Evaluation for 4.3
Materials provide explicit systematic instruction in phonetic knowledge and opportunities for students to practice both in and out of context (K-2).
The materials provide systematic instruction in phonetic knowledge and opportunities for students to practice both in and out of context. All grade-level phonics patterns are included, as are all spelling patterns. A research-based sequence of foundational skills is included, including a rationale for the foundational skill progression. The materials provide opportunities to apply phonetics knowledge and grade-level high-frequency word skills to connected texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The first-grade Independent Reading Level Assessment (IRLA) levels are broken down into 2G, 1B, and 2B. Each level provides explicit instruction in reading skills and then immediate practice for students, both with texts and games. The IRLA action plan for first grade includes tracking/one-to-one correspondence and initial consonant practice. The teacher is provided with explicit, step-by-step instruction for teaching initial consonants, including numerous activities to reinforce learning.
In Level 2G there is continued practice with grade-level “Power Words.” Students learn up to 120 Power Words; initial blends and digraphs are also introduced at this level. In Level 1B, teachers introduce one-syllable words in which spelling patterns and analogies to known sight words are applied. In Level 2B, Level 1B skills are continued with new lessons including decoding two-syllable words with inflectional endings.
Explicit instruction of Grade 1 phonics patterns is done in small group instruction using the IRLA
Foundational Skills Toolkits. In IRLA Toolkits 2G, 1B, and 2B, instruction and practice are given for students to decode words with initial and final consonant blends, digraphs, and trigraphs; decode words with closed syllables, open syllables, and VCe syllables; vowel teams, including vowel digraphs and diphthongs; and r-controlled syllables. In IRLA Toolkits 2G and 2B, instruction and practice are given so students use knowledge of base words to decode common compound words and contractions. In IRLA Toolkit 1B, students use 10 Power Words to read 100 new words. Each lesson includes numerous activities teaching students how to learn to read and spell identified sounds within a new word; for example, identify what is already known, rhyming, a strategy to introduce, modeling, guided practice, phonological awareness, flash cards, decodable text, fluency, and spelling. In IRLA Toolkit 2B, students decode words with inflectional endings, including “-ed,” “-s,” and “-es.”
Students apply grade-level phonetics knowledge to connected texts as they read independently or with a partner during the reading workshop. Students choose books from within their independent reading level and then corresponding IRLA skills are practiced and reviewed within these texts. In each IRLA Toolkit, the phonetic knowledge skills presented give students practice with a decodable reader or a controlled text. In the IRLA Toolkit 2G, the teacher is guided through using a decodable reader to teach and practice using the “-l” initial blend. There are directions for the strategy, modeling, guided practice, rereading, segmenting, blending, generating words with the blend, and discriminating beginning sounds.
The IRLA Toolkit 2G includes instruction in initial blends, digraphs, and contractions. In Lesson 1, students learn two consonant-blends. The teacher uses a flipbook to present the blends in isolation before students match words. Students practice segmenting a word said by the teacher. After reading, the students look around the room for objects that begin with one of the blends. The materials include cards with the initial blends and pictures so that students can engage in a sorting activity. In Lesson 2, students repeat tongue twisters as a way to practice pronunciation of the blends. Follow-up activities to this lesson include matching pictures with missing blends and a poem with missing blanks in the words that would have the blends. In Lessons 3 and 4, the materials introduce controlled blends but include many of the same activities, such as picture sorts, tongue twisters, and fill-in-the-blank activities. Lessons 21–24 focus on contractions, and then students practice in the decodable reader You Can Do It. The IRLA Toolkit 1B includes instruction and practice with single-syllable words, r-controlled vowels, word family instruction, and common vowel patterns.
The IRLA Toolkit 2G includes over 120 Power Words, along with category words that cover numbers, family, days of the week, colors, and direction words. Skills lessons include practicing Power Words (high frequency words). IRLA Toolkit 2G is the beginning of first grade; students at this level have knowledge of the first 60 Power Words in the program and will learn another 60 Power Words in this level. In Lessons 12–15, students are learning both category words of numbers and the Power Words “her,” “house,” “so,” “or,” “day,” “give,” “now,” “how,” and “when.” Students then use those Power Words in their reading of Polar Bear Babies.
In the IRLA, teachers use results with each student to identify a baseline reading level; match
students with appropriate leveled text; identify skills/standards (including foundational skills) that are crucial to learn next, and the order in which they should be learned; design individual/small group/whole group instruction; and monitor progress.
In Unit 1, the teacher is given direction to select a text that is at the current grade level or IRLA level of most of the class to model thinking and word attack skills a proficient reader uses to read new words. Students are introduced to grade-level phonics patterns during the Morning Message and reading workshop mini-lessons. During one Writer’s Workshop, the teacher is advised to use writing to teach and practice beginning reading skills in a meaningful context. The teacher reinforces phonics instruction through writing. The teacher highlights the use of one or two initial consonants by describing the similarities between something written by the teacher and something written by the student; for example, “You used a ‘b’ for bird and I used a ‘b’ for the first letter in bird.” As the students share their writing, the teacher reinforces using speech to generate phonics-based spelling, initial consonant sounds including blends and digraphs, and writing one word/symbol/squiggle for each word said.
In Unit 2, during the Morning Message, the teacher is advised to use this time, while composing and after writing, to teach and reinforce Foundational Skills. This includes reviewing initial letter sounds, using environmental print, and/or correctly spelling 1G Power Words.
In all units, during the Morning Message, the teacher asks students for help to write words. This can include grade-level high-frequency words or words that are part of individual student Power Goals.
In all units, during one-on-one writing conferences with students, teachers use the “Underwriting Strategy” to record and edit students’ writing ideas using “conventional English,” and may note the use of proper spelling as it pertains to individual student Power Goals.