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The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Supports
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include a diverse variety of well-crafted and high-quality texts that include, but are not limited to, well-known children's literature such as folktales, fables, fairy tales, legends, and myths. Each text in the Literature Anthology, in the Resource tab, and in the units is crafted by a published author. The books cover multiple perspectives and a range of student interests.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, “Growing and Learning,” within the Literature Anthology, the students read a narrative nonfiction text called Gary the Dreamer by Gary Soto. Soto recalls various memorable events of his childhood that he remembers as important events. Through the story, Soto reveals how he has always been a dreamer throughout his life, using rich vocabulary and figurative language to vividly illustrate these events. As an illustration, Soto describes an experience on the playground slide, “At recess, we went on the slide. It was like a big shiny spoon, and slippery!” Soto uses the simile to reflect the childlike description of the slide.
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, in Unit 3 of the Literature Anthology, provides students a traditional fable with a moral but adds a cultural context from Cuba. The story incorporates Spanish language words and humor to add to student engagement and appreciation of diverse cultures. This text lends itself to a close reading focused on the author's purpose, the use of humor, or context clues.
Looking up to Ellen Ochoa by Liane Onish is a narrative nonfiction biography. The text discusses the life of the first Hispanic woman in space. The author writes children’s books and is a writer for educational children’s television shows that teach students about historical topics.
An expository text leveled reader from Unit 3, Destination Saturn, explains the ringed planet in a format that is accessible and engaging for students. Many photos and illustrations are included, and the accompanying text adds to the details outlined in each subheading. Subheadings give details about Saturn’s size, rings, appearance in the sky, and its moons. The inclusion of this nonfiction scientific text reflects students’ progress in learning from the simpler texts at the beginning of the year.
The Winningest Woman of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, by J. Patrick Lewis, a poem published in 2008, offers students an opportunity to experience what the Iditarod is like from the perspective of Susan Butcher, a highly successful dog sled musher, including what problems she encountered and where she traveled. While the poem does contain rhyme, the subject matter and lines include vocabulary that spans science and social studies content areas such as forty-two below and Anchorage to Nome.
In Unit 5, students read a biography of the historical figure Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote. The text chronicles Cady Stanton’s journey to becoming a staunch supporter of women’s right to vote. The biography details the various challenges she faced as she fought to be educated and gain the right to vote. The text provides students with rich vocabulary such as horrified, unfairness, and preposterous. Additionally, the author contrasts the time period in which Cady Stanton lived with her own strong beliefs. Students read about the strength of the human spirit and the importance of having a voice.
The materials include texts that span all grade-level specified TEKS in each unit. Literary text includes folktales, fables, fairy tales, legends, myths, poetry, and drama. Informational text includes a variety of text features and text structures. Argumentative texts contain claims, identify an audience, and distinguish fact from opinion. Digital and multimodal texts provided in the digital student edition and Build Knowledge videos include visuals, videos, and audio.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
Materials include print and graphic features of a variety of texts.
In Unit 1: Protecting our Parks, the story has maps that help the reader understand the geographical location of Yellowstone National Park. The text has subheadings and bold print that help organize the text. The vocabulary words are in bold to alert the reader that they are important and should be paid closer attention to in order to help understand the text. The photographs paint a clear, vivid picture of the environment and animals that make up the landmark. The captions below the pictures provide the reader with extra information to help understand the illustrations. A chart explains the meaning behind the National Park Symbol. Since this is an argumentative text, it has symbols that alert the reader of counterpoint sections that will give different aspects of the same problem.
In Unit 2, Vote! by Eileen Christelow has illustrations that grab students’ attention. It combines the customary paragraph format found in a story or book and the comic-like structure that seizes the reader's interest. The text found in the dialogue balloons gives the reader extra information to better understand the text.
In Unit 3, there are expository texts that include print and graphic features. Earth by Jeffrey Zuehlke informs students about the earth and its nearby neighbors in space. Color photos and diagrams are present on every page. The text is divided into sections, and sidebars provide more facts for students. Numbers illustrate facts about the solar system (such as the sun is 93 million miles from Earth, Earth takes 365 days to orbit the sun, etc.). Get a Backbone! (no author listed) classifies different vertebrate animals and includes diagrams, color photos, captions, and a table comparing different vertebrate animals.
In Unit 6, King Midas and the Golden Touch by Margaret H. Lippert, there are rich illustrations by Gail Armstrong. Pictures show a visual telling of events in the drama. For example, on the first page, there is an illustration of King Midas counting all his gold. Moreover, on another page, there is a picture of King Midas’s daughter turning into gold.
The materials provide a Text Complexity Tool Analysis for Interactive Read-Alouds, Shared Reads, and Anchor Texts. This document assigns a grade level to the passages and breaks down the genre, provides qualitative and quantitative information as well as reader and task considerations for each text.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Texts range from 470L to 830L, with most falling in the 600‒700 range. This range of Lexiles falls mostly in the proficient range for grade 3, with some titles below and above this range. For qualitative analysis, most titles have a breakdown for meaning, purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands that are listed by the publisher as “Slightly” to “Moderately” Complex. Although students continue to encounter “Slightly” and “Somewhat” Complex texts throughout the grade level, rigor increases over the year as more Moderately Complex texts appear toward the end of the materials. While references to research and evidence-based best practices are not directly linked in the analysis tool, many research white papers related to text complexity issues are included.
In Unit 1, Shared Text: America’s Landmarks and Memorials with a Lexile level of 790, is considered a grade 4 level text; however, the teacher provides support by guiding the lesson and modeling reading. In the category of “task considerations,” the analysis explains “the narrative provides teachers with an opportunity to have students analyze the structure of an argumentative text and use the strategy of asking questions about the text to understand the content.” The text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher lists the meaning as Moderately Complex as the author states an opinion and provides details to support it. The text structure is listed as Moderately Complex. According to the analysis, students would need to read the subheadings and connect them to details in the text to support the author’s opinion. The text language is listed as Moderately Complex because the text vocabulary features many historical terms related to the topic, such as historical names of places and figures. In the area of “Knowledge Demands,” the text is ranked Moderately Complex since students “may lack background information about the geography and history of the United States."
In Unit 5, the biography, Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone with a Lexile level of 700L is listed as Moderately Complex. The passage begins by asking readers a series of challenging questions and also asks students to imagine how they would react if they were discriminated against. This introduction guides readers to understand what motivated Elizabeth and sets the purpose of the passage. The author then switches to a third-person narrative recounting scenes from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s life in chronological order. The paragraphs are broken into short lines, as in a free-verse poem. Italics emphasize key words. The Language is Moderately Complex. There are sentences featuring multiple pronouns, challenging syntax, and internal punctuation. (“Her battle cry for the right to vote rang out: ‘Have it, we must. Use it we will.’”) The passage features challenging vocabulary specific to the topic (abolitionist, property), compound words (rule-breaking, strong-spirited, horseback, wildfire), and proper nouns (Seneca Falls, Declaration of Rights and Sentiments).
Three Shared Read poems from Unit 4 (“Ginger's Fingers,” “The Giant,” “Captain's Log”) reflect increasing rigor. The meaning and purpose are listed as Moderately Complex, because these narrative poems tell stories that have multiple layers of meaning, use different voices and styles, and are all connected by the theme of overcoming obstacles. “Captain's Log” is set in the past, as shown by the date entry of May 12, 1868. All three poems have structure as Moderately Complex. All three narrative poems use repetition and rhyme. The language for all three poems is “Moderately Complex." All three narrative poems feature figurative language, particularly metaphors. “Captain's Log” features words and phrases relating to sailing ships (mast, trimmed every sail, post, helm). The knowledge demands are listed as Slightly Complex, because students may not be familiar with details about the historical setting. Reader and text information included for planning include the considerations that students will need to re-read all parts of the poem, and that “taken together, the poems provide opportunities for reflection on the theme of heroism and overcoming obstacles. This connects with the broader unit theme of who inspires us and why.”
The materials include tasks that incorporate complex and consistent routines throughout the materials. Questions and tasks that students complete make connections to other texts, themselves, and other disciplines. Students must support their answers and ideas with support from their reading. The questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge and require text-specific references and integrate multiple TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The questions and tasks provide students with the opportunity to identify and connect big ideas. For example, in nonfiction text lessons, students identify main ideas to expand conceptual knowledge in individual texts and across texts. In fiction text lessons, students identify themes within the individual text and from text to text. Students engage in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking as they discuss and complete graphic organizers. Questions and tasks also ask students to look at references in the text.
In Unit 1, Family Traditions, the students analyze a photograph for text features. The teacher asks students, “How does the photograph of the Chinese family support the text?” During the Access Complex Text (ACT) section, teachers instruct students to consider connecting the newly acquired information with previously mastered concepts. The teacher provides guiding questions such as: Why do Chinese adults give their children bright red envelopes during the Lunar New Year? Look at the photograph on page 47. What is the main color of the child’s clothing? Why do you think the family chose for the child to wear red? To answer each question, the teacher emphasizes relevant text evidence and text features; to illustrate, the teacher points out, “Page 46 says that red stands for good luck and happiness. The family wants the child to have good luck and happiness.”
In a Unit 3, Week 2, Whole Group lesson, teachers use the expository text Earth from the Literature Anthology. A sidebar in the lesson outlines complex elements of the text (genre, purpose, connection of ideas, specific vocabulary, and organization). Students read, reread, and then integrate knowledge and ideas using the Close Reading Routine. During their first reading, students identify key ideas and details about discoveries in the solar system, take notes, and summarize their reading. During the rereading portion, students analyze the text, craft, and structure. Teachers question students more deeply at different points in the text and have students examine elements of the text more closely. As they examine text features, teachers question students: “What features of an expository text do you see on pages 198 through 199? How did the diagram and labels help you understand more about the solar system?” To learn more about comparing and contrasting structure, teachers guide students, “The word but can signal a comparison or contrast between two things. Reread the fourth sentence in the second paragraph on page 200. What is the author comparing? How is Earth different from the gas giants?” Students answer questions about word choice further along in the text. Teachers explain, “Authors of expository text use specific words to help readers picture the information they present. How does the imagery of 50 moons being able to fit inside Earth help you form an idea of the size of the Moon?” Questions such as these require students to think about what they already know and make connections to the new text they are reading.
In Unit 4, Week 6, students complete tasks using the text Forbidden Foods by Time for Kids. Teachers choose from a variety of text-dependent tasks that ask students to make connections and discuss important themes. Students compare what they learned about meeting challenges with what they have learned about other challenges in selections they have read in Unit 4. Students write about the question “Should foods, such as peanut butter, be banned at school if someone has an allergy?” Students clearly state their claim, organize ideas logically, and use facts from the article or a linked website that relates to their writing. Teachers have students with opposing viewpoints debate one another so that students gain proficiency in all areas of literacy through the task.
The materials provide opportunities for students to make inferences and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and to provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Questions and tasks require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students develop deep understanding of text and show understanding by participating in discussions as a whole class and partnerships. Professional development assists teachers with effective planning of in-depth studies of characters, the author’s purpose and craft, and themes in complex texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials require students to consistently analyze the literary and textual elements of text through the unit study of a genre in the “Anthology” texts and the “Shared Reading” text lessons. Students compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic. Students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning (in a single text and across a variety of texts). Students apply knowledge by engaging in independent writing experiences. Students analyze the author’s choice of setting and types of conflict. By examining the author’s purpose and author’s choices, students increase their comprehension of the text. The author’s language choice is covered in the “Spotlight on Language” sections.
In Unit 1, there is Time for Kids “Preserve and Protect” and “Protecting Our Parks.” Students reread parts of the Shared Reading “Preserve and Protect.” The teacher directs students to talk and write about the techniques used by the author of the selection. Students learn that in an argumentative text, authors present readers with multiple perspectives and supporting evidence. In the “Reading/Writing Companion,” students answer the “Essential Question” “How does the author help you understand the different opinions or claims people have about park visitors?”
In the text, the author provides two perspectives in the sections “Protect the Land!” and “What About My Business?” The teacher reviews the purpose of a heading and how students can use it to preview sections of the text. After students revisit the section “A Giant Forest,” the teacher asks, “What did you learn about the Giant Forest?” Students evaluate whether “A Giant Forest” is a good title or not. Sidebars in the text provide students with the opportunity to connect to the author’s purpose for including these features in the text. Materials provide scaffolds: “What does this sidebar give information about?” Next, in partners, students contrast national parks and monuments by pointing to provided information. The materials provide questions for students to consider, such as “How does the sidebar help you better understand how monuments and parks are different? (It includes lists that show the differences between the two.)”
In Unit 5, students practice using the comprehension strategy “Ask and Answer Questions” with the text Changing Views of the Earth. Students read the first paragraph and answer “What question does the author ask?” Students examine the “Text Features Diagram,” and the teacher reminds students that authors often use different types of text features in expository texts. The teacher asks, “Why did the author include the diagram?” and “How does it help you understand why breakthroughs came fast and furiously when aircraft were used instead of kites and balloons?” The teacher points out that this is where the troposphere and stratosphere meet. In the Spotlight on Language section, students read and point to the word kilometer. The teacher explains that the word combines the Greek root for thousand, kilo, with the word meter, (cognate: metro), which measures length or distance. The teacher asks, “How many meters is a kilometer?” The teacher points to the diagram and explains that km is the abbreviation, or short form, of kilometer.
In Unit 5, the Shared Readings are “Should Plants and Animals from Other Places Live Here?” and “New Arrivals Welcome.” Students examine the “Author’s Point of View.” Students answer “What is the author’s point of view on the topic? How does the author support this point of view?” The teacher thinks aloud: “When I read the text under ‘New Arrivals Welcome,’ I realize that it answers the question in the title. I know that nonnative species were brought into an area from somewhere else. The text says that they are ‘good for the economy,’ so I think the author believes they are helpful. The author also says ‘we would be a lot worse off without some nonnative species.’ Discuss why the word invasive is used to describe nonnative species, given the author’s point of view.” Students evaluate any impact the details have on the author’s point of view. Using the information in the text, students answer questions such as “What inferences can you make about ways to successfully incorporate nonnative species?” and “What are some of the different ways nonnative species benefit us?” Students answer the Author’s Point of View questions, such as “What word helps you understand how the author feels about nonnative species?” Students then compare the points of view of the two authors they read.
The materials provide a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. Students learn specific Tier 2, high-value words that they apply across texts and content areas. Teachers instruct students in research-supported vocabulary strategies, such as using Greek and Latin roots or context clues to determine the meaning of unknown words. There are weekly visual supports and multimedia practice opportunities. Students apply words in isolation and in context and use new vocabulary in writing tasks. Scaffolds and supports enable teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. There is a professional development and research rationale.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Teachers read and apply the whitepaper “Academic Vocabulary Study: Embedded, Deep,
and Generative Practices” by Dr. Donald R. Bear, which identifies five principles of vocabulary instruction: 1) it is intertwined with concept development, 2) it is taught in context, 3) it is learned in relation to text and not just via isolated words, 4) it is “deep and generative” in that when students learn new words, they also connect to many related words, and 5) it involves the study of morphology (word structure). Teachers use descriptions of activities such as sorts, set up directions for vocabulary notebooks, and reference further websites and sources.
In the “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment” part of the materials, there is a K–6 vocabulary assessment, ‘Critchlow Verbal Language Scales.” Students say the opposite of a word given by the teacher from a list of 75 words arranged in order of difficulty. Cut scores are identified from kindergarten to grade 6, so that teachers can determine whether students are working below, at, or above grade level.
The materials include a year-long plan for building academic vocabulary, including ways to apply words in context. Weekly plans consistently include vocabulary lessons for the core lesson from the “Literature Anthology” and for each level of small group differentiated instruction (“Approaching,” “On,” and “Beyond Level”). Across units, the teachers teach academic vocabulary in context in “Reading/Writing Companion” sections “Talk About It,” “Introduce the Genre,” “Shared Reading,” “Vocabulary Words in Context,” “Vocabulary (Word Parts),” “Grammar,” and “Share What You Learned.”
In Unit 3, the Literature Anthology text is “Birth of an Anthem” (from Time for Kids). Academic vocabulary words are highlighted and bolded within the text (agreeable, appreciate, descendants, vehicles, resources). Teachers point out suffixes within the core lesson: “Find patriotic on page 240. Use clues to figure out what the word means. (A patriot loves his or her country, and the suffix -ic means ‘relating to.’ Patriotic means related to love for your country.)” By analyzing and using suffixes, students develop their knowledge of the specific suffixes in this text and can also transfer the ability to deconstruct words into parts to find meaning in other texts they read. Students continue to review the words from the selection “Birth of an Anthem” (from Time for Kids) and apply their knowledge of the specific words to sentence starters such as “I appreciate my…. I try to be agreeable when I talk to my…. There were many vehicles parked at the….” Words for study both relate to the specific text of the week and are high-value, Tier 2 vocabulary words that students will encounter across multiple texts and content areas.
In Unit 5, Week 3, students further apply the strategy of using suffixes to determine the meaning of unknown words in a new “Practice Book” text, “Mississippi Steamboats.” Teachers model figuring out the meaning of the word fixable, and students work with partners to find the meaning of other unknown words.
An example of the scaffolds and supports for vocabulary development and differentiation is in Unit 4, “The Impossible Pet Show.” Materials include an array of opportunities for students to interact with vocabulary. Teachers use the “Routine” section on the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” to introduce important words, such as apologized. Students interact with vocabulary in “Your Turn”—an interactive multimodal activity where students match vocabulary with definitions; tasks become more challenging as students progress. Students participate in a “Reading Writing Connection” with vocabulary words such as apologize. After reading an example sentence, students answer the question “When have you apologized for doing something?” Materials provide differentiated instruction for students at various levels. In the “Small Group Differentiated Instruction” lesson (Approaching), teachers review core lesson words (e.g., agreeable, appreciate, vehicles) using visual vocabulary cards; students work with partners to discuss meanings and match words to context sentences. Teachers assess students independently using the online vocabulary practice activities.
The materials provide procedures and routines to support teachers and students in independent reading. Independent reading happens daily for an appropriate amount of time. Along with the various resources, the materials provide suggestions to maximize student choice and engagement. Students are held accountable for independent reading via teacher conferences, reader response forms, writing journals, products, and activities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides teachers with an Independent Reading Routine:
“1. Students select a book that interests them, using the Five Finger Rule or Additional Strategies to determine if it is appropriate for them.
2. Students read the book each day during Independent Reading time.
3. Students annotate their reading using Thinking Codes or their writer’s notebooks.
4. Students record what they’ve read at the end of each Independent Reading session on their Reading Logs or in some other way using Additional Strategies if needed.
5. Students share their opinion of the book by telling a friend, writing a review, or making a poster or some other product.
6. Students begin the process again with a new book.”
The materials articulate foundational practices for independent reading that align with research, which is cited. Students “read texts on their independent reading level, read more complex selections about topics that interest them or reread familiar texts or previously scaffolded texts.” Students choose from many resources, including but not limited to independent reading selections in the Literature Anthology, differentiated Genre Passages, Classroom Library trade books, and Leveled Readers.
The materials define what classroom practices should look like: “During independent reading time, you should see your students previewing books to decide which one to read. They might be reading titles, talking quietly with a partner, or flipping through a book to help them choose. Students should be reading quietly. They might also be participating in collaborative conversations, book talks, or literary circles; responding to what they read, or looking for another book.”
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides teachers with grade-level specific daily time allowances for independent reading and accountability practices. Students in grades 3‒6 read for 30‒40 minutes daily. Students record what they read via a Reading Log or through additional strategies such as Reader Response forms, sharing in literature circles, or conferencing with peers. Teachers confer with students using the Teacher-Student Conference Routine. Students create products and give Book Talks using the Book Talks routine to show accountability. Additional strategies help teachers encourage and differentiate for all readers, such as classroom libraries, individual book boxes, and collaboration with the school librarian on topics of interest.
The materials develop students’ composition skills across various genres. Students have multiple opportunities to write informational texts, literary texts, as well as argumentative texts. Opportunities to address multiple audiences and to practice correspondence writing are also available. Resources are in both printable and digital form, and writing resources span the entire year of instruction, helping to build students’ stamina and skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a Writer’s Notebook section with teacher and student resources that are both in print (hard copy) and digital form. The materials cover the entire year of instruction (Units 1‒6) and cover multiple text types. Each unit focuses on 1‒2 different writing styles and provides instruction, resources, and teacher support materials for each part of the writing process. In Unit 1, students write personal narratives and persuasive essays. In Unit 2, students write expository essays and poetry. In Unit 3, students write expository essays and feature articles. In Unit 4, students write realistic fiction stories and narrative poems. In Unit 5, students write biographies and opinion essays. In Unit 6, students write research reports and narrative poems. Writing exercises are unit-specific and address genres and texts that students are currently reading. The writing genres are TEKS aligned, and the genres build from more personal and concrete to more research-based and abstract writing tasks over the year of instruction.
In Unit 1, teachers use Gary Soto’s Gary the Dreamer as a mentor text to introduce personal narrative writing. Teachers create an anchor chart outlining the features of narrative writing and point out that writers use words and phrases to make their writing more interesting so that readers will want to read on. Teachers focus attention on how the author’s purpose informs narrative writing by discussing questions such as “How does Gary Soto make reading about his pets more interesting?” Students analyze descriptive language with questions such as “What do you picture in your mind when you read Gary Soto’s descriptive language?” Students then draft their narratives. Students refer back to the sequence structure they learned about earlier during the planning phase as they write their drafts. Teachers remind students to use signal words to show the order of events. Students use precise words, descriptive language, and imagery to help readers picture the events. Pairs of students read and discuss each other’s writing to check that it is in order and makes sense. Next, students revise their personal narrative drafts and focus on sentence fluency. Teachers review the following points for sentence fluency and ask students to raise their hands if they would answer “yes:” “Do you use a variety of sentences in your story? Do any of your sentences end with an exclamation point? Do you have some long and some short sentences? Are any of your sentences questions? Are there any sentences that are unclear or do not add important details to your story?” Volunteers share examples, and students revise their drafts. Unit 1 also provides an opportunity for argumentative writing. After reading Protecting Our Parks, the teacher discusses how writers use facts to support the claim that is presented in a persuasive essay. Teachers emphasize to students that a well-supported claim will be more persuasive to the audience. Students reread a section of Protecting Our Parks. The teacher points out how the author includes proven facts rather than beliefs to support the claim that it is important to visit state parks and landmarks. Students use the excerpt as a model to write their own paragraph about their topic.
In Unit 2, in “Research and Inquiry,” students have a writing correspondence activity. Students learn what a thank-you note is and think about people in their town who work hard to provide services. Students review a sample letter and identify why the letter is written. They choose a person who works in their town who deserves a thank-you letter. Students write a thank-you note and include a reason why they are thankful and write in a friendly, informal tone using everyday vocabulary and their name. Teachers review the list of elements on Reading/Writing Companion and discuss differences between spoken and standard written English and why it is important to follow the conventions of standard written English in the note.
In Unit 3, students plan an expository essay about a planet. Students research a planet, add facts and details to their plan, and write a draft of their expository essay. Students revise their essays using structured questions. The teacher asks each question, and the students raise their hand if the questions apply to their essay. Questions include “Does your essay begin by presenting the planet you choose to write about? Did you support the main idea with specific details about this planet? Did you summarize the important ideas in the conclusion? Did you use a catchy ending that left the reader with a lasting memory?” They share their example, and the teacher asks the next question and continues the process. In Week 4, students revise, edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their expository essay. In Week 5, students write a draft of their featured article. In Week 6, students revise their feature article using structured questions such as “Does your feature article have a strong central idea? Do you support your central idea with details? Have you used time-order signal words to help readers follow the sequence of events? Does your feature article end with a strong conclusion? Do you leave readers with something to think about?” The teacher asks the questions, and the students raise their hand and share it if it applies to them.
In Unit 5, students identify the elements of a biography essay. In Week 2, students identify people who have been good citizens in society and conduct research. Students think about their audience as they plan their draft. Students write drafts focusing on important facts and dates and write information in a logical order. Students write the first sentence of their biography and focus on using correct verb tense. In Week 3, students revise their biography using structured questions. In Week 4, students revise, edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their biography. In Week 5, students will identify the elements of an opinion essay. Students choose a topic, begin planning, and focus on the organization of an opinion essay. Students write a draft and add facts and details that support their opinion. In Week 6, students revise, edit, proofread, publish, present, and evaluate their opinion essays.
The materials include writing tasks requiring students to use details from texts to support answers given. Students analyze and synthesize their own ideas as well as those from mentor texts they read. Students must provide text support for both process writing and shorter-term writing tasks such as constructed response questions. Tasks are scaffolded as the instructional year progresses and grows in complexity over time.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1 provides multiple opportunities for students to use evidence from the text to support their opinions and claims. For example, in Week 1, students read, A Room to Grow. The students write the answer to the question “How does Jill feel about Mama and Papa’s indoor garden?” Then they circle the text evidence in the story. They also come up with a question, write it in their book and underline the answer to the question. In Week 2, using the story, Gary the Dreamer, students answer the question “How is Gary different from his classmates?” They must cite evidence to support their answer. Students also answer “How is knowing what Gary did as a child important to understanding his autobiography?” Students must provide words or phrases from the text to support their answers. In Week 3, students listen to the story, Ready for Aloha. The students write a summary, including the main idea and details from the text to support their retelling.
In Unit 2, students read a piece titled “Vote!” During the lesson, students answer essential questions such as “How does the author help you understand what happens at a swearing-in ceremony?” In the “Talk About It” section, students reread sections of the text and discuss what happens during and after a swearing-in ceremony. Next, students “Cite Evidence” using a graphic organizer to record text evidence from the expository piece that illustrates events occurring before and after a swearing-in ceremony. Students provide a short-answer response to the essential question using the sentence starter “The author helps me understand what happens by….” In the “Respond to Reading” section, students use their graphic organizer and notes to write a response. Teachers read the prompt aloud: “How does the author help you understand how American citizens are responsible for the way our government works?” Teachers ask, “What is the prompt asking you to do?” The teacher then prompts students, “Let’s reread to see how the text and illustrations help us answer the prompt.”
In Unit 2, Week 3, students analyze the anchor text “The Castle on Hester Street.” Students collect text evidence in a graphic organizer and categorize it in two boxes: “What do the characters say? What does it mean?” Teachers ask questions to remind students to cite text evidence in their responses, such as “What clues in the dialogue help you get to know Julie's grandparents? Write text evidence in the diagram.” Using their collected evidence, students complete the sentence frame, “The author uses dialogue to….” In addition to collecting relevant parts of the text, this response requires students to synthesize what they have learned about the author's purpose from listening to the shared read and then rereading the text.
In Unit 3, Week 1, after reading the story, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, students analyze the text by answering the question, “How does the author help you visualize how Martina feels about Don Cerda the pig?” Students must write text evidence. Students also answer the question, “How do you know what kind of character Don Lagarto is?” They must provide text evidence to support their answer.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students analyze an expert model from the Literature Anthology and use text evidence to answer questions as they demonstrate what they have learned. Students re-read the first two paragraphs of The Talented Clementine and use text evidence to answer the questions, “How do you know this is realistic fiction? How does the author help you understand how Clementine feels at the beginning of the story?” Students record their responses in the Reading-Writing companion.
In Unit 5, Week 1, students respond to the text "Irma Rangel, Texas Lawmaker.” Students complete a graphic organizer by listing details and the author's point of view. Students then write a response to the question, “Do you agree with the author's point of view?” Teachers remind students that when they cite text evidence, they look for text that supports their response. This response comes later in the year and requires students to make an evaluative judgment of not only Irma Rangel but of the author’s opinion as well as their own.
The materials facilitate students’ coherent use of the elements of the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. There are opportunities for students to practice and apply conventions of academic language when speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Grammar and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide opportunities for students to develop writing skills through the writing process and opportunities for students to publish their writing. Students complete the tasks through the implementation of the Writer’s Notebook. Writing tasks grow in complexity. “Response to Reading” activities provide students with sentence starters and opportunities for group discussion. Teacher routines and procedures include opportunities for listening and speaking, and sentence frames guide student conversation.
In Unit 1, Week 1, after reading the story, Room to Grow, the Respond to Reading activity presents students with a writing prompt, “How does Kiku change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?” “Grammar Connections” reminds students that as they write to remember to capitalize the names of people and places they live and to write in complete sentences. In Week 3, after reading The Dream Catcher, the Respond to Reading activity presents another prompt to the students, “How does the author help you understand how Peter’s feelings change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?” The Grammar Connections reminds the students to check over their work to make sure that they wrote using complete sentences.
In Unit 1, Week 1, “Writing & Research Inquiry Space project Investigate: Caves,” students use a digital game-like tool to get directions and conduct research on different types of caves, how they are formed, and some of the animals that live in caves. Students go through six levels of the task that address all phases of the writing process: analyzing the task, evaluating sources, taking notes, writing an outline and draft, revising and editing the draft, and publishing and presenting the draft. Students have opportunities to build composition skills as they identify purpose and audience and develop a research plan. Students guide themselves through the tool and select highlighted topics to watch videos for skills they need to develop (such as how to write for your audience); they may skip those topics that they already understand. Students type responses to prompted questions and explore parts of an online museum as they complete tasks. Teachers view student progress as students move through the tasks and save work.
Weekly lesson plans all contain explicit, systematic grammar lessons. In Unit 3, Week 3, students practice past-tense verbs via an online activity or a standard paper resource from the Practice Book. Online, students complete sentences with the correct past tense verb choice (talk, talked, talking, talks) in sentences such as “After school, we...about our homework.” On the Practice Book page, students read sentences aloud, such as “Last week, doctor Bennet spoke to our class about healthy eating.” They then rewrite them with the correct spelling for titles and other abbreviations.
In Unit 3, in Weeks 1‒5, students work on various grammar skills such as action verbs, subject-verb agreement, past & future tense verbs, and combining sentences with a verb. They have Practice Pages and an online option to practice the skill. There are “Talk About It” activities for small group instruction to scaffold and support learning. In Week 2, Talk About it, partners create five sentences with future-tense verbs and trade sentences with another partner. One partner reads a sentence, and the other identifies the future tense verb using a question form such as “Where is the future-tense verb in ‘He will go now’?” In Week 5, Talk About It, in pairs, students write five sentences with the same subject. Then students read their sentences to their partners. The partner states how the sentences should be combined. Students then discuss the subject-verb agreement in the new sentences.
In Unit 6, Week 3, after reading Athena and Arachne, Respond to Reading asks students to respond to the prompt, “How does the author use dialogue to help you understand the conflict between Athena and Arachne?” Grammar Connections has students review their responses to ensure that they are using quotations marks correctly, as well as commas to set off a direct quote.
The materials provide a year-long systematic and explicit program for students to practice cursive handwriting. Teacher guidance includes objectives, lesson activities, and assessments with specific questions to help students evaluate their own handwriting.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Handwriting Workbook and Teacher’s Edition are available for all grades 3‒6 students and teachers, respectively. The Handwriting Workbook provides a comprehensive program for students to learn cursive. The Handwriting Workbook contains 70 lessons. There are six units in The Handwriting Workbook and Teacher’s Edition and provide ample practice for the school year. Students start in Unit 1 with a review of print by writing upper and lower case letters. Students categorize letters by shape and review rules for spacing, punctuation, and writing numerals and sentences. Students practice correct writing position according to their dominant hand and complete lessons transitioning and comparing manuscript and cursive letters. Students then move into Units 2 & 3, which are arranged systematically, and teach students to write letters and words in cursive. The teacher teaches letters in order of difficulty. The materials group letters together with other letters made using similar strokes (such as strokes that curve up — letters i, t, e, and l, strokes that curve down — letters o, a, c, and d). Students write letters and words that contain the current letter learned; they also write letters and words using letters from previous lessons. In Unit 4, the students progress to writing sentences in cursive. In Units 5‒6, students write symbols, the names of people and states, and short stories in cursive. Each unit builds on the students’ cursive handwriting skills and reinforces skills through practice. Each unit culminates in an assessment.
There are various components of the lesson cycle in the Teacher’s Edition. Also in the materials is “Taking Tests,” which has the “Objectives,” “Materials,” and “Getting Started.” This section provides teachers with information on what they need to do. In “Using the Page,” there are directions on how to use the workbook page. In “Extension,” students get additional practice on the tested skill. In “Evaluate,” teachers have questions to help children evaluate their writing: “Do your words sit on the bottom line?”, “Are your letters the correct size and shape?” and “Do your letters begin with the correct stroke?”
Teachers guide students on how to form letters using the Stroke Directions such as “Begin at the top line; slant left and down to the bottom line. Lift.” for lowercase a. Teachers ask specific questions to help students evaluate their own handwriting that builds on prior learning, such as, “Are your letters about as wide as the models? Does the loop on the H touch the first slant stroke at the middle line?” Activities span beyond the pages in the practice book and involve other learning modalities, such as having students look through magazines to find words that begin with the focus letters for the lesson, then writing those words in cursive, or using chalk to write words.
Handwriting lessons are in the writing lessons. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, as students write their personal narrative draft, teachers remind students to connect upper and lowercase letters efficiently and proportionately. Teachers remind students that when they write, they should write their words, thoughts, and answers legibly with the appropriate amount of space between words. In “Evaluation,” students answer some True or False questions about the formation of cursive letters and practice cursive writing based on the skills taught. Students also self-evaluate as they circle their best letter for each letter practiced. Teachers help students evaluate their writing by asking these questions: “Do your tall letters touch the top line?”, “ Do your short letters touch the middle line?” and” Do your letters with descenders extend below the bottom line?”
In Unit 2, the teacher asks students a series of questions, and students must write the answer in cursive. In Unit 3, students answer a series of questions about cursive handwriting, such as, “How do lower case letters i and t begin?” “What line do all tall letters touch?”.
In Unit 4, students complete a paragraph by filling in the blank using the words from the word bank. They use their best cursive handwriting. Also, in Unit 4, students learn to write T and F. The objective is for students to identify and write the cursive letters T and F and to write sentences. Teachers introduce the letter T while saying the strokes aloud. This process repeats for letter F. Students trace the letters T and F on their practice page and work independently on writing a sentence. The materials provide the Extension and “Evaluate” section for this lesson.
In Unit 5, students complete the writing prompt in cursive handwriting. In Unit 6, students write a short story, a news article, a theme paper, a report, a letter, a poster, and a form in cursive.
The materials are structured to elicit reading comprehension and provide opportunities for students to speak and listen to texts. Throughout the school year, students use the “Talk About It” section found in all the units to collaborate and discuss the text being studied. Most oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported responses to demonstrate knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts.
Evidence Includes but is not limited to:
In every unit (1‒6), Week 1, Week 3, and Week 5, there is an “Introduce the Genre” section where the teacher reads aloud and models a comprehension strategy. The students then use the strategy to retell the story using evidence from the text. The oral tasks in these sections ask students to provide clear, concise, and well-defended text-supported claims gained through analysis and synthesis of text.
In Unit 1, after reading Gary the Dreamer, students answer, “How is knowing what Gary did as a child important to understanding his autobiography?” Using the “Talk About It” activity, students reread the first paragraph on page 13 and talk with a partner about how Gary played with his toys. Students cite text evidence in a chart. The teacher asks,” How does the character help you learn more about his character?” In the Talk About It section, students look on pages 14 and 15. Then turn and talk with a partner about what they see and what it tells them about Gary. In Week 2, Paired Section, students read, Sharing Cultures. After reading Sharing Cultures, students reread paragraphs 3 and 4 and talk with a partner about how Pat Mora shares her culture with others and circle text evidence to support their answer. After rereading paragraph 7, students turn and talk with a partner about the heading and draw a box around the text evidence to support their answer. Also in Unit 1, the materials provide opportunities for students to participate in speaking and listening activities to demonstrate comprehension in the Talk About It activity. After reading Yoon and the Jade Bracelet, students answer the essential question: “How does the author help you understand how Yoon feels about the present her mother gives her?” Students talk to a partner about what Yoon really wants for her birthday and answer the question, “How do you know?” Students “Cite Text Evidence” and fill out a chart answering the question “What words and pictures show how Yoon feels?” Next, partners or small groups refer to and discuss their completed charts and writing responses from those pages.
In Unit 2, students read the text Sailing To America. During the shared read, teachers reread part of the text and have students respond. Teachers reread paragraph 1 and ask, “What did Uncle Sean do when he first got to America?” The teacher is to “Have students predict how Uncle Sean might help Da when he gets to America.” Teachers reread paragraphs 2‒4 and ask, “How does Danny feel about moving to America?”. The teacher guides students, “Have students find text evidence that shows how Nora feels about moving to America. Guide them in making a prediction about how Nora will help Danny feel better.” Students make inferences based on text evidence to make their predictions.
In Unit 3, students read Martina the Beautiful. Using the Talk About It activity, students answer the question “How does the author help you visualize how Martina feels about Don Cerdo, the pig” by talking with a partner about how Don Cerdo smells to Martina and what she does. They also answer, “How do you know what kind of a character Don Lagarto is?” Students share what clues help them answer the questions and cite their evidence. In Week 5, after reading from the text Birth of an Anthem, students practice using the Talk About It activity and talk with a partner to answer the questions “What inspired Francis Scott Key to write ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’?” and “How does the sidebar on page 240 help you understand what unofficial anthems are?” Students cite their evidence.
In Unit 4, students read the text, Gray Wolf! Red Fox!. During the shared read, teachers reread part of the text and have students respond. Teachers reread paragraph 1 and ask, “What animals are foxes related to?” The teacher is to “Have students describe the ways dogs, foxes, and wolves look alike.” Teachers reread paragraphs 2 and 3 and ask, “How is the gray wolf like a dog? Have students find text evidence that shows two ways in which the gray wolf and the red fox are alike.” Students pair up to summarize the selection orally using notes they have taken during the lesson and questioning.
In Unit 5, students read Elizabeth leads the Way. In the Talk About It section, students reread page 370 ad 371 and talk with a partner about what Elizabeth Canton says and does and provide evidence to answer the question,” How does the author use what Elizabeth says and does to help you understand her personality?” Students also reread page 379 and talk with a partner about what Elizabeth thinks about women's rights. Students cite evidence from the text to support their answers. In Week 3, after students reread page 393 of Clever Jack Takes the Cake, The “Think About It” has students talking with a partner about what Jack is doing and citing evidence.
Within the program, students engage in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, in both formal and informal settings. Guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussion are clearly outlined for teachers, with additional suggested supports. Students express their thinking and can evaluate their participation in collaborative conversations. Students give organized presentations and performances and use the conventions of language to speak appropriately.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “K–6 Instructional Routines Handbook” provides guidelines and routines for “Collaborative Conversations.” “Collaborative Conversations” occur at the beginning of every week or genre study, as teachers introduce concepts and “Essential Questions,” during close reading, during guided practice and independent practice, and when students respond to and write about texts they are reading. Materials outline specific criteria for success; these include understanding the focus of the conversation, making statements, asking questions related to the focus, listening respectfully to one another, and engaging in multiple exchanges. In these exchanges, students build upon the ideas of others to clarify their thinking and express new thoughts.
The materials contain collaborative conversation routines that guide students through a systematic lesson cycle: “1. Introduce the focus of the conversation. 2. Review relevant guidelines to support student participation. 3. Provide specific information so students know exactly what to do. 4. Monitor student conversations and provide corrective feedback as necessary. 5. Close the conversations.” Materials also suggest additional supports such as role-play, displaying sentence starters, or posting a word bank.
Students self-evaluate and regularly give their peers feedback on their conversations. Teachers ask questions such as “What went well in your conversations this week? What would you like to see happen differently next time?” Also, some videos help model collaborative conversations for students. Models are customizable by grade level. There are student-friendly anchor charts to post in the classroom. One such poster guides students on “How to Have a Collaborative Conversation”: “Listen to the person speaking. Take turns speaking. Respect each other's feelings and ideas. Ask and answer questions about what others are saying about the text. Ask questions to get more information. Say your ideas.”
In Unit 1, Week 1, Collaborative Conversations, “Take Turns Talking,” the teacher helps students understand that there are agreed-upon rules, norms, and protocols to use during discussions. For example, as they take turns talking, students should “wait for a person to finish before they speak and not speak over others, quietly raise their hand to let others know they would like a turn to speak, and ask others in the group to share their opinions so that all students have a chance to share.” In Week 3 Collaborative Conversations, students “Ask and Answer Questions” as they discuss the concept being studied. The teacher reminds them to “ask relevant questions to clarify ideas or comments they do not understand, wait a few seconds after asking a question to give others a chance to think before responding, answer questions thoughtfully with complete ideas, not one-word answers, and build on ideas of others by responding and relating to comments made in multiple exchanges.” In Week 5, Collaborative Conversations, “Add New Ideas,” as students engage in partner, small group, and whole class discussions, the teacher encourages them to add new ideas to their conversations. The teacher reminds students to stay on topic and speak in complete sentences when asked to provide details or clarify their statements; connect their ideas to things their peers have shared; look for ways to connect their personal experiences or prior knowledge to the conversation; and speak clearly, at an understandable pace, using standard English.
In Unit 4, students have Collaborative Conversations in partner, small group, and whole class formats about the Essential Question for the unit: “How can others inspire us?” Teachers ask, “Do you know any courageous people who inspire you? Why do they inspire you? What are you inspired to do?” Students discuss in pairs or small groups. Teachers model using a graphic organizer to generate words and phrases related to people who inspire. Partners continue the discussion by talking about people who inspire them in their everyday lives. Teachers remind students that all ideas, questions, or comments are important and should be heard; to respect the opinions of others; to ask relevant questions if things are unclear; and to share opinions, even if they are different from others’ viewpoints.
In Unit 5, Week 5, after reading the argumentative text “Here Comes Solar Power,” students create an energy source comparison chart in their “Reading/Writing Companion” books and present it to the class. In the chart, they compare different sources of energy such as natural gas and hydropower. Students answer questions as they prepare for their presentation, such as “An interesting fact I learned about sources of energy is…. Before I present, I will think about how to explain….” Students use a specific “Presenting Checklist” to ensure that they are using correct conventions: “I will practice presenting my chart. I will name the two sources of energy I am comparing. I will explain the facts about two sources of energy. Then I will point out how the two sources of energy compare.” Students evaluate their presentation by writing a response to “I think my presentation was....”
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes. Students analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources as well as organize and present their work to an audience of peers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Every grade level has three “Inquiry Space” projects available in the “Scope and Sequence” as options throughout the year; they are not tied to any particular unit. The three digitally based research tasks are “Investigate: Caves,” “Take A Stand: Overfishing,” and “Write About: Frogs.” Each research project builds in rigor: from investigating, to taking a side on a controversial issue, to writing about a specific topic. All projects are broken down into steps that include short-term and lengthier inquiry process learning. Each task is completed over several weeks via carefully sequenced steps. Each project integrates reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. For example, in the Inquiry Space research project Investigate: Caves, students research caves, write a report, and present their findings. As they read and research, students listen to oral directions while using the self-directed digital tool. They think about various texts read during the project and revise and edit their writing. Students select four sources from the digital tool to skim and scan. Students evaluate both text and video sources for reliability and relevance to see if it will be useful for their research by answering questions: “Will this source answer my questions? Is this source reliable?” If students choose wrong answers (such as responding “Yes” when a source is not reliable), teaching videos pop up to inform and guide students to the correct choice. Once sources are saved, students move on to take notes from each source. Students paraphrase as they record facts and questions about their sources. Students continue to consult their sources and notes as they write an outline for their reports by entering a topic sentence, main ideas, supporting details, and a concluding statement.
The materials provide students with opportunities to discuss primary and secondary resources in the “Research and Inquiry” section of the lesson, which is aligned to Units 1 and 5. Also, through Research and Inquiry in Units 1, 3, and 5, students have multiple opportunities to practice organizing and presenting their research to their peers. For example, in the Unit 1, Week 4 Research and Inquiry assignment, students determine a topic and generate questions about the topic. They then figure out the best way to research it. The students and teacher talk about formal inquiry (using encyclopedias, books, articles, and reliable websites) and informal inquiry (talking to people, asking questions, and observing to get information) to determine the best way to get information about a family tradition. Students write a question about the tradition and state a way to find the answer through formal and informal inquiry. After gathering information, students create a “Culture Quilt.” They write a paragraph about the tradition and draw a picture on the other side.
In Unit 3, after reading “Earth and Why the Sun is Red,” students participate in a Research and Inquiry assignment. The students create a project on the solar system: They use two sources to find interesting information about the solar system; select how to present the information, such as through a persuasive essay, poem, or expository essay; and include a works cited page. Students also create a poster to go with their written work. The teacher instructs students to practice presenting their project and written work. Students fact check for accuracy. The teacher discusses each item on the “Presenting Strategies” checklist. The teacher guides with sentence frames: “Before presenting, I will fact check my presentation by….” “I think the information in my presentation was….” “I know because….” Partners and small groups meet to rehearse and fact check their work. The teacher models ways to present and gives tips such as to maintain eye contact with the audience and not with the poster. The teacher discusses being a part of the audience and reviews the behaviors of an effective listener. During the presentation, the audience writes down any questions. Then the teacher guides a discussion of the presentation.
In Unit 5, after reading “America Leads the Way” and “Susan B. Anthony Takes Action!” students participate in a Research and Inquiry assignment. Students select a local issue that they would like solved. Students research the problem using primary and secondary resources. They create a poster about the issue, telling what the issue is and writing about what is being done to solve it. The teacher directs the students to practice presenting their poster. Students have various options for presenting, such as creating a digital poster. The teacher discusses each item on the Presenting Strategies checklist. Students use sentence frames for support: “As I practice, I will use the following points to discuss my poster….” “I think my presentation was…I know because….” The teacher models ways to present; discusses being a part of the audience; and reviews the behaviors of an effective listener. During the presentation, the audience writes down any questions. Then the teacher guides a discussion of the presentation.
The materials contain a coherently sequenced set of high-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Questions and tasks are designed to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Students interact with different texts and apply their knowledge of vocabulary and comprehension as they complete tasks. Research requires students to read and integrate concepts from multiple texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials have three digitally based research tasks: “Investigate: Caves,” “Take A Stand: Overfishing,” and “Write About: Frogs.” Each task is completed over several weeks via carefully sequenced steps. Each project builds in complexity and integrates reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking. Students interact with different texts and apply their knowledge of vocabulary and comprehension as they complete each level of the task. Research requires students to read and integrate concepts from multiple texts. Students can seek help from the teacher when needed, but they work with increasing independence through the self-paced, digital tool. Each unit also begins with an “Essential Question,” and students subsequently seek the big ideas found in each text.
Students have opportunities to build research skills throughout the materials and increase their independence. For example, during the “Inquiry Space” research project Investigate: Caves, students work over several weeks to research caves, write a report, and present their findings. As they read and research, students listen to oral directions while using the self-directed digital tool: “Your class is learning about caves. Your teacher has asked you to write a report about caves to publish on the school’s website. Your report should identify different types of caves and explain how caves are formed. You should also identify some of the animals that live in caves. You will present your report to your teachers and classmates.” Students select four digital sources, evaluating both text and video sources for reliability and relevance to see if they will be useful for their research. Once sources are saved, students move on to take notes from each source. Students paraphrase the information and write an outline for their reports, with a topic sentence, main ideas, supporting details, and a concluding statement. Then, students write drafts and self-check with questions such as “Does my topic sentence summarize what my report is about, and will my introduction grab the attention of my audience?” Students revise and edit their reports, answering questions such as “Did I use linking words to connect my paragraphs? Do my sentences vary?” Students confer with peers and use a “Peer Review Checklist” to finalize and publish their drafts; the checklist asks about what the partner liked, suggestions made, and changes. Students continue to answer questions to self-evaluate, such as “Did I listen to what my partner had to say? Did I proofread my final draft?” Finally, they plan and present their findings to the class and listen to other students’ presentations, using the “Presentation Checklist” and “Listening Checklist” as they do so.
In Unit 3, Week 4, during the reading of Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, students answer the questions “What happens when Martina pours coffee on the pig?” and “Why doesn’t Martina want to pour coffee on the mouse?” After reading the stories Martina the Beautiful Cockroach and Get a Backbone, students make connections to the texts. Students answer the question “How is the way George Stubbs painted a zebra like the way the authors of Martina the Beautiful Cockroach and Get a Backbone describe different animals?” After looking at the painting and reading the caption, students talk with a partner about what makes the animal unique. Students cite evidence in the text and then think about how the authors used words and phrases to do the same. Then they complete the frame “Both the artist and the authors describe animals by….”
In Unit 5, Week 3, “Words in Context” in the “Reading/Writing Companion” asks students to participate in the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” routine using the unit’s focus words (admit, barter, consider, creation, humble, magnificent, payments, reluctantly). The teacher and students discuss the word admit by looking at the picture and using it in a sentence: “When you admit to something, you confess to it. Cognate: admitir.” The routine is repeated until all words have been discussed.
The materials support distributed practice over the entire school year. Questions and tasks build in academic rigor over time and incorporate higher-level thinking such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The provided supports and scaffolds are multimodal and provide choice for reinforcement of learned concepts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Short sessions and lessons for reading and writing require students to listen, speak, and think. Every grade level has six units. Each unit focuses on a genre. The same lesson structure is found in Weeks 1, 3, and 5. The first section is “Introduce the Concept,” where background knowledge is built around an “Essential Question.” For example, in Unit 1, the question is “How do people from different cultures contribute to a community?” The next lesson is “Listening Comprehension: Introduce the Genre,” where students listen to a text read aloud and list the characteristics of the text. The list defines the genre. Week 2 and Week 4 have the same lesson sequence, which is “Anchor Text: Literature Anthology,” “Responding to Reading,” “Writing (Genre),” and “Grammar and Spelling Practice.”
Regular spiral review activities are included both on paper and in digital materials, such as in Weeks 1 and 3 of every unit in the “Practice Book.” Each unit contains digital practice games that students can access. Games provide immediate feedback and opportunities for analysis of errors. In the digital “Structural Analysis Activity: Compound Words,” students practice and apply compound words by reading definitions and choosing the correct compound word that matches the definition; this allows for additional support of the Unit 1, Week 1 “Vocabulary” lesson. Additional support materials are found on the Practice Book “Vocabulary Strategy—Compound Words” page. Students read sentences from the text “Joseph Bruchac,” identify compound words, and define them in sentences like “His grandfather showed him how to walk softly through the woods and how to fish in the lakes and rivers.”
In Unit 1, Vocabulary, students review a concept learned in the previous grade: compound words. Teachers model locating and dividing compound words. Materials guide: “Help students locate other compound words, such as sunlight on page 6 and cookout on page 7. Guide them as they find the two smaller words in each compound word. Discuss how knowing the smaller words helps them pronounce the compound word and predict its meaning.” Students respond to sentences from the text by discussing with partners and then writing new sentences with target compound words; for example, using classmate in answering “What things do you do with a classmate?”
The materials have distributed practice across a unit. In Unit 3, the teacher presents the Essential Question “What do we know about Earth and its neighbors?” The teacher reads the story “Our Home in the Solar System” and models thinking using think-alouds. Students read the story “Earth and Its Neighbors” and respond to the text: They summarize the text and identify its main idea, key details, text features, craft, and structure. In Week 2, students read “Why Is the Sun Red?” and respond to the text by making connections and identifying the author's craft. In Week 3, students listen to the story “Bear, Beaver, and Bee,” and the teacher models her thinking in think-alouds. Students read the text “Anansi Learns a Lesson” and then respond to it by visualizing as well as identifying literary elements, craft and structure, and illustrations and lessons. In Week 4, students read “Get a Backbone!” and make text connections and identify text structure. In Week 5, students listen to the story “California Gold Rush,” and the teacher models her thinking through think-alouds. Students read “Moving America Forward” and respond to the text to summarize as well as identify text structure, text features, craft, and structure. In Week 6, students read the article “Saving Our Oceans” and identify text features. Finally, students take an assessment to show what they know.
The materials help students integrate literacy skills over the course of the year. For example, students practice word analysis skills in Unit 5. In an activity, students identify prefixes and suffixes and use them to determine word meaning, reflecting their progress in word analysis skills over the year. Students read the last paragraph of the “Differentiated Genre Practice” text “Hiram Revels: the First African American Senator.” Teachers model figuring out the meaning of highly. Then students work independently or in pairs to use prefixes and suffixes to figure out the meanings of other unfamiliar words found in the text. This is a practice done across the units all year long. The materials also include scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills in the digital “Spelling Activity: Inflectional Endings.” Students practice and apply suffixes by sorting words into columns using keywords (base words) or word parts (suffixes), allowing for additional support of the Unit 5 “Vocabulary” lesson.
The materials include a research-based sequence of instructions for grade-level foundational skills. There are sufficient opportunities for student practice to achieve grade-level mastery. Foundational skills are taught in a systematic and explicit TEKS-aligned order across the material in each unit. Materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills to promote automaticity both in and out of context. “Practice Book” activities and digital games provide additional practice opportunities for building foundational skills. Professional development whitepapers, videos, and lesson specifics allow teachers to support students in need of effective remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The whitepaper “Foundational Skills, Grades K-5” and the video Three Levels of RTI, both by the nationally recognized educational researcher and consultant Dr. Jan Hasbrouck, outline the four essential prerequisite foundational skills for reading print concepts, fluency, phonological awareness, phonics, and word recognition. The “Scope and Sequence” for each unit contains a “Phonics and Spelling” sequence of instruction, which systematically develops knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis skills through explicit instruction that aligns with grade-level TEKS. Also, decoding strategies are taught in a systematic, explicit, TEKS-aligned order within the “Vocabulary” lessons in each unit. Practice Book activities and digital games provide additional practice opportunities for the lesson skills. The “Instructional Strategies Handbook” gives teachers access to systematic routines and practices to support students that need effective remediation. There are work activities for phonological and phonemic awareness, blending, and segmenting. Phonics routines also assist teachers with sound-by-sound blending, building words, and decoding multisyllabic words.
The materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills. In Unit 1, teachers display “High-Frequency Word Cards 1–20” to students and follow a routine to promote automaticity for learning high-frequency words. Teachers model and then ask students to state the word, spell the word, and use it in a sentence. Teachers flip through the word card set. Students chorally read the word. Teachers provide opportunities for students to use the words in speaking and writing. For example, they provide sentence starters such as “The family...at the diner.” The teacher also asks students to write each word in their “Writer’s Notebook.”
Materials provide opportunities to develop knowledge of grade-level word recognition through systematic lessons. In Unit 1, Week 1, the teacher assigns students spelling words with short vowels a and i. The teacher displays the words and then says each word and emphasizes the short vowel sounds. The teacher points out the CVC and CVCC patterns in the words to help build spelling knowledge. The teacher demonstrates sorting the words by pattern. With a partner, students sort the words based on their patterns and write their answers in their notebooks. In Week 2, the teacher assigns the students spelling words with short e, o, and u. The teacher displays the words and then says each word and emphasizes the sounds short e, o, and u. The teacher points out the CCVC, CVCC, and CCVCC patterns. The teacher demonstrates sorting the words by pattern. With a partner, the students sort the words and write the answers in their notebooks. In Week 3, the teachers assign the students spelling words with silent e and the pattern CCVCe (TEKS 3.2Bi). The teacher helps students analyze the word by displaying the words and then saying each word, emphasizing the long vowel sound. The teacher points out the pattern CCVCe in the words and demonstrates sorting the words. With a partner, students sort the words and write the answers in their notebooks. In Week 4, the teacher assigns words with long a (TEKS 3.2Bi). The teacher displays the words and then says each word emphasizing the long /a/ sound. The teacher points out the patterns in tray (ay) and plain (ai). The teacher demonstrates sorting the words by pattern. With a partner, students sort the words and write their answers in their notebooks. In Week 5, the teacher assigns words (TEKS 3.2Bi). The teacher displays the words and sounds out the words, emphasizing the long o sound. The teacher points out the patterns o, ow, oe, o_e, and oa and demonstrates sorting the words based on patterns. With a partner, students sort the words and write their answers in their notebooks.
In Unit 2, the teacher explains the definition of a prefix to help students with word analysis skills. The teacher discusses the meaning of the prefix un-. The teacher uses the word happy and adds the prefix un- to make the word unhappy and discusses what the word means now. The teacher models using the prefix re- to help determine the meaning of the word reread. Students independently locate the words unsure and recounted and discuss the meaning of the words and how the prefix helps them define the words. In pairs, students practice using prefixes and base words to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words in the text.
In Unit 6, the teacher explains to students how knowing Greek and Latin roots can help them determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. The teacher discusses the meaning of astro (star) and naut (ship or sailor), then points out the word astronaut and breaks down its meaning and other related words. Then the teacher models how to use Greek and Latin words to figure out the word astronomy. Students use Latin and Greek roots to determine the meaning of the word lunar. The teacher explains that a root word is the simplest form of the word with no prefixes, suffixes, inflectional endings. The teacher models using the word completion. Then the students work in pairs to figure out the words possession and obsession.
In Unit 6, Week 2, to help students decode words, teachers model using syllable types. Teachers write the word table on the board, breaking it into syllable types and categorizing them (open syllable ta- and final stable syllable -ble). Teachers model sounding out parts and blending them into longer words. Students identify final syllables and determine whether the first syllable is open or closed for a list of new words (e.g., purple, bundle, mitten, global, eagle). Students practice and apply word analysis skills with partners by writing and reading sentences using the words. Students continue to apply this skill in the “Leveled Reader” text Reach for the Stars. If students need remediation, teachers revert to an earlier lesson on consonant -le syllables.
“Additional Resources” found across the materials for Grades 3–6 are Tier 2 “Interventions for Fluency” (“Using Fluency Intervention”) and “Intervention/Word Study” (“Using Phonics/Word Study Intervention”). The resources provide a lesson for Weeks 1–5 of every unit with a review lesson. Materials explain their purpose and use and also provide progress monitoring tools, instructional routines, and instructional modifications.
The materials include tools to support and direct teachers in assessing students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills according to TEKS English Language Arts across grades K–6. Teachers have access to materials that allow them to assess each student’s skill set and then place them in the correct groups with appropriate materials to fill the gaps. Materials support the teacher in working with students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or self-correct understanding, and employ rereading when appropriate. Materials also provide detailed guidance and record-keeping opportunities so that teachers can use information to make instructional decisions. Professional development guides and videos offer in-depth understanding on how to administer and utilize diagnostic assessments.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills (e.g., skill gaps in phonics and decoding) both in and out of context. For instance, the 325-page “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide” provides teachers with “assessment options to measure critical components of state standards for English Language Arts across grades K–6.” Teachers use the Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide to place students into appropriate instructional levels within the program as either “Approaching Level,” “On Grade Level,” or ‘Beyond Level.” It includes screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring assessments. “Foundational Skill” assessments include “Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Subtests,’ “Letter Naming and Sight Word Fluency” tests, “Oral Reading Fluency and Phonics Survey” tests, “Inventories of Developmental Spelling,” and “Critical Low Verbal Language Scales for Vocabulary.” There are “Informal Reading Inventories” for each grade level to measure students’ application of foundational skills in context. Materials provide recommendations for aligning to products such as DIBELS Next and TPRI inventories with the program. Additional guides for teachers include the “Assessment Components and Resources” chart, the “Assessment Administration Guide,” the “Know Your Reports User Guide,” the “Assessment Handbook,” and a guide to “Prepare Students for Online Assessment.” Expert program author videos are also available, such as Jan Hasbrouck’s “Informal Reading Assessments and Progress Assessment.” “Additional Resources” for Grades 3–6 include “Tier 2 Intervention Vocabulary,” “Tier 2 Intervention/Word Study,” “Tier 2 Intervention: Grammar and Writing,” and “Tier 2 Intervention Comprehension.” Teachers can use these for guidance and direction to respond to the needs of each student while monitoring growth and mastery.
The Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide supports teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ literacy needs, based on tools and assessments appropriate to the grade level. The guide gives specific assessments to use and grade-level-specific guidelines for placement. In the introduction section of the resources, the teacher finds “Placement Decisions” for Grades 2–3 on page xii. This tool directs the teacher on what assessments to conduct and where to place the students in terms of instructional materials (Beyond Level, On Level, and Approaching Level) based on the results of their assessments. The materials provide several resources to monitor and assess students’ growth. For grade 3, teachers give the Oral Reading Fluency Assessment, Reading Comprehension Tests, Sight Word Fluency Assessment (if applicable) and Phonics Survey Subtests (if applicable) to students. There is a flowchart with guidance for specific score points. For example, “If students score in the 50th percentile or higher on the Oral Reading Fluency Assessment AND 80% correct or higher on the Reading Comprehension Tests, teachers begin instruction with Wonders On Level materials. Use Beyond Level materials for students who score high on placement assessments and easily complete On Level assignments.” Materials also suggest that at the beginning of the year, teachers make instructional decisions about which lessons to use from the “Foundational Skills Kit” based on results of the Placement and Diagnostic Assessment.
The materials also support the teacher in working with students to self-monitor and self-correct their understanding of context. For example, in Unit 6, the teacher explains the meaning and importance of accuracy. Then, using the story “Athena and Arachne,” the teacher models accuracy using the “Reading and Writing Companion.” The teacher models how to use the context to confirm or self-correct for accuracy. The teacher pairs up students to practice reading each sentence aloud and use the context to confirm or self-correct as they read. The teacher also discusses with students what they can do if they come across challenging text. The teacher models how to monitor and adjust their comprehension as needed, reread something that they do not understand (maybe multiple times), and evaluate details to help with understanding key details and new facts. If needed, students can use the additional online resources such as the “Differentiated Genre Passage” Theseus and the Minotaur: A Play.
The materials provide opportunities for students to develop fluency and accuracy. Each unit contains fluency lessons related to the main reading selection. The ancillary materials and online digital activities contain fluency opportunities. Students complete independent reading, close reading, and shared reading to build fluency with grade-level texts. Lessons and practice activities include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. Progress monitoring assessments provide resources for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide students opportunities to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills. For example, in Unit 2, students read the grade-level text Sailing to America. In the “Fluency” section of the lesson, teachers discuss how the characters are feeling and how students can show these feelings when they read. Teachers model reading the first paragraph with expression; partners then practice reading it with expression.
Other opportunities for building foundational reading skills are in Unit 3. Students read Martina the Beautiful Cockroach and, as a class, analyze the prompt “How does Carmen Agra Deedy help you predict how the coffee test will turn out for each character?” Students reread the text for details to help answer the prompt. They recall how the text structure’s problem and solution help them identify the sequence of events in the text. Then students review pages 50–52 in the “Reading/Writing Companion” with a group or partner to share their completed charts and write responses to the prompt “The author helps me understand that the little mouse is perfect for Martina by….”
Materials include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. In Unit 4, Week 3, before reading Gray Wolf! Red Fox! the teacher provides explicit instruction on intonation. The teacher provides a definition of intonation and models, using the text on page 137 of the Reading/Writing Companion. Then the teacher discusses how their voice changed as they read the questions in the first paragraph. To apply their learning on intonation, students record themselves reading to demonstrate fluid reading with a focus on using intonation correctly. The teacher provides feedback as necessary. If needed, students can use the additional online “Differentiated Genre Passage” “Adaptations: Grizzly and Polar Bears.” In Week 5, before reading “Ginger’s Fingers,” the teacher defines the meaning of expression. Then, the teacher models while reading “Ginger’s Fingers.” While reading, the teacher uses expression when reading the words shooting stars, adventurous, faking, sounds, ocean waves, and deep sea caves. The students read the poem with a focus on expression and record their reading. The teacher provides feedback as needed. If needed, students can use the additional online Differentiated Genre Passages “Why I Run” and “If I Could Just Get Out of Bed.”
The “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Guide” provides “Informal Reading Inventory” and “Oral Reading Fluency” passages for Grades 1–6. As teachers administer the Oral Reading Fluency assessment, they determine the “Oral Reading Accuracy Rate,” divide the WCPM by the total number of words read, and capture this information on a recording sheet. Teachers use the “Prosody” scoring table on the recording sheet to measure a student’s ability to “Read in Phrases,” “Pace,” “Syntax,” “Self-Correction,” and “Intonation.” Teachers score students on an “Oral Fluency Scale,” allowing for the tracking and improvement of their performance over time. At each grade level, there are two fiction and two nonfiction reading passages, which alternate between oral reading and silent reading, since the Informal Reading Inventory tests for both oral and silent reading comprehension and fluency.
The materials include various planning and learning opportunities for students who demonstrate literacy skills above that expected at grade level. All lessons include differentiation to meet the needs of students above grade level. The activities allow for learning opportunities to meet the needs of those students that need to be challenged in the classroom. Guidance includes extensions and differentiation activities that come with general instructions and graphic organizers.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Above-grade-level planning and learning opportunities are in the “Small Group Instruction–Beyond the Level” throughout the instructional materials. Students use a text that is above the level of the whole group lesson to participate in the vocabulary and comprehension lesson. Students are pre-assessed to discover their spelling and vocabulary levels. The teacher uses data from pre-assessment to customize word work according to student needs. Differentiated spelling lists include words for students performing beyond level as determined by the pre-assessment. This material is a supplement to the standard curriculum.
For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, under “Daily Lessons–Small Group Instruction,” the teacher has the option to provide lessons for students beyond the grade level. During the activity, the teacher reviews the meaning of the words, classmate, and pronounce. Students write sentences using the teacher-taught vocabulary. After the teacher models the process for defining the words, students must define the words issues, struggles, and history. During the next activity, students write sentences with newly acquired vocabulary in their writer’s notebook and use an online dictionary to determine whether the words are being used in the correct context.
In Unit 1, Week 4, the students have a set of vocabulary words to learn along with a “fill in the blank activity.” Students above grade level “Use the Visual Vocabulary Cards to review the meaning of the words celebrate and symbol.” The students work in pairs to discuss the meaning of the words and then exchange their sentence frames with their partners.
In Unit 3, Week 2, the students read an Anthology, and the students above grade level choose another book from the Leveled Reader Library. Afterward, they fill in the blank of a Main Idea and Details graphic organizer.
In Unit 5, Week 5, the students above grade level read the story The Fuel of the Future. Then the students complete a cause and effect chart, using the following guidance: “Explain these relationships to a partner and what helped you identify them.”
In Unit 4, Week 3, under Daily Lessons-Small Group Instruction for students above grade-level, “Review Text Structure Compare and Contrast,” the teacher reviews compare and contrast structure with students. Students read the third paragraph of the text “Adaptations: Grizzly and Polar Bears.” The teacher facilitates discussion by asking open-ended questions such as “Which details show how the two types of bears are alike?” “Which details show how the two types of bears are different?” Students provide text evidence to answer the questions and complete a Venn Diagram; using textual evidence, students identify what is different and alike.
In Unit 6, Week 6, students read a digital article, “Life Boats.” The teacher plans for students beyond level by following these directions: “Have students read the text and access the interactive features independently. Complete the Reread activities during Small Group time.” Interactive features include links to a map of Bangladesh, a graph of the top 5 rainiest cities in the US, more information about the program for floating school boats in the article, and oxfam.org. Students choose which related topics to research in greater depth and report back as they complete the reread activities.
The materials assist the teacher with guidance to help students who are performing below grade level. There are placement and diagnostic assessments to determine whether students need additional support. The adoption handbooks explain the what, why, and how of assessments, provide routines for instructional delivery, and provide strategies for supporting students that are below grade level. Scaffolds and supports apply to all areas of literacy: speaking, listening, writing, and reading.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the materials, there are “Student Practice with Data Reporting” assessments that review a variety of skills and help guide the teacher in identifying the areas in which students need extra support. Placement and diagnostic assessments include the “Informal Reading Inventory,” “Oral Reading Fluency,” “Letter Naming/Sight Words,” “Phonics/Decoding,” “Phonological/Phonemic Awareness,” “Reading Comprehension,” and “Spelling/Vocabulary.” Provided scoring criteria charts guide teachers in determining whether students are on, below, or above grade level. In the materials, students who demonstrate literacy skills below that expected at grade level are identified as “Approaching Level” students. Students who demonstrate literacy skills on grade level are “On Level.”
To help monitor student progress, teachers use quick checks in the “Teacher’s Edition,” which provide feedback on the key skills of the week. For instance, materials state: “Provide assistance in the specific and general vocabulary to be used for each lesson, using reinforcement or additional practice afterward. Pre-teach vocabulary and provide adequate opportunities for students to hear and use new vocabulary in context before applying to practice and application.”
The “Tier 2 Intervention Comprehension Teacher’s Edition” book for grades 3‒6 has a set for each key technical skill domain in reading, writing, and grammar content areas. The lessons are 15 minutes of material on technical skills for students who need reteaching and practice. The “Practice Reproducible” provides lessons grouped into eight kinds of sessions: “Question-Answer Relationship,” “Levels of Thinking,” “Strategies and Skills,” “Literary Elements,” “Text Features,” “Genres,” “Study Skills,” and “Write About Reading.” Lessons are divided into sections: “Teach,” “Model,” and “Guided Practice and Apply.” The scaffolding exercises can be found in the Guided Practice and Apply section.
“Tier 3 Decodable Reader Volumes 1‒9” have stories with decodable and high-frequency words. For example, Story 1 reviews the short /a/ sound and reviews is, not, on, and where. Provided lesson cards help the teacher facilitate language growth using the “I Do, We Do, You Do” method (gradual release). In the “Practice Book” for grades 2‒3, there are lessons on phonemic awareness, phonics, and structured analysis, with resources and assessments. The materials have an assessment for foundational skills for grades 2‒3, which allows teachers to objectively estimate a student’s level of phonological and phonemic awareness. There are two subtests: phonological awareness subtests for grades K through early grade 1 and phonemic awareness subtests for grades K‒3. Students are orally assessed; each assessment has instructions for administering the test and directions for scoring.
The multimedia resource “Student Practice with Data Reporting” organizes practice by major reading skills, such as main idea and key details, multiple-meaning words, sequence, theme, and similes. Students take a ten-question quiz on their skills, and teachers access their scores or print them to determine whether they are performing as expected. Students can also see and monitor their performance and correct wrong answers as they review their assessment. Ways to adjust for students performing below level are in the section “Strategies for Students with Special Instructional Needs.” There are further specific strategies to scaffold for students with various challenges, such as attention, different learning modalities, executive function, and self-regulation.
Supports for students working below grade level can be found throughout the materials. In Unit 3, the “Approaching Level for Small Group Differentiated Instruction” provides a review of both high-frequency and Tier 2 vocabulary words that may be needed before reading the text. These supports prepare students to decode more successfully. Also, teachers can use a lesson on context clues focused on definitions and restatements to support students’ understanding of the text. In Unit 4, students can access digital activities that cover inflectional endings and how they are spelled (doubling a final consonant).
The materials provide daily linguistic accommodations for English Learners (ELs) for core lessons as well as “Leveled Readers” that are used in small group instruction. There are scaffolds such as visuals, adapted text, glossaries, and other modes of comprehensible input. Professional development materials encourage the strategic use of students’ first language for vocabulary and academic development. Vocabulary is developed in isolation as well as in context. Students have regular opportunities to gain proficiency in speaking, listening to, reading, and writing English.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
All weekly lessons include support for ELs that is communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded according to various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, Advanced High). “Bridge to English Lessons” provide linguistic, affective, and academic development in each unit. In the “ELL” section of the “Teacher Edition,” there is a “Scaffolded Shared Reading” plan for Beginning and Intermediate ELs. In the “Shared Reading Planning Guide,” teachers create a language objective, build background knowledge, chunk text using the interactive read-aloud, guide students in building an interactive glossary, and develop oral language by summarizing text. Sentence frames and paragraph frames provide language support so ELs can participate with the text at the same level of rigor with language supports. Beginners use an adapted version of the shared reading.
The “Guide to Linguistic Transfer” is a teacher’s resource guide that gives additional EL strategies. Dr. Jana Echevarria, the author of the Sheltered Instruction Protocol, and Dr. Josefina Tinajero, a bilingual education scholar, are the authors of this guide. In this guide, students examine cognates and Spanish language patterns as compared to English language patterns. Word sorts are available for every spelling lesson. The word sorts introduce concepts of the English language and allow ELs to recognize spelling patterns.
The materials provide scaffolds for ELs. For example, teachers access a set of “Newcomer Cards” with visuals that help students develop their basic interpersonal communication skills and general academic language. Cards are categorized in the Table of Contents, and students begin with basics such as greetings and their names. Visuals are color photos and illustrations with labels, depicting school life, family, community, and the world. A “Newcomer’s Teacher’s Guide” provides lessons on these common basic language topics as well as some oral language assessments, conversation starters, and games.
Materials encourage strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English. Materials provide opportunities for students to participate in connected discourse and to make connections to prior knowledge. In each of the adapted “Shared Reads,” the publisher provides a glossary with Spanish cognates for challenging words and phrases. An example of this glossary can be found in such stories as “The Dream Catcher” (Unit 1): presentation (presentacion), tradition (tradicion), customs (costumbres); “Anansi Learns a Lesson” (Unit 3): share (compartir), decided (decidio), trick (hacerle una trampa), sly grin (sonrisa picara), help yourself (adelante); and “Here Comes Solar Power” (Unit 5): deserves its day in the sun (merece atencion), renewable (renovable), install (instalar).
The “Language Transfers Handbook,” available for all grade levels, provides “Language Transfer Charts” to encourage strategic use of students’ first language. The chart indicates areas in which a positive or approximate transfer of sounds occurs for English learners from their native languages into English. Resources highlight transferable skills and sounds that students can produce even when there is no equivalent in the native language. Teachers emphasize the skills that cross over into second language acquisition. Additionally, materials provide a “Sound Transfer Chart” that features consonants and digraphs that transfer over into Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Hmong, and Korean.
The materials provide teachers with grade-specific “Visual Vocabulary Cards” for academic language for the units and for each weekly lesson. Each of the “Vocabulary” lessons throughout the units in grade 3 provides opportunities for students to participate in connected discourse. In Unit 2, students read “Every Vote Counts.” Students participate in a Vocabulary lesson involving discourse and collaboration. Students review the following vocabulary: announced, candidates, convince, decisions, elect, estimate, government, and independent. The teachers assign “ELL Visual Vocabulary Cards” to teach additional vocabulary (adults, discuss, leaders, power, reason, and results) from the Shared Read. These vocabulary cards include the term, a video, or a photo showing the meaning of the word and provide a sentence using the word in context. Additionally, a “Routine Card” provides the teacher directions on how to teach the vocabulary word.
In Unit 3, teachers pre-teach to scaffold students’ basic comprehension of the text “Earth” by using diagrams, photographs, and captions to help build context and background knowledge and using Visual Vocabulary Cards to review vocabulary (amount, astronomy, globe, solar system). Other options have advanced ELs work with native speakers to name the planets in the solar system. The lesson can be chunked to allow teachers the ability to modify activities according to the students’ level of English proficiency. For a lesson on text features, for beginning ELs, materials instruct: “Explain that the blue lines show the way each planet moves around the sun. Have students trace the blue lines with a finger. Which planet is closest to the sun? The planet that is closest to the Sun is Mercury.” Intermediate ELs, after teacher modeling, use the diagram with sentence frames to compare the size and position of two other planets and work with partners to summarize the information from the diagram. Advanced ELs read the caption for the diagram, use the illustration and labels to compare the size of Venus and Neptune, and then tell which planet is closer to the Sun. While students learn vocabulary before and during reading, they also use vocabulary as they complete “Respond to Reading” activities for the week.
In Unit 5, Week 1, the “Reading/Writing Companion” provides a whole group lesson with “Vocabulary Words in Context.” The teacher uses the following scaffolds with guided practice to discuss vocabulary in the text “Irma Rangel, the Texas Lawmaker.” Beginning ELs point to and read aloud the word unfairness in the second paragraph on page 3. The teacher guides students to identify the root fair and reminds students that fair means everyone gets treated the same. Students identify the prefix un-. The teacher prompt is “What does the prefix un- mean? What word means not fair?” Then, the teacher points out the suffix -ness. Students use the noun unfairness to complete the sentence “Irma’s parents experienced unfairness in their lives.” The teacher guides Intermediate ELs to find the meaning of unfairness. The teacher has partners identify the root of the word disagreeable. The teacher prompts, “What does the prefix dis- mean?” The teacher explains that the suffix -able makes the word an adjective. Students describe a disagreeable person. The teacher asks, “Is it easy to talk to a disagreeable person?” Advanced/Advanced High ELs define the word unfairness by identifying the root and affixes in the word. The teacher challenges students to do the same for disagreeable and unusually. Students describe the steps they used to determine each meaning.
The materials have multiple formative and summative assessments to be used as benchmarks and for progress monitoring. There are guidelines for using student assessment data in designation and grouping decisions as well as for determining which assessments to use. The assessments are aligned to the TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Assessment Components and Resources Chart” lists all formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are progress monitoring assessments for Weeks 1–2, Weeks 3–4, and Week 5. They include new texts for students to read and check students’ use of vocabulary and comprehension for the previous 1–2 weeks of learning. This allows the teacher to monitor mastery and adjust whole groups and small groups as needed before Week 6 (end of the unit). Each unit has weekly or biweekly assessments to check for mastery of the TEKS taught in that unit, and the materials provide a plan for reteaching whole group or small group. The materials provide answer keys with the content the question focuses on, the TEKS being tested, and the depth of complexity of the question (DOK 1–4). Assessments are a mix of comprehension questions, vocabulary questions, and “English Language Conventions” questions. There is a rationale for each question. Students have opportunities to respond in various ways. For example, some assessments ask multiple-choice questions; some require evidence-based responses; some are performance-based tasks; some have constructed responses; some have technology-enhanced items. There are selection tests for reading passages within the units. There is a summative assessment for each unit aligned to the TEKS. Student progress is measured based on an understanding of TEKS-aligned reading content for that unit. Also, students write in response to a prompt. Texts alternate between literary and informational, and there are items testing foundational skills, vocabulary strategies, and conventions. Scoring guidelines for writing include exemplar models; rubrics are also available.
The “Benchmark Assessments Grade 3” provides more opportunities to monitor student progress. This resource has three tests that have multiple-choice, evidence-based responses, performance-based tasks, constructed responses, and technology-enhanced items. There is an answer key along with rubrics. The first test covers Units 1–3; the second test covers skills from Units 4–6; the third test covers various performance tasks. The resource helps support the teacher in developing small groups and provides opportunities for reteaching to support mastery of skills and TEKS.
The materials provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance in various ways. For example, the “K-5 Assessment Handbook” guides teachers on how to administer and score the various assessment components. It provides guidelines for using student assessment data in designation and grouping decisions as well as determining which assessments to use. Another resource, “Making the Most of Assessment Results,” guides teachers on how to review the assessment with students to have them self-correct incorrect responses. The teacher uses the results to determine reteaching or enrichment opportunities based on the needs of the students.
An “Online Assessment Center” provides teachers with an “Item Analysis Report” and “Standards Analysis Report.” The “Data Dashboard” offers “Recommendations Reports,” “Activity Reports,” “Skills Reports,” and “Progress Reports,” all to help the teacher determine the next steps in planning and instruction. The “Reteaching Opportunities With Intervention” online resource explains when to reteach according to provided parameters. For instance, if a student scores below 70% in comprehension, the teacher can reteach the tested skills using the “Comprehension” PDF. There is support for extending activities for gifted and talented students, such as through “Beyond Level” small group lessons, workstation activities, and “Differentiated Genre Passages.”
The materials provide year-long plans with support and guidance for teachers to identify the needs of students. Additionally, the materials suggest ways for teachers to provide differentiated instruction and multiple groupings, based on the needs of the students. The materials engage students and assist teachers throughout the instructional framework and through the use of ancillary and resource materials.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials provide an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings. For example, throughout the materials, the “Weekly Planner” provides for differentiation within the whole group lesson as well as in weekly small group lessons. There are “Differentiated Instruction” lessons for students depending on their reading level designation (“Approaching,” “On Grade Level,” “Beyond Grade Level,” “English Learners”). Small group differentiated lessons include “Phonics/Decoding,” “Fluency,” “Comprehension,” and “Vocabulary” components as needed according to students’ skills. The teacher places students in a flexible reading group based on the diagnostic assessment as well as on data taken from the formative and summative assessment found in each unit.
The materials provide multiple teachers’ tools to help support student learning and differentiate instruction. Professional development videos support teachers; these include “Changing Daily Instructional Schedules,” “Introduction to Grouping for Instruction,” “Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Grouping,” “Incorporating Flexible Groups and Reassigning Group Membership,” and “Selecting Group Size.” These videos address the logistics of choosing, scheduling, and changing groups. The professional development video “Leveling Up with Leveled Readers” explains that leveled readers are organized as a set of connected readings on similar topics, so students who are initially reading at a lower level of text can advance. Students read the easier text and then jump to harder texts (50–100 Lexile) in later reads; this engages them in their learning, as they use background knowledge they previously learned. Students move within flexible groupings as they progress. The materials also provide 72 “Literature Circle” lessons. Students from all reading level designations participate in Literature Circles, using the “Thinkmark” questions and graphic organizers to guide the discussion. Teachers follow up with whole class discussions based on the content of the “Leveled Readers.”
The teacher materials include multiple annotations and support for engaging students in the materials as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials with student progress components. An ancillary resource available for grades 3–6 is the “Handwriting Cursive Workbook: Annotated Teacher’s Edition.” This resource provides the answers for the teacher. Another support for teachers is the “Reading/Writing Companion Annotated Version” (Units 1–2, Units 3–4, and Units 5–6). This resource provides the teacher with answers, underlined or circled text evidence, think-alouds, and notes explaining portions of the text. The “Grammar Handbook” is another resource annotated with answers to the questions. Teachers have access to “Differentiated Texts English Language Learners Teacher’s Edition Annotated Text.” There is one for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. The “Teacher Edition Genre Studies 1-2” for each unit provides more information on the “Essential Question,” “Leveled Text,” “Take Notes,” and “Reinforce Vocabulary.” It also provides the answers to each question. The materials have vocabulary cards for each week in the unit. The front of the vocabulary card has a picture to represent the word. The back has a teacher script titled “Teach Talk.” Teach Talk provides the teacher with a definition, an example, and a question to ask, asking students to look back at the picture. The teacher points to the picture and says the word and sentence. There is also “Partner Talk” on the back of the card, and it includes discussing the word as it connects/relates to students. There are also “Visual Vocabulary Words” found throughout the units that provide the teacher with guidance on how to use the cards.
Teachers have access to a TEKS-aligned “Scope and Sequence” and “Pacing Guides.” There are videos to support teachers with the implementation of the resources and support for administrators to help teachers with implementation. There are pacing guides that support 120-minute, 90-minute, or 60-minute blocks for implementing 180 days of literacy instruction. Although the program contains sufficient materials to support a longer timeframe, 220-day schedules are not specifically outlined.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials have a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence for each grade level of the program. It outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in each unit, including the weeks in which they are taught, the “Essential Questions” for the unit, and the comprehension focus/TEKS. Throughout the materials, there are six units containing six weeks of material; all are organized consistently across the program for each grade level. Each week has a “Weekly Plan,” “Weekly Standards,” and a “Calendar” to help with planning and pacing. A “Genre Focus” occurs every two weeks of the program. For example, in Weeks 1–2, it is expository text. In Weeks 3–4, it is historical fiction. In Week 5, it is poetry. Weeks 1–5 in each unit contain the following sections, which address research-based and TEKS-aligned routines, practices, and materials: “Read Aloud,” with interactive read-aloud titles; “Shared Read,” with selection titles and specific genres and Lexile levels; “Literature Anthology,” with anchor texts and paired selections; “Leveled Readers,” with titles of main and paired selections with Lexile levels; and “Vocabulary,” with weekly text-aligned words and strategies. The sixth week of each unit is for review, assessment, and extension activities and includes sections with materials for “Reading Digitally,” “Fluency,” “Show What You Learned,” and “Writing and Presentation Options” such as “Reader’s Theater,” “Inquiry Space,” and “Writing.”
An “Implementation Timeline” provides teachers with additional support to help implement the materials; an overview explains how to get the materials set up for the year. It is divided into three sections: “Before Implementation,” “Initial Implementation,” and “Ongoing.” Before Implementation, teachers redeem master codes, set up a class calendar in the online teacher workspace, and begin professional learning modules. During Initial Implementation, teachers set up the “Wonders” classroom, plan initial lessons using the customizable online planner, use digital resources to support daily lessons, administer placement tests, enter students’ reading levels in their online profiles, and set up groups for small group instruction. Teachers review additional support materials, including the “Manage Small Group Time” module, assessment and data materials, and classroom and coach videos. In Ongoing, teachers use real-time data in the “Data Dashboard” to inform student grouping and plan targeted lessons, adjust the online calendar as needed, and continue to reference the materials on the professional development page for implementation support.
Materials include additional supports to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials. An “Administrator Implementation Checklist” provides administrators information on how to help teachers get started with the program. It includes a Before Implementation: Administrators check program materials against the inventory list, distribute materials and master codes, direct teachers to the website (my.mheducation.com), monitor teacher progress, and communicate student learning goals with teachers. During Initial Implementation, administrators ensure classrooms have all needed materials and monitor teacher progress toward completing the “Wonders Basics” and “Digital Quick Start” professional development modules. The materials provide an “Administrative Walkthrough and Beginning of Year Classroom Observation” tool. The Administrative Walk-Through has 10 “Look Fors,” such as the climate and tone of the classroom, pacing of whole group lessons, the use of print and digital resources, and evidence of student data driving the whole group and small group instruction. It encourages administrators to conduct at least two 5-minute walkthroughs to monitor implementation throughout the year. Administrators can view reports in the Data Dashboard and work with coaches to use mid-year in end-of-year observation tools to help teachers reflect on instructional practices and set goals. An “Administrator Best Practices for Implementation” video is also available.
In the “K-6 Professional Development” book, “Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” contains a plan to cover a 180-day schedule. Although the program contains sufficient materials to support a longer timeframe, a 220-day schedule is not specifically outlined.
The materials reflect an appropriate use of white space to support students’ anecdotal notes and understanding of information. Across the materials, the illustrations and graphics (timelines, photos, charts, and other visual graphics) are engaging and relevant. The visual design of the materials is organized and not distracting and contributes to student learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. Selections across the student materials include consistent margins in all printed and digital materials. White space is allotted around and between text and questions. Colorful illustrations are used for text selections. Pages where students answer questions are free of illustrations, so that students can focus on their answers or on returning to the text. Subheadings in the text are in a larger font and often in different colors. Color is used to differentiate vocabulary words and different types of tasks.
The student “Literature Anthology” uses white space appropriately; its design supports and does not distract from student learning. For instance, students read “Here Comes Solar Power.” The pages feature a person snowboarding, with the sun brightly shining in the background. As students read the text, they encounter various speaker icons for an audio read of the text. On the page, notes and questions appear in the margins with a white background. Students find a sidebar indicating the “Essential Question,” a magnifying glass reminding them to “Cite Text Evidence,” and a logo depicting two students discussing to prompt students to reread the text and answer an “Author’s Craft Question.”
In the “Reading and Writing Companion,” students write responses on lines below questions. Sufficient space is provided to support students’ written responses. In Unit 3, students read “Earth and Its Neighbors” and engage in various activities. The Essential Question on page 2 (What do we know about Earth and its neighbors?) helps link the learning with the Essential Question and text. Also on page 2, along with the title, there is a picture, a place for notes, and a place to write down interesting words and key details. On page 3, along with the text of the story, there is a picture of the moon, the genre, and questions to answer on different TEKS (summarize, main idea and key details, and author’s craft). Students also work on expression to practice fluency using paragraph 1. Pages 4–7 are similar. They have photos, charts, questions to answer aligned to the TEKS, and tasks to complete. On pages 8–9, students practice vocabulary words. There is a sentence with a highlighted word and a question underneath that aligns with the vocabulary word. Lines are provided underneath for student response. The students have a graphic organizer for the main idea and key details on pages 12–13 to support their learning.
Image graphics are supportive of student learning because they relate to the texts students read, are colorful, and are engaging without being visually distracting. Graphic organizers are frequently used to help students make sense of what they read. Types of images used vary depending on the text genre. Fictional stories have a cartoon or drawn illustrations, while nonfiction selections use photos. Images are used to reflect people of various ethnic backgrounds and ages and in a variety of locations. The digital text has tools to adjust text size and images for better viewing if needed. The student edition supports student learning with consistent icons used across the materials. Upon entering the student digital edition, students encounter an image with brown sand-colored butterflies that resemble mountains encircled by an orange shiny band. Surrounding this graphic, students see five graphic icons. One icon displays a notebook with a green checkmark; as the student moves the cursor over the icon, the words “To Do” appear in white font over a green background. Another icon is the letter “W” on a blue cube. When the student moves the cursor over this icon, “Words to Know” appears in white font on a red background. The other three icons have similar formats: images of a notebook and pencil, a book, and a controller represent “Read,” “Games,” and “Write.” In the background of these images, materials depict a desert landscape with a cactus in the foreground and an oasis in the center. At the top of the screen, the student finds “My Binder,” “Collaborate,” “Resources,” and “School to Home.” Beside the words “School to Home,” materials include an icon with a pencil and an “ABC” icon. If the student clicks on the “ABC” icon, a glossary pops up with words; behind these words, the student sees white space. This format is similar across all grade levels; however, the images found in the center of each grade level are different and unique to that grade level.
The materials include technology components that are grade-level appropriate and support learning. The supports enhance learning, and there is appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Technology supports and enhances student learning as appropriate, as opposed to distracting from it, and includes appropriate teacher guidance. This happens through interactive games, videos, and activities for each week that support the TEKS taught during the week. The “Teacher’s Edition” includes appropriate guidance for teachers on the online options available to them. The online activities and games support learning in grammar, phonics, fluency, spelling, word sorts, structural analysis, and vocabulary practice. The students engage in the interactive game or activity and then check their work; there is a “try again” option for any incorrect answers. The online resources are simple to view by clicking on “open this resource.” Teachers find details about the resource and the alignment to the TEKS being taught in that unit. Teachers can assign each resource directly to students for practice via Google classroom. Teachers have access to songs for spelling and grammar. Students have access to the “Leveled Readers” online. Teachers have access to an “Online Assessment Center.” The Online Assessment Center allows teachers to view an exam as a student would view it, edit the assessment, assign the assessment to students, print the assessment, and export metadata.
The materials also have a digital student edition. The student edition has an easy-to-navigate homepage that contains icons for “To Do,” “Words to Know,” “Write,” “Read,” and “Games,” so that students can locate the section of the materials that they need. Students have a digital “My Binder” resource divided with clickable links, such as the “Reading/Writing Companion Unit 1–2,” “3–4,” or “5–6.” Students click on the worktext for the current unit. Clickable boxes allow students to type alongside each question. Tools to interact with the text and questions include a highlighter, drawing, a sticky note, and audio reading. Each unit has several interactive games and activities for grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension tasks. Practice activities relate to the concepts being studied in the unit and only present a limited amount of text and answer choices at a time to help students focus. Activities include a self-checking button so that students are held accountable for doing each part correctly.
There are many videos and digital images to support student learning, such as the “Build Knowledge” videos to help students with prior knowledge, “Grammar and Spelling Song” videos, “Interactive Read Alouds,” and “Opener” videos. Images are clear and relevant to the text, and videos are brief and are age- and grade-appropriate. A digital activity in each grade level is “The Alphabet Interactive.” Students interact with the chart by clicking on a letter. Options appear on the screen for students to listen to a song about the letter. If students want to hear the letter sound, they click on corresponding buttons. Additionally, materials contain games such as the “Grammar Activity” and “Build Vocabulary Activity.” In one of the Grammar Activity games, the student matches the correct contraction with the corresponding subject and verb, such as “you are” to “you’re.” Games are straightforward and user-friendly.
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