This report is for a supplementary foundational skills program intended for use alongside a comprehensive core English Language Arts program.
The Phonics, Spelling and Word Study Lessons Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 materials reviewed partially meet the criteria for alignment to standards and research-based practices for foundational skills instruction. The instructional materials use an analytic approach to phonics. Materials include a limited scope and sequence that delineates the sequence in which phonological awareness and phonics skills are to be taught. The program does not present a research-based or evidence-based explanation for the teaching of these skills or for the particular hierarchy in which the skills are presented. Materials provide limited instructional support for general concepts of print. Materials provide explicit instruction in phonological awareness and phonics through systematic modeling; however, materials include 26 phonological awareness lessons with limited frequent opportunities for students to practice phonological awareness activities. Materials do not include systematic opportunities for students to review previously learned phonics skills. Materials include limited systematic instruction of high-frequency words and limited opportunities to practice reading of high-frequency words to develop automaticity. The teacher reads aloud poetry from Sing a Song of Poetry; however, materials do not contain resources for frequent explicit, systematic instruction in fluency elements and students do not read text with a focus on fluent reading. Decodable texts include poems from Sing a Song of Poetry that do not consistently align to the program’s scope and sequence for phonics and high-frequency word instruction and do not consistently provide practice of the decodable elements from the lesson.
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.