversation.”

    • In Reading Unit 3, the teacher guides students in making predictions about text events. The unit book does not specify a demonstration text for the teacher and students to use. The materials for this session state, “Channel the children to try the strategy with you in a leveled text from the classroom library.” Guidance directs the teacher to read the text and pause periodically for students to think about the events in the story and answer the question, “What do you think might happen next?” The students discuss their ideas with their partners. Then, the teacher and students read on to confirm or revise their predictions.

    • There is limited support regarding planning or implementation of text-based questions and tasks. Within “If...Then..Curriculum,” page 55, materials reference the Partners Talk about Characters chart with sentence starters, “The character looks…”, “the character feels..”, “the character said.. The character didn’t say..”, “At the beginning.. In the middle.. In the end..” Although these questions will be asked around a specific text, these questions can be asked with any text and are not text-dependent questions. 

    • There are limited supports regarding planning or implementation of text-based questions and tasks. Within “If...Then..Curriculum,” pages 100–102, teacher guidance includes the following: “Teach students how to navigate more complex texts, accumulating the most important information as they read, provide Key Details Mini-Charts or Bookmarks which guides students to ask specific questions when reading, ‘Who or What is this mostly about?; What is happening?; When or Where is this taking place?; Why is this happening? Why is this important?; How does this work?’” Although these questions will be asked around a specific text, these can be asked with any text and are not text-dependent questions. 

Indicator 1g

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1g.

Materials do not include protocols for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Most sessions in the unit guides focus on the teacher leading the discussion. Protocols are not varied across the year. The majority of discussions occur either with the whole class or in a turn and talk. Students participate in discussions; however, unit guides lack specific guidance for the teacher. There is minimal support for evidence-based discussions and materials lack teacher guidance and support in implementing speaking and listening opportunities. The teacher guides student discussions through questioning but there is a lack of modeled answers.  

  • Materials do not provide varied protocols for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. The protocols for speaking and listening are not varied across the academic year. The majority of the speaking and listening protocols suggest “turn and talk” with the teacher assessing students’ behavior, not the content of their discussions. Although there is a method for approaching speaking and listening, there are not specific protocols for students to follow with specific guidance and routines. For example: 

    • Some protocols can be found in Chapter 13 Read Aloud of The Guide to the Reading Workshop. The protocols suggest modeling thinking aloud and then asking students to turn and tell their partner what they are thinking. The protocols are vague and do not lead to evidence-based discussions. Materials state:  “When you come to the end of a chapter, section, or whole test, you’ll need to decide whether to channel the conversation in a particular direction or whether to let the children develop the starting idea.” If the teacher chooses to let the students develop an idea, the guide suggests the teacher “[s]ay, ‘Oh my gosh, my mind is on fire, Is yours? So many thoughts right now. Whoa! Turn and tell your partner what you’re thinking. Go!’” The model think aloud is repeated often throughout the lessons but does not lead to evidence-based discussions. 

  • Speaking and listening instruction includes limited facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop - Primary Grades, Chapter 3, the authors share about how “learners need opportunities to talk in response to texts.”  The text states “One of the most powerful ways to teach children to think is to teach them to engage in thoughtful discussions, and especially discussions that incorporate thinking under, between, and around texts.”  The authors share that it is “helpful to explicitly teach students to make claims that are grounded in the text, to supply evidence from those claims, to talk between the example and the claim, to uncover assumptions, and to explore ramifications.  It is also helpful to each student to develop a line of thinking through sustained talk about one subject, and as part of this to elaborate using transitional phrases such as the important thing about this is…of what is worth noticing about the example is.”  While the reading workshop supports talk, it also teaches talk.  “Readers are generally matched to a long-term partner, someone who is able to read and is interested in reading similar books.  Partners in kindergarten and first grade tend to read independently for half of the reading workshop and then spend the second half reading with a partner.  Right from the beginning of kindergarten, children are taught that partners can not only read together, but they can also talk about their texts.  In second grade, children spend most of the reading workshop time reading independently but in the last few minutes have the opportunity to get together with a partner to compare notes, raise and pursue questions, and learn to see the text through each other’s perspectives.  Readers also have the opportunity to work in small groups, inquiry groups or book clubs, so their talk can engage them not only with a partner, but with other voices and other perspectives as well.  The classroom community as a whole also engages in extended conversations around texts that are read aloud.”

    • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop - Primary Grades, Chapter 5, partnerships and groups are discussed in detail.  The text states that “across K-2 units, children will work on ability-based partnerships.  For other units, children will work in groups of about four students to form a reading club, each reading a title within a given series or connected to a particular topic.  In kindergarten and first grade, as children are working to build their reading stamina, the teacher will transition students from independent reading to partner reading midway through the workshop each day.  Partner time is designed to give young readers a second wind, renewing their energy to continue on, allowing for more time dedicated to eyes on print, this time with the company of a peer.  Beyond developing readers’ stamina, these partnerships and clubs also provide children with an immediate audience with whom to practice strategies.”

    • In Reading Unit 1, Session 2, model Read Aloud, students engage in two turn and talk sessions after the teacher finishes reading The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss. First, the teacher instructs students to turn and talk with a partner to retell one specific event from the plot. The teacher says, “His whole family didn’t think the carrot seed would grow. What happened next? Turn and retell with your partner.” Next, the teacher prompts students to turn and talk with a partner about the character. The teacher says, “How do you think the little boy felt at the end of the story? Turn and tell your partner and use the word because to say why.” Then, the teacher asks some students to share, instructing the rest of the students to put a thumb up if they agree. No formal protocol or modeling is provided. 

    • In Reading Unit 2, Session 1, Read Aloud, students engage in two turn and talk sessions after the teacher finishes reading So Much! by Trish Cooke. First, the teacher instructs the students to turn and talk with a partner to retell one specific event from the plot. The teacher says, “Mom and the baby were on the couch not doing anything really, and then the doorbell rang! What happened next? Turn and retell with your partner.” Second, the teacher instructs students to retell another specific event from the plot. The teacher says, “I heard you say Auntie Bibba came in and she wanted to squeeze the baby and she read him a book. Then what happened next? Turn and retell with your partner.” Then, the teacher instructs students to practice retelling the entire plot of the text. The teacher says, “Let’s put all the parts together to retell the whole story all the way through. Retell what happened at the beginning, then what happened next, and after that and at the end. Go!” It is unclear whether the students are supposed to do this in a turn and talk or as a whole class. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, Session 2, model Read Aloud, students participate in a whole-class conversation after the teacher finishes reading Dragonflies by Margaret Hall. The teacher shows another familiar book on the same topic. The unit book suggests two options for the teacher to prompt the whole-class conversation. In the first, the teacher states, “Now that we have two books that teach us about insects, let’s talk together about some of the ideas and questions we have.” For the second option, the materials state, “You could also say, ‘Now we have read two books that teach us about insects. This book taught us about butterflies and this book taught us about dragonflies. Let’s talk together about some of the things that are the same and some of the things that are different in this book.”  The materials also remind the teacher about the importance of referring to both texts and rereading sections during the whole-class conversation. Beyond suggesting ideas for discussion prompts, the materials do not encourage teacher modeling.

Indicator 1h

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and support.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1h.

Over the course of the year, speaking and listening instruction is often not evidence-based. Discussions are simple and limited to retelling or a simple response to a question and are generally not standards-aligned. Speaking and listening opportunities are not varied.  Materials primarily utilize turn and talk discussions that focus on comprehension strategies, as opposed to utilizing evidence from the text. 

  • Students do not have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading through varied speaking and listening opportunities. The majority of speaking and listening opportunities occur during whole group or turn and talk. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Reading Unit 1, Session 4, the teacher instructs students to read a book by looking at its illustrations. The teacher prompts students to imagine what a book might be about by examining its cover. In the lesson narrative, the teacher uses the text, Trucks by Wil Mara, which is not included in the materials. The students turn and talk with their partners to share their ideas. 

    • In Reading Unit 1, Session 2, students engage in two turn and talk sessions about The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. First, students turn and talk with a partner to retell one specific event from the plot. Next, the students turn and talk with a partner about the character’s feelings at the end of the text. Then, the teacher asks some students to share, instructing the rest of the students to put a thumb up if they agree.

    • In Reading Unit 2, Session 1, students engage in two turn and talk sessions about So Much! by Trish Cooke. First, the students turn and talk with a partner to retell one specific event from the plot. Second, the students turn and talk to retell another specific event from the plot. Then, the teacher instructs class to practice retelling the entire plot of the text. It is unclear whether the students are supposed to do this in a turn and talk or call out their ideas.

    • In Reading Unit 3, Session 13, the teacher displays pages from the text Ethan’s Cat by Johanna Hurwitz. The teacher models looking at an illustration to determine three unknown words in the text. Next, the students turn and talk with partners about what is happening in another picture in order to determine what the text might say. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, Session 1, the teacher reads Not Norman by Kelly Bennett. The teacher tells students: “Early on in the book, it is important to be sure the children are all clear about what is happening. So this may be a good place to monitor for meaning by asking them to turn and talk with a prompt such as, ‘What kind of pet do you think the boy wants instead of Norman?’ Then they can use the pictures to figure out a dog and a cat.”

  • Speaking and listening work does not require students to utilize, apply, and incorporate evidence from texts and/or sources. For example: 

    • In Reading Unit 1, Session 5, the teacher models rereading in order to see new information. Next, the teacher guides students in rereading by talking about the photos on a page. The teacher does not reread the text on this page. The students talk with partners about what they see in the photos.  

    • In Reading Unit 2, Session 2, after reading So Much! by Trish Cooke, the teacher says, “Now that we know who’s at the door—the dad—and that everyone wants to surprise him for his birthday, what do you think the characters are saying or thinking right now? Look at each person in the picture. Turn and tell your partner.” Speaking and listening opportunities in this session do not require students to use evidence from the text. 

    • In Reading Unit 3, Session 16, the teacher reads Wake Up, Dad! by Beverley Randell and asks, “What do you think might happen next?” After students respond, the teacher reads the next page to see if they were correct. Students do not support their predictions with information or pictures from the text. 

    • In Reading Unit 4, Session 6, the teacher and students talk about what they would do during reading playdates. The teacher asks the students to brainstorm ideas about fun things partners could do with books. Speaking and listening opportunities in this session do not require students to use evidence from the text. 

Indicator 1i

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process, grade-appropriate writing (e.g., grade-appropriate revision and editing) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria of Indicator 1i.

Materials include process writing; however, materials include limited opportunities for on-demand writing. When on-demand writing is included in a session, it is usually a suggestion or choice, not a requirement. The on-demand prompts in Writing Pathways are the same across K-2. Additionally, on-demand writing prompts are not text-based. During process writing, students write about topics and ideas they choose within that genre throughout the units. The Guide to the Writing Workshop states, “Children will especially invest themselves in writing if they write about subjects that are important to them. The easiest way to support investment in writing is to teach children to choose their own topics most of the time.” There is a focus on Kindergarten students building writing stamina and adding more to their writing. The digital resources include anchor charts and checklists for student references during the writing process. The resources are meant for the teacher to project and are not accessed directly by students. 

  • Materials do not include on-demand writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • The Writing and Reading Units do not contain on-demand writing tasks. The focus in the Writing Units is on process writing.

    • The Guide to the Writing Workshop, pages 5-6, explains that baseline and benchmark assessments for each type of writing are on-demand writing tasks.

    • In Writing Pathways, an on-demand prompt for opinion writing is as follows: “Think of a topic or issue that you know and care about, an issue around which you have strong feelings. Tomorrow, you will have forty-five minutes to write an opinion or argument text in which you will write your opinion or claim and tell reasons why you feel that way. When you do this, draw on everything you know about essays, persuasive letters, and reviews. If you want to find and use information from a book or another outside source, you may bring that with you tomorrow. Please keep in mind that you’ll have forty-five minutes to complete this, so you will need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one setting.”

    • In Writing Pathways, an on-demand prompt for informational writing is as follows: “Think of a topic that you’ve studied or that you know a lot about. Tomorrow, you will have forty-five minutes to write an informational [or all-about] text that teaches others interesting and important information and ideas about that topic. If you want to find and use information from a book or another outside source to help you with this writing, you may bring that with you tomorrow. Please keep in mind that you’ll have only forty-five minutes to complete this. You will only have this one period, so you’ll need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting. Write in a way that shows all that you know about information writing.” 

    • In Writing Pathways, an on-demand prompt for narrative writing is as follows: “I’m really eager to understand what you can do as writers of narratives, or stories, so today, will you please write the best personal narrative, the best Small Moment story, that you can write? Make this be the story one time in your life. You might focus on just a scene or two. You’ll have only forty-five minutes to write this true story, so you’ll need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting. Write in a way that allows you to show off all you know about narrative writing.” 

  • Materials include process writing opportunities that cover a year’s worth of instruction. Opportunities for students to revise and edit are provided. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Writing, Unit 1, Session 16, the teacher shows students how to add dialogue to a narrative. The teacher models reading the page of a previously written story, pointing to each character who speaks, and saying aloud what each character says. The teacher models adding speech bubbles and dialogue next to the characters. Then, the students practice rereading and retelling their own drafts to find opportunities to make their characters talk. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher tells the students that they can add speech bubbles to their drafts if they want. 

    • In Writing, Unit 1, Session 18, materials introduce editing. The teacher models editing the example in the whole group, and then students edit their writing by rereading and making sure their words look right.

    • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 19, the students prepare pieces of writing for publication. The teacher tells students about three strategies they can use to prepare for publication. The strategies are: add details to illustrations, add color to illustrations, and check words to make sure they are neat enough to read. The teacher and students practice preparing a draft of an example narrative piece by adding colors to the illustration. The students and teacher also agree to redraw the faces of the characters on one page to match their feelings in the text. Next, the students practice preparing their own selected pieces for publication by identifying a place to add to or revise. The students share their selections with partners, and explain what they will do to improve them. After the mini-lesson, the students work on preparing their pieces for publication. The teacher encourages them to try all three strategies mentioned at the beginning of the mini-lesson.

    • In Writing, Unit 3, Session 15, the teacher shows students how to write an introduction page for a how-to text. The teacher guides the students in writing an introduction for the class draft of “How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.” The teacher models writing an introduction but purposely leaves out important information. The students help the teacher add more information to the introduction in order to help the reader understand what a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is. Next, the students work in partners to discuss details that would make the how-to text seem interesting to read. The teacher records some of the students’ ideas. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher reminds students that they might spend a few minutes adding an introduction page to their own how-to drafts. 

    • In Writing, Unit 4, Session 18, the teacher shows students how to revise and edit their writing using a checklist. The teacher introduces the Super Checklist. This checklist includes the Opinion Writing Checklist on one side and the Editing Checklist on the other side. The teacher models how to use the checklist to evaluate a model text. Then, the teacher shows students how to use the Editing Checklist. The teacher models how to edit the model text for proper capitalization and spelling. The students help identify the correct spelling of sight words by referring to the classroom’s word wall. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher reminds the students that they can use the writing checklist to edit their drafts for publication.

  • Materials include digital resources where appropriate. For example: 

    • Materials include a digital If/Then resource online. Online materials also include a suggested scope and sequence for writing, as well as Anchor Charts and paper choices for student writing. 

    • The digital resources include anchor charts and checklists for student references during the writing process. The resources are designed for the teacher to project and are not accessed directly by students.

Indicator 1j

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year-long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria of Indicator 1j.

The Kindergarten materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing. In Kindergarten, there are four core units addressing narrative, opinion, and informative writing. Kindergarten students write how-to books, narrative stories, informative pattern books, and letters. However, the genres are not distributed evenly throughout the school year, and students practice each for a few weeks at a time. While the curriculum does contain a sufficient amount of writing lessons, the suggested scope and sequence and expectations for how many sessions to teach in a week are unclear. The materials include some writing opportunities connected to texts, including one published narrative text as well as many example model texts and shared texts. 

  • Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. However, different genres/modes/types of writing are not evenly distributed throughout the school year. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Students have opportunities to engage in opinion writing. 

      • Writing Unit 4 is focused on opinion writing and contains 19 sessions. In this unit, students write how-to books giving opinions on a problem and suggestions to fix the problem. Students also write opinion letters about a problem.

      • In Writing Unit 4, Session 13, the teacher shows students how to make their writing more convincing by including facts that teach their readers about their topic. The teacher selects a student’s draft to share with the class. The teacher reads a section of the draft that includes reasons to support the writer’s opinion but lacks specific facts. Next, the teacher and selected students talk about how to include more information. The teacher asks the student to share what he knows about the topic. The teacher writes two of the student’s ideas on a sentence strip and shows how to place one of them in the model text. Then, the students in the class discuss where to put the second sentence strip.

      • In Writing Pathways, on-demand prompt for opinion writing, “Think of a topic or issue that you know and care about, an issue around which you have strong feelings. Tomorrow, you will have forty-five minutes to write an opinion or argument text in which you will write your opinion or claim and tell reasons why you feel that way. When you do this, draw on everything you know about essays, persuasive letters, and reviews. If you want to find and use information from a book or another outside source, you may bring that with you tomorrow. Please keep in mind that you’ll have forty-five minutes to complete this, so you will need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one setting.”

    • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing. 

      • Writing Unit 3 is focused on informative writing and contains 19 sessions. There is one If/Then Unit for informative writing in the digital resources.  In this unit, students write multiple how-to books about topics of their choice. They illustrate, label the illustrations, and write sentences. 

      • In Writing Unit 3, Session 5, the teacher and students add details to how-to texts by adding diagrams with labels. The teacher models how to add labels to a diagram of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The students help by adding their own labels to the diagram. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher reminds students that they can add specific labels to the illustrations in their own how-to drafts. 

      • In Writing Unit 3, Session 8, the teacher guides students in choosing topics for their teaching books and then planning the pages of their books. To help students select their topics, the teacher prompts students to think about something that they know and care about. Next, the teacher guides students in planning the pages of their booklets. The students touch each page and tell a partner what they might write on it. 

      • In the If/Then Writing Unit, the unit focus is on drawing and writing to show and tell about a topic.

      • In Writing Pathways, materials include the following on-demand prompt for informational writing: “Think of a topic that you’ve studied or that you know a lot about. Tomorrow, you will have forty-five minutes to write an informational [or all-about] text that teaches others interesting and important information and ideas about that topic. If you want to find and use information from a book or another outside source to help you with this writing, you may bring that with you tomorrow. Please keep in mind that you’ll have only forty-five minutes to complete this. You will only have this one period, so you’ll need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting. Write in a way that shows all that you know about information writing.”

    • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing. 

      • Writing Unit 1 is focused on narrative writing and contains 19 sessions. Unit 2 also focuses on narrative writing and contains 20 sessions. In Unit 1, students use labels, pictures, and emerging phonics to write beginning narratives. In Unit 2, students focus on personal narrative writing. Students write true stories throughout this unit while starting to use sentences with their pictures. 

      • In Writing Unit 1, Session 14, the teacher models how to add details to a draft of a narrative story. In the lesson narrative, the teacher shows the students an example draft, which features a labeled picture of the author and her cat. The teacher models how to tell the story out loud and then add details drawing more pictures and labels. Next, the students work with partners to practice telling a story about a shared class experience using a whiteboard to record details. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher tells students to include details in their drawings and words. 

      • In Writing Unit 2, Session 4, the teacher shows students how to write sentences to tell a story. The teacher models rereading a draft of a story that consists mostly of pictures. The teacher models telling the story by pointing to the illustrations, saying aloud a sentence to write, and then writing the words on the page. The students help the teacher write the next part of the story by saying the words that the teacher should write. After the mini-lesson, the teacher tells the students to write words below the illustrations in their own stories. 

      • In Writing Pathways, materials include the following on-demand prompt for narrative writing: “I’m really eager to understand what you can do as writers of narratives, or stories, so today, will you please write the best personal narrative, the best Small Moment story, that you can write? Make this be the story one time in your life. You might focus on just a scene or two. You’ll have only forty-five minutes to write this true story, so you’ll need to plan, draft, revise, and edit in one sitting. Write in a way that allows you to show off all you know about narrative writing.” 

  • Limited writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Writing Unit 1, Session 7, the teacher uses Farm Animals to discuss the structure of the simple book as a model. The other four sessions of this bend do not use a text.  

    •  In Writing Unit 2, Session 4, the teacher uses Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems as an example of using speech bubbles in writing. The other four sessions of this bend do not use a text. 

    • In Writing Unit 2, Session 18, the teacher shows the students how to revise a story’s ending. The teacher reads the ending of Koala Lou by Mem Fox and asks students to notice the strong feelings of love. Next, the teacher reads aloud another model text written by a first grade student. The teacher thinks aloud to show students how the student used dialogue to show his feelings. After this, the teacher reads aloud another model text written by a different student. The students work with partners to discuss what the student did to write a strong ending. After the mini-lesson, the teacher recommends that students practice reading their story endings aloud and then revising them.

    • In Writing Unit 3, Session 11, My First Soccer Game by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is an anchor text for noticing when the author uses a warning or tip in how-to writing. The entire text is not read, but the teaching notes state that this should already be a familiar text.

    • In Writing Unit 3, Session 14, the teacher uses several texts on the same topic as examples of writing multiple books on a topic. The other lessons in this bend use teacher writing and student writing.

    • In Writing Unit 4, Session 8, the teacher leads a guided Inquiry lesson to teach students that writers study mentor texts and incorporate learned strategies into their own writing. In the mini-lesson, the teacher shares a well-written persuasive letter, authored by a student who is older than a kindergartener. The teacher conducts a shared reading of the letter while the students follow along in their own copies. After reading the letter, the teacher asks students why they think one particular part is especially well-written. The teacher prompts students to think about the author’s word choice before rereading the letter. Students work with partners to discuss their observations. Then, the teacher asks students to share their ideas. The teacher records their observations on a chart. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher reminds students that they could choose to repeat the same process in their own drafts of persuasive letters. 

    • In Writing Unit 4, Session 7, Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is used as a model to introduce persuasive letter writing. The rest of the bend uses student writing samples.

Indicator 1k

Materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1k.

The Kindergarten materials do not provide frequent opportunities to practice writing using evidence from texts. The mentor texts are often referred to as models, and students are asked to apply what they learn from the models in their lessons. The materials do not ask students to recall information to support opinions or to work closely with sources for evidence. The writing opportunities are not grounded in the texts students read; they are based on teacher read mentor texts. Lessons that do include texts often use the text for an example of writer’s craft, not content. The majority of student writing assignments ask students to use background knowledge, not information from texts and sources. 

  • Materials do not provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence.  Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • In Writing Unit 1, Session 1, the teacher shows students that writers think about something they know, and then use pictures and words to record what they know on paper in order to teach others about it. The teacher models how to choose a topic. Next, the teacher models how to recall experiences in order to write with pictures and words. In the “Active Engagement” part of the lesson, the teacher guides the students in thinking of their own topics and deciding what to write and draw. The students discuss their ideas with partners. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher instructs the students to write about something they know in order to teach others about that topic. This lesson does not include using evidence from a text or source. 

    • In Writing Unit 1, Session 12, the teacher reads the beginning of Creak! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root as an example of characters talking and doing things. Students write stories about events that happened to them. This writing task is not related to the text. 

    • In Writing Unit 2, Session 3, the teacher teaches students how to use pictures and words to write a narrative based on an experience. The teacher emphasizes that pictures show the characters the setting, and what happened. The teacher models saying the parts of a model narrative aloud and then drawing them. The teacher models writing about a shared class experience of when a bee flew into the classroom, by rehearsing the story aloud, drawing the story, and then dictating to write the text. Next, the students use dry erase boards to practice rehearsing and drawing about the same shared class experience. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher instructs the students to practice the same process by drawing, talking, and writing about their own experience. This lesson does not include using evidence from a text or source. 

    • In Writing Unit 3, Session 2, the teacher demonstrates how to write a procedural text based on an experience. The teacher models rehearsing and drawing a book about how to have a class fire drill, a topic with which the class has had recent experience. The teacher models remembering the experience of the fire drill, rehearsing the sequence on their fingers, and then using the “touch and tell” strategy to say each step aloud while touching one page at a time. Next, the students work with partners to remember and rehearse the last few steps of the shared writing. Then, the teacher models how to draw and write the first step draft: “Step 1. When the bells ring, it is time for a fire drill.” At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher instructs the students to rehearse their own how-to books using the touch and tell strategy and then begin their drafts by drawing and writing. This lesson does not include using evidence from a text or source. 

    • In Writing Unit 3, Session 8, the mini-lesson introduces the idea that writers emulate features in informational mentor texts. The teacher shares the mentor text, My First Soccer Game by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. The teacher encourages students to notice text features before suggesting students could either go back and revise a how-to book they have already written or write a new one. The students have access to other mentor texts as they work and are encouraged to find something they want to try out. Students apply this lesson when fixing their writing or writing a new story. The lesson does not ask students to practice writing using evidence from the books.

    • In the supplementary If/Then Writing Unit, “Show and Tell Writing,” materials include lessons that teach students how to write a “Show-and-Tell'' book, which is a type of informative text. In Session 6, the students write books about places that are important to them. In the mini-lesson, the teacher models writing and drawing a book about their classroom. The teacher thinks aloud about parts of the classroom to feature in the book, including the library, tables, and chairs. Next, students practice thinking and talking about the parts of another topic, the school’s playground. After the mini-lesson, the teacher instructs students to write about a place they love, whether it is at school, at home, or somewhere else. This lesson does not include using evidence from a text or source. 

  • Writing opportunities are not focused around students’ recall of information to develop opinions from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • In Writing Unit 4, Session 2, the students learn about supporting an opinion with reasons. The teacher models how to reread a draft of an opinion piece and then thinks aloud about a reason to add in order to make the opinion more convincing. The teacher says, “Here’s a reason: It is dangerous to run in the hall. Someone might fall, or crash into another person. Kids could get hurt! We should add that.” The teacher draws and writes this reason in the model draft. Next, the students discuss ideas and reasons for making their own opinion drafts more convincing. The topics of their opinion pieces are based on real-life issues, such as students running in the hallway. However, the lesson does not specifically teach students how to recall information from experiences to support their opinions.

    • In Writing Unit 4, Session 3, the teacher teaches students that writers can write to many different people, using different modes, suggesting different solutions to real-life issues. The teacher considers a model draft of a persuasive text about the problem of students running in the hallways at school. The teacher and students brainstorm different modes of writing and agree to write a persuasive letter addressed to the students in the school. The teacher creates a cart of different types of persuasive writing, including signs, letters, songs, lists, and petitions. Next, in the “Active Engagement” part of the lesson, the students think about and discuss a problem they have seen in their classroom or school. At the end of the mini-lesson, the teacher reminds students that they can continue to generate ideas for persuasive writing pieces by thinking about real-world problems. Students draw on real-life experience to generate topics for their drafts. However, the lesson does not specifically teach students how to recall information from experiences to support an opinion.

Indicator 1l

Materials include explicit instruction of the grade-level grammar and usage standards, with opportunities for application in context.

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Indicator Rating Details

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

Materials provide opportunities throughout the reading, writing, and phonics units to print uppercase and lowercase letters, write sentences, and enhance students’ ability to recognize phonemes in consonants and vowels to learn new words. However, the materials lack specific, explicit instruction and regular opportunities to address plurals, nouns and verbs, and the use of uppercase letters. Based on the description of the Reading and Writing Workshop in each Unit of Study, the teacher and individual students may address some of the grammar concepts not explicitly taught in the materials during conferences guided by student writing samples. Students work individually and meet with partners and groups to investigate their writing to determine where and if a standard can be integrated into their writing. Some standards are addressed in the Small Groups to Support Phonics sessions; however, these are not necessarily taught to all students. While conventions that are not explicitly taught may be addressed with individual students in the context of reading and writing conferences, the materials do not provide explicit instruction of these conventions nor direct application to student work. Additionally, some grammar concepts evident in the reading, writing, or phonics materials are not evident across the materials. There are opportunities for students to write sentences in and out of context; however, these opportunities do not relate to all grammar and convention standards.

Materials do not include explicit instruction of all grammar and conventions of standards for the grade level. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to print many uppercase and lowercase letters. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 2, the teacher introduces the letter m. After telling students the name and sound of the letter, the teacher shows students how to write uppercase and lowercase m. Students use invisible markers first in the air, then on the carpet to form the letter m while the teacher voices the letter formation pathway, “Line down! Back up! Slanted line down. Slanted line up. Line down!” The teacher and students repeat with lowercase m, with the letter formation pathway, “I start a little lower. Then, line down! Back up. Bump around. Bump around and down.”

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 14, the teacher asks a student who has a name that begins with P to show the class how to make uppercase P on an easel. During share time, students work with a partner to show each other where they used a letter they did not know previously.

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 12, the teacher tells a story about a grade 1 classroom where many objects have labels. The teacher models how to label an important object. Students work in groups to label objects in an area of the classroom. 

    • In Writing, Unit 1, Session 14, the teacher tells students one way to add details to their writing is to think about what people are doing in the story. To help students understand the difference between telling what people are doing and showing what they are doing, the teacher encourages students to study what people’s bodies look like when they move so they can draw or write in ways that show that movement. The teacher tells students that acting out their story may help them find the action to write and draw.

  • Materials do not contain explicit instruction designed to teach students to form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/or/es/.

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to understand and use questions words (interrogatives). For example:

    • In Writing, Unit 1, Session 9, the teacher points out that “where,” “how,” and “why” questions help students to discover how more detail can be added to their writing. Students practice asking questions with their partners.

    • In Reading, Unit 4, Session 13, students read similar pages from two different books. Students notice similarities and differences. The teacher prompts students to ask “why” after noticing similarities and differences. Students practice on their own using two new pages. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to use the most frequently occurring prepositions. For example:

    • In Reading, Unit 3, Session 13, the class plays Simon Says to remind students of various prepositions, e.g., behind, under, around, beside, below, near, through. Students respond by using their hands to show they understand the preposition.

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 53, the teacher demonstrates how to put common words together to make phrases. The teacher gives students cards with common prepositional phrases and snap words. With a partner and with teacher coaching, students create phrases out of the word cards. One student creates the phrase with the cards and reads it, and the other student writes the phrase. Then, students switch roles. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 1, students encourage the class mascot to write complete sentences. The teacher dictates three sentences and models writing the first sentence with the students, telling students to point, say, hear and write each word in the sentence. Students add sounds to the words in the sentence “I can write sentences,” and the teacher records the sounds without correcting errors. Students continue writing the sentences, “I can do it. I will use pointer power,” independently. 

    • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 4, the teacher says “Today I want to teach you that a writer says a sentence in his or her mind, then writes it, writing word after word.” The teacher refers to a previously drawn picture saying a word, recording it, leaving a space, and saying the next word. Students help write each part of the next sentence saying aloud to a partner what they should write next. Students continue working on the shared story to create the next sentence. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit instruction designed to teach students to capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 16, the teacher introduces the word I during the high-frequency word protocol. The teacher invites students to share observations about the word and says, “. . . the word I is just one letter, and it’s always a capital! You’ll see lowercase i in words like ice and igloo, but when I is by itself, it’ll always be capital.” 

    • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 4, the teacher asks students to help write a sentence. First, students tell a partner what they should write first and whether it should be a capital or lowercase letter. The teacher reminds students that since it is the start of another sentence, it needs a line leader. 

  • Materials contain explicit instruction designed to teach students to recognize and name end punctuation. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 4, the teacher uses a piece of shared writing to model end punctuation. The shared writing piece includes a period, a question mark, and an exclamation mark on sticky notes. The teacher names and explains the purpose of each mark then models how changing the marks around would change the meaning of the letter. Students use a copy of the shared writing and sticky note punctuation marks to try different marks on different sentences and determine which marks will work best for each sentence. 

    • In Writing, If/Then Unit, Session 17, the teacher emphasizes making endings exciting with exclamation points. Students and the teacher read the ending sentence without an exclamation point and with one. The teacher writes an exclamation point on the easel to show students how to make one. The teacher encourages students to use this punctuation in their writing during the workshop session.

  • Materials contain explicit instruction designed to teach students to write a letter or letters for most consonant and short vowel sounds (phonemes). For example:

    • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 7, the teacher introduces and models how to use a short vowel chart, identifies sounds, and writes corresponding letters for the consonant and short vowel sounds within words. Students work with partners to determine the vowels for words. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 6, the teacher says words with short a and i vowel sounds aloud, and the students write them on whiteboards. Students check each word to ensure the word has the correct vowel.

  • Materials contain explicit instruction designed to teach students to spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships. For example:

    • In Writing, Unit 1, Session 5, the teacher demonstrates how to stretch out the sounds of a word to add words to drawings. The teacher demonstrates with a rubber band stretching out the sounds of a word in a shared drawing. After stretching out each sound the teacher models finding and recording the letters that make the sound. Students supply the sounds as the teacher stretches out the words and then practices adding words to their drawings. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 5, Session 5, the teacher reminds students to “say the word very slowly together and listen for all the sounds. Then, make sure you write down all the sounds you hear.” 

  • Materials include some opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in and out of context. For example:

  • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 2, the teacher provides a mini-lesson on how to write a true story and shares a chart with key points and ideas. The teacher role-plays being a Kindergarten student wanting to write a story. The teacher models using fingers for parts to include in the story. Children disperse to their writing places and refer to their individual true story writing charts to begin writing their true story. The teacher supports student writing through conferring and small group work.

  • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 3, students create labels for items in the classroom, focusing on writing letters for each sound in longer words. Students work with partners to create a label, then hold up their label to test whether classmates can read the labels. If labels are difficult to read, students work together to add more sounds. Students post their labels in the classroom. 

Indicator 1m

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

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the criteria of Indicator 1m.

Kindergarten materials lack guidance outlining a cohesive plan for vocabulary development, such as a year-long vocabulary component. Vocabulary is not included as part of daily lessons, and materials do not include vocabulary lists for texts. Students use pictures in texts to figure out the meaning of unknown words. Vocabulary is not practiced in speaking, reading, or listening with any consistency. 

  • Materials do not provide teacher guidance outlining a cohesive year-long vocabulary development component. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reading and Writing units do not include consistent vocabulary lessons.

  • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, the chapter entitled “Word Study” explains word knowledge in Grades K–2. These lessons focus on studying names of students in the class, letters, phonics, and high-frequency words, not vocabulary. 

  •  In The Guide to Reading Workshop, the materials provide a lesson schedule on pages 48–49. It suggests that the teacher spends 20 minutes on word study. 

  • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 54, the materials list the exposure to new vocabulary among the benefits of reading aloud to students: “Besides offering a chance to model proficiency reading behaviors, read-aloud time can also expose them to new vocabulary, concepts, and text structures. This ongoing exposure to varied language and texts is essential to students as they continue to explore the world of books and build their social skills.” The guide does not include teacher guidance outlining a cohesive plan for vocabulary development.

  • In The Guide to Reading Workshop, page 54, the materials suggest that teachers have a word wall within their classroom to display words in conjunction with read alouds: “Besides offering a chance to model proficient reading behaviors, read aloud time can also expose them to  new vocabulary, concepts, and text structures. This ongoing exposure to varied language and text is essential for students as they continue to explore the world of books and build their social skills.” There is no evident vocabulary instruction within the lessons. 

  • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, page 54, the materials provide suggestions regarding word study and vocabulary acquisitions. Guidance includes, “Using data, you can decide on your whole-class course of study and also design auxiliary small-group activities that support students in various stages of development. Your word study sessions might begin with a mini-lesson that is applicable to most of your students, and then you can provide time for students to work independently or in partnerships or groups.” There is no evident vocabulary instruction within the lessons. 

  • Vocabulary is not repeated in contexts (before texts, in texts) and across multiple texts.

  • Attention is not paid to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words. For example: 

    • Vocabulary is not a part of most reading, speaking, and writing tasks. Emphasis is on students using the pictures to figure out the meaning of unknown words. 

    • Students are not supported to accelerate vocabulary learning with vocabulary in their reading, speaking, and writing tasks.

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 13, the students practice reading their favorite storybooks aloud by using the exact words that the characters say. Using The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone, the teacher and students look at illustrations and then read the text from memory. The teacher encourages students to recall and use exact words and phrases that characters say. For example, the teacher models remembering and saying the troll’s dialogue in a troll voice. The teacher says, “No, you’re not...for I’m coming to gobble you up!” The lesson does not include instruction or discussion about key vocabulary.

In Reading Unit 2, Session 6, students use picture clues to determine unknown words. The teacher uses a sticky note to cover a word in the text, In the Garden by Annette Smith, Jenny Giles, and Beverley Randell. The teacher and students practice the “Picture Power” strategy by looking at an accompanying photo in the text to guess the unknown word. The teacher uncovers the unknown word and models reading it in order to determine whether the prediction made sense. The teacher says, “Look at the butterfly. Yep, butterfly makes sense. I also see the /b/ sound at the beginning.” The teacher and students practice identifying another covered word by looking at a photo, guessing, and identifying the initial consonant. When confirming that a newly uncovered word is caterpillar, the teacher says, “C! So it must be caterpillar! Let’s reread the page and make sure it makes sense.” The lesson does not provide further guidance on helping students understand the meaning of the vocabulary.

Criterion 1n - 1s

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

Materials do not have an intentional, cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness instruction based on the expected hierarchy to build toward students’ application of the skills. Additionally, systematic and explicit instruction in foundational skills is largely absent in the materials. Materials introduce letter names first and then associated sounds through student names, focusing on print to sound as opposed to sound to print. Materials provide limited opportunities for students to develop orthographic and phonological processing. Materials include a sufficient number of high-frequency words called snap words. A standard process for learning new snap words includes, “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!”  Materials have a limited selection of emergent-reader texts in the form of poems, songs, and a selection of decodable texts. 

The phonics units are loosely paired with the reading and writing units. While these units provide opportunities for application, the transfer of phonics skills to lessons in the reading and writing units is not explicit. The use of a given phonics skill may naturally surface in the context of the Reading and Writing Workshop, but the writing and reading units do not explicitly support the development of the specific phonics skills through targeted instruction and practice. The reading units mainly utilize a cueing system for solving unknown words that focus on the initial sound and meaning cues rather than on decoding strategies.

The Units of Study for Teaching Reading and Units of Study in Phonics materials sometimes present conflicting information about how and when to assess different skills. The teacher is encouraged to conduct running records during Reading Workshop to assist the teacher and student in book selection and lesson plan implementation based on student needs. The Guides to the Units of Study include limited information on supporting students who are English Language Learners and students performing below grade level, but these supports are not explicitly included in lessons within Units of Study.

Indicator 1n

Materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression for application both in and out of context.

Indicator 1n.i

Explicit instruction in phonological awareness (K-1) and phonics (K-2).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in phonological awareness (K-1) and phonics.

Materials do not provide systematic and explicit instruction in syllables, sounds, and spoken words. The materials use students’ names to introduce letters and sounds. Since this instruction is based on the names of students in the classroom and a name the teacher would pull from the Star Jar (a jar that contains all of the students’ names in the classroom), there is no guarantee that the instruction would follow the suggested letter sequence or that all letters and sounds would be taught. Additionally, instruction for each letter and letter sound is not included in teaching materials. In the first session in Unit 1, students are expected to count and name each letter in the class mascot’s name (the name Mabel is modeled), while no instruction in letters names has occurred. In cases where instruction is aligned to grade-level standards, the materials lack repetition and systematic instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read words with the newly taught phonics patterns. While these opportunities may incidentally surface in the context of reading and writing workshops, the writing and reading units do not explicitly support the development of the specific phonics skills through targeted instruction and practice. While the narrative format of the materials provides the teacher with opportunities for the students to learn some phonological and phonics skills, the lessons are designed in an implicit model, and there is no guarantee that the modeled instruction will occur in the classroom. Additionally, some grade-level instruction occurs during some optional Extension activities. The instruction contained in the Units of Study for Reading, Units of Study for Writing, and Units of Study in Phonics do not align, and at times, contradict what is occurring within each unit. For example, in Units of Study Writing, Unit 1, Session 10, students learn to stretch out words to write even more sounds. The model provided includes /r/, /p/, /h/, /n/, /b/, /e/, which does not follow the letter/sound sequence in Units of Study Phonics Unit 1.

Materials recommend 20 minutes of whole group foundational skills instruction and 7-10 minutes of small group instruction. 

  • Materials limited contain explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to recognize and produce rhyming words. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 11, the teacher models changing the initial sound in a name to produce a rhyme. The session states: “‘We know that Mabel’s name starts with the letter M /m/.’ I wrote Mabel’s name up on the board. ‘But what if we played around with Mabel’s name a little? What if we took the M and changed it to a B? Hmm, … it’s not /m/-Mabel anymore, now it’s…’ I left space for kids to think about this, and a few chimed in, ‘Babel!’ The teacher then models changing the M to L for Label.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 8, students listen to an audio recording of different sounds to get their ears ready to be good listeners. The teacher uses picture cards of at and in words. The teacher points to the picture card, and students and teacher say the word together to determine which picture cards rhyme with at. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 5, students practice singing and drumming familiar songs to hear different rhythms. The teacher explains that words have beats which are called syllables. The teacher returns to the Star Name and coaches students to listen for syllables in the name, clap and stomp them, and compare this Star Name with an earlier Star Name. The teacher points out that all words have beats, and clapping the beats helps students with their writing. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 3, students practice clapping beats in words with their names, then pictures, on the alphabet chart. The teacher models segmenting a word by syllables and blending the syllables into words. The teacher says the syllables of a student’s name, and the students blend the sounds to say the name. The teacher continues with two-syllable words, then the words ladybug, octopus, volcano, and watermelon

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 6, the teacher gives students the rime -at and teaches them how to make words with it. The teacher then moves into the -at word part. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 12, students listen for first sounds and word parts in a short word. The teacher models with the word pop, segmenting /p/ and op, then uses hand signals to blend the word back together. Students practice with picture cards for the words pop, cop, mop, hop, top, and stop

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 12, the teacher uses the song, “Beginning, Middle, End” to practice listening for sounds in different parts of a word. The teacher models tapping different places on the body to signal where in the word students hear a sound. The teacher says the word man and shows students to tap their shoulders if they hear the sound at the beginning of the word, elbow in the middle, wrist at the end. Students practice the song a few times. Then, the teacher changes which sound they are listening for. As students use their bodies, the teacher points to Elkonin boxes on a chart to model segmenting the word. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 7, the teacher pretends to be clumsy and drops picture cards on the floor. Students help her sort them when they are picked up by medial vowel sounds short e, o and i. The teacher displays the pictures and vowel sounds in the pocket chart and reviews with the students once all the cards are placed. The teacher coaches the students by cueing them to say the word, listen for the middle vowel sound, and check it to see if it matches the sound in the anchor picture on the chart. 

  • Materials do not contain explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words. All examples for teacher modeling of adding or substituting individual sounds were linked to print or used longer words.

  • Materials provide the teacher with limited examples for instruction in syllables, sounds (phonemes), and spoken words called for in grade-level standards. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, “An Orientation to the Unit,” the materials instruct teachers to sequence student names to roughly match a suggested letter introduction sequence. Teachers use student names to introduce syllables and sounds. 

    • In Phonics, Online Resources, the materials provide instructional videos of Units of Study in Phonics lessons to provide the teacher examples for instruction.

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 2, the teacher first sings the song “Guess the Name” with the students. Students listen and guess the name of their peer that starts with that letter sound and name. The teacher shows students a sentence strip with a student’s name on it. The teacher coaches students to look at the name to identify letters, count letters, and analyze the size and shape of letters. The teacher models how to cheer the student’s name and say and spell out the letters in the name. The teacher cues students to only look at the first letter of the name and share what sound it makes. The teacher models this sequence several times using different student names.

    • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 2, during a mini-lesson with alphabet pictures that need to be matched to letter cards that have fallen off of the alphabet chart, the teacher picks up the picture of the sun and models how to say the word emphasizing the initial sound. The teacher places the picture underneath the letter Ss on the alphabet chart. The teacher continues this sequence until the missing picture cards are matched to the corresponding letter sound.

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels. For example:

    • In Writing, Unit 2, Session 7, the teacher models how to read the vowel chart, saying the name of the letter, the name of the picture, and the short vowel sound for the letter. The teacher models stretching out the word danced and shows students how to find the short /a/ sound on the vowel chart. Students do not associate the long /a/ sound with the short /a/ sound. 

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 31, the teacher reads a poem called “The Case of the Silent E” with VCe words but intentionally reads the words as short vowel words instead of long vowel words. Students listen, and if a word is read wrong, give a thumbs down. The teacher stops and shows how the word in the poem looks with the VCe and without the VCe pattern. The teacher prompts students when they see a word with the e at the end, it is going to make a different sound so that it sounds right. 

  • Materials contain limited explicit teacher modeling designed to teach students to distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 12, the teacher tells students that changing the middle vowel of a word can help make new words. Students use letter cards with the letters a, e, i, o, u, l, p, b, g, and j to build the word lip. Students replace i with a to make lap. The teacher prompts students to make a new word by saying the word and inviting students to spell it, read it, and check it. Students continue changing one letter at a time to make lag, bag, big, beg, bug, jug, and job

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 29, the teacher shares a scenario on writing a grocery list for a birthday party and needing supplies like chips, cookies, plates, and cups. Instead of writing cups on the list, it says caps. The teacher ended up having in the grocery bag baseball caps and skiing caps, but no cups. The teacher uses the story as a segway into writing CVC words and that changing one letter can change the meaning even if we think it looks right. The teacher has students get a whiteboard and listen to words and their sounds. The teacher has them write the word cap on the board and then change it to the word map and discuss which part of the word changed. 

  • Lessons provide teachers with limited systematic and repeated instruction for students to hear, say, encode, and read each newly taught grade-level phonics pattern. For example: 

    • In Phonics Unit 4, Session 2, the teacher tells students that every word has a vowel, and writers use vowels when they write. The teacher shares a book “written” by the class mascot and models checking every word for vowels. The book contains the following sentences, with words that are missing vowels: “First, you gt the berries. Next, you put thm in a pt. Then, you mx it up. Lst, you put it in a jar.” The teacher models fixing get. Then, students work with partners to check the rest of the book and fix words without vowels by writing the word on top of the existing word. 

Indicator 1n.ii

Phonological awareness based on a research-based continuum (K-1).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria that materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in phonological awareness based on a research-based continuum (K-1). 

Kindergarten materials provide opportunities throughout the phonics units for students to engage in activities designed to foster phonological awareness skills such as syllables, rhyming, phoneme identification, phoneme addition, manipulation, and substitution. Session lessons provide students with teacher modeling of key concepts during mini-lessons and connections opportunities. Practice opportunities include various activities for phonological awareness, e.g., sorting, singing songs, and using Elkonin boxes. Additional practice is encouraged during independent reading and writing time as part of the Reading and Writing Workshop. Hands-on manipulatives, sound charts, or anchor charts are provided. Small Groups to Support Phonics provides additional specific phonological awareness lessons for students who would benefit from additional support on various skills and concepts. Although A Guide to the Units of Phonics Units of Study explains that the unit “doubles as support for developing phonological awareness and support for learning the alphabetic principle”, there is no systematic and explicit instructional scope and sequence designed to teach foundational skills directly. While the materials cite other programs, there is a lack of a research-based explanation for the order of phonological awareness sequence. 

  • Materials do not have an intentional, cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness instruction based on the expected hierarchy to build toward students’ application of the skills. For example:

    • Although there is a scope and sequence listed on the Units of Study website,

it does not appear readily available in the phonics, reading, or writing 

units. Instead, the lessons are organized around an overview 

listing topics to be covered. 

  • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the materials include the strands of early phonics development along with additional information about rhyming, segmenting, and manipulating. 

  • In A Guide To the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the materials state that the program follows a hierarchy of skills in phonemic awareness, starting from rhyming and hearing phonemes and moving to blending and segmenting sounds.

  • The sequence of instruction that develops across five units includes:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1: Hear and say syllables; identify and produce groups of words that begin with the same sound (alliteration); identify the initial phonemes of spoken words; connect words by sounds, count, pronounce, and segment syllables in spoken words; recognize and produce rhyming words; segment words into syllables; change the beginning phoneme to make a new word; hear and say beginning phoneme; hear salient sounds in words.

    • In Phonics, Unit 2: Identify and produce words that begin with the same sound; identify the initial phoneme in spoken words; match words with the same beginning sound; identify and produce words that start with the same sound; say words slowly and identify salient sounds in words; identify the initial, medial, and final sounds in spoken words; changing initial phonemes to make new words.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3: Say words slowly to hear sounds in words; identify and use initial, final, and salient sounds when writing words (this is not phonological awareness); say words slowly to identify salient sounds in spoken words; recognize and produce rhyming words; blend and segment the onset and rime of single-syllable spoken words; add or substitute individual sounds in simple, one-syllable spoken words to make new words; manipulate the onset and rime of single-syllable spoken words; hear, match and produce rhyming words; segment and blend onset and rime; hear word parts in longer words; hear initial digraphs; identify words with the same initial digraph; isolate initial digraphs. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4: Segment and blend individual phonemes in words; say words slowly to hear sounds in words; isolate and pronounce the initial sounds, medial vowel, and final sounds in spoken words; manipulate individual phonemes to make new words; blend individual phonemes in words; hear, say, segment, and blend syllables in spoken words; blend and segment the onset and rime in single-syllable spoken words; segment individual phoneme in spoken words.

    • In Phonics, Unit 5: segment words to isolate phonemes in unfamiliar words; hear both sounds in a blend; isolate initial blends in words; hear and connect rhyming words; hear, say and clap syllables; hear the ending phoneme in a syllable; hear and divide onsets and rimes; hear and generate rhyming words; generate words with the same initial sound or blend; hear the difference between short /e/ sound and short /i/ sound in words; hear the difference between the short /a/, /e/, /o/, /u/ sounds and the long /a/, /e/, /o/, /u/ sounds in words. 

  • Materials contain an explanation for the expected hierarchy for teaching phonological awareness skills. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, materials state the sequence of study of phonics follows research. The materials reference Bear’s Words Their Way, Cunningham’s Phonics They Use, Fundations, Fountas and Pinnell’s Phonics Lessons, or “many other programs”. 

    • In A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, materials state that lessons are based on the research of at least nineteen educators and especially that of Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery. It is noted that researchers have differences of opinion related to the development of phonemic awareness and the order of a phonics curriculum. “This curriculum is based...with a commitment of giving young children the opportunities to take risks, try again, talk, explore, pretend, move, play, question, invent, sing and laugh.” 

    • In A Guide To the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the hierarchy for teaching phonological skills is attributed to the evidence-base of key researchers Bear, Cunningham, Beck, and Fountas and Pinnell. 

    • In A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, materials state that the program follows a hierarchy of skills in phonemic awareness, starting from rhyming and hearing phonemes and moving to blending and segmenting sounds.

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

    • In A Guide To the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 3, the materials provide a description of activities and materials used to develop phonological awareness. The sequence of activities begins with a mini-lesson and moves to connections, teaching, active engagement, rug time, and sharing. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 7, students practice rhymes by singing a familiar rhyming song, “Down by the Bay.”

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 3, students clap and snap for consonants and vowels. 

  • There are opportunities for students to practice phonological awareness. For example: 

    • Throughout five units of studies, students have opportunities to practice phonological awareness skills after a mini-lesson from the teacher. The units allow for additional extension opportunities, and cues are provided to apply the skills and concepts when students are engaged in Reading and Writing Workshop.

  • Materials provide limited opportunities for students to practice each new sound and sound pattern.

    • Recognize and produce rhyming words. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 8, the teacher points to a picture card. Students and the teacher say the word together to determine which picture cards rhyme with at. Students give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to indicate whether they hear a rhyme. Partners practice using it and an picture cards. The teacher provides additional practice hearing rhymes by listening for rhymes in familiar poems read by the teacher.

      • In Phonics, Unit 5, Session 12, students change a rhyme and make new rhyming words using blends and digraphs. Students listen to a poem and note which words rhyme. Students produce additional rhyming words using blends and digraphs and then orally produce new stanzas. 

    • Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 5, together with the teacher, students practice clapping the beats of their own names and friends’ names. The teacher provides additional practice by going to previously read big books and identifying pictures in the books, and saying the words to determine how many syllables are in the words. There are extension opportunities in which students create a syllable band determining numbers of syllables in words using musical instruments.

      • In Phonics, Small Group to Support Phonics, Small Group 2, the teacher gives partners a stack of picture cards and models for students that one partner says the word using beats like a robot. The other partner will smoosh the beats together and say the whole word. Together the partners look at the picture card to check accuracy. Students continue this sequence until they get through the stack of picture cards to practice saying word parts and blending them together to say the whole word.

    • Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 11, the teacher models changing the initial sound of a word to make new names. Students practice using names of students in the class - Ava (A-va, May-va, Tay-va). 

      • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 7, the teacher reminds students about rimes they have learned to make new words. Students use at and /r/ to make a new word. Students identify other letters they can add to -at to make new words. The teacher introduces -it. Students make new words with the -it word part. The process repeats with -an. 

    • Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. Opportunities for student practice as they learn to isolate and pronounce and final sounds is not evident in the materials. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 2, the teacher uses Elkonin boxes to provide additional practice in segmenting and blending the phonemes in words. The teacher models with the word bat. Students practice with the words cap, sip, big, sat, cab, and lid

      • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 3, the teacher models how to identify the short vowel sound in pictures of CVC words and sort the words based upon the medial vowel sound. Students work with their club group to sort pictures of CVC words based upon the vowel sound.

      • In Phonics, Small Group to Support Phonics, Small Group 10, students sort pictures into two jars based on initial sounds. Students say the name of the picture and the initial sound and decide which jar the picture goes in based on the initial sound of either /b/ or /h/

    • Add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words. Student practice is tied to print or does not make new words. Non-examples include:

      • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 5, students sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” using the word cat: /a/, /a/, /a/, /a,/. /a/. Other words could include hen, chick, hog, and bug. Students practice phoneme segmentation for CVC words by playing the Robot Game to isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds of other CVC words such as hop, hill, Jill, shop.

      • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 7, the teacher uses magnetic letters to make the word fit and then substitutes s for f to make the word sit. Students then use magnetic letters and word cards at, an, and it as they attempt to add and exchange letters to make new words of their own. 

Indicator 1n.iii

Phonics demonstrated with a research-based progression of skills (K-2).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1n.iii.

Kindergarten materials include a limited scope and sequence of skills. Although there is no clear scope and sequence related to the standards addressed, A Guide to the Phonics Unit of Study provides an overview of the philosophy principles undergirding the phonics curriculum and an explanation of the skills presented. While the materials cite other programs, there is a lack of a research-based rationale for the order of phonics sequence. Materials introduce letter names first and then associated sounds through student names, focusing on print to sound as opposed to sound to print. Materials provide examples for teachers to use in introducing letter names and sounds; however, they do not include specific instructions and examples for introducing and practicing all letter sounds. Materials include limited opportunities for students to decode phonetically spelled words. Students have limited opportunities to practice reading words using newly taught phonics skills. Practice is usually guided by the teacher with students directed to try the same thing in their independent reading, which does not guarantee that the students will encounter the newly taught skill. The phonics units are loosely paired with the reading and writing units. While these units provide opportunities for application, the transfer of phonics skills to lessons in the reading and writing units is not explicit. The use of a given phonics skill may naturally surface in the context of the Reading and Writing Workshop, but the writing and reading units do not explicitly support the development of the specific phonics skills through targeted instruction and practice. 

  • Lessons provide students with limited opportunities to decode (phonemes, onset and rime, and/or syllables) phonetically spelled words. For example: 

    • Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 1, Orientation to the Unit, the teacher sequences students’ names to roughly match the suggested sequence of letter introduction, M S T N A R L D F I V P K X E B Z J O C H U W G Q Y. The orientation instructs teachers to provide direct, explicit instruction to introduce each letter that includes the letter name, sound, formation path, and words beginning with the letter; however, materials do not provide explicit instruction for each letter and sound. 

      • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 10, students teach the first letter of their first name to the class by acting as the teacher. A student is selected to show peers how to say and write the letter of their first name. Then, students walk around the room and greet each other, saying their name, the first letter of their name, and words that begin with that sound. Students transition to work in groups and share the first letter of their names with their peers. Students write the letters on whiteboards and share words they know that start with that letter sound.

      • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 2, following a mini-lesson by the teacher on matching picture cards to letter names and sounds, students make the classroom into a big alphabet chart by taking sticky notes of the letters of the alphabet and matching them to items and things around the classroom with that initial sound, e.g., R on the rug, B on the ball. 

    • Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels. For example:

      • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 12, the teacher celebrates that students have vowel shields filled with vowels they now know: A, E, I, O, U, and leads a vowel power cheer. Students participate in constructing an initial word with a short vowel sound and use consonants to make more words in a pocket chart. 

      • In Phonics Unit 4, Session 13, the teacher explains that syllables in bigger words each have one vowel sound, and they demonstrate by clapping the syllable in the name Mabel. Students look for the long and short vowels in every syllable in a name on the class name chart. 

      • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 14, the teacher sings the “Vowel Shield Song,” singing “A-E-I-O-U” to the tune of “Bingo Was His Name-O.” Students point to the vowels on their vowel shields as they say the letter name. The teacher writes with word sip, and students read the word and point to the letter i on their shields. The teacher and students repeat the song, using short-vowel words peg, chat, cot, thin, and mug. The teacher writes each word, and students read the word and point to the matching vowel on their shields.

  • Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 6, the teacher leads a brainstorming session to determine how many words the students can make with the word parts -at and -in. Students work with the whole group to identify and generate similarly spelled words by identifying and changing the letters.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 7, students work with magnetic letters to make words by changing the beginning letter & sound in front of snap words they know: it and an. Students then work in groups with magnetic letters to make words with snap words at and in.

  • Lessons provide students with infrequent opportunities to read complete words by saying the entire word as a unit using newly taught phonics skills. Opportunities are not found across the materials. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 8, students read words without pictures. Students read word cards containing -in words and match them to a picture card. Students repeat with -at words. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 8, after a mini-lesson by the teacher on hearing rhymes and matching picture cards of things that rhymed, students watch a brief clip from Sesame Street of monsters pushing onset and rimes together to read words. Students do the same thing with sticky notes with the onset ad and the letters s, b, and m. Students combine the onset and rime to say the whole word. The teacher gives students word cards and picture cards. With a partner, students read the words by blending and matching the word to the picture card.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 10, the teacher shares a book and asks students to use all of their powers - picture power, pointer power, and word part power to read it. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 14, students use vowel power to read complete words. The teacher writes the word lid and chooses a student group to read it before going to centers. The teacher continues with the words did, red, sip, cab, and cob with the remaining student groups. 

  • Lessons provide students with limited opportunities to decode words in a sentence. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 13, the teacher displays a rhyming book that contains sentences with op words. Students read the sentences with the teacher, and the teacher pauses to model using the op word part to read new op words. Students read the last two sentences in partners. Then partners read a rhyming book with sentences containing ug words together. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 7, the teacher asks students to find words to add to their sort by hunting for vowels in a song. The teacher distributes copies of “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” and asks students to read the song together and notice when a word has a short e, o, or i in it. 

  • Lessons provide students with opportunities to build/manipulate/spell and encode words using common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns phonics. Opportunities to build/manipulate/spell and encode words using common and newly-taught sound and spelling patterns phonics are predominantly found in Unit 3. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 4, the teacher models writing a letter and constructing the sentences, and segmenting sounds to write words. Partners write the next several sentences on whiteboards using their word-part strategies and rereading what they write. The teacher coaches children along in the process by cueing students to stretch out sounds and to listen for beginning and ending sounds. Students extend the learning by using Elkonin boxes and circle magnets to listen for CVC words and how many sounds. Then, students match the letter to the sounds to create the word.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 17, following a mini-lesson about using word power and knowledge of word parts to write words in sentences, students reconstruct sentences from the story shared by the teacher by building the sentences with cut-up word parts. Students work together to construct the sentence and reread it to make sure it looks right and sounds right. 

  • Materials do not contain a variety of methods to promote students’ practice of previously taught grade-level phonics.

    • No explicit evidence was found. Students are encouraged after each lesson to use what they have learned in phonics to support their independent work in Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop.

  • Materials delineate a limited scope and sequence with a sequence of phonics instruction and practice to build toward application of skills. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, materials list the strands of early phonics development followed by a detailed section explaining each strand. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, the materials explain that kindergarten students develop phonological and phonemic awareness while simultaneously learning the Alphabetic Principle and Concepts of Print. Kindergarteners progress to rimes and digraphs, short vowels, and blends. 

    • Materials include five phonics units: 

      • Phonics, Unit 1 has 17 sessions. “Making Friends with Letters” focuses on studying peoples’ names to get to know each other and the alphabet, learning your own name by heart, and using star names to write. Lessons in Unit 1 focuses on letter-sound correspondences for the letters: M, S, T, N, R, L, A, W, D, O, H. 

      • Phonics, Unit 2 has 18 sessions. “Word Scientists” focuses on studying the alphabet and the alphabet chart, using the alphabet to write.

      • Phonics, Unit 3 has 17 sessions. “Word Part Power” focuses on writing power, word part power, and word parts, and digraphs. 

      • Phonics, Unit 4 has 19 sessions. “Vowel Power” focuses on vowels in every word, distinguishing short vowel sounds; and vowels in bigger words.

      • Phonics, Unit 5 has 20 sessions. “Playing with Phonics” focuses on playing with sounds, writing longer words, playing with phonics poems, and phonics projects.

  • Materials have a limited research-based explanation for the order of the phonics sequence. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, the materials state decades of research are used as the base of the phonics sequence.

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, the materials state the sequence for study of phonics in the materials follows research. Materials reference Bear’s Words Their Way, Cunningham’s Phonics They Use, Fundations, Fountas and Pinnell’s Phonics Lessons, or “many other programs”. 

  • Materials provide limited opportunities for students to develop orthographic and phonological processing. For example:

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, introductory materials explain that each phonics unit is designed to be taught concurrently with a writing and a reading unit of study. The writing and reading units of study use a Writer’s and Reader’s workshop structure to create daily opportunities for students to apply phonics lessons to authentic reading and writing; however, these opportunities are not explicit in the materials, and students may not have opportunities to develop orthographic and phonological processing skills fully. 

Indicator 1n.iv

Decode and encode common and additional vowel teams (Grade 2).

Narrative Evidence Only

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures, and features of text (1-2).

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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1o.

Materials provide teachers with a sequence of letter instruction and a consistent routine for explicit instruction for all 26 uppercase and lowercase letters. While the sequence and routine are explained in the teacher materials, the actual lessons in the units do not explicitly include instruction for all letters. Although the phonics scope and sequence for letter knowledge lists some of the letters: a, d, k, l, m, n, o, r, s, t, w to be taught in Kindergarten and there is an assessment, the teacher is directed to use students’ names to guide the introduction of letters and to repeat lesson activities and ideas for instruction for the rest of the letters of the alphabet as needed for students. Small Groups to Support Phonics provides some additional instructional opportunities for specific alphabet and letter knowledge for students who would benefit from additional support. Materials lack frequent opportunities for students to practice identifying, locating, and naming all 26 letters. While this practice may naturally occur in the Reading and Writing Workshop context, explicit links to ensure student practice of these skills are largely absent. Print concepts lessons are limited in frequency and do not explicitly address all print concepts standards. Lessons within the materials include limited references to print concepts, such as spacing, left to right reading, top to bottom reading but are missing opportunities to teach students the importance of each of these skills and how to use them in their reading. Opportunities are limited for students to have direct, explicit instruction in the concepts of print skills of how a book works, reading words from left to right, parts of a book, and the concept of a word with spaces between words in print. Instruction for concepts of print is presented implicitly, and students are encouraged to engage with books during reading unit sessions and Reading Workshop.

  • Materials provide students with limited opportunities to engage in practice identifying all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). For example: 

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 11, the teacher gives students letter cards for all 26 letters and a picture from the alphabet chart matching each letter. Partners touch each letter, say the letter’s name and sound, and match the letter to its picture. 

  • Materials provide opportunities to engage in practice locating all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 6, the teacher conducts a mini-lesson having students compare and contrast letters in children’s names. Students practice looking at names and comparing the names to the elephant puppet’s name Mabel. For Rug Time, students search the room for words and compare the letters to the star names. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 7, the teacher tells students they can use an alphabet chart to find letters quickly when writing. The teacher says the word puppy and asks students to point to the letter on the alphabet chart they would need to start writing puppy. The teacher continues with picture cards. The teacher holds up the card, and students point to the first letter in the word. Students practice with partners. 

  • Materials provide opportunities to engage in naming all 26 letters (uppercase and lowercase). For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 17, the teacher holds up a few magnetic letters, asking students to read the letter, make the letter’s sound, and point to someone whose name starts with that sound. Students sing the alphabet song. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 1, the teacher leads students in reading the alphabet chart naming only consonants. The teacher points to each letter, skipping vowels, and students name the letter. The teacher and students repeat the process naming only vowels.

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group12, the teacher shares with students that the alphabet chart is a tool to find out how to make letters and identify letters and their sounds. The teacher gives students an alphabet chart and magnetic letters. Students choose a magnetic letter, say the letter name and sound, and place it on the chart. 

  • Materials do not contain isolated, systematic and explicit instruction for all 26 letters (recognize and name uppercase and lowercase). For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Orientation, materials instruct teachers to use their students’ names to introduce all 26 letters, roughly following a suggested sequence. Teachers will follow a routine of identifying each new letter’s name, sound, and formation pathway and generating words that begin with that letter. The routine is explicitly included in lessons for the letters M, S, T, N, and W. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 3, the teacher posts a capital and lowercase M card onto the easel. The teacher and students say, whisper, and shout the letter’s name together. The teacher models the M phoneme for students. The teacher tells students that now they will learn to write the letter in two ways, as an uppercase and lowercase letter. The teacher models how to write the capital M in the air, and students follow along. Students write the letter in the air with their invisible markers. The teacher asks students to imagine the times they would write the letter m

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 8, materials outline the routine for learning new letters using the letter V. The teacher coaches students through naming the letter, saying the sound, writing the uppercase and lowercase, and generating words that begin with the same sound. 

  • There is a defined sequence for letter instruction to be completed in a reasonable time frame over the school year. For example: 

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Orientation, materials state, “The way that the unit unfolds is that you’ll use your children’s names and the letters in those names, to teach phonics concepts. You’ll draw names from a ‘Star Jar’, doing some quiet machinations so that you control the sequence of names and in the way, challenge your class to study letters in a sequence that roughly matches one we argue for in the Phonics Units of Study, Grades K-1.” The suggested sequence is listed as M S T N A R L D F I V P K X E B Z J O C H U W G Q Y

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the recommended sequence prioritizes letters used frequently when writing. 

  • Materials include frequent and adequate tasks and questions about how to follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page. For example:

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 4, the teacher tells students they will learn that when readers read books, they should read the cover first, then the first page, and continue reading the pages until they get to the end of the book. The teacher models reading the cover, turning to the title page and the first page, and reading each page until they get to the end of the book. During conferring and small group work time, the teacher can assess students’ concepts about print skills using a chart that includes book handling, pictures vs. print, left to right/top to bottom, page sequencing, letter vs. word, return sweep, and 1:1 matching, punctuation, letter name ID, letter sound, and high-frequency words. 

    • In Reading, Unit 2, Session 2, materials direct teachers to observe students’ understanding of directionality during workshop time. To support directionality, the teacher coaches students to put a finger in the top-left corner of the page then models left to right directionality with a return sweep. Materials suggest additional support of placing a sticker or star on the page to remind students where to start reading.

  • Materials include frequent and adequate tasks and questions about how to recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters. For example:

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 1, the teacher takes the Kindergarten class into the hallway to point out the environmental print to explain that words are composed of letters written in a sequence. Working in pairs, students try reading words in different parts of the school building, e.g., Bathroom, Paper Towels, Hand Dryer, Wash Your Hands

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 8, the teacher supports students in reading words by connecting the word, sound, and letter. Students are encouraged to search for the word in other places on the page. 

  • Materials include frequent and adequate tasks and questions about how to understand that words are separated by spaces in print. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 1, the teacher models writing a sentence, leaving spaces between words. The teacher coaches students as they write sentences on their whiteboards. Possible coaching moves noted for the teacher include: don’t forget to leave spaces. Students then line up, and the teacher tells students they are like a sentence, reminding them of the importance of leaving a space between words. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 5, Session 1, students line up in a single-file line. The teacher tells students that the line is like a sentence, then the teacher “reads” the sentence by pointing to each child and saying their name. The teacher tells students that the spaces between children in the line are important and models reading the names garbled together without spaces. Students practice “reading” the names in the line, leaving spaces between names.

Indicator 1p

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high-frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid-Grade 1 and through Grade 2.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1p.

Kindergarten materials provide explicit instruction in high-frequency words and regular opportunities across Phonics, Reading, and Writing units for students to practice identifying, spelling, and writing high-frequency words in isolation. Materials include a sufficient number of high-frequency words called snap words. A standard process for learning new snap words includes, “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!” Materials have a limited selection of emergent-reader texts in the form of poems, songs, and a selection of decodable texts. Reading of the provided emergent texts is often done through Shared Reading opportunities in which the text is displayed on a document camera. However, student practice of what is taught by the teacher in Shared Reading includes students using books provided in their book bags, which may not contain the newly taught words. Students reread trade books by memorization as well as by using letter and picture clues. While the materials include explicit instruction in applying letter-sound knowledge to decode words, there are limited opportunities for students to explicitly practice decoding skills using decodable texts to build toward automaticity and accuracy. The reading units mainly utilize a cueing system for solving unknown words that focus on the initial sound and meaning cues rather than on decoding strategies. 

  • Limited opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to purposefully read emergent-reader texts. For example:

    • Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.

      • In Reading, Unit 3, Session 2, following a mini-lesson on using a pattern when reading a book to help read almost every page and know what the book is about, the teacher engages students in a Shared Reading of a teacher-selected Level C text that has a pattern. Students read in unison and then whisper read the text as they discover the pattern presented in the text and use the pattern to decode. Students are encouraged to notice and use patterns as they read from their book bags for the Reading Workshop. 

      • In Reading, Unit 3, Session 5, the teacher models monitoring for meaning and structures when reading “Cat and Mouse”. Students practice reading a page with a partner and ask themselves if what they read makes sense and sounds right. The teacher invites students to read, and they are reminded to check their reading and try to fix it when it does not make sense or sound right. 

  • Materials do not support students’ development of automaticity and accuracy of grade-level decodable words over the course of the year. Minimal evidence is found in the materials, for example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 14, the teacher leads students in “The Vowel Shield Song.” At the end of each verse, the teacher writes a CVC word, and students read the word and point to the matching vowel on their vowel shields. 

  • Materials include systematic and explicit instruction of high-frequency words (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does). For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 13, the teacher introduces the process for learning new high-frequency words or snap words. The teacher writes the word me and reads it to students. The teacher shows students the “How to Learn a Word” anchor chart and reads through the following steps: “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!” The teacher guides students to practice each step with the word me. Students read the word, observe and share characteristics of the word, spell it orally, pretend to write it with their finger while the teacher models the letter formation pathway for each letter, then find a place in their writing to use the word. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 3, the teacher introduces the snap words look, at, and see. The teacher follows the routine for learning high-frequency words: “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!” 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 1, the teacher introduces the new snap word can. The teacher uses the familiar process of learning snap words: “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!” 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 18, the teacher introduces the snap word for. The teacher displays the anchor chart, “How to Learn a Word” and guides students to practice each step with the word for. Students read the word, observe and share characteristics of the word, spell it orally, pretend to write it with their finger while the teacher models the letter formation pathway for each letter, and then generate a sentence using the word and share it with a partner. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 5, Session 1, the teacher introduces new snap words: come, are, too, from. The teacher uses the familiar process of learning snap words: “Read it! Study it! Spell it! Write it! Use it!” 

  • Students have opportunities to read and practice high-frequency words in isolation. For example:

    • Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

      • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 11, the teacher adds new snap words to the class snap word chart. The teacher leads students in a choral reading of the snap word chart, pointing to each word as they read. The teacher challenges students to read the snap words in a different order and changes the order of the word cards on the chart. A student leads the class in a choral reading of the words, pointing to each word as they read. The teacher and students repeat the process. 

      • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 2, the teacher introduces a game to practice reading and writing snap words. In partners, one student chooses a snap word from their snap word pouch and reads the word. The other student spells the word on a whiteboard. The reader and writer compare and the writer makes any needed corrections to their spelling. Students switch roles and continue.

  • Materials include a sufficient quantity of new grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words for students to make reading progress. For example:

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the materials indicate that the Kindergarten materials explicitly teach about 50 high-frequency words. The order of words prioritizes high-utility words for emergent reading and writing. 

    • Kindergarten materials include:

      • Unit 1: me, a, the, I, like, my

      • Unit 2: look, at see, here, is this, it, in, an, and

      • Unit 3: can, to, do, we, be, me, got, went, was, she, he

      • Unit 4: am, did, how, you, on, up, fun, get, day, play, say, for

      • Unit 5: come, are, too, love, all, ball, had, will, go, so, no, by, has, as, her, him

Indicator 1q

Materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

Kindergarten materials provide instruction and practice in encoding words in connected tasks. As new word recognition and analysis skills are introduced, both the Phonics and Writing units provide opportunities for students to apply skills to writing sentences. Materials include opportunities to learn about one-to-one correspondences, syllable segmentation, rime and onset recognition, long and short vowel spellings, and identification of letter sounds and practice skills in isolation. The materials contain some opportunities to apply word recognition and analysis skills to decoding in connected texts. Materials include student copies of a limited selection of songs, poems, and emergent-reader texts to support instruction. Students are cued to practice newly learned concepts during Reading Workshop using their individual bags of books. However, it is unknown what text students read to connect and apply concepts. While the materials state that a leveled library with decodable texts is important, the materials do not provide these texts. 

  • Materials support students’ development to learn to demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant in connected text and tasks. For example: 

    • In Reading, Unit 2, Session 8, the teacher models using “sound power” to tackle tough words. The teacher explains that using sound power means that students use the sound of the first letter to help read the word. The teacher models using the first sound to help read a demonstration text. Students practice using the first sound of a word when reading pages in a demonstration text. The teacher encourages students to use sound power when reading their texts.  

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 4, the teacher introduces the letter S. After following the routine to learn a new letter, the teacher models revising writing to include the newly-taught letters M and S. The teacher points out words and pictures in a piece of shared writing that contain the /m/ and /s/ sounds, then adds the letters to the pictures or words. Students check their writing and add M and S as needed to their writing.

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 3, the teacher demonstrates writing the word folder by saying the word slowly, listening for and identifying each sound, and recording fldr on a chart. Using sentence strips and a marker, students work with partners to record the letter sounds they hear in words that the teacher dictates, e.g., fountain, sink, counters, computer, whiteboard, bookcase.

  • Materials provide limited support for students' development to learn to associate the long and short sounds with common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels in connected text and tasks. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 4, the teacher tells students that when they write a word, they say each sound in the word and listen for the vowel. The teacher models using CVC words to write a sentence that means something. The teacher uses letter cards to build the word dad, then orally generates the sentence, “I see Dad dig.” The teacher guides students to write the sentence, focusing on the medial vowel sounds. Partners continue the story, adding sentences, and focusing on medial vowel sounds in words. Students do not practice the long vowel sound in this activity. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 4, Session 9, students use picture cards of CVC words to generate and write sentences using CVC words. The teacher models saying the sentence, counting the words, then writing the words, focusing on the vowel sounds. Students do not practice the long vowel sounds in this activity. 

    • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 31, the teacher reads a poem called “The Case of the Silent E”  with VCe words but intentionally reads the words as short vowel words, not long vowel words. Students give a thumbs down if a word is read wrong.  When cued, the teacher stops and shows the word in the poem and how it looks with the VCe not VCV pattern. The teacher prompts students when you see a word with the e at the end, it’s going to make a different sound. The teacher models the words without an e and with an e for students to see the difference. Students reread the poem with a partner. 

  • Materials provide limited support for students’ development to learn to distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ in connected text and tasks. For example:

    • In Phonics, Unit 1, Session 1, the teacher uses the song, “Willoughby Wallaby Woo” to practice changing the initial sound of a word. Materials include student copies of the song lyrics. The teacher leads the class through the song multiple times, changing the lyrics to rhyme with a student’s name. Students say the student’s name by changing the initial sound to match a student in the class. 

    • In Phonic, Unit 5, Session 11, the teacher conducts a mini-lesson to generate word lists using the rimes ick, ell, uck, ow, and og. The teacher first shares a rhyming word poem with the students and has students snap their fingers when they hear a rhyme in the poem. Together with the teacher, students produce a list of words that rhyme with cow, and the teacher creates a short poem using the words created. Then, partners list words that rhyme with duck to make a poem.

  • Materials provide opportunities to read high-frequency words in connected text and tasks. For example:

  • In Reading, Unit 2, Session 4, the teacher conducts a mini-lesson on using a pointer to read snap words while reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear. The teacher models stopping reading at the snap word you and shows students how as a reader, the teacher recognized that word in a snap. The teacher continues reading with the students and stops to connect the word see as one of the snap words on the word wall. The teacher emphasizes how the words on the class word wall can be found in a text, and students know them in a snap. Students read copies of a familiar text, such as a class book, and use their pointer under snap words they read. 

  • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 3, the teacher displays the poem, “I Look Closely.” The teacher asks students to notice snap words in the poem, then reads the poem, pointing under each word. Students give a thumbs up if they hear a snap word. Students read the poem. 

  • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 11, materials explain that the program is designed in a manner that provides Kindergarten students with  frequent opportunities to read high-frequency words in their trade books baskets and related games and activities.

  • Lessons and activities provide students many opportunities to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills while encoding (writing) in context and decoding words (reading) in connected text and tasks. For example:

  • In Phonics, Unit 2, Session 12, the teacher displays a letter “written” by the class mascot. The letter contains four words that are missing the final sound, indicated by a blank line replacing the final letter at the end of the words bear, best, friend, and school. The teacher reads the letter with students, and students fill in the missing letters to complete the words. 

  • In Phonics, Unit 5, Session 4, the teacher shares copies of the poem “I Speak, I Say, I Talk”. The teacher leads students in a shared reading of the title and first four lines of the poem, asking students to pay attention to blends and give a thumbs up when they read a word with a blend. As students read, the teacher highlights the blends. Students continue reading the poem with partners, highlighting blends as they read. 

  • In The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 11, materials explain that the program is designed in a manner that expects Kindergarten students to participate in daily teacher-led interactive writing to help children “problem solve” new words together. 

  • Materials include decodable texts that contain grade-level phonics skills aligned to the program’s scope and sequence. For example:

    • In Phonics, “A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study,” Chapter 2, the materials state that a leveled library that includes decodable texts will be important for students to practice decoding CVC words. The materials do not include these decodable texts. 

    • Five decodable readers for cumulative review are available online in Unit 3. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 10, the teacher displays the decodable book “My Win” and models applying phonics skills to read the text. The teacher models identifying and blending onset and rime to decode words on the cover and the first page. Students read individual copies of “My Win” with partners, pointing to each word as they read. 

    • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 13, students read the decodable rhyming book, The Bug Hug with partners. The teacher models decoding the title. Students read the three pages of the book with partners. The rhyming words in the book are decodable. The book also contains words with long vowel patterns that have not yet been introduced. 

  • Materials do not include decodable texts that contain grade-level high-frequency/irregularly spelled words aligned to the program’s scope and sequence.

    • The program does not include a series of decodable texts designed to provide students with many controlled opportunities to read high-frequency/irregularly spelled words aligned to the scope and sequence. 

    • In Reading, Unit 3, Session 14, the teacher is prompted to “rally the class around reading more challenging texts by relying heavily on high-frequency words.” The teacher selects a familiar text that is at or above benchmark and does not have a pattern. The materials direct the teacher to use this book to demonstrate how readers can use high-frequency words when reading. The teacher models recognizing high-frequency words when reading and guides students to do the same thing with the next two pages of the demonstration text. Students read independently and use their high-frequency word power to read.  

Indicator 1r

Materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.

2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for Indicator 1r.

Kindergarten materials include assessments in print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, and word recognition. The materials include benchmarks for proficiency and an “If/Then” chart correlated to the assessments that provides information about which lessons, extensions, or small group lessons to use to reteach skills to students not meeting the benchmark score. The word recognition assessment includes overall attainment goals for the year but does not include benchmarks for proficiency. The materials provide the teacher with a recommended schedule of which assessment to administer that corresponds to when a particular unit of study is introduced and taught. The teacher is often encouraged to utilize the assessments as necessary to support instructional decision-making based on each student’s individual needs. Some assessments are recommended to only use parts as deemed necessary for each student. The Units of Study for Teaching Reading and Units of Study in Phonics materials sometimes present conflicting information about how and when to assess different skills. The teacher is encouraged to conduct running records during Reading Workshop to assist the teacher and student in book selection and lesson plan implementation based on student needs. Forms for running records assessments are included in the online resources, but the materials indicate that the books for these assessments must be purchased separately. Additionally, materials include general guidance on what to look for in foundational skills when completing a running record. The focus is primarily on reading comprehension and miscue analysis that focuses on MSV (meaning, structure, and visual cues). While conferring during Readers and Writers Workshop is discussed in the materials, specific guidance concerning how and when to include students' current skills and level of understanding is not provided. 

  • Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence of foundational skills. For example: 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, materials include five assessments for every Kindergarten student. If students “test out” of those five assessments, two assessments are to be used for Grade 1 students, and two assessments to be used for Grade 2 students. Some students will need to be tested on the suggested Kindergarten assessments beyond Kindergarten. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the text indicates assessment tools for each grade, followed by a more detailed explanation of each assessment. Some assessments include an asterisk, indicating that the assessment is also recommended in the Units of Study for Teaching Reading. The text states, “Of course, we also hope you are conducting other reading and writing assessments, including especially running records of your children’s reading and informal inventories of their writing particularly their on demand writing.”

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, materials include Kindergarten assessment tools:

      • Assessing Letter-Sound Correspondence: “Do You Know Your ABCs?” Identifying letter names of upper and lower case letters and identifying sound(s) associated with each letter. 

      • Assessing Digraph-Sound Correspondence: “Do You Know Your Digraphs?” Identifying sound(s) associated with each digraph.

      • Assessing Concepts About Print: “Help Your Teacher Read a Book”: Demonstrating knowledge of the “rules of the word” of print: text orientation, directionality, return sweep and letter versus words.

      • Assessing Phonological Awareness: Blending and Segmenting & Assessing Phonological Awareness: Rhyming, Blending, Segmenting, and Manipulating: Recognizing and producing rhymes, combining or blending parts of compound words, syllables in words, and individual phonemes into a whole word; segmenting compound words, syllables in words, and individual phonemes in words, manipulating: adding, deleting, and substituting.

      • Assessing Developmental Spelling: “Help Mabel Label a Picture Book: A Birthday Party” Recording initial consonants, final consonants, medial short vowels, and blends and digraphs when writing labels for items in pictures of a wordless book.

      • Assessing Snap Words: “Emptying Your Snap Word Pouch” Recording high-frequency and other important words with automaticity and writing high-frequency and other important words with automaticity.

      • Assessing Phonic Blending: CVC Words, CCVC words. (*The use of the word “Phonic” is a direct quote from the materials)

  • Materials include assessment opportunities that measure student progress of print concepts. For example:

    • In Reading, Unit 1, Session 4, during conferring and small group work time, the materials remind the teacher to informally assess students’ concepts of print by using observation and watching students’ book handling skills while moving around the room. Materials provide an example of a data sheet with key characteristics of concepts of print in a checklist. The teacher can put a checkmark next to each student demonstrating those characteristics, e.g., book handling; pictures vs. print; left to right/top to bottom; page sequence; letter vs. word; return sweep; 1:1 match; punctuation; letter name ID.

    • In Reading, The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, materials recommend administering the 13-point Concepts of Print assessment located in the online resources at the beginning of Kindergarten. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the materials recommend against administering to all students the same Concepts of Print assessment recommended in A Guide to the Reading Workshop. The Phonics materials suggest assessing print concepts through informal observation, then using the full assessment for students about whom the teacher has concerns. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the materials encourage the teacher to gather data about students’ print concepts. The teacher is told it is unnecessary to provide the complete assessment of concepts of print to all students. The whole concept of print assessment with 13 questions created by Marie Clay is available to the teacher on the TCRWP website and in the online resources for Units of Study in Phonics. The materials direct the teacher to use a condensed version of the full concepts of print assessment with four questions to ask individual students after teaching the first reading unit. The teacher is cued to administer the mini-assessment again to students who only got two out of four correct in a month. If students still cannot answer the four questions by December in the Kindergarten school year, it is recommended to administer the whole Marie Clay concepts of print assessment. Guidance to the teacher includes,Even if your students come to school unsure how to handle books, chances are they’ll pick up this concept and so much more, simply by immersion in their daily work.

  • Materials include assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonological awareness. For example:

    • In Reading, The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, materials state that phonological awareness should be assessed informally by observing students during conferences and shared activities.

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, there is a recommended schedule for assessment in Kindergarten. After Unit 1, the teacher is prompted to use the phonological awareness quick assessment for blending and segmenting. The assessment allows the teacher to gather data on the student’s ability to blend two syllables, blend onset-rime, and blend phonemes. The materials direct the teacher to start assessing a skill that they believe they would like more data on. Materials state the teacher is to decide whether to assess segmenting based on the data collected on blending to make words. The teacher is cued to reassess students within a few weeks as necessary. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, materials provide assessments for assessing phonological awareness, including: 

      • Rhyming: Includes a procedure for rhyme recognition and rhyme production. To score the assessment, the teacher places a checkmark in the column if students can correctly recognize rhyming words and can produce rhyming words. Students are asked if these words rhyme with five options included. Students are also orally given words and asked to state a rhyming word - 5 words. The teacher records the date of the assessment. No scoring guidelines are included. 

      • Blending and Segmenting: “Robot Talk” includes a procedure for administering blending and segmenting assessments. To score the assessment, teachers place a checkmark in the column if students can correctly blend or segment words and include the date the student demonstrated proficiency. When students can blend/segment the word from row 6, the assessment does not need to be given again. 

  • Materials include assessment opportunities that measure student progress of phonics and decoding. For example:

    • In Reading, The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, the teacher is told they will “want to find out which, if any, letter names and letter sounds each child can identify.” Materials tell teachers to use a “simple letter-sound identification assessment, which is available from many sources including TCRWP.” 

    • In Reading, The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, materials recommend informally assessing letter-sound knowledge during conferences and observations of student work by noting which letters students can identify. The materials recommend assessing students more formally in this skill if observations indicate a need.

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, materials indicate that the following assessments should be formally administered to all students: Letter-Sound Correspondence (after Unit 1, then as needed), Digraph-Sound Correspondence (after Unit 3, then as needed), Phonic Blending - Short Vowels (after Unit 4, then as needed), and Phonic Blending - Digraphs and Blends (after Unit 5). 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, materials provide an assessment for assessing letter-sound correspondence, “Do You Know Your ABC’s.” Assessment materials, procedure, scoring, interpreting the score, and letter-sound identification benchmarks are included. The teacher asks students to identify the name and sound of each letter. Benchmarks are included for letter identification and letter-sound for September, November, January, March, and June. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, materials contains an assessment for assessing digraph-sound correspondence, “Do You Know Your Digraphs.” Assessment materials, procedure, scoring, and implications for teaching are included. The teacher asks students to identify the sound of the following digraphs: sh, th, ch, wh, and ph. No benchmarks are included. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, the materials contain an assessment for blending and segmenting. It is noted that the assessment is not meant as a formal diagnostic tool but as a way to identify students who would benefit from additional support with blending or segmenting. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, the materials include an assessment for phonics blending: CVC and CCVC. The teacher sits one-on-one with the student and asks the student to read both real and nonsense words. If the student is able to decode the CVC words, directions indicate the teacher should move on to CCVC words. 

  • Materials include assessment opportunities that measure student progress of word recognition and analysis. For example: 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, materials provide a Kindergarten assessment for developmental spelling. For this assessment, the teacher gives a copy of the paper booklet called “A Birthday Party” to the student. The teacher asks the student to write their name on the back of the booklet. The teacher uses the story guide sheet and reads the transcript of the story repeating the noted words and asking the student to write those words where indicated on the booklet. Students write the words by slowly listening for the sounds. The teacher collects the booklets and scores them using the Developmental Spelling Scoring Assessment Sheet. Students earn points for various words based on the phonetic skill presented in the word they had to write, e.g., initial consonants, final consonants, short vowels, digraphs, blends. The teacher refers to a benchmark chart for the time of year the assessment is given and the desired scores. Benchmarks and administration are recommended after Unit 2, after Unit 3, and after Unit 5 of the Phonics Units of Study.

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, materials contain a Kindergarten snap words assessment to be given after Unit 3, as needed after Unit 4, and after Unit 5. For this assessment, the teacher should use the student’s individual bag of snap words. The teacher presents a word to the student and asks the student to read it aloud. If read in a snap, the teacher places a dot in the corner of the card. If the word card already has a dot in the corner, the teacher asks the student to write the snap word. If the word is written correctly, it is removed from the student’s snap word bag. The goal for Kindergarten is to read about 50 words with automaticity and write about 35 words with automaticity. 

  • Assessment materials provide teachers and students with information of students’ current skills/level of understanding. For example:

    • In Reading, The Guide to the Reading Workshop, Chapter 6, the materials encourage the teacher to conduct running records during Readers Workshop. Materials explain that when running records are conducted correctly, the teacher can share with students areas of strength, needs, and reading level that are used to guide book selection and lesson plan implementation. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the materials explain that the teacher needs to figure out norms against which the assessments gauge progress. The text states that determining if a child is “on track” depends on whose standards you are using. Materials say that Kindergarten is optional in some states and that Common Core Standards are no longer widely accepted across the United States, and that states that do use the standards have revised them. Materials state that one way to think about expectations is to “think about the levels of text complexity that students are able to handle at certain grade levels, and the implications those levels have on what students need to know and be able to do in phonics.” A chart details the “big work” readers need to do at corresponding phases of development and reading levels. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the materials state, “the purpose of these assessments is to check whether a child is developing phonics skills, and whether the skills are developing progressively so that you can shift your vigilance to other aspects of development. It is not really all that important to mark the difference between proficient and highly proficient phonics skills - those who are skilled with phonics will be putting most of their attention to reading and writing itself rather than AP level phonics achievements. Therefore, for students for whom reading, writing, speaking and listening appear to be progressing at pace, a detailed analysis of each minute portion of that child’s knowledge of phonics is usually not necessary. On the other hand, it is helpful for you to be able to see when phonics instruction isn’t sticking so that you can give that youngster an extra hand now, rather than waiting. If a student’s progress is worrying or puzzling you, you will want to conduct more detailed assessments to better understand what is going on. Chances are good you can make a world of difference.”

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, Assessing Concepts About Print, the teacher is told, “If children can answer these four questions soon after you teach the first unit, don’t worry, their concepts about print understanding is on track. If a child is able to answer three out of the four assessments, you might wait a month then assess again, using a different book, and these same four questions. For children who only answer one or two of the questions correctly the first time you give the assessment, or who are not able to answer all four questions by early December, you might consider giving them the full thirteen point assessment to pinpoint specific areas of confusion. With these results, you can plan small group intervention to support these children.”

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, the materials give guidance on interpreting the developmental spelling assessment. Materials state: “Benchmarks for proficiency with each feature vary, depending on the time of year you give this assessment. The chart below will help you set expectations and know when to plan additional support for students, depending on when you give this assessment.” 

  • Materials provide limited support to teachers with instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery in foundational skills. For example:

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 5, the materials state “these efficient assessments will give you the information you need, in most cases, while still being realistic in their demands on your and your students’ time. From there, you’ll be better able to use the Units of Study resources to support particular students in targeted ways. We’ve constructed an “Assessment If/Then” resource in the Appendix that can guide you from the area of need to targeted instruction. 

    • In Phonics, A Guide to Phonics Units of Study, Appendix, after administering the phonics blending assessment of CVC words, the teacher is provided a paragraph sharing implications for teaching. Materials state that if a student is having difficulty on the phonic blending CVC assessment they will require more support. The teacher might include a phonic-blending exercise as a warm-up for shared reading by selecting words from the shared reading text and leading the student in guided practice of phonic blending.The materials direct the teacher to address the readers' needs during conferences by coaching the student to practice decoding individual phonemes they encounter in print and blending them back together.

    • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Unit of Study, Chapter 5, the materials indicate that the teacher should use the results of the letter-sound correspondence assessment to determine the pacing of Unit 1, moving more quickly if most students know most letters and sounds. However, the recommended schedule for assessment calls for this assessment to be used at the end of Unit 1.

Indicator 1s

Materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills.

2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills. 

Kindergarten materials provide some opportunities for the teacher to differentiate instruction for students. In the mini-lessons for phonics instruction, the teacher is often cued to support students by scaffolding their learning through provided prompts during rug time practice. Most rug time and extension activities are completed with a partner or small group. Materials indicate differentiation occurs through students practicing and applying skills and concepts in their independent reading books at their individual reading level. The teacher directs students to take learning from the lesson for that day and use it during the Reading and Writing Workshop, where students are reading books from their own book bag and writing independently. It is unclear whether every student has the opportunity to reach mastery before moving on to the next lesson’s concepts. While the reading and writing units provide small group instruction for each lesson that can be used to differentiate and support individual student needs, the phonics unit materials do not include small group instruction within each individual session. The Small Groups to Support Phonics resource is the same book for Kindergarten and Grade 1. The If...Then….Curriculum is designed for Kindergarten - Grade 2. Because the resources span grade levels, there is a limited number of lessons for specific concepts, and not all skills have an additional lesson to support students with varying needs. The Guides to the Units of Study include limited information on supporting students who are English Language Learners and students performing below grade level, but these supports are not explicitly included in lessons within Units of Study. While opportunities for acceleration for students working above grade level may occur naturally in the Reading and Writing Workshop format, there is no guidance for supporting above-level students. The materials call for students to have access to texts at their reading level as a means of differentiation, but these texts are not included with the materials; and leveled reading would not guarantee students are practicing the skills taught during foundational skills instruction. 

Materials do not provide strong strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards.

  • Materials include online Spanish resources, which have teaching points for each session written in Spanish and anchor charts translated into Spanish. 

  • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 4, the materials explain that the teacher will lead small group lessons daily during reading and writing workshop time to give students who need it more practice with foundational skills. The small group lessons are detailed in a Teacher Guide, Small Groups to Support Phonics, and determined by the assessments indicated in the assessment schedule. Materials suggest that, among others, students who are English language learners and students with dyslexia will benefit from small group foundational skills instruction in addition to whole-group instruction. 

  • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, the materials state, “The most important thing you can do is listen when your ELL speaks to assess the sounds that he or she is confusing and coach immediately. Ask the child to study your mouth and even the placement of your tongue as you make a sound--invite him or her to copy you and practice isolating the tricky sound. Even a small bout of deliberate, multisensory oral practice, either tucked into a one-on-one conference or as part of small-group work, will reap tremendous benefits in helping with pronunciation.”

Materials provide limited strategies and supports for students in special populations to work with grade-level content and to meet or exceed grade-level standards.

  • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics K-1, Orientation, materials state that the provided small group lessons occur during Reading and Writing Workshop, and the main goal of the 5-7 minute small group lessons is to transfer all that the teacher teaches during phonics time into their reading and writing. Small group lessons are also recommended to individualize instruction based on assessments to support phonics learning. 

  • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, the materials indicate the teacher should provide students with flexibility in expressing what they know by offering alternatives to whiteboards such as magnetic letters, iPads, or voice-activated technology when appropriate. 

  • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 1, materials state that the whole-group nature of the phonics lessons means that “utterly crucial” differentiation for individual students will take place in small group work during the writing workshop, reading workshop, “choice time, and other stolen moments throughout your day.” Small group work is guided by the assessment-driven Small Groups to Support Phonics.

  • In Phonics, A Guide to the Phonics Units of Study, Chapter 2, materials state, “There will inevitably be children for whom additional, explicit instruction is needed. If you find that a student, even with much small-group support, is not developing a strong foundation of phonological awareness, you might decide to collaborate with an Orton-Gillingham trained specialist, to provide that student with additional support using specialized techniques such as multisensory instruction.” Materials suggest students who have been diagnosed as dyslexic be provided a small group phonics curriculum that is “especially designed for that youngster instead of participating in your whole class units. Wilson Phonics is one good place to look for help with this.” 

  • In Reading, If...Then...Curriculum, Introduction, it is recommended that the teacher looks across more than one grade level’s curriculum to meet students’ needs. It is also suggested that teachers support students by providing extra reading time each day to provide intervention and extra time for reading for all students. 

  • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Introduction, materials state lessons are not meant to be progressed through in a chapter by chapter fashion, but to be used for the teacher to “dip in and out of these chapters in ways that respond to your children’s needs and interests.” 

  • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 2, the teacher leads a small group of students who have not demonstrated proficiency in concepts of print or rhyming. The teacher compares blending syllables to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The teacher models saying and clapping the syllables in the word lollipop, then using a hand gesture like squishing a sandwich together to blend the syllables into the word. Students practice in partners with their names. The teacher gives students the following picture cards: cupcake, birthday, brownie, rabbit, flashlight, basketball, dinosaur, butterfly, banana, watermelon, caterpillar, and alligator. Students practice segmenting and blending the syllables of the words.

  • In Phonics, Unit 3, Session 3, the teacher models, and students practice saying a word slowly, listening to and recording the sounds. Possible coaching moves are included in the sidebar for teachers to use to support students, as needed. The guidance includes: Say the word slowly. Say it again; Catch that sound in your mouth. Which sound do you hear? What letter makes that sound? Look at the alphabet chart if you’re not certain. You heard a few sounds in that word. Say it again, slowly, and try to hear more sounds. Think about where that sound goes. Does it go at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a word? 

Materials do not regularly provide extensions and/or advanced opportunities to engage with foundational skills at greater depth for students who read, write, speak, and/or listen above grade level.

  • While the materials offer extensions for each daily lesson, extensions are not designated to be for students to engage with foundational skills at a greater depth. Additionally, extensions do not consistently align with the lesson focus and, at times, introduce a new skill. Materials do not indicate how or when to use extension activities. 

  • In Phonics, Small Groups to Support Phonics, Small Group 17, the teacher activates letter-sound knowledge with magnetic letters. Students then become word wizards and add labels to their writing. It is suggested that teachers can replicate this lesson with sentences. Possible coaching moves are included in the sidebar. 

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Not Rated

Criterion 2a - 2f

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a cohesive topic(s) to build students’ ability to read and comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.

N/A

Indicator 2b

Materials require students to analyze the key ideas, details, craft, and structure within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high-quality questions and tasks.

N/A

Indicator 2c

Materials require students to analyze the integration of knowledge within individual texts as well as across multiple texts using coherently sequenced, high-quality text-specific and/or text-dependent questions and tasks.

N/A

Indicator 2d

Culminating tasks require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a unit's topic(s) through integrated literacy skills (e.g., a combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).

N/A

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to achieve grade-level writing proficiency by the end of the school year.

N/A

Indicator 2f

Materials include a progression of research skills that guide shared research and writing projects to develop students' knowledge using multiple texts and source materials.

N/A

Criterion 2g - 2h

Materials promote mastery of grade-level standards by the end of the year.

Indicator 2g

Materials spend the majority of instructional time on content that falls within grade-level aligned instruction, practice, and assessments.

N/A

Indicator 2h

Materials regularly and systematically balance time and resources required for following the suggested implementation, as well as information for alternative implementations that maintain alignment and intent of the standards.

N/A

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3h

The program includes opportunities for teachers to effectively plan and utilize materials with integrity and to further develop their own understanding of the content.

Indicator 3a

Materials provide teacher guidance with useful annotations and suggestions for how to enact the student materials and ancillary materials to support students' literacy development.

N/A

Indicator 3b

Materials contain adult-level explanations and examples of the more complex grade/course-level concepts and concepts beyond the current course so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject.

N/A

Indicator 3c

Materials include standards correlation information that explains the role of the standards in the context of the overall series.

N/A

Indicator 3d

Materials provide strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.

N/A

Indicator 3e

Materials provide explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.

N/A

Indicator 3f

Materials provide a comprehensive list of supplies needed to support instructional activities.

N/A

Indicator 3g

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3h

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3i - 3l

The program includes a system of assessments identifying how materials provide tools, guidance, and support for teachers to collect, interpret, and act on data about student progress towards the standards.

Indicator 3i

Assessment information is included in the materials to indicate which standards are assessed.

N/A

Indicator 3j

Assessment system provides multiple opportunities throughout the grade, course, and/or series to determine students' learning and sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.

N/A

Indicator 3k

Assessments include opportunities for students to demonstrate the full intent of grade-level/course-level standards and practices across the series.

N/A

Indicator 3l

Assessments offer accommodations that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills without changing the content of the assessment.

N/A

Criterion 3m - 3v

The program includes materials designed for each child’s regular and active participation in grade-level/grade-band/series content.

Indicator 3m

Materials provide strategies and supports for students in special populations to work with grade-level content and to meet or exceed grade-level standards that will support their regular and active participation in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3n

Materials regularly provide extensions to engage with literacy content and concepts at greater depth for students who read, write, speak, and/or listen above grade level.

N/A

Indicator 3o

Materials provide varied approaches to learning tasks over time and variety in how students are expected to demonstrate their learning with opportunities for students to monitor their learning.

N/A

Indicator 3p

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

N/A

Indicator 3q

Materials provide strategies and supports for students who read, write, and/or speak in a language other than English to meet or exceed grade-level standards to regularly participate in learning English language arts and literacy.

N/A

Indicator 3r

Materials provide a balance of images or information about people, representing various demographic and physical characteristics.

N/A

Indicator 3s

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student home language to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3t

Materials provide guidance to encourage teachers to draw upon student cultural and social backgrounds to facilitate learning.

N/A

Indicator 3u

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Indicator 3v

This is not an assessed indicator in ELA.

N/A

Criterion 3w - 3z

The program includes a visual design that is engaging and references or integrates digital technology (when applicable) with guidance for teachers.

Indicator 3w

Materials integrate technology such as interactive tools, virtual manipulatives/objects, and/or dynamic software in ways that engage students in the grade-level/series standards, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3x

Materials include or reference digital technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other, when applicable.

N/A

Indicator 3y

The visual design (whether in print or digital) supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject, and is neither distracting nor chaotic.

N/A

Indicator 3z

Materials provide teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning, when applicable.

N/A
abc123

Report Published Date: 2021/10/25

Report Edition: 2018

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
CALKINS /PATHWAYS TO THE COMMON CORE 978‑0‑325‑04355‑5 Heinemann 2012
UNITS STUDY WRIT GR K TRADE PK 978‑0‑325‑04744‑7 Heinemann 2013
CALKINS /WRITING PATHWAYS 978‑0‑325‑05730‑9 Heinemann 2014
CALKINS /UNITS READING GR K W/TRADE PK 978‑0‑325‑07464‑1 Heinemann 2015
UNITS STUDY READING GR K 978‑0‑325‑07693‑5 Heinemann 2015
UNITS STUDY READ GR K TRADE PK 978‑0‑325‑07723‑9 Heinemann 2015
UNITS WRITING GR KW STK NOTES 978‑0‑325‑08947‑8 Heinemann 2016
CALKINS /UNITS WRIT K W/TB & STK NOTES 978‑0‑325‑08953‑9 Heinemann 2016
Units of Study: Phonics 978‑0‑325‑10553‑6 Heinemann 2018
MOUNTEER /SHOW AND TELL WRITING GR K 978‑0‑325‑10582‑6 Heinemann 2018
CALKINS /LEADING WELL 978‑0‑325‑10922‑0 Heinemann 2018
CALKINS /UOS PHONICS RES PK GR K UPD 978‑0‑325‑11059‑2 Heinemann 2019
UOS Phon Rsrce Pk GK Bx 1 UPD 978‑0‑325‑11060‑8 Heinemann 2015
UOS Phon Rsrce Pk GK Bx 2 UPD 978‑0‑325‑11064‑6 Heinemann 2015
CALKINS /TEACHING WRITING 978‑0‑325‑11812‑3 Heinemann 2020

Please note: Reports published beginning in 2021 will be using version 1.5 of our review tools. Version 1 of our review tools can be found here. Learn more about this change.

ELA K-2 Review Tool

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

For ELA, our review criteria evaluates 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 review criteria 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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. 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).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, 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.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, 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.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

  • Focus and Coherence - 14 possible points

    • 12-14 points: Meets Expectations

    • 8-11 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 8 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 18 possible points

    • 16-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 11-15 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 11 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 38 possible points

    • 31-38 points: Meets Expectations

    • 23-30 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 23: Does Not Meet Expectations

Math High School

  • Focus and Coherence - 18 possible points

    • 14-18 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Rigor and Mathematical Practices - 16 possible points

    • 14-16 points: Meets Expectations

    • 10-13 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 10 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 36 possible points

    • 30-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 22-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 22: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA K-2

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 58 possible points

    • 52-58 points: Meets Expectations

    • 28-51 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 28 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 3-5

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 42 possible points

    • 37-42 points: Meets Expectations

    • 21-36 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 21 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

ELA 6-8

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 36 possible points

    • 32-36 points: Meets Expectations

    • 18-31 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 18 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


ELA High School

  • Text Complexity and Quality - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meets Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks - 32 possible points

    • 28-32 points: Meet Expectations

    • 16-27 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 16 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 34 possible points

    • 30-34 points: Meets Expectations

    • 24-29 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 24 points: Does Not Meet Expectations

Science Middle School

  • Designed for NGSS - 26 possible points

    • 22-26 points: Meets Expectations

    • 13-21 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 13 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Coherence and Scope - 56 possible points

    • 48-56 points: Meets Expectations

    • 30-47 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 30 points: Does Not Meet Expectations


  • Instructional Supports and Usability - 54 possible points

    • 46-54 points: Meets Expectations

    • 29-45 points: Partially Meets Expectations

    • Below 29 points: Does Not Meet Expectations