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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023, or sign up for a November focus group.
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. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts (what students read, see, and hear)
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Thinking, Inquiry, and Research
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for Diverse Learners
Section 6. Ease of Use and Supports for Implementation
Section 7. Technology, Cost, and Professional Learning Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts that cover a range of student interests. The titles listed in the interactive read-alouds, big books, shared reads, and anchor texts include both previously published texts and texts published for this program; the texts are well-crafted and represent the content, language, and writing produced by experts in a variety of disciplines. The materials include texts with engaging content and increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The literature “Big Book” for the whole-class read-aloud in Unit 3 is Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein; this is a 2011 Caldecott Honor Book. In this fantasy story, the main character, Little Chicken, interrupts Papa to tell him what she thinks should happen as he attempts to read her bedtime stories. Students would need background knowledge of the stories Papa is reading to enjoy the hilarity of Little Chicken’s predictions.
“A Lost Button” from Frog and Toad are Friends, a classic fictional text by award-winning author Arnold Lobel, depicts familiar topics, such as friendship and searching for a lost item, through accessible text for young readers.
The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen and Martin Provensen is an informational text that showcases one year on a farm, month by month, showing and describing what each month looks and feels like.
The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Johnny Ray Moore is a biography that gives young students an overview of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s life and the impact he has made on society.
The text uses a chronological text structure and gives true information in a story format. Little Rabbit, a folktale retold and illustrated by Gerald McDermott, includes animals as characters, cliffhangers to keep readers engaged, and a lesson at the end of the story. Hi, Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold is part of the “Fly Guy” series and provides students with insight on fantasy books using animal characters that can talk. This text won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2006 and was commended as a Notable Children’s Book in 2006.
“A Second Is a Hiccup,” a poem by Hazel Hutchins, depicts a child-friendly way to understand the concept of time—it has a circular nature as it moves forward, and it is constantly changing as time passes. This text was a Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices selection in 2008.
The materials include a variety of text types and genres across content areas, such as math, science, and social studies, and meet the requirements of the first-grade TEKS. Texts provide sufficient opportunities for students to analyze text and graphic features.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
A Second Is a Hiccup by Hazel Hu (narrative nonfiction)
The Monkey’s Fiddle (classic folktale)
City Mouse, Country Mouse (classic fable)
“A Time to Plant,” McGraw-Hill Education (drama)
The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb (poem/song in picture book form)
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
Thomas Edison, Inventor by David A. Adler (biography)
Where Does Food Come From by Shelley Rotner and Gary Goss (scientific nonfiction)
“Long Ago and Now,” McGraw-Hill Education (social studies informational text)
“From Cows to You,” McGraw-Hill Education (scientific nonfiction)
Paired Time For Kids articles: “Save Our Bees” and “Penny and Coco” (persuasive)
Examples of print and graphic features include but are not limited to:
In The Pigs, the Wolf, and the Mud, students use the illustrations in the text to make inferences and predictions. Students have to look at the illustrations of a mud hut to determine why it would make a good place to live.
In “Rainy Weather,” headings are used to tell what each section is about. There are two photographs in this text that students have to talk about; specifically, they discuss “why the author included the two photos on this page.”
In the informational text Animals Can Go Fast! students use pictures of cheetahs to answer the question: “What helps them go fast?” Later, students refer to a chart summarizing how other animals go fast to stay alive.
The text Busy as a Bee utilizes both pictures and captions to convey information. With one image, students are identifying captions. With another image, students are discussing the photo and the caption by answering the question “Why does the author include both?”
The materials include texts that are appropriately challenging and are at an appropriate level of complexity to support students at the Grade 1 level. The text complexity analysis also provides reader and task information for educators to consider when reading books to students. Interactive read-aloud texts, mentor texts, and shared-reading texts are above the complexity level of what first-grade students can read independently, and texts are appropriately challenging for students.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The publisher provides a text complexity analysis for the majority of interactive read-alouds and anchor texts; the majority of the texts are at, or above, the Grade 1 reading level. This analysis includes quantitative Lexile levels and the grade-level reading index; qualitative features include meaning/purpose, structure, language, and knowledge demands. Even though some titles have a grade equivalent of Grade 1, the range of reading abilities throughout Grade 1 still makes their overall complexity level appropriate even in the last quarter of the school year.
In Unit 2, a text complexity analysis of Me On the Map! by Joan Sweeney showcases a realistic fiction text with a 300 Lexile and Grade 1–2 reading level. Qualitative feature analysis includes the following notes: “The text uses maps to explain the relationship of small places to big places. The structure of the book is complex, and students will need support to understand the concept. The geographical terms will need to be explained to enhance understanding. Reader Considerations: Discuss, explaining the different types of maps and places. Task Considerations: Use this book to teach characteristics of realistic fiction, using real maps and creating a map.”
In Unit 4, the “Literature Anthology” includes the text Animal Teams by Rachel Mann with a 480 Lexile, within the Grade 1 range. This text includes qualitative features that are appropriate for students in Grade 1. The animals that are featured within the text should be familiar to students in first grade, and they should have the adequate background knowledge necessary to apply new learning from the text.
Read-aloud texts in the materials include but are not limited to:
● In Unit 1, School Around the World, an informational text, is 560 Lexile, Grade 2 equivalent.
● In Unit 3, The Foolish, Timid Rabbit, McGraw-Hill Publishing, is 470 Lexile, Grade 2 equivalent.
● In Unit 4, Ming’s Teacher, a folktale, is 700 Lexile, average Grade 1 equivalent.
● In Unit 5, Why the Sun and the Moon Are in the Sky, a retelling of a Nigerian folktale, is 730 Lexile, Grade 2 equivalent.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in synthesizing knowledge and ideas to deepen understanding and identify and explain themes. Questions and tasks build conceptual knowledge, are text-dependent, and prompt students to synthesize new information; formal and informal assignments focus on the texts students are reading/listening to and require close attention to meaning and inferences for comprehension. The questions and activities grow students’ understanding of topics and build literacy skills over the course of each unit while allowing students to discuss and evaluate information from multiple places within a text. Tasks give students opportunities to build conceptual knowledge and literacy skills over the course of the year, and the units follow a logical progression of skills and build upon each other. Questions and activities grow students’ understanding of both topics and literacy skills over the course of each unit.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, read-alouds include specific questions about the text that require students to give close attention to meaning and inferences; students interact with a text directly to validate thinking. Materials provide students with scaffolding for drawing conclusions and making inferences to combine their background knowledge with text evidence. Materials group similar texts about topics that connect to the unit’s “Essential Question” and engage across modalities. Each week, texts focus on an Essential Question that is often connected to one purpose for the read-aloud. Many questions in the “Teacher Edition” are text-dependent and ask students to analyze and make meaning with the information they hear and read from texts. Students have daily opportunities to answer text-dependent questions about texts and cite where in the text they found their answers. Assignments and activities ask students to take the information they have learned and apply it to partner and class discussions and writing.
In Unit 1, after reading the personal narrative A Surprise in the City, students discuss and create an anchor chart about characteristics of the genre. Students work with a partner to identify the parts of the text that exemplify characteristics of a personal narrative. Students brainstorm through drawing or writing about something that has happened to them. In pairs, students discuss how what happens to Zoë in A Surprise in the City relates to experiences they have had. The teacher then models how to use those ideas to write a personal narrative.
In Unit 3, an Essential Question is “How do plants change over time?” The theme for the week is “Watch It Grow!” which allows students to discuss what they know about how plants change as they grow and the importance of taking care of plants. Before reading the “Big Book” Mystery Vine, students discuss the elements of realistic fiction and the comprehension strategy “make and confirm predictions.” The teacher tells students they can use text features, such as the title and illustrations, to predict what will happen next and to help correct or confirm predictions. After reading, students share what they learned about the Mystery Vine, how the plant changed as it grew, and whether their predictions were correct. Later in the unit, during the second reading of the anchor text The Big Yucca Plant, students make inferences about the characters.
In Unit 4, students read a tale titled Little Rabbit, a Tale from India. As students read, they pay attention to the order of the events in the plot and ask and answer questions about the text. Students explain why Little Rabbit believed that the forest was falling and how Lion’s actions were different from those of the other animals, providing the page number for their text evidence. Students compare this story to the week’s anchor text, Snail and Frog Race. Students reflect on how the endings of the two stories are similar; students think about the end of each story and discuss what happens to both Little Rabbit and Frog. Students also discuss how the animals in each story use their bodies to help themselves. The “Companion” also provides notes on inferencing, including “Use details from the text to figure out things that aren’t stated.”
In Unit 5, students practice identifying cause and effect in the fiction text Kitten’s First Full Moon. In the story, Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk. As students read, they connect the ideas at the beginning of the story (where the cause is first introduced) and the subsequent events that are the after-effects of Kitten thinking the full moon is a bowl of milk.
Students discuss what Kitten thinks when she first sees the full moon and what she wants to do; they identify how these events are caused by Kitten’s thinking. Students then retell the story using illustrations and words from the story. Students write why Kitten keeps trying to get the moon and what finally makes Kitten “Lucky Kitten” instead of “Poor Kitten,” citing text- evidence page numbers.
In Unit 6, during “Wrap Up the Unit,” small groups of students compare what they have learned about teamwork to answer the “Big Idea Question”: “How does teamwork help us?” Students review their class notes, writing assignments, and completed graphic organizers, taking notes on a foldable organizer. Each group shares its ideas and participates in a whole-class discussion about teamwork and working together to be helpful. Students continue to build their knowledge as they use classroom and library resources to find more information related to the Big Idea, sharing their findings with the class.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to evaluate the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Students learn, practice, and apply skills that help readers understand and comprehend text. The materials offer opportunities for young learners to use critical inquiry to analyze the authors’ choices and how they influence and communicate meaning within a variety of texts.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, students interact with many texts on the same topic, which is tied to the unit’s “Big Idea” and a weekly “Essential Question.” Discussions allow opportunities for students to ask and answer questions, identify the author’s purpose, make inferences, draw conclusions, and make comparisons while interacting with a single text or across multiple texts; to ensure comprehension, teachers address pictures, words, and phrases authors use. Materials contain opportunities for students to discuss and analyze the author’s use of print and graphic features to achieve specific purposes. Students examine the author’s purpose for writing text and how the use of text structure contributes to the author’s purpose. While there is no direct instruction focused on comparing and contrasting authors’ purposes across texts, there is enough interaction in practice to support this skill. Texts are thematically linked to Essential Questions, and students engage in sufficient written and verbal analysis comparing texts related to the Essential Questions.
In Unit 1, students read This School Year Will Be the Best and discuss the author’s choices and craft. Students discuss how the illustrations help the reader understand the children’s wishes in the story and why the author made some words on each page look different than the other words.
In Unit 2, students compare and contrast the paired anchor texts, The Pigs, the Wolf, and the Mud and The Cubs’ Hut. In the “Reading/Writing Companion,” students discuss how the stories are the same and different. Students write to tell how the cubs and the pigs are alike and how the house in each story keeps the characters safe.
In Unit 3, before reading the “Big Book” Mystery Vine, students study the author’s craft by focusing on words used to tell about plants and how clues in the text help them understand what surprises the characters.
In Unit 4, using the text Little Rabbit, students are introduced to the author Gerald McDermott and discuss why the author wrote and illustrated a story about a rabbit. Students use reflection questions such as “What made him write about how animals’ bodies help them?” and “How did he draw Little Rabbit moving across the pages?” As students discuss and reflect on the author’s purpose and how the author used the Lion to change the story, they determine that the author shows that the Lion doesn’t believe the forest is falling; this is integral to the plot. Students compare the texts Little Rabbit and Snail and Frog Race, discussing how the two stories are alike, how they are different, and how they help to answer the Essential Question.
In Unit 6, after setting the purpose for reading, students read the procedural text Making Paper Shapes. Students reread to learn about the topic (a folded paper crane), identifying specific words that tell what the crane is made of and using the photo to help them understand the text. Students are reminded that the author has a purpose for writing the text; students share, with a partner, what the author wants the reader to learn about origami.
The materials include a year-long plan for students to interact with and build key vocabulary in and across texts. Most lessons across the curriculum have a vocabulary component, and there is explicit vocabulary instruction that occurs at the beginning of each week or read-aloud. Vocabulary development opportunities are frequent and purposeful; guidance for the teacher is both convenient and thorough. There are daily activities in the instructional schedule and small-group plans that differentiate vocabulary development for all students, including “Approaching Level,” “On Level,” “Beyond Level,” and English Learner levels (“Beginning,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced”).
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “Unit Overviews” show “Oral Vocabulary” included each week as well as the list of vocabulary words students learn. The “Student Outcomes” section included in each week’s introduction pages lists relevant TEKS; the ELPS addressed in the lessons are only listed by number. This year-long plan for building academic vocabulary creates a strong foundation for student vocabulary acquisition. The “Suggested Lesson Plan” offers a sequence of activities that moves students through all activities within Language Arts, including the vocabulary. These pages are separated into “Core,” “Optional,” and “Small-Group Instruction,” with differentiated support for “Approaching Level,” “On Level,” “Beyond Level,” and English Learners.
In Unit 1, visualize is listed as an academic term for the lesson. The teacher explains to students that as they “read the Big Book aloud, they can use the words and illustrations to visualize, or create pictures in their minds. This can help them understand the story.” Students read the author’s words and look at the illustrations; then they are to close their eyes and create a picture in their mind of what is happening in the story. The teacher then creates a “Visualize” anchor chart.
In Unit 2, during “Extend the Concept,” students are encouraged to respond using newly acquired vocabulary. The “Visual Vocabulary Cards” are used to review the vocabulary (firefighter, protect, siren); then, students discuss what they have learned using the reviewed vocabulary. With this support, all students are able to engage in this appropriate vocabulary usage.
In Unit 4, during small-group instruction of Teach a Dog! there is further differentiation for students who are reading at the Approaching Level and On Level. Teachers use the “I Do/We Do/You Do” approach with vocabulary instruction for both levels. For Approaching Level groups, during the “I Do” portion, the “Define/Example/Ask” routine is used with the words clever and signal. During the “We Do” portion, children are asked to describe what clever means and to use their hands to give a signal. They are also asked to complete sentence starters using these two words. During the “You Do” portion, students write two sentences, with a partner, using each of the words. For On Level groups, during the “I Do” portion, the teacher uses the “Read/Spell/Write” routine to teach each vocabulary word. Teachers use each word orally in a sentence. During the “We Do” portion, the teacher guides the students to do the Read/Spell/Write routine using their response boards. During the “You Do” portion, students write sentences about the week’s stories that include vocabulary words.
In Unit 5, students use the anchor text A Barn Full of Hats to learn words in context. The sidebar vocabulary support for teachers states: “Read the last sentence: ‘So she took the hat and she marched away.’ Demonstrate the word marched by marching in a circle. After you stop, say: ‘I marched in a circle.’ Invite children to march around the room and repeat marched. Ask: ‘What did Hen march away with?’ Provide sentence frames to help children respond: ‘Hen marched away with the flat hat.’” This teacher support clearly defines an effective routine for teachers to implement vocabulary instruction.
The materials include opportunities for students to engage in self-sustained reading. While Kindergarten students do not engage in a self-selected independent reading routine until Unit 3, materials provide increasing goals for stamina. The materials provide guidance for teachers in implementing a self-sustained reading routine and supports to hold students accountable during independent reading.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “Teacher Edition” mentions independent reading during small-group time, and the “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes guidance for teachers on procedures for self- sustained reading as well as guidance for implementation and accountability routines. The Instructional Routines Handbook provides recommendations to teachers on how to set up a classroom library, conduct teacher book talks, set up individual book boxes, and other independent reading routines teachers can select to implement in their classrooms. During whole-group and small-group reading, the teacher sets the routine for student learning, including setting a purpose for reading, thinking about what will happen to characters, asking and answering questions, and drawing or writing about the book they read. Materials include reading logs and other routines for students to remain accountable to their reading; they guide teachers in conducting teacher-student conferences, literature circles, and other ways to demonstrate their thinking about independent reading books.
In Unit 2, small-group plans include an option for self-selected reading to build comprehension. In this unit, students are encouraged to read for ten minutes and increase to twenty minutes in Unit 6. Students are reminded to set a purpose for reading, look for a specific skill (author’s purpose, setting, etc.) to help understand the story, and to ask and answer questions before, during, and after reading. After reading, the student draws or writes about something they read. Specific guidance for teachers on implementation procedures and protocols to guide students on how to do this were not found.
In the Teacher’s Edition, Unit 3, the teacher is presented with the following guidance as to how long students should read independently: “Children choose books for 15 minutes of daily independent reading and respond in their writer’s notebooks.”
Throughout the materials, students compose across text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students in Grade 1 are provided the opportunity to dictate or write poetry (using the elements of poetry), personal narratives that convey their thoughts and feelings about an experience, procedural text, thank-you notes, and letters. Writing tasks are embedded within the literacy block, where a variety of writing types and purposes are used. Students not only write within genres that are specifically required, but are also exposed to other genres of text, such as fantasy stories and persuasive text.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The writing opportunities are guided, include drawing and writing, require text evidence to support student responses, and allow opportunities for students to build writing skills. Writing instruction is varied, so students can grow as writers; students have the opportunity to partner share, then draw and/or write. Materials provide teachers with support in growing students’ composition skills.
In Unit 1, students receive explicit instruction in writing personal narratives during “Write About It.” Students write a personal narrative about an important event in their life and include feelings about the event. The process is outlined in the “Teacher Edition” and begins by studying the expert model, the shared-reading text, and a student model, which is a sample in the “Reading/Writing Companion” notebook. As part of the planning stage, students write their topic in the Reading/Writing Companion, draw a picture, and write facts. Before students write their drafts, the teacher helps them review elements of the expert and student models. For informational writing in the unit, students first record facts in words and photos and later build to writing three details about a given topic they have read about. Later, in Unit 5, students use content knowledge from an informational text about the moon to create an informational report.
In Unit 2, students are guided to reread parts of a story from the “Literature Anthology” to write about it using complete ideas and sentences. They are guided to review how the pigs build their hut and use text evidence to answer questions: “What do the pigs use for the new hut? Why? What does the old hut have that the new one should have too?” Students take notes in their “Writer’s Notebook,” write a draft, edit, proofread, and write their final draft.
In Unit 3, students receive instruction in why and how to write a thank-you note. The Reading/Writing Companion has a student model of a thank-you note that a boy wrote to a guest who came to his party. The teacher points out the greeting, body, and closing, and then models her writing of a thank-you note. Finally, students use the Reading/Writing Companion to write their own thank-you note. In Unit 6, students are taught the format and parts of a letter. Students then talk about an invitation to a special event and create an invitation.
In Unit 4, students receive explicit instruction in writing poetry. The process is outlined in the Teacher Edition and begins by studying the expert model, the shared-read text, and a student model, which is a sample in the Reading/Writing Companion consumable student textbook. As part of the planning stage, students write their topic in the Reading/Writing Companion, draw a picture, and write facts. Before students write their drafts, the teacher helps them review poetry elements of the expert model; then, students mimic this in their own writing.
Students have sufficient opportunities to engage in the writing process, developing text in oral, pictorial, or written form. The materials facilitate student use of the writing process, including planning and organizing their drafts by speaking, drawing, or writing. The students write on a daily basis, either formally or informally. Often, students use the writing process to respond to a prompt based on the interactive read-aloud or shared reading, and at least once each unit, students take a piece of writing through the entire writing process, including publication. Writing is built into the daily lessons, with the teacher modeling planning, drafting, revising, editing, and sharing/publishing; then, students are able to connect the process to their own writing.
Examples include but are not limited to:
In Unit 2, before writing, students tell a partner about a character from a fantasy story they know. The writing process is reviewed, and students are reminded how Alex in Remember Alex’s Story? made a plan and drew pictures before writing his story. Using the “Reading/Writing Companion,” students draw and write ideas for characters and what they can do in the story they are going to write.
In Unit 4, students are taken through the writing process as they write in the genre of poetry. Students begin the unit by studying the poem “When It’s Snowing” and are reminded about rhyming words and rhythm. The teacher reads a few lines from the poem and prompts students to describe what they noticed about the lines; students then analyze the student model provided in the Reading/Writing Companion. After analyzing mentor poems, students begin the planning process to write their own poems. When revising and editing, students use the student mentor poem to analyze how to revise their drafts to add details, rewrite parts, and include descriptive words. The final products are shared.
In Unit 5, students first examine a sample of a student-created procedural text, “How to Make a Target Game,” review the genre as a whole, and cite specific characteristics within the student text, such as the materials and the sequence of steps. Students then brainstorm about their own ‘how to’ by thinking about things they know how to do well; then, students draw or write about the ideas. A sample student procedural text is then used to analyze edits and revisions, which are shown on the sample; students edit and revise their own writing before sharing with the class.
The materials include opportunities for students to apply grade-level standard English conventions to their writing. They practice and apply the conventions of academic language, punctuation, and grammar when speaking and writing. There are opportunities for practicing and applying punctuation and grammar in speaking and writing throughout the units and across the year, both in and out of context.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout the program, instruction begins with explicit information in order to build background knowledge for students; students have opportunities to apply their new skills within authentic reading, speaking, and writing experiences. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, building upon prior learning. A year-long, systematic plan for teaching conventions, with teacher support, is included; students practice newly-acquired skills in conversation and isolated practice; they apply learning, via their own writing, in context.
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces the concept of a sentence. The teacher explicitly explains that a sentence is a group of words that tells a whole idea. The teacher displays several sentences, pointing out capital letters and ending punctuation; the teacher explains that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark; then, the class counts the words in the sentence. With a partner, students practice finding errors in sentences and then correcting the sentences. Students then have to generate their own complete sentences while discussing the text for the week, “Jack Can”; they are challenged to retell the story in complete sentences. When students draft a piece of writing, they apply the same conventions to their own writing.
In Unit 2, students revise their response to a prompt from a story they read. Students are guided to make sure they gave an opinion and used nouns correctly when naming people. Students work in pairs to complete a peer review. Proofreading marks are reviewed and utilized as students exchange drafts and check for nouns used correctly, words with short e spelled correctly, high-frequency words spelled correctly, and commas in a series used correctly.
In Unit 4, students are asked to write about the anchor text that was read during literacy instruction; they must write down text evidence in their notebook. While students are drafting, the teacher reminds them to focus on the grammar and convention skills that were taught that week. This includes using descriptive words, adjectives, and the correct use of the verbs was and were.
In Unit 5, students learn about conjunctions and identify connecting words in sample sentences. Students work with partners to orally generate new sentences with joining words. Later, students use a joining word to join two other sentences in their writing and circle the joining words.
In Unit 6, sentences are displayed and students make edits where words are used incorrectly. Additional practice is available on page 489 of the “Practice Book” or in an online activity. To apply their learning, students generate question-and-answer dialogue with objective and subjective pronouns.
The materials include instruction and practice for students to write legibly in print as well as a plan for procedures and supports for teachers to assess students’ handwriting development. Materials also include a year-long plan for handwriting instruction that contains teacher guidance.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout the year, the materials contain tips, models, videos, and directions for forming letters legibly with appropriate spacing as well as opportunities for students to use their newly acquired skills throughout the daily instructional routine. There are a variety of ways for students to practice, and there are embedded lessons within authentic writing experiences. As students become more fluent readers and writers, instruction shifts from teaching single letters to reviewing multiple letters and practicing letter formation through authentic writing.
Teachers can assess students’ handwriting development as students use the response boards. Teachers “observe children’s pencil grip and paper position…correct as necessary,” and provide corrective feedback as needed.
In Unit 2, the teacher introduces and models the uppercase and lowercase letter C. Materials include online handwriting models, videos, practice pages, “Reading/Writing Companion” pages, and response boards. For additional support, students practice using the models at the back of the Reading/Writing Companion and the blank handwriting pages.
In Unit 6, students practice writing a story. The teacher models writing a sentence legibly, leaving appropriate space between words. Students practice writing sentences and writing legibly in a story, which aids students in translating letter formation into the writing process. The teacher monitors and corrects students as needed during these lessons.`
The materials support students’ listening to and speaking about texts, providing day-to-day opportunities for students to actively engage in discussions about the texts they are reading; students listen, share, and ask questions about what they are reading and writing.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, materials require students to listen actively, ask questions to assist their comprehension, and discuss their learning. Teachers provide explicit instruction in effective speaking and listening, and students are given the chance to practice daily. Students have conversations to answer the “Essential Question” at the beginning of the units; they respond to questions about the text, analyze the author’s craft, use sentence stems, and ask each other questions. Materials provide support for students to listen and speak when reading texts in a small-group setting. Students listen to a variety of texts in “Big Books,” “Interactive Read-Aloud Cards,” the “Shared Read,” and student anthology. Materials provide opportunities for students to engage in discussions that require them to share information and ideas about the topics they are discussing. Class discussions are centered around the whole-class book selection; students are encouraged to ask their own questions and respond to questions from the teacher. Teacher questions are balanced between text-dependent and skill-based, as students learn genre structures, grammar skills, and literary elements. Routines during this time help facilitate discussion, depth of conversation, and connections across various skills learned.
In Unit 1, students listen to the informational text Schools Around the World and discuss with a partner what they learned. Students and the teacher read the shared-reading text Toss! Kick! Hop! After reading and asking questions about things they don’t understand, students discuss, in pairs, things friends do together in the text. They use the following sentence starter, as needed: “When these friends are together, they….”
In Unit 3, as students read the anchor text On My Way to School, students ask and discuss questions in order to practice the comprehension skill “Make and Confirm Predictions.” The “Teacher Edition” includes a think-aloud script for the teacher: “We predicted…. Did he…? What do you think will happen next?” There is a think-aloud script for the teacher to demonstrate how to identify the characters, setting, plot, and author’s craft; questions include “How does the author let you know who is telling the story?” and “What feeling does the story have because of the rhyming words?” As a closure for the lesson, students discuss how time is important to the story.
In Unit 4, students are provided explicit instruction on collaborative conversations and how to ask and answer questions. As children engage in partner, small-group, and whole-group discussions, they ask questions about ideas they do not understand, give others a chance to think after asking a question, and write down questions they want to ask the teacher or the whole class. Students are reminded that, as they read or listen to a story, they can ask themselves questions about the text, and that this can help them understand the information. One of the interactive read-aloud texts is titled “Animals Working Together”; students hold conversations about how animals help each other. Students look at an image from the “Reading Companion,” discuss the animals that they see, and discuss how the two animals help each other. Students begin by talking with a partner and have the opportunity to share with the entire class.
In Unit 6, the strategy “Asking and Answering Questions During Reading” is taught using Anansi’s Sons. The teacher rereads the story; students listen to find out how Anansi’s sons help him; partners discuss their responses. Students answer questions about an incident in the text, and they respond with questions they have regarding the content. Later, students reread pages of the text to share and discuss, with a partner, clues to the author’s purpose.
The materials engage students in collaborative discussions. Materials provide consistent opportunities for students to engage in discussions and practice grade-appropriate speaking skills using the standard conventions of the English language. The individual components of the daily lessons provide opportunities for students to speak and discuss individually, in partners, in whole-group formats, and in formal and informal settings. Sentence stems and modeled sentences are utilized to model the conventions of language, and students are expected to use appropriate conventions of the English language through their speaking.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, the materials provide collaborative conversation student models and protocols for the teacher to use during mini-lessons; they give explicit instruction to students on how to listen actively to their peers and ask questions when they do not understand something. Students have conversations in order to answer a question at the beginning of a unit, respond to questions about the text, use sentence stems to present their ideas, connect their conversations to writing, and ask each other questions when they do not understand. At the beginning of each unit, the teacher shares the “Big Idea,” and children contribute what they know about it by discussing with partners or groups and with the whole class; later, discussions about the unit topic and “Essential Question” take place. The teacher receives support in teaching discussion protocols and possible student answers to listen for; program routines such as “Retelling” and “Turn and Talk” give students opportunities to grow in oral language skills. As students learn new grammar skills, teachers model the new convention and provide sentence frames or examples for students to read and discuss. Students then have the opportunity to practice by creating their own examples. The “Reading/Writing Companion” provides a speaking and listening checklist for students to follow; it includes listening carefully to classmates, speaking so it sounds like speech, and sharing information about a topic.
In Unit 3, the Big Idea for the unit is “What can happen over time?” and the “Big Book” is A Second Is a Hiccup. The teacher explains, “We can use the structure, or how the author organizes the poem, to make a prediction as we read. Then we use the structure to correct or confirm the prediction.” The class reviews the anchor chart to make and confirm predictions.
In Unit 4, students are explicitly taught the difference between has and have and how they are used in sentences. After students use sentence stems to complete a sentence using the verbs, they work with a partner to orally state sentences using the verbs and explain why they used either has or have. Later in the week, students work with partners to have oral conversations where one partner states sentences about things that he or she has and things that friends have; the other partner explains why has or have was used.
In Unit 5, before composing a how-to written piece, students talk to a partner about different things they can teach other people to do or make. The teacher models talking about a how-to project: “I would like to teach people how to build a snowman. There are steps to building a snowman. You have to follow them in order.” Students describe to their partner the steps and materials they would need to teach people to do or make something. Teachers walk around the room and listen in, reminding students to stay on topic as they talk.
In Unit 6, after editing, revising, and rewriting, students present their final drafts to the class; students are to speak in complete sentences, listen actively, and wait to ask questions until the speaker is finished.
The materials meet the criteria for engaging students in short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes for different purposes. Materials support instruction for students to ask and generate questions for inquiry. With adult support, students generate and follow a research plan, identify relevant sources based on their questions, and practice organizing and communicating their understanding of an inquiry topic in accordance with the purpose of the research.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, questions for research and inquiry are open-ended, and opportunities for both teacher and student to generate questions are offered. Students have daily opportunities to listen to texts and ask questions related to the reading. Classes participate in read-alouds and close reads in which texts and ideas are revisited to make generalizations and which require reflection on previous learning. Students have the opportunity to choose a topic related to the “Essential Question” and literature being read that week, write questions about that topic, research information using the internet and books, draw and write what they have learned in ways that increase in rigor over the course of the year, and choose a way to present their work to their classmates. The purpose of the inquiry varies from class discussions, to partner talk, to shared writing and independent writing. With adult assistance, materials support instruction for students to follow a logical, sequential research plan that builds in complexity over the course of the units. Research tasks are broken down into manageable chunks for Grade 1 students, and students create final research products for a specific purpose and audience.
In each of the units, students can complete a research-and-inquiry project. The steps are presented, reviewed, and modeled by the teacher. Students use a step-by-step model in the “Reading/Writing Companion,” with opportunities to share with classmates before the project is completed, during the process, and after the project is complete. Students are given topics to research; at times, they can choose their own topic based on topics related to the unit.
In Unit 2, students complete a research-and-inquiry project. The teacher explains the project, displaying pages from the Reading/Writing Companion, and reviews and models how to complete the steps in the process. Students choose a type of animal to research and decide where to look for information. The teacher guides students to look for information online or in the library, in an encyclopedia or reference book. Teachers monitor and assess student learning and help them find information as needed. Before writing the final report, students discuss what they learned with a partner, then draw and label their animal in its environment. Students choose the presentation format: create a model with a written explanation, draw and label a picture of the animal in its environment, or create a slideshow with pictures.
In Unit 3, students research a food item. The “Teacher Edition” states: “I can research by looking at books in the classroom or in the library. I can use the internet to look at the life cycle of an orange. I can look in the table of contents in the front of a book to write a chapter or page on how oranges grow.” While there is not a formal lesson on whether a source is relevant to the topic, the Teacher Edition prompts teachers to support students as needed in finding their resources. It even suggests guiding students through research in small-group lessons, especially if students have chosen the same topic.
In Unit 5, students research the Moon’s phases with a partner; research steps are clearly given for each phase of the process. Students first use a print or online dictionary to find out the meaning of the term phase, and they write the definition. Students write questions about the Moon’s phases and find books or websites to answer their inquiry questions. Then, they write the answers to their initial questions and draw and label what was learned about the phases of the Moon.
The questions and tasks are designed so that students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Within each unit, students have opportunities to practice using multiple literacy skills through varied, interconnected tasks. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking; they include components of vocabulary, comprehension, and syntax. The materials provide opportunities for increased independence.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, students listen to and read stories; they respond to those texts by thinking and talking about them in partners, small groups, and whole-class settings. Students also think about and record their individual progress in learning strategies and skills. Students first learn skills in isolation and then apply those skills through authentic tasks that combine multiple skills into one task or project. With each text, students talk, read, and write about an “Essential Question” related to the unit’s “Big Idea.” Students have the opportunity to think about how the text connects to the Essential Question and how to apply new learning to their own lives. Students have discussions before, during, and after the text and engage in writing activities through the “Reading/Writing Companion,” which connects learning from the text to other lessons.
Unit 1 introduces personal narratives. After reading the personal narrative A Surprise in the City, students discuss and create an anchor chart identifying characteristics of the genre, which students find in the text. Through drawing and writing, they brainstorm an event that has happened to them, and partners make connections between the events in the text and their own experiences. The teacher models how to use those ideas as a springboard to write a personal narrative. Students draft personal narratives, focusing on including key details in their writing. For each stage of the writing process, a sample of student work from the Reading/Writing Companion is studied and discussed as a class. Students revise and edit drafts with a peer, publish their compositions, and share them with the class.
In Unit 3, the Big Idea for the unit is “What can happen over time?” and the Essential Question for the week is “How do we measure time?” The teacher begins the lesson by asking students to share what they know about time; students work together to create a class anchor chart. The teacher builds vocabulary by using the “Define/Ask/Example” strategy with the words immediately and schedule, which builds students’ speaking skills and prepares them to read. The teacher poses questions about the words to encourage thinking; for the word immediately, the teacher asks, ”What do you do immediately after you wake up?” After reading, the teacher prompts children to share what they learned about different measurements of time and whether their predictions were correct. To retell the story, after discussing with a partner, students begin practicing writing the retell in their own words.
In Unit 4, the shared-reading text for the week is A Team of Fish. This text incorporates high- frequency words; words with the long e sound; and vocabulary words that are related to the Essential Question, Big Idea, and the theme of the unit. Students practice asking and answering questions, connecting to concepts, identifying high-frequency words, applying phonics, and verbally retelling the text as they read the selection. After reading the selection, students verbally discuss how fish help each other; they use sentence starters to write sentences related to the Big Idea. Students engage in shared writing by responding to a prompt asking why fish swim in schools.
In Unit 6, students read a digital article, “This Land Is Our Land,” and review the genre and its text features. The article is read as students take notes on a Venn diagram; partners discuss, using text evidence, what they learned about the country. Students reread the article to answer specific questions: “What might you see if you traveled across the United States? Why is ‘This Land is Our Land’ a good title for this article?” Students make connections between what was learned in this text and what was learned in other texts from this unit; students discuss land features of the United States and share their opinions using information from the article. After brainstorming questions related to special places in the United States, students use the internet to search and make a map of famous places. They present their finished project
The materials support distributed practice and provide scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of skills that spiral over the course of the year. Skills and strategies are introduced and are spiraled throughout the year, allowing for continued practice that is integrated across the daily instructional schedule.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout each unit, the materials provide repeated opportunities to integrate skills across the curriculum, including reading, phonics, vocabulary, writing, and speaking. Literacy skills continually spiral back into the materials; there are distributed practice opportunities for each newly introduced concept or skill. Students read and write every week and within every unit, and the genres they are reading and writing spiral throughout the year.
The “Reading/Writing Companion” allows students to read, think about, and discuss topics related to the texts each week. Students use question prompts to talk, draw, and write to demonstrate their understanding of content and literacy skills. Scaffolds allow for gradual release when students no longer need them. There is prompting to use the practice book for additional support and practice; the Reading/Writing Companion provides picture support, sentence stems, and clear steps for tasks. The “Teacher Edition” includes call-out boxes called “Access Complex Text” that provide “scaffolding for seven different elements that may make a text complex.”
Scaffolding opportunities—such as group discussions, anchor charts, and modeling thought processes using a think-aloud—are built into the components of the lessons, with guidance provided for the teacher. Each unit includes a culminating writing project in which students utilize the writing process in its entirety to compose a piece of writing. The genre of writing varies from unit to unit, but the process is repeated. The resource increases the rigor of the content as the year progresses; as students review a skill they previously learned, the materials include additional components to the skill to help students make connections and deepen their learning.
In Unit 1, students have the opportunity to practice making connections. The “Essential Question” is “How do we measure time?” A Second is a Hiccup contains many vocabulary words about time, such as second, minute, and hour. This allows students to make connections between the story and the Essential Question. After a second reading of On My Way to School, the Reading/Writing Companion includes a selection that explains the different types of clocks. Students are prompted to discuss and make connections, with the question “What might help the boy in On My Way to School get to school on time?” After students read On My Way to School for the third time, the Reading/Writing Companion includes a short poem and prompts students to compare the poem to the beginning of On My Way to School: “Compare the story and poem using these sentence starters: 1) The boy in the story…. 2) The person telling the poem is also….”
In Unit 2, students reread Thump Thump Helps Out and review the “Reread” strategy. Students make a connection to the theme of “helping out.” The Reading/Writing Companion helps to establish a purpose for reading, and the students review and practice reading and retelling. With a partner, students discuss how Thump Thump helped in the story and write in response to the prompt “How does Thump Thump help?” using their notes and sentence frames as needed.
In Units 3–6, students discuss the author’s purpose for writing a text; each unit allows students to apply the skill with a different genre. In every unit, students discuss how the use of text structure contributes to the author’s purpose, which allows students to apply this skill to many different genres and versions of texts.
The materials provide explicit instruction in print concepts and opportunities for students to practice. There is explicit instruction in print awareness that connects learning to books and texts. There are opportunities for students to connect their knowledge of print to texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Units 1 and 2, there is direct instruction in print awareness. There are several lessons and teacher prompts for the following components of print awareness: holding the book correctly, turning pages, reading left to right and the return sweep, recognizing sentences are made of words separated by spaces, and knowing a letter versus a word.
In Unit 1, during the “Start Smart” sub-unit, the teacher emphasizes the process of the return sweep, and students practice using the return sweep during independent reading and during small-group reading instruction. Students practice print-to-speech matching, tracking the words in print as the teacher reads provided sentences; students are asked to point to each word as the teacher says it. Also in Unit 1, the teacher reads This School Year Will Be the Best; the teacher begins by reviewing the text title, author, illustrator, and where each is found on the front cover of a book. The teacher then demonstrates how to hold the book and track the print, pointing to each word as it is read aloud and reminding students that each spoken word matches a written word.
In Unit 2, the teacher reads Babies in the Bayou and reviews that sentences need a capital letter at the beginning and a punctuation mark at the end. The teacher points out that sometimes sentences begin on one page and continue on the next.
In Unit 3, the teacher reads A Second Is A Hiccup and highlights capitalization and punctuation in the poem. The teacher says, “In poems, the first letter of each line is capitalized, even if it is not the first word in the sentence.” As they read, students look for capital letters and end punctuation.
The materials include explicit instruction in phonological skills and opportunities for students to practice daily with rhyming, syllabication, blending, segmenting, and phoneme manipulation. There is explicit instruction in and opportunities for students to practice newly taught sound and sound patterns.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, students practice oral language activities daily, in whole-group or partner activities that focus on identifying rhymes; long vowel awareness; and inserting, substituting, deleting, blending, isolating, and segmenting phonemes. The phonological skills grow in complexity and spiral throughout the school year. Sound instruction is sequential, and each lesson begins with the teacher modeling the sound and students practicing making sounds in isolation before relating the sounds to letters and words spoken aloud in conversation or in read-aloud texts.
In Unit 1, explicit instruction in sounds and sound patterns is paired with early phonics activities. Instruction starts with a review of letter sounds, which are taught with the “Sound Spelling” cards and Elkonin boxes displayed on student response boards to segment words into sounds and practice blends and digraphs. The teacher models how to segment a word into its phonemes and how to move counters into Elkonin boxes, moving from sound to sound; students then practice segmenting words into sounds using their response boards and counters.
In Unit 3, the teacher models how to segment words into phonemes: “Listen carefully as I say a word: rose. I will place a marker in a box for each sound I hear: /r/ /ō/ /z/. I will place three markers because I hear three sounds in the word rose.” The class practices segmenting phonemes, and the teacher places one marker in a box for each sound they hear; students report how many sounds are in each word. For additional practice segmenting words into phonemes, there is a practice book page that shows five pictures with four blank boxes after each picture; students name each picture and place an x in each box as they hear and count each sound.
In Unit 4, the teacher models how to blend phonemes to produce words with the long a sound. The teacher says a word one sound at a time—/w/ /a/ /t/—and then blends the three sounds to say the word wait. Students practice blending sounds to say words such as stay, train, apes, scrape, play, snail, paint, and brakes. The teacher introduces the vowel teams that make the long a sound (a, a-e, ai, and ay) while modeling blending: “This is the letter r, it stands for /r/. These are the letters ai, and together they stand for /a/. This is the letter l, it stands for /l/. I’ll blend all three sounds to get /r/ /a/ /l/. The word is rail.” The teacher continues modeling the same process with the words tray, chain, stay, agent, and apron.
In Unit 5, students practice deleting phonemes. The teacher segments the word turn into phonemes, modeling how to “take away the first sound /t/ to make a new word: /ûr/ /n/, earn. The new word is earn.” Students practice deleting the first sound in the words twirl, part, train, spark, fright, farm, slip, and stake while the teacher provides corrective feedback as needed.
The materials provide explicit systematic instruction in phonetic knowledge and opportunities for students to practice both in and out of context. The materials contain a research-based sequence of grade-level foundation skills instruction and opportunities for student practice to achieve grade-level mastery. Materials systematically develop grade-level phonics patterns addressed in the Grade 1 English Language Arts and Reading TEKS, and there are opportunities for students to apply grade-level phonetic knowledge to connected texts and tasks. There is explicit instruction in grade-level high-frequency words and sufficient chances to read the words both in and out of context.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The introduction of the “Teacher’s Edition” states: “Wonders offers a thorough grounding in foundational skills, from the first steps in phonemic awareness and concepts of print, through sophisticated academic vocabulary and advanced morphological analysis.” Many experts are quoted throughout the introduction pages, such as Dr. Vicki Gibson. Materials reference white papers describing the research basis behind the creation of the materials. The scope and sequence shows that phonics skills grow in complexity and spiral as the year progresses. It also showcases the sequence of high-frequency words that are introduced throughout the year; the program’s “Smart Start” unit reviews all of the Kindergarten high-frequency words and continually adds on words in each unit.
The scope of phonics instruction for Grade 1 includes a range of letter-sound correspondences. The sequence of instruction includes a short review of letter recognition and sound correspondence, followed by the introduction of short vowels with blends and digraphs. In the Start Smart unit, students begin by identifying and blending letter sounds such as m, s, a, p, t, n, t, i, etc. In Units 1 and 2, students focus on short vowel sounds, beginning consonant blends such as r-blends and s-blends, and ending consonant blends such as nd, nk, nt, st, sk, and mp.
Unit 2 also focuses on consonant digraphs such as sh, th, -ng, ch, wh, and ph. Unit 3 focuses on long vowel sounds and soft sounds such as soft c and soft g. The year finishes out with r- controlled vowels, diphthongs, and variant vowel spellings such as oo, ou, u_e, ew, ui, ue, and u. Students learn about and practice phonics patterns during daily “Word Work” routines. In these lessons, students focus on skills in guided practice with the teacher, independently in the practice book, and in decodable and leveled readers. Initial spelling activities consist of the teacher saying a letter sound and the students writing the letter. Gradually, the materials introduce stretching words and have the teacher model how to write them as they are said aloud. Materials include all patterns and types outlined in the TEKS.
In Unit 2, students read the decodable readers Dash Has a Wish and The Helping Gang to decode words with the targeted phonics letters/sound in connected text. During the “Shared Read” of Thump Thump Helps Out, students circle and read aloud words in the title with the same beginning sound as the target sound. Students circle and read aloud words with a targeted sound.
High-frequency words are taught with a “Read/Spell/Write” routine. In Unit 3, the teacher displays six new words for the week. For each word card, the teacher points to the word, reads it with the class, and has the students repeat the word in a sentence given to them. The teacher points out the spelling of the word and has students spell it in the air as they say each letter. Once all of the new words have been introduced using the same routine, partners create sentences using each word. Lastly, the teacher posts six sentences and has the class identify the high-frequency word in each one.
In Unit 4, students use visual vocabulary cards to practice the high-frequency words about, animal, carry, eight, give, and our. Students also have the opportunity to use the take-home story “A Fox Tail” from the practice book to continue practicing high-frequency words in context.
The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to practice and develop fluency while reading a wide variety of grade-level texts at an appropriate rate, accurately, and with prosody. Materials include instruction in fluency, including rate, accuracy, and prosody. Fluent reading is modeled daily by the teacher, and specific short segments of lessons can emphasize fluency. Opportunities for students to build fluency are given through choral reading, echo reading, and partner reading. The materials provide opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide feedback to students on their fluency practice with rate, accuracy, and prosody.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The materials’ fluency routine has four steps as outlined by the “Instructional Routines Handbook”: 1, Explain what fluency means; 2, Model fluency with a read-aloud, selecting an aspect to emphasize; 3, Lead students through Guided Practice using echo reading, cloze reading, or choral reading; 4, Practice fluency with partners, with a teacher, individually, or using the “Practice Book.” The materials recommend additional strategies, such as audio recordings and focusing on early phonics and decoding skills. The materials recommend: “At early Grade 1, offer opportunities for students to practice the following skills with an emphasis on accuracy and building speed.”
The materials use “Oral Reading Fluency” to screen and progress monitor students’ growth in and mastery of fluency skills. The materials provide a “Fluency Assessment” component that can be used every unit to monitor progress; however, the materials recommend not formally assessing oral fluency at the start of Grade 1 since, until students can “decode and automatically recognize many words by sight, they cannot be expected to read aloud effortlessly and expressively.” The materials do provide assessments in fluency-building activities such as letter naming, phoneme segmentation, and sight word fluency. The materials contain twenty-four fluency passages that teachers can use to assess whether students can decode phonologically and automatically recognize words by sight, starting with Unit 3. Additionally, throughout the “Teacher’s Edition,” there are sidebars titled “Check for Success,” which remind teachers to take anecdotal notes of student performance; they refer teachers to use a rubric to record children’s progress and note whether the student can or cannot perform the targeted skill, such as identify high-frequency words or decode words with specific diphthongs or other spelling patterns. The progress-monitoring page at the end of each week includes a fluency assessment. The chart says: “Conduct group fluency assessments using the Letter Naming, Phoneme Segmentation, and Sight Word Fluency assessments.”
In Unit 2, during small-group instruction, the materials instruct the teacher to directly teach fluency, setting the purpose for reading as reading with accuracy and appropriate rate. The teacher reads the first page of the leveled reader Pick Up Day, modeling appropriate intonation and stressing important words. The teacher reads the next page, with students repeating after each sentence. The teacher emphasizes appropriate intonation and provides corrective feedback as needed. The rest of the story is read independently or with a partner. In the same unit, during a lesson on high-frequency words, students practice reading sentences that contain high-frequency words at the appropriate pace and with automaticity. The materials direct the teacher to conduct oral reading fluency assessments to progress monitor at the end of Weeks 1–5.
Unit 3 focuses on fluency in the phonics, spelling, or small-group lessons. A sidebar above one of the phonemic awareness lessons reminds teachers to do a sound-spelling review with students by displaying word-building cards with different spelling patterns and having children say the sounds. In another lesson, after the high-frequency word review, there is a section that says, to build word automaticity, the teacher can post sentences with the high-frequency words for the week and have students repeatedly read the sentences aloud together at the same pace. The small-group lesson for the “Approaching Level” readers and “On Level” readers has a note to practice accuracy and rate. This begins with the teacher modeling how to read one page from the decodable reader with accuracy and an appropriate rate. Children first read along with the teacher, then practice rereading the text with a partner. In another section of the small- group lesson, after reviewing the foundational skills from the whole-class lessons (high- frequency words and phonics), there is a note to focus on fluency by reminding children to focus on their accuracy and rate as they read from the two decodable texts. There is an additional lesson that focuses on building fluency with phonics and lists over two dozen spelling sounds the class has learned, so that the teacher can display the word-building cards for each sound and have children chorally read these sounds several times while varying the pace of each reading. Another section focuses on building fluency and connected text; the materials prompt the teacher to have children review the decodable readers and look for words with the targeted phonics sounds. In partners, students reread the sections with the targeted sounds for fluency. The small-group lesson for the “Beyond Level” readers has a sidebar that notes students can access online tools for fluency practice to listen to a grammar song.
In Unit 4, using the text “Snail and Frog Race,” the teacher explains to students that reading with accuracy means pronouncing words correctly and reading every word in the text. The teacher explains that reading with accuracy helps with comprehension. The teacher models by reading a page in the text, carefully pronouncing the words and pointing out to not skip over any words in the text. The teacher mentions to students that if they make an error, they should go back to the beginning of the sentence and start over. The teacher then guides students to practice alongside the teacher on the next page of the text, and then on the remaining pages with a partner. Using the text “Go Wild,” the teacher explains to students that good readers read so it sounds like speech. The teacher also explains that reading at the appropriate rate can help them better understand what they are reading. The teacher models by reading a page in the text at an appropriate rate and pointing out how the text was read so it sounds like speech. The teacher explains that if students read too fast or too slow, it will be difficult to understand what they are reading. The teacher then guides students to practice alongside the teacher on the next page of the text, and then on the remaining pages with a partner. Using the shared- reading text “A Team of Fish,” the teacher models for students how to pause slightly after seeing a comma in the text and a little longer after each period in the text. The teacher explains that a comma separates ideas in a sentence, so readers pause to show the separation. The teacher also explains that a sentence is a whole idea, so readers pause between sentences to separate each idea. The teacher models reading a sentence with a comma to show how the pause tells listeners that there is a comma in the sentence. Students then have the opportunity to reread the sentence chorally and practice fluency using online differentiated genre passages. As students read the text “Little Rabbit,” they take turns reading aloud to a partner, focusing on reading accurately and correcting any errors. During this time, the teacher circulates the room, listening to student fluency as they read and providing corrective feedback as needed.
The materials provide placement assessments and information to assist in foundational skills instruction as well as instruction and direction to support teachers in assessing students’ foundational skills toward grade-level mastery and in planning for small-group instruction and differentiation based on student needs.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “Placement and Diagnostic Assessment” resource in the publisher materials guides teachers to place students into one of three categories based on their performances on placement and diagnostic assessments: 1, On Level; 2, Approaching Level; 3, Beyond Level. The resource provides associated materials for each of the categories. Initial placement decisions are made based on the “Phonological Awareness Subtest” and “Letter Naming Fluency Assessment” or the “Listening Comprehension Tests.” Materials emphasize using multiple measures in the assessment process, noting: “The process starts with measurement and scoring (test results, observations). The next step is to compare and interpret the information you have gathered. The third step is to make instructional decisions based on your conclusions. This process is ongoing.” The “Assessment Planning and Pacing Guide” is provided to guide teachers to utilize the assessments at specific points throughout the year to both screen and progress monitor students’ foundational skills knowledge. The materials also provide alignment information for “DIBELS Next” and “TPRI” screeners to the instructional materials.
For each assessment listed in the Placement and Diagnostic Assessment, the materials provide sections titled “Instructions for Administering the Assessment,” “Directions for Scoring,” and the assessment itself. Prior to a specific subset of tests, the materials include sections titled “How to Use the Assessment,” which notes the time(s) of year the assessment should be administered and in what manner the assessment should be administered (whole group, informally, individually, etc.); and “How to Interpret the Results,” which notes more general trends in planning and differentiation needs for varying levels of student performance.
During or immediately after the “Start Smart” unit, materials note that a foundational skills diagnostic assessment, including phonemic awareness, sight word fluency/high-frequency words and alphabet recognition using letter naming fluency; a phonics survey; and leveled passages can be used to determine reading level and comprehension abilities. The Placement and Diagnostic Assessment provides guidance on how to interpret the results of each specific assessment. Students are placed into one of the three categories previously mentioned, and the student’s online course dashboards then indicate relevant leveled reads and activities according to the student’s level. The materials also reference “Tier 2 Intervention Online PDFs” to fill in skill gaps as needed.
At the beginning of each unit, the teacher uses the “Data Dashboard” to gather individual student data for information to be used in grouping students. There are recommendations to extend learning for students performing above level and support for students that are performing below level. The “Daily Check for Success” results are recorded in an online rubric, and the materials provide grouping options based on those results. The “Online Assessment Center” provides an “Item Analysis Report” and a “Standard Analysis Report.” The Data Dashboard has “Activity Reports,” “Skills Reports,” and “Progress Reports.” The teacher is guided to online resources for reteaching. “Running Records” guide the teacher to use the student’s instructional reading level for regrouping. Students below a certain level receive reteaching in specific below-level areas.
The materials use “Oral Reading Fluency” (ORF) to screen and progress monitor students’ growth in and mastery of fluency skills. To screen students, the materials recommend teachers compare a student’s performance to the ORF norms using the WCPM benchmarks three times in the year. The materials note: “A student evidencing grade-level fluency should generate a score within a range of ten WCPM above or below the 50th percentile benchmark. Students below or significantly below this benchmark may be at risk.” The materials offer other diagnostic fluency assessments to identify if students struggling with fluency have possible issues in decoding and prosody.
In Unit 4, the materials provide the teacher with the next steps based on the data that has been collected from multiple sources throughout the unit, including formal and informal assessments. Teachers are given guidance on making regrouping decisions by checking student progress, identifying how English Learners are progressing, and considering whether students are ready to “Level Up” or “Accelerate.” Teachers are also given guidance on whether to review or reinforce particular skills or concepts to reteach them, target instruction to meet children’s strengths/needs, or determine which lessons to provide to different groups of children. For example, in Unit 4, after assessing students, the teacher has two options based on how students do with fluency. If students read 0–18 WCPM, then the teacher is instructed to teach the lesson from Sections 2–8 of the Fluency PDF and lessons from Section 3 of the Fluency PDF. If students read 10–18 WCPM, then the teacher is instructed to teach the lesson from Sections 1, 9, or 10 of the Fluency PDF.
The materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress as indicated by the program’s scope and sequence. The materials include both formal and informal assessment opportunities throughout each unit and provide teachers with guidance and direction to respond to individual students’ literacy needs.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
The materials contain daily, end-of-week, and end-of-unit formal and informal assessments that provide data to the teacher to be used for whole-class, small-group, and individualized targeted instruction. The materials contain intervention and reteaching resources provided in small- group lessons and “Intervention Online PDFs.” At the end of each week, a chart is provided with a breakdown of skill categories (such as phonological awareness, onset and rime blending, etc.) with correlating TEKS and how the skills are assessed informally within the program. The Grade 1 “Teacher’s Editions” contain informal assessment opportunities through a weekly “Check for Success” list with specific look-fors in formatively assessing students. Materials provide teacher guidance in response to student needs, including activities and additional exercises within the “Practice Book” and/or the “Reading/Writing Companion.” After every three weeks of instruction, materials provide opportunities to assess foundational skills taught in the unit. After every six weeks of instruction, a more comprehensive assessment of comprehension skills, foundational skills, high-frequency words, and category words is provided. The materials use “Oral Reading Fluency” to screen and progress monitor students’ growth in and mastery of fluency skills. The materials provide a “Fluency Assessment” component that can be used every unit to monitor progress; however, the materials recommend not formally assessing oral fluency at the start of Grade 1 since, until students can “decode and automatically recognize many words by sight, they cannot be expected to read aloud effortlessly and expressively.” The materials do provide assessments in fluency-building activities such as letter naming, phoneme segmentation, and sight word fluency. The materials contain twenty-four fluency passages that teachers can use to assess whether students can decode phonologically and automatically recognize words by sight, starting with Unit 3.
At the end of Unit 1, Week 1, “Making the Most of Assessment Results” notes that the teachers informally assessed oral reading fluency and formally assessed phonological awareness (identifying rhyme and phoneme isolation), phonics (short a), structural analysis (the inflectional ending s), and high-frequency words (does, not, school, what). The materials provide scoring guidance for each assessment and note subsequent assignments for students based on their individual foundational skill needs.
In Unit 2, after a “Word Work” lesson that introduces the short e, the teacher records student progress in the online rubric. The teacher determines if children can read and decode words with the short e. For students that do not meet the criteria, the teacher is provided with an “Approaching Level Reteach” lesson and an “English Language Learner Develop” lesson. For students that do meet the criteria, the teacher is provided with an “On Level Review” lesson and a “Beyond Level Extend” lesson.
In Unit 4, during phonics instruction, students learn to read and decode words with the long a sound, using a and ay, and practice using the sounds. The teacher checks for success, considering if the student can read and decode words with the long i sound. Following this check, the teacher can either reteach the skill (for approaching learners), develop the skill (for English Learners), review the skill (for on-level learners), or extend the skill (for beyond-level learners). At the end of the unit, students are assessed on phonetic knowledge by choosing words that name the pictures on the unit assessment. Also in Unit 4, the materials give guidance to teachers on how to proceed based on students’ fluency results. If students read 0–18 WCPM, then the teacher is instructed to teach the lesson from Sections 2–8 of the Fluency PDF and lessons from Section 3 of the Fluency PDF. If students read 10–18 WCPM, then the teacher is instructed to teach the lesson from Sections 1, 9, or 10 of the Fluency PDF.
In Unit 6, students demonstrate phonological awareness by recognizing phoneme changes and segmenting one-syllable words. In a “Word Work” lesson, students review phoneme segmenting as the teacher says a word and students say each sound in the word. The teacher reviews phoneme substitution and guides students through changing sounds in words. There are opportunities to assess phoneme segmenting and substitution at the end of the week and at the end of the unit.
The materials meet the criteria for including supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. There are planning and learning opportunities for students with literacy skills above those expected at grade level; these opportunities include extensions and differentiation. Ideas for differentiating and scaffolds are included throughout the daily instructional schedule, and there are opportunities for additional leveled instruction in skills and concepts taught in a whole-group setting.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, the materials include call-out boxes titled “Gifted and Talented” for students to extend their reading, research areas of interest, and write about what they have learned. Sidebars provide tips throughout the daily instructional schedule and small-group plans for students beyond grade level. The materials allow teachers to provide challenging questions during discussion or tasks after instruction, and the students are able to self-identify when, and if, they are ready to participate in these activities. By rereading the “Shared Read” or “Anchor Text” multiple times, the teacher can take the discussion to deeper levels of understanding. The materials also include small-group differentiation lessons, which take all literacy skills into higher levels of depth or complexity by offering challenging texts, open-ended tasks, and online access to activities. At the end of each week of instruction, there are opportunities for the teacher to assess and gather information on student progress to plan for the next week or unit; summative assessment opportunities are included at the end of the unit, testing comprehension, high-frequency words, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary.
In Unit 2, there are numerous sidebars and tips for students who are above grade level. Along with the “Suggested Lesson Plan,” there is guidance for the teacher to use the “Check for Success” to determine each student’s needs; this provides activities for students that are beyond grade level. For example, students work with a partner to form sentences with high- frequency words of the week, and “Teach in Small Group” has students write their responses independently and discuss them. “Differentiate Reading” suggests students above grade level complete the “Reread” prompts in the “Reading/Writing Companion” in partners. The Reread prompts include rereading to find out what makes the story a particular genre; rereading and talking about the characters, setting, and events; and sharing the text evidence found when rereading.
In Unit 3, after a lesson about verbs, partners orally generate sentences with different verbs. The challenge is to include three or more verbs in a sentence. After reading the anchor text, The Big Yucca Plant, students write in their “Response Journals” about one way they can help a family member or a friend, writing dialogue in play format; the additional challenge is for them to include a narrator.
In Unit 4, students read the book Go, Gator within the small-group leveled reading lessons. Student knowledge is extended as students are challenged to think of different animals they have read about and where they live. Students write about an animal they want to learn more about and research where the animal lives and how it survives in nature. Small-group instruction also provides additional differentiation for students who are performing above grade level by having them write about connections between various “beyond-level texts”; students read the additional text Ducklings and, after reading the text, they work with a partner to discuss the information they learned and make connections by comparing and contrasting alligators and ducklings.
In Unit 5, students read the above-level fiction text Spark’s Toys using the comprehension strategy “making and confirming predictions” while they read. Questions are given for students to respond to the text afterward; to extend their learning, students can read a paired text, Sorting Fruit, and work with a partner to make connections by comparing and contrasting. Students write about different ways they could classify animals using category headings, then list animals under each category. Students can choose to do additional research to find out more about animals and classifications.
The materials provided meet the criteria for including supports for students who demonstrate proficiency below grade level. There are planning and learning opportunities for students with literacy skills below those expected at grade level; these opportunities include extensions and differentiation throughout the daily instructional schedule. There are also opportunities for additional instruction in skills and concepts taught in a whole-group setting. Materials include embedded supports in the “Teacher Edition” for students who demonstrate proficiency below grade level, specifically through small-group instruction, opportunities for teachers to remediate skills in reading and writing, and targeted intervention, including Tier 2 resources.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, teachers provide varying levels of questions during discussion or tasks after instruction, and the students are able to self-identify when, and if, they are ready to participate in these activities. By rereading the “Big Book” multiple times, the teacher can take the discussion to deeper levels of understanding for all students. The materials also include small-group differentiation lessons to practice specific literacy skills that may prevent students from reaching grade-level mastery, while still modifying tasks or instruction to grant access to grade-level content and skills. With leveled readers, there are activities for phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics, oral vocabulary, high-frequency words, and comprehension. Additional supports for students approaching grade level include giving students additional practice with a skill after it has been taught whole class, reading passages with students and working through the questions with them, students drawing a picture for their writing and dictating their sentences to the teacher, or students listening to a selection after it has been read during class to support comprehension. At the end of each week of instruction, there are opportunities for the teacher to assess and gather information on student progress to plan for the next week or unit. At the end of the unit, summative assessment opportunities are included for comprehension, high-frequency words, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary.
In the “Start Smart” unit, lessons provide support in early foundational skills: “Oral Language and Concepts of Print,” “Phonological and Phonemic Awareness,” “Phonics,” “Listening Comprehension,” “High-Frequency Words,” and “Writing.”
In Unit 2, “Differentiate Reading” suggests having students listen to the selection after reading it orally to deepen comprehension. “Access Complex Texts” gives tips for text features within the text that may be hard to understand. “Check For Success” boxes are included in the various components of the instruction schedule, such as Listening Comprehension, High-Frequency Words, and “Word Work”; these give guidance for the teacher to differentiate with small-group instruction related to the skill or concept students may be struggling with. “Corrective Feedback” provides support for incorrect responses, and “Analyze Errors/Articulation Support” provides support for students who struggle with pronouncing particular sounds.
In Unit 3, strategies for teachers include the following: Before reading a story in the “Reading/Writing Companion,” students are asked to answer questions about the students in a photo. Students have the opportunity to further discuss their ideas with a partner before sharing with the whole class. During spelling, students work in pairs to create sentences using each of their high-frequency words, and, for comprehension, students work with a partner to retell the story using the retelling routines or work with a partner to act out their favorite part of the story. After reading Nate the Snake Is Late, the class reads a response to the following prompt: “Write a note from Nate to Mrs. Tate, explaining why he is late.” This is the first reading of the text, and the teacher takes notes about important events. After the reading, the teacher rereads the notes and uses sentence frames to model how to complete the formal written response.
In Unit 4, all three groups (approaching, on, and above grade level) focus on the strategy “ask and answer questions.” For students approaching grade level in reading, the teacher models how to ask a question and read the text in order to answer it. Students are reminded that before, during, and after reading, they can ask themselves questions and look at the text and pictures to find the answer.
In Unit 6, sidebars throughout the unit encourage grouping students of different abilities to read texts or recite words so that students approaching grade level can hear the words correctly, then discuss the meanings of words or texts and either draw or write about them. Before a whole-class read-aloud of the anchor text, the Teacher Edition suggests that students approaching grade level listen to a recording of the story summary and use the reread prompts during the small-group time to support understanding of the text. During the small-group lesson with the leveled reader, the teacher models a think-aloud to show students how to go back in the text and reread to facilitate understanding. When students use graphic organizers, the Teacher Edition prompts teachers to have students complete them with partners. There are also differentiated spelling lists for readers approaching grade level.
Materials include accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency as defined by the ELPS, with grade-appropriate scaffolds as defined by the Grade 1 ELAR TEKS. Specific first-language supports and vocabulary supports are provided.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout the materials, supports are included in the literature “Big Book,” interactive read- aloud cards, anchor and shared-read texts, phonemic awareness activities, phonics-related tasks, the high-frequency word routine, grammar lessons, and other literacy routines. Each section is divided into three levels based on students’ English Learner (EL) needs: “Beginning,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced/Advanced High”; sometimes, there is a sidebar that also offers “Newcomer” support.
Throughout all units, support for vocabulary development is targeted to whole-group instruction. The weekly plans include sidebars with tips for ELs within the various lesson components, including introducing concepts, phonics, comprehension, speaking, vocabulary, writing, and grammar. A routine that is age-appropriate for Grade 1 students is included as a year-long plan for building oral vocabulary. Teachers can use the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” to define, give an example, and ask a question related to the vocabulary term; also, a photograph on one side of the card provides a visual representation.
In Unit 1, the teacher shows a photograph of a family celebrating a holiday for a class discussion. The materials include whole-group discussion questions as well as leveled EL scaffolds. Beginning ELs are provided with a list of holidays, questions, and sentence frames to help partners share. Examples include “What holiday does your family celebrate? My family celebrates Thanksgiving. What do you do that day? We eat turkey.” Intermediate ELs share their family’s holidays using sentence frames to help them compare. Examples include “How are Holi and Thanksgiving the same? During both holidays, we share a family meal. How are Holi and Thanksgiving different? Holi happens in the spring; Thanksgiving happens in the fall.” Advanced/Advanced High ELs partner up and ask and answer questions to share information about different holidays. For example, “What holiday does your family celebrate? How do you celebrate? How is the holiday the same as Holi? How is it different?”
In Unit 3, as the small group reads Kate Saves the Date! the teacher reminds the group of the “Essential Question” and guides students to look at the book cover and title to predict what the text is about. The teacher uses the Visual Vocabulary Cards to pre-teach vocabulary. As students read the text, the teacher supports the development of comprehension skills, using the “Interactive Question-Response Routine”; these are scaffolded questions and sentence frames for each EL level.
In Unit 4, students learn about text features, such as captions. Beginning ELs are given sentence frames to help them discuss the photographs and captions; students are asked what they see in the photographs, and the teacher reads the caption to help students compare what they see in the photograph to what the caption says. Intermediate ELs complete the sentence frames that are used at the Beginning level, but they are prompted to explain how they know what the people in the photographs are doing.
In Unit 6, there is an EL “Spelling” sidebar that directs the teacher to review the meanings of the words using pictures, pantomimes, or gestures. The teacher has the student say the word hum and then hum a song or tune. When the teacher models high-frequency words, a sidebar offers extra support for the word enough. The teacher provides a sentence and questions students about the meaning of the word. Sentence frames are used as needed.
The materials include assessments and guidance for teachers and administrators to monitor progress, including interpreting and acting on data. The materials provide multiple opportunities for teachers to assess students using formative and summative assessments. The assessments include scoring information. Guidance is provided for responding to student performance through the creation of instructional groups and suggestions for further instruction.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, student learning is compared to a benchmark in the “Check for Success” sidebars: “Can the student…? Yes or No.” If the answer to the question is “No,” the materials include a reteaching activity for students. If the answer is “Yes,” the materials include a review activity for students working at grade level and an extension activity for students working above grade level. At the end of each unit, the materials provide generalized steps for interpreting data and making decisions. Teachers can compare informal and formal data and use resources from the materials, such as the “English Learner Benchmark Assessment” or “Data Dashboard” recommendations, to help determine which lessons to provide to groups of students and how to group and regroup students.
A “Diagnostic and Placement Assessment” can be used to assess each child’s fluency level and compare students to national fluency norms. Fluency passages are used to determine oral reading fluency rate, oral reading accuracy, and prosody level correlated to national norms. For students performing below level, a “Placement Decisions” chart in the Diagnostic and Placement Assessment provides guidance on additional tests to best determine each child’s specific needs.
After every three weeks of instruction, the materials provide opportunities to assess the foundational skills taught in the unit. After every six weeks of instruction, a comprehensive assessment examines the students’ comprehension skills, foundational skills, high-frequency words, and category words. Additional assessment options include a fluency assessment for letter naming fluency, phoneme segmentation fluency, and sight word fluency. “Running Records” can be used to determine the instructional reading level for each student (approaching, on, or above grade level).
The “Teacher Edition” includes specific steps for responding to skill deficits. For example, if students struggle to isolate and blend the targeted sound, the materials direct the teacher to corresponding lessons in the “Phonemic Awareness” PDF. If students struggle to recognize and read the high-frequency words of the week, teachers can refer to the “High-Frequency Word Cards,” which direct students to read and spell the word, pointing out any irregularities in sound-spellings.
In Unit 3, after a discussion identifying character, setting, and plot in a story, students write four of the main events from the story in a graphic organizer in their “Reading/Writing Companion.” The Check for Success sidebar points to specific pages in the Teacher Edition containing small- group lessons to respond if students can or cannot identify the sequence.
In Unit 6, the Week 5 assessment includes the skills of author’s purpose, metaphors, r- controlled vowels, r-controlled syllables, high-frequency words, and analytical writing. Informally assessed skills include phonological awareness, spelling, listening, collaborating, researching, and oral reading fluency. The practice book pages, response board, digital activities, word sorts, checklists, and rubrics all provide informal opportunities to assess students. The assessment results can be used for grouping students.
The materials include year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify the needs of students and opportunities to provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners, ensuring grade-level success. Materials provide an overarching plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings, and the plan is comprehensive and attentive to differentiation through many opportunities. Substantial support is given through annotations, sidebar supports, and call-outs in the “Teacher Edition.” Annotations within the Teacher Edition are comprehensive and thorough; a novice teacher would have the guidance needed to implement the materials. Materials include annotations and supports for engaging students, and components are included for implementing ancillary resource materials and progress monitoring. The annotations and ancillary materials provide support for learning and assistance for teachers. Materials contain an emphasis on “Social-Emotional Learning.” Teachers have materials and comprehensive support to create a classroom community that promotes literacy.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, the program’s philosophy, “Teach It Your Way,” allows for embedded differentiation based on students’ needs. Tips are provided for students who are approaching grade level, on grade level, and beyond grade level as well as for English Learners (ELs). Teachers have the opportunity to group students at different levels or provide differentiation based on data analysis throughout the year; support is provided throughout multiple components of literacy instruction, such as small-group reading, phonics support, vocabulary support, independent reading and writing, and research and inquiry. Targeted support, which includes Tier 2 resources, is provided for students who need additional instruction and rehearsal of skills. Materials emphasize Social-Emotional Learning, and teachers have materials and comprehensive support to create a classroom community that promotes literacy. The “Teaching the Whole Child” section states that the lessons and sidebars on classroom culture “set the stage for collaboration.” The “Resources” section describes ancillary materials that are available for small groups and for guided reading lessons; the scope and sequence provides a year-long plan of how learning is sequenced and spiraled, thus allowing teachers to make short- and long-term plans for groupings. Materials provide opportunities and supports for teachers in identifying students’ needs.
In Unit 2, the plan for students approaching grade level includes a leveled reader, phonemic awareness, phonics, structural analysis, high-frequency words, and comprehension. On-level plans include activities for a leveled reader, phonics, high-frequency words, and comprehension. Plans for students beyond grade level include activities for a leveled reader, vocabulary, comprehension, and self-selected reading.
In Unit 3, the class begins a discussion about a photograph in the “Reading/Writing Companion,” which shows students holding different clocks. The teacher asks students to work with a partner to tell what they think the children are holding and what they are learning to do. Scaffolded questions for three EL levels are included.
In Unit 4, when practicing fluency, students can practice using differentiated genre passages of various stories that support their level; students can use the online passages of The Magpie’s Nest at the level that works best for them in order to focus on fluency as they read.
The materials meet the criteria, providing implementation support for teachers and administrators, including a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught and the specific order in which they are presented to build across grade levels. Some examples of implementation support include instructional routines, English Learner (EL) scaffolds, differentiation opportunities, tips for accessing complex texts, and opportunities for collaborative conversations. The scope and sequence includes a 180-day schedule of literacy instruction for the school year, which could be adapted to a 220-day schedule.
Examples include but are not limited to:
The “Teacher Edition” includes a scope and sequence of six units (each six weeks long). Each unit begins with an overview of the texts and concepts taught in the unit and the student expectations for the components of the unit. At the end of each week and unit of instruction, there are “Wrap-Up” activities, “Progress Monitoring,” and “Summative Assessments” to guide the teacher in planning interventions, and enrichment and extension activities. At the end of every unit, there are “Show What You Learned,” “Extend Your Learning,” and “Track Your Progress” activities that the teacher has the choice of using, as needed, to review and reteach skills, strategies, and genres from the units. While these activities are not specifically planned for in the scope and sequence, they allow for extending the number of instructional days to 180 or more.
The materials include a comprehensive list of Grade 1 English Language Arts TEKS correlations and corresponding units with page numbers in which the indicated TEKS are covered. Additionally, a correlation list for Grade 1 Social Studies and Science TEKS covered in the units is included. Within each lesson, TEKS are listed alongside the objective.
The text complexity supplemental resource provides information on the texts that are taught throughout the year, including their quantitative complexity levels and how they are incorporated into the units.
The first unit includes implementation support to establish class routines related to texts, vocabulary, mini-lessons, writing, fluency, and more. The information provided explicitly explains the effectiveness of the routine and how to use the routine with students.
Annotations and sidebar supports are included throughout the materials to support teachers and administrators in program implementation. Examples of support for implementation found in the Teacher Edition include instructional routines (“Oral Vocabulary,” “Close Reading,” “Retelling,” etc.); EL scaffolds for the Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced High EL levels; supports for “Differentiating Reading” instruction and tips for “Accessing Complex Text and Text Features”; “Extend the Lesson”; and “Collaborative Conversations.” Many lessons include specific support for questions and tasks directly related to the texts being read.
The materials have a visual design that is neither distracting nor chaotic. Materials include appropriately designed white space that supports and does not distract from student learning. The pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without being visually distracting.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Throughout all units, the spaces for students to write include age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate lines and spacing as well as areas for students to draw. Certain fonts and graphics are used consistently throughout the workbook, which promotes student understanding of directions. The “Reading/Writing Companion” includes photos; many feature children of a similar age and are colorful and engaging. The charts and graphs provided on the pages align with what the students learn, and they adapt to meet their academic needs; icons indicate actions.
In Unit 1, after students read the realistic fiction text Jack Can, the Reading/Writing Companion has them fill in a T-chart about what could be real and what could really happen. Graphic organizers include wide spaces for students to write responses.
In Unit 2, the Reading/Writing Companion includes a page to be used after reading the shared read. Students identify things that could be real about the characters, setting, and events. The page provides a chart with ample space for the student to respond and describe each of the items. A paired selection, Firefighters at Work, has a title page that is simple, clear, and attractive. Items the students need to know are labeled; the student reads and underlines what firefighters do when the bell rings. The picture is clear, engaging, and specific to its intended purpose.
In Unit 3, the student Reading/Writing Companion has them discuss the context of a picture printed on the page. It is a large full-page color photograph of a boy looking at budding leaves on a stem. At the top corner of the page is a call-out box with a familiar title—“Talk About It”—and the “Essential Question” underneath. The graphics within the box include a graphic of two students talking and a large question mark. This is a consistent graphic that showcases the Essential Question throughout the Reading/Writing Companion and on the picture cards used during read-alouds or class discussions. On the following page, the students are asked to write about what plants need to grow; each of the two steps of directions includes the verb in a bold and contrasting font color as well as a graphic that matches the verb. “TALK” shows a graphic of two students; “WRITE” shows a graphic of a pencil. These fonts and graphics are used consistently throughout the student workbook.
In Unit 4, students are provided with a paired text that relates to the shared reading. The paired text is provided on one page, and suggestions to read, underline, and talk about the text are given on the side. The colors are appealing to student senses and are not overwhelming; key words are written in bold print; photographs are provided for students to make connections to what they are reading and their background knowledge. On the following page, students are provided with a chart that gives further details from the paired selection. This chart provides easy-to-read text, photographs to support ideas, and headings to help the reader make sense of the information.
The materials’ student-facing edition contains four main parts: “My Binder,” “Collaborate,” “Resources”, and “School to Home.” My Binder shows students assigned to-do lists, work, and tests. Students can collaborate via discussion boards and on projects with other students in the class as assigned by teachers. Resources for students include “My Books,” texts available as eBooks, “Skills Practice,” games, graphic organizers, and other ancillary materials to support student learning. Students can listen to the eBooks and mark up text, including highlighting and taking notes, as well as participate in digital mini-lessons and watch “Collaborative Conversation” videos that model skills for students. The School to Home tab can feature letters from teachers, practice activities for parents/guardians to work on with their child that connects to the learning done in class, and other messages. Students can access each section of their home page using the icons at the bottom; this way, even young children who are developing readers can navigate the technology components in the materials.
Read the Full Report for Technology
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Read the Full Report for Professional Learning Opportunities
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Read the Full Report for Additional Language Supports
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