ELA Foundational Skills Summary of Alignment & Usability

The instructional materials reviewed for From Phonics to Reading Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 meet the criteria for alignment to standards and research-based practices for foundational skills instruction. The instructional materials use a synthetic approach to phonics. Materials include a scope and sequence that clearly delineates an intentional sequence in which phonological and phonics skills are to be taught. Instructional materials include explicit instruction in letter identification and formation and provide instruction in general concepts of print. Materials provide systematic and explicit instructions for phonological awareness and frequent student practice opportunities (K-1). Instructional materials include systematic and explicit instruction in phonics skills with repeated teacher modeling located with in the Teacher’s Edition and Instructional Guides. The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to decode phonetically spelled words using phonemes and/or syllables. The materials included partially meet the criteria of application and encoding of phonics in activities and tasks. While the student practice is frequent, there are missed opportunities for teacher instruction and modeling of encoding. Materials include recurring instructional routines explicitly model and teach both reading and spelling of high-frequency words, primarily using the Read-Spell-Write routine. Materials provide explicit instruction in phoneme/grapheme recognition, syllabication and morpheme analysis using the Word Study routines and when introducing new sound-spelling patterns in the Blend It exercises. Materials include explicit instruction in fluency. Explicit instruction in and modeling of phrasing, expression, intonation, rate, and accuracy is included in the From Fluency to Comprehension: Routines and Minilessons guide. Materials include decodable readers that align to the phonics and high-frequency word scope and sequence. Materials also regularly and systematically provide a variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate student progress toward mastery of all foundational skills; however, specific guidance to the teacher for next steps after assessments have been administered is limited.

The ELA foundational skills rubric contains only two gateways: Alignment to Standards and Research-Based Practices for Foundational Skills Instruction (Gateway 1) and Implementation, Support Materials & Assessment (Gateway 2). The structural pieces that we normally review as a part of Gateway 3 (e.g. differentiation) in our comprehensive reviews are critical to the success of a program, and are, therefore, interspersed and combined with other indicators in Gateway 2.