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The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts and cover a range of student interests. The cross-content texts are well-crafted and are of publishable quality, representing the quality of content, language, and writing that is produced by experts in various disciplines. Materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Within each curriculum unit, texts represent a wide array of topics and cultures. Furthermore, the texts span varied content areas such as art, music, math, science, and social studies and are offered in several different languages (Spanish, French, British, Polish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese). Additionally, the materials include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical and diverse texts. Also, all texts are available in both printable and electronic formats and at 29 levels of text complexity from level AA to Z2 that progress in difficulty.
There are 19 titles within the Classics section, including The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, and The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Each classic is broken down into smaller amounts of text for instructional purposes, and the pieces together represent the entire novel. Additionally, the Legends section contains traditional texts, such as an adaptation of Beowulf provided in three Lexile levels: 660L, 870L, and 890L. Also, this section contains 14 traditional fairy tales such as Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, and Rapunzel, and lesser-known titles such as Polar Bear’s Promise and The Wild Swans. All titles are labeled with Lexile levels. Diverse texts include folktales from around the world, such as Ali Baba: An Arabian Folktale, The Drum, An Indian Folktale, and The Stone Cutter: A Japanese Folktale. All Folktales are labeled with a Lexile level and a guided reading level, and most are available in multi-levels.
Unit 1 contains a non-fiction level Q mentor text titled Jackie Robinson that includes real photographs depicting the significant events in his life as well as the impact he made on society. The writer accurately conveys the historical components and the struggle Jackie had to overcome challenges he faced as an African-American during segregation and initial phases of integration. Additionally, in Unit 1, A Nation Arises is a compilation of poems with illustrations and photographs depicting how America formed into an independent country. Factual information about Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, George Washington, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the three branches of government help bring the events to life for students. The poems are concise, drawing the reader to focus on the main events of our nation’s development.
The materials contain fiction selections that provide relatable characters, setting, or plot structure. For example, in Unit 2, in The Hollow, a fictional Halloween story about children who visit the woods on Halloween night, the author uses enticing words and phrases, such as “empty branches reach out of the darkness like skeletal hands” and “whispering movement of dead leaves,” to make the reader feel part of the story. Also, the text includes rich vocabulary, including tatters, bolted, gnarled, and trudging, to portray the tone and mood of the story. Additionally, Unit 5 contains a fictional book titled Eleven that helps readers understand some of the pros and cons of being eleven years old. This story recounts siblings sparring and depicts character emotions through words and illustrations. The reader experiences the struggle a character has with turning eleven and longing to be a teenager.
Unit 5 includes a text titled Test Anxiety that provides the reader with the reasons people experience stress and anxiety as well as coping mechanisms, which is a high-interest topic for students. The Unit 6, Week 1 text Blue Whales: Giant Mammals (Level R) is listed for the “Shared Reading” component of the lesson and includes nonfiction text features, such as photographs, diagrams, headings, subheadings, table of content, captions, labels, maps, and a glossary. Unit 7 contains a shared reading text entitled Natural Wonders of the World (Level V) by Jane Sellman. It contains rich content vocabulary, such as downstream, erosion, fissure, plunge pool, and terrain. The text describes six natural wonders of the world, maps their locations around the world, and provides a historical and scientific description of each. Within the Grand Canyon chapter, the author placed an insert that introduces students to the animals, specifically rattlesnakes, that live in the Grand Canyon.
The materials include print and graphic features and represent a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the requirements of the TEKS for the grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The grade 3 TEKS specify that the texts span multiple genres to include folktales, fables, fairy tales, legends, myths, and poems, as well as informational, argumentative, multimodal, and digital texts. Thus, the materials include 14 genres of texts in assorted formats and genres and also provide paired books to compare and contrast texts.
Examples of literary texts include but are not limited to:
Examples of informational texts include but are not limited to:
The materials provide a Text Features section within the Grade 3 Implementation Guide. “Text features must be explicitly taught so students can recognize them and identify their purpose in a text.” This guide is for teachers to implement this explicit instruction and includes the following text features: table of contents, heading, subheadings, special print (boldface and italics), photographs, illustrations, graphics, sidebars, captions, charts, tables, graphs, maps, diagrams, timelines, cutaways, glossary, index, and digital texts. This resource defines the text features for teachers, gives instructional suggestions, and contains discussion questions to use during instruction. This aligns with the Grade 3 TEKS that indicate students should be able to recognize the characteristics and structures of text features such as sections, tables, graphs, timelines, bullets, numbers, and bold and italicized fonts to support their understanding.
Examples of print and graphic features include but are not limited to:
In Unit 1, Caesar Chavez: Migrant Hero by Terry Scott contains a table of contents, headings, bolded words, captions, sidebars, and a glossary.
In Unit 3, The Sun by Ned Jensen contains photographs of the sun in various forms, a table of contents, captions, subheadings, diagrams/models, step-by-step directions with photographs to perform scientific experiments, an index, a glossary, and bold text.
In Unit 4, Art Made from What? by Terry Miller Shannon contains a table of contents, headings, photographs, captions, bold words, a chart, and a glossary.
Unit 6, Alaska: The Last Frontier by Dane Dehler contains a table of contents, photographs, captions, bold words, maps, cutaways, sidebars, graphs, a glossary, and an index.
Unit 8, Explorer’s Guide to World Weather by Celeste Fraser contains a table of contents, headings, subheadings, photographs, captions, bold words, italicized words, maps, graphs, sidebar, and a glossary.
The Resources section provides teachers with Readers’ Theatre scripts, both fiction and non-fiction, that are adaptations from the leveled texts used in the regular curriculum.
The materials include a text-complexity analysis provided by the publisher to accompany the leveled readers and challenging texts at an appropriate level of complexity that allows sufficient exposure to quantitative levels and qualitative features that support grade 3 students.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Raz-Plus materials provide printable, projectable, and electronic books at 29 levels of text complexity; a Correlation Chart allows users to compare Learning A-Z levels and materials to other popular systems such as DRA, Ages, Fountas & Pinnell, Lexile, Reading Recovery, ATOS, and PM Readers. Additionally, the texts are leveled according to a Text Leveling System “developed over a ten year period as thousands of books, ranging in difficulty from simple sentences to complex novels and academic texts, were evaluated by teachers and instructional experts and placed into a system to create developmentally appropriate levels for students.” The leveling system from the publisher follows the guidelines for determining text complexity, which includes qualitative measures, quantitative measures, and reader task considerations and is available in English and Spanish. Quantitative measures are statistical measurements of text, such as total word count, number of different words, ratio of different words to total words, number of high-frequency words, ratio of high-frequency words to total words, number of low-frequency words, ratio of low-frequency words to total words, sentence length, and sentence complexity. Qualitative measures are text attributes that are subjectively evaluated by a human reader. Qualitative factors within the materials encompass predictability of text, text structure and organization (logical nature of organization, text and feature distractions and labeling and reader supports), illustration support, infographics (complexity and text reliance), and knowledge demands (concept load, familiarity of topic, single vs. multi-themed and intertextual dependence).
The “Lexile Text Measures to Guide College and Career Readiness” states that books for grade 3 students should be between 520L to 820L; the materials for grade 3 are between 660L to 940L, which correlates to a guided reading level of N-P and a DRA level 30-38.
Unit 1 has Running for Freedom by Katherine Follett (historical fiction). This book is a level T and contains 1,470 words. The purpose/structure of this text is moderately complex, and the author tells the story from the boy’s (first-person) point of view. Furthermore, the story is organized with a table of contents and subheadings, and a glossary helps the reader define unfamiliar words in bold print. Illustrations, photos, and maps also support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension.
Unit 4 has Two Artists: Vermeer’s Forger by Dina Anastasio, which is a level R text with 1,147 words. The purpose/structure of this text is moderately complex, and the author tells the story from a third-person point of view. The story is organized with a table of contents and subheadings, and a glossary helps the reader define unfamiliar words in bold print. Illustrations support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension. The language is slightly complex with academic language throughout the book.
Unit 8 has Polar Regions of the Earth by Elizabeth Austin, which is a level U nonfiction text containing 1,028 words. The author wrote from a third-person point of view, organized the text with a table of contents and subheadings, and provided a glossary to define words written in bold print. Illustrations, photos, captions, and maps support the text, allowing the reader to visually interpret the content, thus supporting comprehension. The language is significantly complex in that the vocabulary is geared towards scientific content.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, themes, and connections within and across texts. Furthermore, the materials contain questions and tasks that build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. Students make connections to personal experiences, other texts, and the world around them. Additionally, they identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
A grade 3 close read passage, A Mission Accomplished, directs students to read the text three times with a different purpose for each read. The first read focuses on “What does the text say?” and students answer questions such as “Who is Scott Kelly and what record did he break?” The second read focuses on “How does the text say what it says?” and students answer content/academic vocabulary questions such as “The passage states that scientists want to see how Scott’s body adjusts to being back on Earth. What does it mean to adjust, and what is Scott’s body adjusting from?” The third read focuses on “What is the meaning and value of the text?” and students answer questions such as “How does weightless living affect the astronauts and their everyday life on the International Space Station?” There is an optional question bank with questions such as “Why did the author organize this passage into sections? What does the table show? How does this information connect to the passage text? What does the author want readers to learn from this passage?”
Furthermore, within the paired text section of the materials, teachers may choose the grade 3 texts The Titanic: Lost and Found by Lisa Trumbauer and Titanic Treasure by Jane Sellman. The materials provide a question set for each text, a graphic organizer to write key points and interesting vocabulary, and a box that provides cross-text discussion questions such as the following: “What caused the Titanic to sink? Was it one cause or many causes? What factors contributed to the huge number of lives lost in the accident?”
Teachers access a scope and sequence which provides text-dependent questions for each unit and weekly plan. For example, the Unit Question for Unit 1 is “How can people make a difference?” The weekly questions within the unit are: “What makes a strong leader?” “How can a person fight for the rights of others?” “How do people fight for their own freedom?” and “What values bring people together?”
In Unit 1, Week 2, the lesson objective covers multiple TEKS. Students examine the biography titled Cesar Chavez: Migrant Hero by Terry L. Scott to determine and explain the textual organization (i.e., cause and effect, compare and contrast, problem and solution, or sequencing, using signal words and patterns). The lesson suggests questions such as “What text structure did the author use?” “Where can you find the answer to this question?” “How do you know this is the answer?” and “What evidence from the text supports your answer?” Students discuss how some answers to text-dependent questions will be explicit, and others can be inferential.
Questions and tasks require students to identify and discuss important ideas, themes, and details and integrate multiple grade-level TEKS. In Unit 2, students analyze story elements. The discussion questions include “Why did the character say or do...? What motives does the character have? How has the character changed? How does the setting affect the plot or the characters? What were the events that led to the final solution?” To further support learning, students use dialogue frames to answer text-dependent questions, such as “According to the text...; The text tells me...; In paragraph...it says....”
Unit 2, Week 4, the materials use three folktales (The Five-Headed Chief, The Baker’s Dozen, and The Empty Pot) to teach students how to identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details. The folktales illustrate different characters and cultures, but all reflect the theme of kindness.
In Unit 3, Week 2, teachers use Fireworks by Elizabeth Austin to identify the main idea and details within a text. During the lesson, the teacher models how to find the main idea and details using the table of contents. In the first section, the teacher points out that the main idea is about how fireworks are made; the class finds details. Afterward, students complete a main idea and supporting detail graphic organizer about a different section of the book.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students examine the nonfiction text Hula: The Heartbeat of Hawaii by Alexandra Hanson-Harding. Students connect to a previously read text and discuss places where readers had to infer information that was not explicit and apply that strategy to this text, thus fostering text-to-text connections. Students make thematic connections by reading other texts, such as the biography Mozart by Bertha E. Bush, in determining how people express themselves with art to apply this knowledge to the world around them.
Unit 6, Week 1, teachers use Blue Whales: Giant Mammals by S.E. Virgilio to glean the main idea and details from the shared reading text. Discussion questions include “What is the text mostly about? What is the big, or main, idea? What details support the main idea? What details are most important to understand the main idea?” The teacher models making connections between the text and what they already know before instructing the students to make at least one connection with a partner. Students complete a main idea and details activity card to record information as they read.
In Unit 8, Week 2, the lesson objective covers multiple TEKS. Students summarize key details to show understanding of the informational nonfiction text Weather Wizards: Floods by Rus Buyok. Questions such as “What is the text or section of text about?” “What are the main ideas of the text or section of text?” “What is your evidence?” and “Why is this part not important to remember?” help students to answer the key questions of “who, what, when, where and why” about a topic. Finally, students practice summarizing orally with a partner before developing a written summary independently.
The materials require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts by making inferences, drawing conclusions about the author's purpose in cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts, and providing evidence from the text to support their understanding. Additionally, the materials provide students the opportunity to study the language within texts to support their understanding, to compare and contrast the stated or implied purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic, and to analyze the choices authors make to influence and communicate meaning (in single and across a variety of texts).
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain “Comprehension Skills Packs” at each grade level. Teachers have access to grade-level texts with a complete lesson plan that is categorized to support specific literary/textual elements: analyze character, analyze plot, analyze setting, author’s point of view, author’s purpose, cause, and effect, compare and contrast, fact and opinion, main idea and details, inferencing, drawing conclusions, narrative point of view, problem and solution, and sequencing events. These texts encompass varied genres and content. Students have opportunities to examine texts by various authors on the same topic as well as texts about different topics by the same authors in determining how an author’s voice or point of view influences the meaning.
The materials address all grade 3, Strand 5 TEKS within the curriculum throughout the year. Each unit lists focus skills and concepts that include the author's purpose. The “Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide” for each grade level provides teachers guidance on the author's craft lessons, including point of view and purpose. Specifically, the materials provide an author’s purpose lesson format that is not book-specific and can be adapted. It includes discussion questions and implementation guidelines for teachers to utilize with any lesson throughout the materials. The discussion questions include the following: “Why did the author write this text? How did the author present the information? What did you notice about the words the author used? What does the author want you to know about the topic (nonfiction)? What does the author want you to know about the story or characters (fiction)? Is this text going to teach me something, make me laugh or cry, or try to get me to do or believe something?” For example, in Unit 1, Week 4, in the text September 11: Always Remember by Rus Buyok, students draw a conclusion about why the author wrote this selection and find evidence from the text to support their conclusion. Additionally, in Unit 4, Week 1, the teacher uses Vincent’s Bedroom by Dina Anastasio to review the three main purposes for writing and guides students to identify examples of each.
The materials provide an author’s voice lesson format with discussion questions and implementation guidelines. The discussion questions listed are as follows: “What does the author mean when they say...? What is the author describing? What is the author comparing...to? Why do you think the author chose to use these words? What effect does figurative language have in a text?” Under the implementation bullets, it guides teachers to point out examples of technical writing that include academic vocabulary and domain-specific words, explain to students that a technical voice can be descriptive, and point out figurative language within the text.
In Unit 4, students respond to the text Vincent’s Bedroom by Dina Anatasia by comparing this text to a previously read text and discussing the author’s purpose, using text evidence to determine the author’s purpose when it is not explicitly stated, and identifying the text evidence that highlights the author’s purpose.
In Unit 5, Week 2, students examine the realistic fiction text Only One Aunt Maggie by Alyse Sweeney. Students identify who is telling the story and explain the impact of the point of view. The teacher asks questions such as “Who is telling the story?” “From what point of view (first, second, or third person) is the story being told?” “Does the point of view change throughout the story, and how do you know?” “How would the story change if it were being told from another character's point of view?” Also, students connect to a previously read text and discuss who is telling the story and how more than one person can be “talking” in a story, explaining the differences in each character's point of view. Students then determine the effect that the narrative point of view has on the story by rewriting a piece of the text from a different point of view. Teachers guide a discussion on how a story differs when the point of view is told in the first person and third person, as well as how the narrator influences a story.
In Unit 8, Week 4, students compare information across texts. The teacher asks questions such as “How do the authors of the texts present information about the topic?” and “How do the texts relate to one another?” Students may use the texts Space Camp by Sean McCollum, Galileo by Keith and Sarah Kortemartin, Voyagers in Space by Cheryl Reifsnyder, Hubble: An Out-Of-This-World Telescope by Amy S. Hansen, and/or connect to a previously read text and discuss similarities between the texts regarding characters, themes, topics, and point of view. Students create a T-chart comparing texts based on similar themes or topics, character traits or actions, author's point of view, author's purpose, and author's language or writing style.
The materials provide continuity in lesson design and implementation of vocabulary within shared reading, writing, and literacy stations within literacy lessons in each unit, as well as other vocabulary supports for teachers and students. Furthermore, they include scaffolds and support for teachers to utilize to differentiate vocabulary for all learners. However, the materials do not contain a cohesive, year-long vocabulary plan that clearly demonstrates how the academic vocabulary builds in and across texts. Yet, for an additional charge, districts may purchase a vocabulary component that includes a year-long plan.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Although there is no evidence of a systematic, year-long plan for building vocabulary, the materials include consistent lessons containing ways to support student vocabulary acquisition throughout all units, including ways to apply words in appropriate contexts. The vocabulary-rich texts at each developmental level immerse students in language acquisition. Furthermore, the Scope and Sequence for each unit has a vocabulary section that contains academic vocabulary, content vocabulary, and context clue vocabulary application as part of the “Shared Reading,” “Writing,” and “Literacy Station” lesson portions. The vocabulary lesson design can be adapted to the current text of study.
Also, the materials provide a grade-level implementation guide that recommends teachers guide students with questions such as “Do you recognize any part of the word?” and “Are there clues in the words, phrases, or graphic features surrounding the word?” The guide also defines academic vocabulary, content vocabulary, and context clues. It recommends that teachers explain that understanding words in a text is necessary for students to understand what they are reading; teachers explain strategies to use when students encounter an unfamiliar word. The guide instructs teachers to model a think-aloud and other strategies, such as the use of picture clues, graphic features, nearby words, a dictionary or glossary, or word parts, to determine the meaning of words. The materials encourage teachers to point out content/academic vocabulary words in the text and use each word in a sentence.
Under the “Resources” tab, teachers locate vocabulary and idiom books and vocabulary word sorts in the Writing, “Vocabulary,” and “Word Work” sections. Teachers use the 20 vocabulary and idiom books for whole-class, small-group, or individual instruction. For example, the vocabulary book on air travel begins with a picture of an airport with the shuttle bus, terminal, control tower, and departure area labeled in the picture. These focus words are in the written text about the airport. The text proceeds with the same format, highlighting the ticket counter, security checkpoint, terminal, airplane, inside the airplane, runway, and baggage claim. Each labeled picture contains up to six labeled focus words from the corresponding text. Additionally, the vocabulary books come with four activities, including read, cloze, and label activities, which allow students to practice vocabulary in context. The resources also include the following graphic organizers for vocabulary instruction: KWL Chart, Vocabulary Web Wheel, Vocabulary Web diagram, and Word Meaning Map.
The materials include a vocabulary station in lesson plans that provides students with opportunities to work with vocabulary in a meaningful way, such as highlighting unknown vocabulary words in texts, completing graphic organizers, referring to glossaries in Leveled Books or other reference materials to determine the meaning of unknown words, creating personal dictionaries with vocabulary words of interest, and playing vocabulary games with a partner or in a small group. Teachers use station time within the literacy block to provide differentiated vocabulary instruction for students.
The materials include scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all learners. The “Differentiation Resources” include a below-level lesson and an above-level lesson. For example, in Unit 4, Week 1, the materials provide a below-level lesson and an above-level lesson to support the concept of author’s purpose. The lesson plan clearly defines author's purpose as a “Key Vocabulary” concept, and students apply this understanding throughout the context of the lesson. In Unit 8, Week 4, the differentiated lesson teaches the concept of main idea and details, defining main idea and details as Key Vocabulary components of the lesson and provides students opportunities to apply this understanding throughout the context of the lesson. The materials also provide a “Word Meaning Map” and “Picture Dictionary” to support vocabulary among all learners for each of these lessons.
Additionally, lessons with each unit contain supports for English Learners regarding vocabulary acquisition, including “Content Objectives” that task students to use the content vocabulary in the correct context. The materials contain texts at different levels in different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Polish, Ukrainian, and British-English, that have glossaries to support vocabulary acquisition.
Furthermore, the EL resources provide “Vocabulary Power Packs” for Grades 3-5 to specifically build content and academic vocabulary. For example, the Economics Vocabulary Power Pack takes the students through the basics of how the economic system works in the context of obtaining a new bicycle. Academic power words in this pack are analyze and evaluate. Content vocabulary is on each topic card. For example, on the “Resources and Capital” card, the content vocabulary words are business, entrepreneur, and produce. The pack also includes a “Topic/Describe Graphic Organizer,” an economics picture dictionary, and several vocabulary quizzes to check for understanding.
The materials include a detailed plan to support and hold students accountable as they self-select their text and practice previously taught reading strategies while engaging in independent reading. The reading incentive program provides procedures and/or protocols for teachers to utilize to assist students in making and achieving reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a 120-minute literacy block framework, which includes 35 minutes allotted daily for small group instruction and a station rotation schedule to foster students’ independent reading. Teachers use the “Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide” for suggested activities and resources in the “Read with Purpose and Understanding Reading Strategy” to guide students in self-selecting texts to read independently. Furthermore, the materials provide reading strategy teacher guides that assist teachers with implementation procedures that teach students to self-select texts for independent reading. For example, the guide instructs teachers to explain there are questions students may ask themselves when choosing a book, such as “Am I interested in the topic of this book?” and “After previewing a couple of pages, do I know most of the words?”
Additionally, the materials contain benchmark passages that teachers use to administer running records; these determine students’ independent reading level, so that they can choose texts accordingly. Students may also record themselves reading the benchmark passages or books and send recordings to the teacher for scoring. After assessing, teachers use the student profile pages within the assessment reports to monitor individual reading rate and level progress reports and guide students to make appropriate choices from the materials’ “personalized library of leveled books and additional reading passages available in printable, projectable, online, and mobile formats to each student.”
Next, the Literacy Curriculum Map Implementation Guide recommends teachers work with students to set personal reading goals based on target skills, previous instruction, or assessments. Teachers follow specific steps to create student rosters for independent reading and select a student’s reading level or use the reading placement tool within the materials that identify the appropriate starting point for students based upon performance on reading activities. The materials contain specific guidance on book levels and how to determine a student’s instructional reading level. A chart is available for additional guidance. Teachers download personalized Student Login Cards and distribute them to students to log in to the portal in class or at home. A letter is available in multiple languages for parents that explains how they can receive progress reports.
Teachers record student goals and measure student progress throughout the week as students read independently for sustained periods of time in the fluency, reading, writing, and phonics centers. Each unit contains literacy stations with an independent reading focus. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, one literacy station objective states that students spend approximately 35 minutes independently reading. Furthermore, in the fluency center, students listen to examples of fluent reading or read or reread aloud to themselves or to a buddy a variety of texts, including instructional level texts and an array of genres, including poetry, reader’s theater scripts, fiction, and nonfiction. Students can reread texts from shared reading, small-group instruction, or read-alouds. Additionally, in the reading center, students self-select a text from the classroom library or the materials to practice reading for an authentic purpose and increase their reading proficiency, endurance, and confidence as they sustain uninterrupted reading over a 15 to 20 minute period. Specifically, in Unit 1, Week 1, the reading station instructions state: “Have students select a book from the class library or Kids A-Z and read independently or with a partner to practice reading with purpose and understanding.” Also, the “Connected Classroom” has an “add on” component that allows teachers to assign texts to students that are program generated for fluency practice and goal setting.
The materials provide sufficient materials for teachers to support students as they develop composition skills across multiple text types, such as literary, informational, and argumentative, as well as writing for different purposes and audiences, including correspondence written in a professional or friendly manner.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Grade 3 Implementation Guide states, “Writing begins with teacher-directed lessons followed by time for students to write.” The materials contain differentiated process writing lessons that expose students to the four main writing genres: informative/explanatory, narrative, opinion/argument, and transactional. Each six-part process writing lesson takes approximately two weeks to complete. The lesson begins with whole-class instruction for teaching and modeling the writing process and moves into students independently applying their learning during each lesson component and finally creating their composition by the end of the lesson. For an additional cost, districts may purchase Writing A-Z, which “provides hundreds of leveled, downloadable writing resources including core lessons and mini-lessons that allow you to target specific writing skills [and] teach process writing on four developmental levels within the genres of expository, narrative, persuasive, procedural, and transactional writing.”
The grade 3 TEKS specify that students compose literary texts, including personal narratives and poetry, using genre characteristics. In Unit 1, students participate in the writing process as they complete a descriptive writing assignment. The scripted lesson provides the teacher a developmental key for each piece of the writing process to support learners at all developmental levels (Beginning for students at grade 1 level, Early Developing for students just below grade level, Developing for students on grade level, and Fluent for students at grades 4-6 level). The lesson begins with a brainstorming activity; partners generate a list of words to describe familiar objects. Students then move into the pre-write phase using a graphic organizer before beginning the rough draft. There are prompts throughout the writing process lesson to help the teacher appropriately guide students, such as “Let’s read what we just wrote. Do these words create a clear picture in your mind? Could these same words be used to describe another object? If so, could this confuse readers?” As students move into the revising stage, they share how they used their graphic organizer and then review the “Descriptive Revision Checklist.” The teacher reminds students that word choice and sentence fluency help readers make pictures in their minds. Students use the Editing Guide to help edit their pieces. The teacher models how to check for capital letters, punctuation, and spelling, and reminds students of the conventions of good writing. Once students revise and edit their papers, they begin the publishing phase and may choose to publish and present their descriptive writing in varied formats, such as a travel brochure, a letter to a friend, or a story with illustrations. The culminating portion entails a student reflection encouraging students to either orally convey or write one improvement they will make in their next writing piece. The materials also contain Poetry Writing Lessons to support the development of the traits of good writing on eleven poetry types: acrostic, choral poetry, cinquain, clerihew, diamante, free verse, haiku, limerick, rap, tanka, and triangle triplet. The poetry writing lessons include detailed instructions for teachers and examples of each poetry type with scaffolded writing worksheets for students. There is a word work component within the poetry lessons as well as extension activities.
Furthermore, the grade 3 TEKS specify that students compose informational texts using a clear central idea and genre characteristics. In Unit 3, students participate in the writing process as they complete an informational report. Students brainstorm factual information about animals using a KWL chart. Then the teacher shares an exemplar informational report depicting an introduction that captures the audience’s attention, a middle section containing the main idea and details, and a closing that summarizes the topic. Students use the Informational Report Graphic Organizer while drafting their writing and the Editing Guide to help insert missing words and check word sequence. Students may reference the Informational Report Poster before publishing in a multimedia format, a formal report, or a book. Additionally, in Unit 6, students complete a compare and contrast essay assignment using Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs (no authors included). The materials guide teachers to support the process by first completing a Venn Diagram as a whole group to help students see the similarities and differences between the two texts, encouraging more fluent writers to also examine the mood, theme, and motivation of the antagonist. The teacher displays the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing and Graphic Organizer samples for students to preview, noting the hook and the thesis statement, which also provides a list of words used for comparing (also, both, like) and contrasting (although, however, unlike). Students use the Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer to plan their first draft, and then the teacher guides students to provide constructive feedback to one another using the Editing Guide.
In Unit 5, students complete a friendly email to a friend or family member using the components of a friendly letter (salutation, greeting, body, closing, signature). Teachers utilize the Friendly Email Graphic Organizer to guide students through the email format so that students can transfer the needed pieces into the email draft and the Friendly Email Poster to ensure the final copy is error-free.
The grade 3 TEKS also specifies that students compose argumentative texts. In Unit 7, students complete a pro/con writing assignment. This writing lesson combines informational report writing with persuasive writing. Students learn to use factual evidence when writing about an issue; they also learn to provide pros and cons so that the reader has information from which to draw a personal conclusion. Teachers first guide students to discuss the pros and cons regarding whether or not recess should be part of the school day. Then, students label the introduction, the body, and the conclusion of a pro/con writing sample. Next, they write their first draft on a chosen topic. Teachers access the Pro/Con Revision Checklist and the Editing Guide to support the next steps in the writing process before publishing in a newspaper format, a multimedia format, or as a speech or debate.
Lastly, the grade 3 TEKS specify that students compose correspondence such as thank you notes or letters. In Unit 8, students write a friendly letter. Students use the “Idea Box” to brainstorm different people to write to and ideas about what to share. The teacher displays the sample Friendly Letter and explains the importance of each component (date, salutation, greeting, body, closing, signature). Students receive a practice prompt instructing them to write a letter to a classmate who has moved away and practice using a think-aloud to generate ideas to include. Students then utilize the Friendly Letter Revision Checklist and the Editing Guide to self-assess and edit peer work before publication.
The materials include written tasks requiring students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported evidence gained from reading or listening to text to support their opinions and claims.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain written tasks that require students to use clear and concise information to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Students have opportunities to engage in writing activities and to use textual evidence to support their opinions and claims. The use of rubrics, graphic organizers, constructed responses, literary essays, and published writing support students as they express comprehension of texts. For example, in Unit 1, Week 4, students use evidence from the text to determine the author's purpose for writing the text. Students answer the following questions: “Why did the author write this text? How did the author present the information? What did you notice about the words the author used? What does the author want you to know about the topic (nonfiction)? What does the author want you to know about the story or characters (fiction)? Is this text going to teach me something, make me laugh or cry, or try to get me to do or believe something?” Also, teachers encourage students to connect to previously read text to further discuss the author’s purpose. The teacher guides students to identify the text’s point of view and explains how to use text evidence to determine the author's purpose when it is not explicitly stated. Students identify text evidence that highlights the author's purpose, noting quotes and page numbers or sections on a graphic organizer.
Additionally, the materials provide Writer's Response sheets for select titles from levels E–Z that encourage students to reflect on the deeper meaning of each book using leveled texts on students’ reading level, or teachers may elect to use the texts with varied student groupings in accordance with current skill or concept of study. Prompts support writing that applies, synthesizes, or evaluates a book's enduring understanding. For example, Unit 1 focuses on the topic “How People Can Make a Difference” and contains many biographies about influential individuals. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text Barack Obama, by R. K. Burrice, as it has students reflect upon the accomplishments and life changes of President Obama. This leveled text contains a written response activity. Students use textual evidence from this selection to write how the choices people make form and shape who they are as individuals.
Unit 2 focuses on the topic “Elements of a Story” and contains fictional texts, fairy tales, and legends in helping students to discern fiction from non-fiction. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text Special Effects by Loretta West. This book depicts illusions such as giant apes and live dinosaurs in helping students differentiate between reality and fantasy. The writer response piece has students write a reflection of how this is applicable within their own lives.
Unit 6 focuses on the topic “Living Things and Their Environment” and contains selections that reflect how living things play an important role within the environment. The teacher may elect to have students explore the leveled text Bats in the Attic by Deborah Ambroza. The writer response piece has students write ways the character showed respect for another living thing and discuss their importance.
In Unit 6, Week 2, students use textual evidence to determine the author's position on a topic. Teachers use the following questions to guide students’ thinking: “Why did the author write this text? What would the author say about this? How does the text show the author's thoughts? What is the author's opinion on this topic?” Students identify text evidence that highlights the author's point of view and write quotes from the text and page numbers or sections on a graphic organizer. The teacher asks students to explain how an author uses reasons or evidence to support their point of view through verbal and written formats. Students identify words and phrases that provide textual support.
In Unit 7, students develop a Pro/Con writing assignment after reading several texts, such as Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril by Michael Daley, Rain Forests: A Pro/Con Issue by Linda Carlson Johnson, and School Dress Codes: A Pro/Con Issue by Barbara Cruz. Students research a chosen issue and write the pros and cons on a graphic organizer, using the Pro/Con Revision Checklist to verify textual evidence is listed for both pros and cons within their draft. Then students practice supporting their claims with reasoning and evidence through peer discussion and deliberations prior to publication.
The materials provide opportunities for students to apply composition convention skills through coherent use of the elements of the writing process, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Students write in increasingly complex contexts over the course of the year and have opportunities to publish their writing. Additionally, the materials provide students opportunities to practice and apply the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. Grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, both in and out of context, and materials provide editing practice in students’ own writing.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials facilitate the use of the writing process within the curriculum. Within each of the eight units, the teacher guides students through the writing process to publish a writing assignment. The lessons span two to three weeks and use the elements of the writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. Additionally, teachers guide students to discuss and write the conventions using academic language, including punctuation and grammar, as part of the writing process and also as part of the Grammar and Word Work lesson portion within all writing lessons. Teachers facilitate discourse through prompts as part of each writing process lesson. The revising guides and editing checklists require students to converse about their pieces using the conventions of academic language. Each genre is divided into several text-type lessons at four developmental writing levels (beginning, early developing, developing, and fluent), which helps teachers “match” the range of skills and abilities of writers. Lessons focus on organization, ideas, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation. Lessons include the following resources to support teachers and students throughout the process: lesson plans, graphic organizer samples, writing samples, graphic organizers, revision checklists, classroom posters, and rubrics. Each lesson begins with an “Experience It” activity, which establishes a common experience for initial exploration of the genre text type, activates prior knowledge, and creates an authentic context for the whole group to create a practice draft. Additionally, teachers encourage students to self-assess and provide peer feedback regarding punctuation and grammar conventions using an editing checklist. At the end of each lesson, teachers review a rubric that students may use to score a published piece of writing, which allows them to reflect on their writing and apply what they learn to the next piece of writing.
In Unit 1, students participate in the writing process as they complete a descriptive writing assignment. This lesson is scripted and provides the teacher with a developmental key for each piece of the writing process to support learners at all developmental levels. A brainstorming activity has students work with a partner in generating a list of describing words for familiar objects. Students then move into the pre-write phase using a graphic organizer before beginning the rough draft. Throughout the writing process lesson, there are prompts to help the teacher appropriately guide students, such as “Let’s read what we just wrote. Do these words create a clear picture in your mind? Could these same words be used to describe another object? If so, could this confuse readers?” As students move into the revising stage, they share how they used their graphic organizer and then review the Descriptive Revision Checklist. The teacher reminds the students that word choice and sentence fluency help readers make pictures in their minds. The teacher models how to use the Editing Guide to check for capital letters, punctuation, and spelling and reminds students of the conventions of good writing. Then they begin the publishing phase, choosing varied formats such as a travel brochure, a letter to a friend, or a story with illustrations.
Grammar and word work are systematically presented throughout the curriculum. The Scope and Sequence presents the skills that are taught each week and in each unit. Unit 1 has lesson activities to support subject pronouns, present-tense verbs (simple and progressive), simple complete sentences, subjects and predicates, capitalization of names of people, holidays, and places.
Unit 3 has lesson activities to support complete compound sentences, synonyms and antonyms, coordinating conjunctions (for, so), and homographs/multiple-meaning words.
In Unit 4, students complete a persuasive writing assignment. Teachers display the Persuasive Writing and Graphic Organizer Samples and model the process while emphasizing the importance of word choice, noting how the words can, might, and maybe are not as effective in persuasive writing pieces as the words should and must in generating action. Students then move through the revising and editing portions of the lesson before choosing a means to publish and present, such as through a debate, a newspaper article, a multimedia presentation, or a speech.
In Unit 6, students complete a compare and contrast essay assignment using two well-known stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs (no authors included). The teacher guides students through completing a Venn Diagram as a whole group to help them see the similarities and differences between the two texts regarding characters, setting, problem, and solution. Students use the Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer to complete their first draft, and then during the revision phase, students provide constructive feedback to one another, helping each other grow as writers.
Unit 7 has lesson activities to support root words, suffixes/inflectional endings (-er, -or, -ist), appositives/clauses, subject-verb agreement (intervening clauses and phrases), capitalization of titles, irregular verbs, abbreviations, and prefixes (sub-, super-, tele-).
The leveled reader materials provide printable or projectable samples of graphic organizers and grammar and word work activities that coincide with the leveled readers to provide students additional practice. For example, teachers may access a lesson that accompanies the book Jackie Robinson by S. E. Virgilio (Level Q) that focuses on recognizing and using declarative sentences and identifying and using homographs correctly in sentences. All text-type lessons include the following resources to support teachers and students throughout the process: graphic organizers, writing sample, revision checklist, classroom poster relating to content in the lesson, and a scoring rubric.
The materials allow students to practice and apply cursive handwriting. While the guidance for teachers is limited within the materials, teachers have support for cursive handwriting implementation. However, the materials do not include year-long guidance for assessing, measuring, and supporting students’ handwriting development.
Evidence Includes but is not limited to:
The grade 3 TEKS require students to write complete words, thoughts, and answers legibly in cursive, leaving appropriate spaces between words. Therefore, the implementation guide provides a writing schedule for the materials and states that handwriting/cursive is in every unit and every week.
The materials provide resources that teachers access for instruction and practice in cursive handwriting. For example, the grade 3 resources feature sheets that provide practice in forming and connecting cursive letters and forming cursive words and sentences. Furthermore, teachers may access word and sentence practice sheets that support academic success in spelling, writing, and note-taking. Teachers may either print out individual resources by type of practice or all resources for grade 3.
Additionally, the materials include sequenced instruction that teaches cursive lowercase letters first before moving on to uppercase letters and then word and sentence practice. The materials group cursive letters by approach stroke type, so students gain confidence in one stroke type before moving on to others. For example, in Unit 1, Week 1, students practice undercurve lowercase letters of i, t, u, w, r, s, p, and j. Students write the letters in isolation on lined paper and then connect letters using cursive strokes. Students trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Students may write vocabulary words beginning with the letter i in cursive, such as industry, internal, improve, island, Internet, and Indiana, as well as sentences such as “I can easily find information on the Internet,” and “Indiana is between Illinois and Ohio.”
In Unit 4, Week 3, students practice the undercurve loop lowercase letters of e, l, h, k, f, and b. Students write these letters in isolation on lined paper, connect letters using cursive strokes, and then trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Additionally, students write vocabulary words beginning with the letter f in cursive, such as function, finance, feature, Fahrenheit, and France, as well as sentences such as “The Fahrenheit scale is officially used in the U.S.” and “France funded the Revolutionary War.” These types of activities allow students to practice letters learned previously and connect them to practice with current letters.
In Unit 8, Week 2, students practice the overcurve lowercase letters of n, m, x, y, z, and v. Students write these letters in isolation on lined paper, connect letters using the cursive strokes, and then trace the letters before writing independently on the lines. Additionally, students may write vocabulary words beginning with the letter z in cursive, such as zigzag, zipper, zebra, zero, Zion Canyon, and Zambia, as well as sentences such as “A river formed Zion Canyon,” and “Many herds of zebras lived in Zambia.” These types of activities allow students to practice letters learned previously and connect them to practice with current letters.
While the materials contain cursive supports within the lessons, there is limited teacher guidance regarding stroke formation in modeling cursive for students.
The materials provide day-to-day opportunities for students to be actively engaged in discussions about the texts they are reading, including expectations that discussions are text-based. Teachers access speaking and listening lessons within each unit. Additionally, oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended, text-supported claims to demonstrate the analysis and synthesis of texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Implementation Guide states: “The literacy block provides opportunities for students to build their oral language skills through academic conversations. As students participate in different parts of the literacy block, they discuss the texts they have read, including shared texts, texts used for independent reading, and texts read aloud. In addition, students should discuss the weekly strategies and skills. These discussions can happen in a whole-group setting or in small groups as students work together in centers or stations. During discussions with others, students will ask and answer questions about the texts they read, the strategies and skills they learn, and the Unit and/or Weekly Questions provided in the Literacy Curriculum Map.” Additionally, the instructional materials provide a listening and speaking objective within the “Read Aloud” component, which states, “Listen actively, ask relevant questions, and respond appropriately by answering questions, determining the main ideas of what has been presented, and/or commenting on others’ thoughts.”
The Listening & Speaking lesson format in the Read Aloud section provides teachers question stems that are “adaptable” for each text of study; yet, specific guidance directly aligned to each text is not available. The lessons are repetitive throughout each grade 3 unit. While there are specific texts for each lesson within each unit, the lesson format remains the same.
The implementation suggestions are also consistent throughout each Week 1 and Week 2 lesson with each text. Teachers provide speaking and listening opportunities through student discussions, respond to the designated Weekly Question, use conversation norms (eye contact, answer questions posed in conversation), summarize or paraphrase what someone has said, and come prepared for discussions by having read or previewed material beforehand. The materials also suggest giving students specific listening tasks, such as turn and talk to summarize or retell what was stated by a classmate, using non-verbal cues such as a “thumbs-up” sign when students hear a key word or phrase, note-taking, and making connections. Additionally, the materials suggest texts to utilize for each lesson. For example, Unit 1, Week 2, suggests Running for Freedom by Katherine Follett, Unit 4, Week 1, lists Two Artists: Vermeer’s Forger by Dina Anastasio, and Unit 7, Week 2, recommends The Inuit: Northern Living by David Meissner.
Weeks 3 and 4 of each unit focus on collaboration and comprehension. Students participate in collaborative conversations, apply the rules for discussion, build upon the ideas of others, and ask clarifying questions. The discussion questions remain consistent for each lesson, leaving the teacher the opportunity to insert specifics about the current text of study. Some questions include, “What are we discussing? Why are we talking about...? What do you need to do to prepare for the discussion? What questions can you ask the speaker to clarify...?” The recommended texts to use during Weeks 3 and 4 of each unit include the following: Noni and the Copper Captain by Sean McCollum in Unit 1, Week 4, Mozart by Bertha E. Bush in Unit 4, Week 4, and Holidays Around the World by Peter C. Montin for Unit 7, Week 3.
Additionally, all leveled texts contain a “Think, Collaborate, and Discuss” section, which includes discussion cards. Teachers use these for discussion starters in literature circles, an essay or journal entry, a class discussion, to set the purpose for reading, or as board game cards. For example, the discussion questions that accompany The Hollow by Rus Buyok are, “Why does Jake consider playing with the boy in the Hollow even though he may be a ghost? Do you think the little boy in the hollow is a ghost? How are Sarah and the narrator similar?” The lesson plan for The Hollow also guides teachers to require students to support discussion questions with text evidence by asking questions such as “What details from the book support the idea that the narrator cares for her little brother?” Another example, in Code Talkers by Susan Lennox, the teacher asks, “What facts about the Navajo people are given in the book?”
Oral tasks throughout the materials require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate comprehension. For example, the “Literature Circle” materials guide teachers to lead students through a guided discussion that includes predictions from texts, asking questions about texts, summarizing the text, and a wrap-up discussion. Furthermore, teachers use the Comprehension Skills packs to guide students in responding to text-dependent questions. For example, in the Analyze Setting skills lesson, students respond orally and/or discuss with a partner questions about the model passage, Sarah Sails to a New World. Questions include finding details that tell “more about the setting and the parts of the story that might change if it took place in the present.”
The materials provide teachers with implementation support to engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussion in both formal and informal settings. Additionally, teachers access routine speaking and listening lessons, which guide them to model speaking/listening opportunities and provide common discussion questions that lead students to create organized presentations/performances while speaking in a clear and concise manner and using the conventions of language. However, the lessons do not contain grade-level protocols for student discussion.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The Implementation guide states: “It is important to start the school year by teaching students the rules and expectations associated with different types of conversations. Take time to develop and practice expectations for classroom discussions. Students should practice taking turns, listening when others are speaking, and understanding nonverbal behaviors and cues that add meaning to conversations.”
The materials provide routine opportunities for students to discuss and express their thinking through a “Listening and Speaking” lesson component embedded within the “Shared Reading” block. Additionally, Week 3 of each unit has a Speaking and Listening lesson within the “Writing” section. While these lessons provide the objective, purpose, discussion questions, and implementation guidance, the materials lack a protocol for student discussion. However, within the “Project-based Learning” resources, the materials provide a “Teamwork Rubric” that addresses team discussions. The rubric is a checklist that allows students to evaluate their participation in the group discussion. Examples of discussion criteria include “I listened with care, spoke in turn, and stayed on topic,” “I asked questions when I did not understand,” “I explained my own idea and linked my ideas to what others said,” and “I could decide what the main ideas were and tell details from what was said. This helped me organize what was discussed.”
Additionally, the “Read Aloud” component provides teachers guidance that allows students to collaborate and comprehend, express and present ideas, and listen actively and respond. The Implementation section of this guidance document instructs the teacher to “have students frequently participate in discussions with a focus on listening and responding” and to model how to listen attentively, how to summarize or paraphrase what someone has said, how to express and present ideas in a clear manner using visuals, and how to elaborate on what someone has said to continue collaboration on an idea.
Each unit provides guidance for teachers to lead students through the writing process. Then, after students publish, they have opportunities to present in varied formats, including an oral presentation. For example, in Unit 1, students choose to publish and present their descriptive writing in varied formats, such as a travel brochure, a letter to a friend, or a story with illustrations. The culminating portion entails a student reflection encouraging students to either orally convey or write one improvement they will make in their next writing piece. In Unit 4, students complete a persuasive writing assignment. During the “Before Writing” lesson portion, students discuss in groups their “stance” on a topic and then choose to publish and present, such as through a debate, a newspaper article, a multimedia presentation, or a speech.
Teachers access “Literature Circle” materials, which provide an overview that defines the teacher and student roles within that structure, stating that a literature circle is a student-led group that meets to have engaged discussions. Therefore, the teacher's role is to set the groups’ academic goals, model instruction, and facilitate the literature circles using the quick guide that details routines and processes. The materials further define students’ role as “engaging in meaningful conversations, maintaining a focus on the text, and gaining deepened comprehension of their reading.” Specifically, the roles include discussion leader, predictor and questioner, skill master, summarizer, travel tracker, conflict connector, character/people tracker, wordsmith, illustrator, researcher, literary reactor, and theme tractor. Students focus on their role as they read a text and then regroup to allow students to present prepared findings to the group.
Also, teachers may utilize the “Reader’s Theater” scripts to allow students to give organized performances and speak in a clear and concise manner using conventions of language. The materials encourage teachers to guide students to read with expression and practice important fluency attributes, such as pause, inflection, and intonation. Teachers may choose fiction or nonfiction scripts, and most are multi-level, which allows for differentiated instruction. Grade 3 titles include Coral Reefs, How Glooskap Found Summer, and Who-Who Is Afraid of the Dark.
The materials support the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources and engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources available throughout the curriculum. Additionally, the materials provide sufficient student practice opportunities for organizing and presenting researched topics appropriate for grade-level audiences.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes supporting the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. For example, in Unit 1, students ask and answer questions using various informational nonfiction texts. In Unit 1, Week 1, students examine literary text packs with the overarching question “What does it mean to be brave?” Teachers assign passages (secondary sources) such as “The Big Storm” and “Bus to Nowhere” and then guide students to review the front cover and pictures in the text to develop questions before guiding students to ask and answer questions about key details in the texts before, during, and after reading. Students work in pairs, and the discussion leader tracks the conversation by completing a “bravery tracker” using textual evidence to support the group’s ratings. Students also annotate texts while reading.
In Unit 4, Week 4, students respond to texts through writing, citing text evidence in their compositions. Students read Hula: The Heartbeat of Hawaii by Alexandra Hanson-Harding and respond to the question “What gesture would you like to add to a hula dance?” by writing about the meaning of the dance. Students cite text evidence to develop a rationale and then create a travel brochure to persuade people to visit Hawaii, citing information from the text and outside sources.
In Unit 7, students respond to text-dependent questions using multiple texts such as Natural Wonders of the World by Jane Sellman, which contains images. Students write a letter to the author describing a natural wonder mentioned in the text that they would like to visit and why. Teachers then encourage students to research a natural wonder not described in the text and compare it to one noted in the text. Additionally, students practice finding answers to text-dependent questions; some require them to read multiple paragraphs, read multiple texts, and look at text features.
Furthermore, the materials support student practice in organizing and presenting their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research for an appropriate grade-level audience. For example, there are five Project-Based Learning Packs for grade 3 that provide research opportunities regarding the following topics: Food’s Global Web, My School, My Castle, Visitor or Invader?, How Prepared Are We?, and Technology vs. Mother Nature. Each pack includes a driving question, anchor texts, primary sources, including maps, authentic articles, and photographs. Additionally, the packs include many secondary sources, a Lesson Plan to guide teachers in facilitating the groups, a project outline for students, and a project rubric. Specifically, within the Food’s Global Web pack, the guiding question is “How do the foods we eat and where they are grown to connect us with people around the world?” The anchor text is Foods Around the World by Judy Braus. Students access five primary source articles, including “All Kinds of Restaurants,” “Favorite Fruits and Vegetables,” “The Origin of the World’s Food Crops,” “Imports and Exports,” and “Bananas: From Jungle to Table,” and three additional secondary sources, including “The Cost of Food Distribution,” “Famous Food Cities Around the World,” and “Comfort Foods.” Teachers guide students to use a “Project Outline” and an “Investigation Planner” to organize their investigation questions and summarize their findings. The Investigation Planners are graphic organizers with a space to put the driving question on the top and three investigation questions underneath; there is also space to track the sources used to answer each Investigation question. Students use the second page of the planner to compile main ideas and details from their research findings. Teachers access Lesson Plans for each Project-Based Learning pack for project ideas that have a choice of presentation formats to share with students. For example, for the Food’s Global Web unit, project suggestions include creating menus featuring international foods, illustrating “farm to table” or other food distribution processes, writing stories or poems that celebrate foods’ importance, or writing argumentative essays about something related to the food industry. Finally, the “Project Presentation Rubric” guides students through expected standards for organizing ideas, using props, speaking clearly, and presenting as a team and includes the following scores: Needs Work, Almost There, and Meets Standard.
The materials provide coherently sequenced text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to build and apply interconnected knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Lessons involving literacy skills repeat as the text level increases, and students read various genres throughout the course of the school year. This provides students opportunities to apply their skill acquisition, fostering independence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials’ Scope and Sequence provides a detailed account of the content taught within the eight units. Text-dependent questions are included in each unit each week. Additionally, each lesson contains questions and tasks for students to incorporate reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language in accordance with the TEKS. Furthermore, literacy stations integrate reading, writing, thinking, listening, and speaking and provide students the opportunity to practice, apply, and review vocabulary, syntax, and fluency skills they learn throughout the literacy block.
The materials also provide teachers guidance in implementing “Literature Circles” that foster deep discussion of texts as students analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts and across multiple texts. Teachers divide students into groups to read a chosen book independently and then meet together for discussion. Students use bookmarks to jot notes as they read, and then they apply their thinking in writing using the “Journal Pages.” Journal Pages become their reference tools for when students participate in their group's discussion.
The grade 3 “Process Writing Lessons” provide tasks that integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking and include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency. Teachers use the leveled expectations to differentiate lessons for each level of writer and to move students to increased independence within the five steps of the writing process. For example, the “Experience It” activity at the beginning of each writing lesson establishes a common experience for initial exploration of the genre text type and activates prior knowledge to create an authentic context for a class draft.
Also, the materials provide “Project-Based Learning Packs” that task students to investigate a high-interest topic and answer a driving question. Students collaborate and develop creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. They engage in guided inquiry; use planning or organizing tools; and apply and gain independence in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking while fostering components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency. For example, a grade 3 topic, “Food’s Global Web,” allows students to work collaboratively as they read various texts and literature pieces (books, menus, maps, posters) and resources and then choose a culminating project type to represent their learning.
In Unit 1, Week 2, the materials contain differentiated comprehension lessons that contain academic vocabulary for problem and solution and encompass reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. Students use thinking, speaking, and listening skills to describe a problem related to school and suggest ways to make it better. Then students read a list of steps to follow to help solve the problem or determine a solution. Students above level read a printed text passage about problems African Americans face. Students below level listen and identify problems and solutions within a text about animals trying to cross a road. Students work in pairs to write the problems and solutions from the text onto a graphic organizer and then brainstorm a new problem and write about a new problem/solution before providing feedback to a peer.
In Unit 4, Week 3, students explore the text Art Made From What? by Terry Miller Shannon and differentiate between facts and opinions in a text. Teachers use discussion questions to foster listening, thinking, and speaking in students as they connect to previously read nonfiction texts. Students work in varied groupings to identify opinions supported by facts, state opinions using text evidence, and create a T-chart listing facts and opinions.
In Unit 2, Week 4, teachers use three different folktales (The Five-Headed Chief, The Baker’s Dozen, and The Empty Pot) to teach students how to identify and discuss important big ideas, themes, and details. Each of the three folktales illustrates different characters and cultures through a similar theme of kindness. During the “After-Reading” section of the lesson, students read The Empty Pot and think about how this folktale uses key details to share the theme.
In Unit 5, teachers use the close reading text Ruby’s Bridges First Day to guide students through text-dependent questions. The teacher uses the questions from the “Unit Question Guide” to help guide discussion and build conceptual knowledge: “Where can you find the answer to this question?” “In what paragraph can you find the answer?” “How do you know this is the answer?” “What evidence from the text supports your answer?”
The materials provide distributed practice throughout all units. The lesson design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral the entire school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials support distributed practice over the course of the year with opportunities for students to demonstrate and apply knowledge, skills, and concepts. Lessons repeat throughout the units, with common objectives, purpose, discussion questions, and implementation procedures. Due to the same discussion questions routinely reinforcing the ELAR TEKS, students incorporate previous learning into the current lesson of study. The weekly lessons have the same format as Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Grammar and Word Work, Writing, Small Group Instruction, and Stations. The Scope and Sequence provides teachers a reference point regarding how the lessons spiral throughout the school year, and while the basic lesson format remains consistent, the book level (and therefore the rigor of the content) increases as the units progress. Additionally, the genres and text types vary so that students have opportunities to apply the skill and concept knowledge at an increased rigor across varied types of texts.
The lessons provide numerous opportunities to interact with resources such as rubrics and graphic organizers throughout the course of the year, fostering independence and deepening understanding of the grade-level TEKS. Teachers access rubrics as part of each type of writing process lesson as students complete writing assignments across the year.
There are a series of printable and projectable electronic books at 29 levels of text complexity that progressively increase in difficulty to help students improve comprehension and fluency. Students read texts at their level and in their areas of interest anytime with web access to get the practice they need to become better, more confident readers.
The materials also include scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year. The grade 3 “Implementation Guide” states that scaffolding happens through the integration of the “Grammar & Word Work Skills,” which occur every week and can be used for spiraling to gauge prior knowledge and explicitly teach the skills.
The materials contain close reads that require students to analyze, evaluate, and think critically about a given text through multiple readings of the text. The close reads allow students to work collaboratively with intentional student pairings and groupings to foster scaffolded learning and language supports. Students engage in scaffolded questions during each reading of the text. For example, a fictional passage titled “A Home in the Wilderness” (no author listed) lists scaffolded questions for students to discuss and answer after each reading. After the first reading, students engage with questions about what the text “says” or the main idea and detail questions. Students reread the passage, address questions, make inferences, and determine the author’s message/word choice. After the third reading, students examine the meaning and value of the text and the point of view, draw conclusions, and make connections by engaging with questions.
Furthermore, nonfiction close reads are labeled with a text structure of either compare and contrast, problem and solution, cause and effect, sequence, or descriptive. Teachers can select texts based upon the text structure as a means of spiraling with an increased nonfiction text level, thus enhancing rigor.
The materials provide students the opportunity to sequentially and systematically develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and spelling knowledge, along with word recognition and word analysis skills both in and out of context as delineated and sequenced in the TEKS for grade 3. Additionally, the materials provide support for students in need of remediation to achieve mastery.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Teachers access both “Decodable Books” and “Phonics Passages” to provide systematic, sequenced phonics instruction and word analysis skills practice within the leveled readers. Additionally, the “Supplementary Lesson Ideas” provide teachers with ideas for engaging students in the study of phonics using visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. The materials encourage teachers to use cueing systems, including semantics (what makes sense), syntax (what “sounds right” grammatically), and graphophonemic knowledge (the way a word looks and sounds), which is not aligned to the science of teaching reading.
Furthermore, teachers access “High-Frequency Word Book Sets” to provide students with an introduction to the most common and essential words in the early sets and reinforce those words in subsequent sets. The materials also provide lists of words for each set and the order in which they are introduced and reviewed.
The materials also guide teachers to provide instruction based on student needs. Teachers use the informal assessments within the materials to assess students weekly to determine skill gaps and the instructional focus for remediation. Each “Grammar and Word Work” lesson component contains “Differentiation Resources” to support students needing remediation. These resources include but are not limited to worksheets, graphic organizers, center activities, and word sorts. Students work within the current skill of study, but these differentiated resources provide the added support and scaffolding needed to build skill mastery. Teachers may also access the “Grade 3 Pause Point Phonics Lessons,” which provide instruction on the foundational literacy skills for either whole class or small group instruction based on student need. Each lesson provides guidance regarding Instructional Support and Support for English Language Learners.
The materials contain a “Focused Instruction” component, which includes High/Low Text Sets. The text Predators and Prey by Kira Freed is written at the readability level of a grade 1-2 student. The text comes complete with a lesson plan.
The materials also contain “Word Work Centers” that provide students opportunities to work with words. The Word Work Learning Centers focus on spelling patterns, affixes, high-frequency words, and relationships between words. These center activities are primarily geared for lower elementary, but this resource is available for students needing additional remediation.
The “Tutoring and Mentoring Pack” provides teachers further options for remediation through an extensive collection of printable, research-based materials in six instructional categories: alphabet, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, and comprehension. Teachers may access the K-2 Foundational Skills Curriculum and locate needed lessons within the scope and sequence in order to meet the remediation needs of lower-level students.
Teachers build students’ spelling proficiency as identified in the grade 3 TEKS through the Grammar and Word Work lessons. For example, in Unit 1, Week 3, students practice spelling words using knowledge of prefixes. In Unit 3, Week 2, students practice spelling homophones. Unit 4, Week 3, students practice spelling multisyllabic words with closed syllables; open syllables; VCe syllables; vowel teams, including digraphs and diphthongs; r-controlled syllables; and final stable syllables, spelling multisyllabic words with multiple sound-spelling patterns, and spelling words using knowledge of syllable division patterns such as VCCV, VCV, and VCCCV. In Unit 6, Week 4, students practice spelling words using knowledge of suffixes, including how they can change base words, such as dropping e, changing y to i, and doubling final consonants. In Unit 7, Week 4, students practice spelling compound words, contractions, and abbreviations. Teachers may also access more than 60 Word Sorts that cover letters, sounds, content-area topics, and open sorts and help fine-tune higher-level thinking skills by allowing students to categorize information.
The grade 3 phonics lessons contain five days of instruction and include a “Daily Language Practice” (DLP) that provides 32 weeks of standards-based grammar and word work instruction, practice and application that targets key skills. Each week contains an overview, a Learning Guide, Activity Sheets, and an Answer Key. For example, Week 3 of the Daily Language activities focuses on the prefixes auto-, bi-, co-, sub-, and tri-. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 1, Week 3, which has the objective of reading, spelling, and using words with prefixes accurately as well as using them to determine the meaning of unknown words. Week 25 of the Daily Language activities focuses on the suffixes -er, -or, and -ist. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 7, Week 1. This lesson entails decoding words using knowledge of suffixes, including how they can change base words, such as dropping e, changing y to i, and doubling final consonants. It also encompasses spelling words using knowledge of suffixes and identifying the meaning and use of words with affixes. Week 30 of the Daily Language activities focuses on contractions and homophones. This coincides with the lesson in Unit 8, Week 2, entailing the contractions doesn’t, she’ll, shouldn’t, that’s, they’d and where’s. It also includes the homophones hair/hare, scent/cent/sent, pour/poor, and weak/week.
The materials include diagnostic tools and provide opportunities to assess student mastery, in and out of context, at regular intervals for teachers to make instructional adjustments. The assessment schedule and implementation protocols for each assessment provide consistency in accurately determining student progress in foundational literacy skills, allowing for implementation of instructional support as needed.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in, and mastery of, foundational skills both in and out of context. The “Foundational Literacy” component contains a variety of skills needed for readers to practice and acquire in order to accurately decode and comprehend. Teachers have access to a multitude of assessments to help determine student strengths and needs. Students have the opportunity to be assessed at routine intervals on Benchmark Books, Benchmark Passages, Retelling Rubrics, Alphabet Letter Naming, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, High-Frequency Words, and Fluency Timed Readings.
Although phonological awareness is primarily for early learners, teachers in grades 3–5 have access to “Phonological Awareness Assessments” as guides to inform instruction on listening, identifying, discriminating, and producing sounds. The materials provide single-skill assessments that give teachers targeted information about a specific skill and multi-skill assessments that evaluate multiple skills. Both are aligned with Phonological Awareness Lessons grades K-1.
Additionally, the materials provide phonics assessments, including sound/symbol relationship assessments and numbered Phonics Assessments (1-23) to determine student skills to decode words. All phonics multi-skill assessments include administration notes to ensure the validity of results. Furthermore, there are aligned assessments with skills presented in phonics lessons for grades K-2.
Teachers match lessons with students’ skills based on their performance on the Phonics Assessments. Teachers access 16 scripted phonics lessons for grade 3. For example, Phonics Lesson 2 focuses on r-controlled and consonant-le syllable types. Students practice syllabication to decode words before blending and creating new words with these components. Students use the R-Controlled and C-le Syllable Cards and texts as resources.
The “Tutoring and Mentoring Packs” provide teachers guidance and direction regarding developmentally appropriate resources that address a student’s specific learning needs. The tools are convenient, well-organized, and educationally sound packs that supply teachers, parents, tutors, and tutor coordinators with effective reading strategies and an extensive collection of printable, research-based materials in six instructional categories: alphabet, phonological awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, and comprehension. A teacher can download, print, and assemble the resources to create ready-to-use tutor packs.
The materials provide routine self-correction lessons throughout the units with the objective of students self-correcting word recognition and understanding by using context. The purpose of these lessons is to teach self-monitoring and self-correction strategies in improving student comprehension. “Kids A-Z” materials encourage students to self-monitor and reread by rewarding them with robust incentives as they successfully complete assessments, books, and quizzes. Students may spend their earnings to personalize their robot in the Robot Builder or their Raz Rocket. Teachers may also award bonus stars after scoring assessments.
The materials also provide “Running Records” that accompany the Benchmark Passages and Benchmark Books to accurately assess students’ reading behavior fluency and comprehension. After administering the Running Record, teachers access the Assessment Report to measure students’ progress and to access a chart that provides guidelines for student placement within the materials. However, the reviewer was not able to view the online lessons for the designated areas, seemingly due to access limitations.
The materials provide opportunities for students to practice and develop oral and silent reading fluency while reading a wide variety of grade-appropriate texts at the appropriate rate with accuracy and expression to support comprehension. While the materials include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy, they lack sufficient opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on these skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide students opportunities to read grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills. The “Foundational Skills” component contains “Fluency Texts” and “Fluency Passages” complete with “Retelling Rubrics” and “Comprehension Quick Check Quizzes” that provide information about a student's understanding and comprehension. Retellings provide details that identify strengths and weaknesses students have comprehending fiction or nonfiction texts, including analysis of text structures. The rubrics provide specific details expected from every student so that teachers can judge each retelling with the same rigor. Additionally, multiple-choice quizzes provide students with feedback when completed on how well they scored. Students choose books from the Reading Room for independent practice.
The Foundational Skills also contain “Read Aloud Texts” that provide students opportunities to hear texts read fluently for making meaning while building foundational skills. Read Aloud Texts introduce and expose students to the sounds that different letters or combinations of letters make, help teachers provide models of fluent reading, and build oral and listening comprehension skills. Alliteration with consonants or repetition of vowel sounds in each book provides opportunities for students to demonstrate listening for particular units of sound, or phonemes, in the initial, medial, and final positions of words, thus enhancing oral reading fluency. The Read Aloud section has a 5-Day Implementation guide. On Day 1, it instructs teachers to introduce the Fluency Skills by modeling fluency by reading the text or a section of the text with appropriate accuracy, rate, expression, and self-correction. On Days 2-4, it instructs teachers to model fluency by reading with appropriate accuracy, rate, expression, and self-correction. This section also provides two lessons to use for fluency that are alternated throughout the materials and can be adapted to any text/materials. For example, in Unit 2, the Accuracy, Rate, and Expression lesson is taught in Weeks 1 and 3. The Self-Correction lesson is taught in Weeks 2 and 4. This pattern is the same throughout the curriculum.
The “Literacy Curriculum Map” under “Shared Reading” resources provides guidance for teachers to have students read the text with appropriate accuracy, rate, and expression while modeling self-correction.
“High-Frequency Word Books” prepare students for reading success with three sets of high-frequency word books, which include the most commonly used sight words in printed text. Each set targets high-frequency words, including sight words of gradually decreasing frequency. Repeated use will lead to greater fluency, reading rate, and reader confidence.
Furthermore, students have opportunities to enhance reading fluency by participating in silent reading during stations and independent text reading. Raz-Plus provides printable, projectable, and electronic books at 29 levels of text complexity, which gives students fluency practice with text that progressively increases in difficulty.
Materials provide fluency assessments, which are a one-minute timed reading of a passage to measure the number and accuracy of words read. Text passages are Levels F through Z, and timed readings have a series of sentences with true/false statements that additionally test comprehension. There are three of these assessments, each with more difficult sentences than the preceding one.
Teachers access the “Running Records” tools that accompany the Benchmark Passages and Benchmark Books. A teacher can assign a digital version of a Benchmark Passage or Benchmark Book (Levels aa-J) using the Assign button on the book’s thumbnail or landing page. Students record themselves reading aloud and send the recording to the “Kids A-Z In Basket,” where the teacher reviews it and provides feedback. However, the materials lack guidance for teachers regarding a schedule and routine to follow to measure fluency.
The materials include supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade level. Guidance provides planning and learning opportunities, including extensions and differentiation. While most extensions are framed for the general classroom population, extension and differentiation opportunities successfully support students who demonstrate literacy skills above grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the grade 3 units, students who are above grade level have varied opportunities in reading and writing to work above grade level, as teachers have access to lesson plans at the grade 4 level that correlate with the concept or skill of study. The materials contain extension activities that are differentiated for students working above grade level. These activities are located within grade-level lesson plans embedded within each literacy area (Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Grammar and Word Work, Writing, Small Group Instruction, Stations) for each weekly lesson. These activities primarily consist of independent practice or online extensions.
Furthermore, the Grade 3 Implementation Guide explains that “small-group instruction time is built into the literacy block every day to allow for differentiation.” The curriculum contains leveled texts that progressively increase in difficulty to help students improve comprehension and fluency. Additionally, the leveled readers have activities that support the current skill or concept of study. For example, in Unit 2, teachers assign students to work with leveled texts in applying the close procedure. Students who are above grade level in reading are challenged to read a fourth-grade leveled text titled The Tiger, the Brahmin, and the Jackal. Students make connections between the above-grade-level text they are reading and other texts they have read (text-to-text), between the text and their own experiences (text-to-self), and/or between the text and what they know about the world around them (text-to-world). The texts include varied genres, fiction, and non-fiction selections to challenge students reading above grade level. Teachers then match books to students based upon readability and interest levels. For example, in Unit 3, leveled books are offered on the same topic, Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison is available in Level O, Level R, and Level U. This is continued throughout all units with leveled books of the same book or related topics of books written at the different levels.
The materials provide opportunities for students to participate in literature circles, utilizing leveled readers on an advanced level throughout the units. A template/recording sheet is available for students to utilize in facilitating reflective discourse among peer groups. For example, a lesson in Unit 2 provides opportunities for students to discuss how folktales show which behaviors a culture values. Students reflect upon the process and create journal notes regarding what went well and what should be changed in the story, and any lingering questions for the teacher.
In Unit 5, the teacher guides students who demonstrate above-level literacy skills to independently read a grade 4 text, The Science Expert, and highlight the character’s thoughts and circle the actions. The materials also provide paper-pencil or interactive online extension options and independent practice. Furthermore, within the “Differentiation Resources” tab, in the Writing section, is a lesson plan about cinquain poetry. The teacher introduces this type of poetry and provides either an introduction for more experienced writers (above-grade-level students) or one for less experienced writers. The writing lesson also includes an “Extend the Activity” section that guides teachers to encourage above-level students to write another cinquain poem on a topic that is opposite of the one they have already written. Additionally, in Unit 7, under the Differentiation tab, the materials provide an investigation chart for a Project-based learning experience for two levels, a grade 2-3 Investigation Planner and a grade 3-4 Investigation Planner. The grade 3-4 planner provides more in-depth questions for students who demonstrate above-grade-level skills.
In Unit 8, as part of their project-based learning presentation assignment about the importance of learning about earth and space, above-grade-level students access a rubric designed for fourth- and fifth-grade students. This rubric provides students the opportunity to exceed the standard, whereas the grade-level rubric only provides students the opportunity to meet the standard. For example, in the “Organizes Information” category on the rubric, on-level students must support facts and details to meet the standard; however, above-level students must express an opinion about the topic to exceed standards.
The materials provide sufficient planning and learning opportunities that include extensions and differentiation to support students who demonstrate literacy skills below grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide an “Intervention” tab for teachers to use as supplemental resources to the curriculum. Under the Intervention section, there are links to “Decodable Passage Packs,” “Tutoring and Mentoring,” “Summer School,” “High/Low Text Sets,” and “High/Low Graphic Books.” The “30 Decodable Passage Packs Program Overview” states that they are based on the Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction. The High/Low Text Set overview states text sets are designed as a resource organized around a specific topic that is both engaging and standards aligned. Teachers may access the seven high/low text sets to grow topic and vocabulary knowledge and 50 high/low graphic books to allow struggling students to explore nonfiction topics in a visually appealing format with accessible text. Lesson plans accompany the graphic books and provide tips on how to use the resource to differentiate for below-level students.
Furthermore, throughout the grade 3 units, teachers may access High/Low resources indicated by the Ignite logo and/or lesson plans at the grade 2 level that correlate with the concept or skill of study on grade level. Specifically, a Small Group Instruction lesson in Unit 1 has students work with leveled texts to apply elements of a biography and text features. Teachers access a grade 2 leveled text titled Abigail Adams by Kira Freed for students reading below grade level. Students make connections between the below-grade-level text they are reading and other texts they have read (text-to-text), between the text and their own experiences (text-to-self), and/or between the text and what they know about the world around them (text-to-world).
In the Grade 3 Implementation Guide, the “Literacy Block Overview” explains that “small-group instruction time is built into the [daily plan]... to allow for differentiation.” Then, within the Small Group Instruction section, teachers access three different leveled books: one on-level resource, one below-level resource, and one above-level resource. The materials also contain assessment components that allow teachers to best determine the leveled readers most appropriate for each student so they can match books based upon readability and interest levels. For example, in Unit 3, leveled books are offered on the same topic, Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison is available in Level O, Level R, and Level U. This is continued throughout all units. All leveled books are either the same book written at the different levels or related topics at the different levels.
In Unit 3, the materials provide a below-grade-level lesson reinforcing the concept of comprehension with a skill focus on sequencing events as part of the Whole Group Shared Reading lesson portion. The teacher guides the students through the text Building a Fire (no author listed), indicating clue words that support sequence. Students describe what they see in a picture and notice clue words as the teacher reads a passage. Students then write sentences describing the events in order using clue words.
In Unit 5, the materials provide a lesson below grade level supporting narrative point of view. The teacher guides students through a grade 2 text, prompting students to identify the point-of-view of a story using clue words. Students find clue words and share what clue words tell readers about who is telling the story. The materials also provide extension activities and independent practice following this lesson with paper-pencil or interactive online options. A Venn Diagram graphic organizer designed for kindergarten through grade 2 level is available for students to use to organize their ideas.
Additionally, differentiation and extensions for students who demonstrate literacy skills below grade level are in each section of the literacy block materials under the “Differentiation” tab. For example, Unit 7 Writing provides an investigation chart for a project-based learning experience for two levels, a grade 2-3 Investigation Planner, and also a grade 3-4 Investigation Planner; teachers access the one that best fits the amount of scaffolding students need. The grade 2-3 planner is a graphic organizer with a space to add the Driving questions at the top. It then splits into boxes for three Investigation Questions to be written and additional space for students to answer the question “Where could I find the answer?” At the bottom of the planner is space for students to keep track of their sources, listing the title and the author. The second page of the below-level planner is titled “Organize My Ideas and Details” and consists of three main idea boxes with two detail boxes for each main idea. Another example within the Differentiation tab is in Unit 7 in the Grammar and Word Work section. The materials provide teachers access to three leveled word work assignments with different skills on each level. Level N is Hawaiian Volcanoes and focuses on the suffix -ed; Level V is The Gossip Monster and focuses on past and present tense; and Level W is A Place for Wild Things and focuses on various affixes and root words.
In Unit 8, students who are below grade level may access Graphic Organizers designed for kindergarten through grade 2 to support making inferences and creating a summary. There is also a below-level picture dictionary to support vocabulary development. Teachers access a primary story map that provides graphic supports to help scaffold the learning, as well.
The materials include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations, including accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. Furthermore, the materials provide an ELL Edition that includes scaffolds such as adapted text, translated texts, native language support, and other modes of comprehensible inputs. Although the materials include accommodations for linguistics and encourage the use of the students’ first language to enhance vocabulary development, additional components for encouraging strategic use of students’ first language as a means to linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic development in English are needed.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide an EL Edition based on instructional models, such as the SIOP model (Echeverria, Short, & Vogt, 2003), the Picture Word Inductive Model, and the recommendations in the National Literacy Panel’s 2006 report Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners. The materials provide Language Proficiency Standards for ELPA21, WIDA, TESOL, and the Common European Framework of Reference for Language, as well as for individual state language proficiency standards for Texas. The materials have a 1-5 leveling system with a correlation chart that corresponds with the ELPS. Level 1 represents Beginning Level, Level 2 is consistent with a high beginner/low intermediate, Level 3 represents Intermediate Level, Level 4 is equivalent to Advanced, and Level 5 correlates with Advanced High.
The materials provide EL curricular supplemental supports, curricular pieces, and resources, including the following: Leveled Reader Packs, ELL Content Picture Packs, EL Grammar Packs, EL Comic Conversations, EL Language Skills Packs, and EL Assessments. The Leveled Reader Packs contain preparation notes for the teacher, a multiple-day lesson plan format, practice pages, and assessments. The EL Content Picture Packs provide content and research-based materials focused on five skills (vocabulary, writing, speaking, grammar, and critical thinking) within the content areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and basic social and instructional language. The packs’ instructional strategies and accompanying activities enable teachers to differentiate instruction for ELs of all language proficiency levels. The EL Grammar Packs are organized by part of speech, language level, and grade level, and teachers may select texts that focus on a particular skill at a specific proficiency level. The EL Comic Conversations are for beginning to intermediate ELs with language proficiency levels of 1-3, which is equivalent to ELPS Beginner and Intermediate levels. The EL Language Skill Packs “provide comprehensive resources for teachers to meet students’ needs by teaching targeted language skills while building academic content knowledge.” The packs contain multiple lessons, interactive strategies, guided instruction, direct connection to the EL Assessments, best practices for scaffolding instruction, tools for differentiating instruction, and dialogue frames at varying levels of language proficiency. The EL Assessments provide resources for teachers to monitor and track English learners’ progress in targeted academic language skills across the domains of speaking, writing, reading, and listening. They also give teachers the ability to identify students’ specific language strengths and weaknesses and to plan extensions and interventions accordingly.
Furthermore, the materials provide the following types of resources in Spanish: leveled readers, authentic Spanish books, songs and rhymes, a fiction series, math books, benchmark passages, and High-Frequency Word lists. Additionally, the materials provide the following resources in French: leveled books, alphabet books, and a fiction series. The materials provide British English leveled books, Polish leveled books, Ukrainian leveled books, and Vietnamese leveled books.
Additionally, the materials contain EL resources and supports throughout all grade 3 units in the categories of shared reading, read aloud, grammar and word work, and writing. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, the materials include a three-day lesson plan complete with a teacher preparation guide reinforcing “light vs. heavy.” The lesson begins with a vocabulary focus that has students create their own vocabulary folder. Next, the lesson plan guides the teacher through the instructional focus piece before beginning the shared reading with a focus on comprehension and decoding strategies. The lesson plan provides the teacher with specific areas of focus and is partially scripted, suggesting where to point and what to say. The lesson provides sentence frames, an object pronoun practice piece, compare and contrast direct teach, vocabulary and comprehension checks, a vocabulary quiz, a comprehension quiz, and a retelling rubric.
In Unit 2, Week 2, the lesson provides a vocabulary lesson designed specifically for ELs within the shared reading component. As part of the lesson, students have dialogue frames at their proficiency level in order to ask each other questions using vocabulary picture and definition cards.
In Unit 4, Week 2, the materials include ELs supports such as a detailed lesson plan complete with tips, suggestions, and partial scripting about animals in the read-aloud lesson component. The lesson begins with a vocabulary focus and ends with a content evaluation. The grammar and word work EL supports for this unit include grammar cards, grammar guides, grammatical structure notes for teacher preparation purposes, grammatical structure worksheets and activities, and parts of speech posters.
In Unit 6, the lesson has a vocabulary lesson for ELs that requires students to use dialogue frames at their proficiency level. Students work in teams and give clues about vocabulary words using vocabulary cards.
In Unit 7, Week 4, the materials include EL supports within the writing component, such as a detailed lesson plan supporting ELs in comparing texts and identifying verbs. The lesson opens with a graphic organizer that helps students compare texts. The lesson plan provides sentence frames, scripted portions for teacher support, and suggested questions for the teacher to ask at the various levels (1-5) that correlate with the ELPs Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Advanced High developmental levels. There are lesson plans and rubrics for explanatory and narrative writing.
In Unit 8, Week 2, the materials require the students to collaborate in playing a game called “The Secret Word.” This game provides a forum for vocabulary discussion in helping to correctly describe the meaning of words while allowing the teacher to clarify any misconceptions.
The materials include formative and summative assessments that are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. They provide sufficient guidance for teachers on how to interpret data, monitor progress, and then respond to student needs.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials contain formative and summative assessments that are aligned to the objective(s) with an emphasis on TEKS. Although there is no evidence of a test generator or a bank of questions tied to each TEK emphasized within each lesson, teachers can access varied ways to assess student skills to determine TEKS mastery for the grade level. For example, in Unit 1, Week 4, Day 5, the “Grammar and Word Work” component contains guidance to assess capitalization with proper nouns and in titles and explain the function of different types of nouns. These objectives correlate with the following grade 3 TEKS: 110.5.b.11.D.iii:, 110.5.b.11.D.ix: and 110.5.b.11D.iii: The teacher administers a formative assessment to students to inform instruction by suggesting the following options: create a quiz, or have students create a quiz to assess their progress toward the weekly skill, have students provide a brief answer to a question related to one or more grammar and word work skill before exiting the classroom (exit ticket), provide an area for students to “park” a sticky note with an answer to a question or to list an outstanding question (parking lot), have students write sentences including examples of the grammar and word work skills (writing sample) and/or have students write a brief note to a friend on a postcard describing what they have learned.
In Unit 8, Week 4, as part of the Shared Reading component, students answer the weekly question, “What are some ways people interact with space?” and discuss information learned from the text. The teacher records relevant information on a class chart. Additionally, the materials recommend assessing students using the Comprehension Quiz associated with the text to check student comprehension. It also recommends students reflect by describing how using the reading strategies and comprehension strategies helped them understand the text. The materials encourage teachers to analyze observational data by reviewing notes and other data collected throughout the week to inform future instruction. These assessments correlate to the following TEKS: 110.5.b.6.C, 110.5.b.6.F,, 110.5.b.6.G., 110.5.b.7.C and 110.5.b.9.D.i.
The assessments and scoring information within the materials provide sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance. The materials include videos and webinars to help support teachers in implementing the curriculum, including assessments. Additionally, the materials guide how to score students based upon their performance and how to rate students using the scoring information. For example, teachers access information regarding reading behavior and comprehension while rewarding student progress from level to level from the “Benchmark Passages.” After the teacher uses the tools within the materials to determine individual reading levels, the teacher can use the Benchmark Passages to help determine if students are progressing in reading levels as well as the degree of progress. Teachers use “Retelling Rubrics” to gain information about students’ strengths and weaknesses in comprehending fiction or nonfiction texts, including analysis of text structures. Additionally, multiple-choice quizzes provide students with feedback on how well they scored. Lastly, teachers use “Assessment Reports” for a whole-class view and student profile pages to see the individual reading rate and level progress reports. The materials also provide an assessment schedule for teachers to use when assessing students with running records. For example, it states students in the Early Fluent Readers Stage (Levels K-P) should be assessed every six to eight weeks, whereas students in the Fluent Readers Stage (Levels Q-Z) should be assessed every 8-10 weeks.
The materials provide opportunities for teachers to assess student reading fluency with two types of assessments. The first type of fluency assessment is a one-minute timed reading of a passage to measure the number and accuracy of words read. There is a fluency passage for each level, F through Z. The second type has a student perform a timed reading of a series of sentences and then answer true/false statements about the sentences to show comprehension. There are three of these assessments, each with more difficult sentences than the preceding one. The materials also provide a “Fluency Standards Table” that contains information on recommended reading rates. The procedures for assessing fluency include explicit instruction on the materials needed (two copies of the assessment passage—one for the student and one for the instructor, stopwatch or clock, pencil, and clipboard). If implemented consistently and correctly, students are expected to reach the target words-per-minute standard for their grade level with an accuracy rate of 90 to 95 percent after four to six readings, according to the materials. A table shows how to calculate the fluency score.
The materials provide an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings and other structures. While the yearlong plan lacks detail, the materials do provide support for teachers to identify strengths and needs of students in varied literacy skill areas and differentiated instruction opportunities throughout the school year to meet the needs of a range of learners to ensure grade-level success.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
While there is no overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple groupings and other structures, the lessons do provide guidance as to the student groupings and differentiation throughout each unit. The materials include a 32-week content plan with standards that spiral; however, they do not clearly note for teachers where the standards repeat. The same lesson plan structure is used throughout the materials, utilizing a different text in each unit. However, it does not build on each unit’s content mastery/understanding. For example, author’s purpose is in Unit 1, Week 4, and Unit 4, Week 1. In Unit 1, the lesson uses a Level R nonfiction leveled text, while in Unit 4, the lesson uses a Level Q nonfiction leveled text. Additionally, the materials provide resources for Small-Group instruction within the literacy block that teachers may access to group students for differentiated instruction.
The materials also provide opportunities for students to participate in literature circles, utilizing leveled readers on varied levels throughout the units. Primary Graphic Organizers on a grade K-2 level are available for students demonstrating skills below level. Additionally, a template/recording sheet is available for students to utilize in facilitating reflective discourse among peer groups. For example, in Unit 3, the materials provide a differentiated lesson reinforcing the concept of comprehension with a skill focus on sequencing events as part of the Whole Group Shared Reading lesson portion. The teacher guides the students through the text, indicating clue words that support the sequence. Students describe what they see in a picture and notice clue words as the teacher reads a passage. Students write sentences describing the events in order using clue words. The teacher invites students to exchange pieces with a peer partner and mark the order of events and clue words within their partner’s paper.
In Unit 5, the materials provide a differentiated lesson supporting narrative point of view. The teacher guides students through a grade 2 text, prompting the, to identify the point of view in a story using clue words. The materials provide extension activities and independent practice following this lesson with paper-pencil or interactive online options. A Venn Diagram graphic organizer designed for the K-2 level is available for students to use to organize their ideas.
Additionally, teachers assess students through digital or printed running records to attain a baseline reading level at the beginning of the school year to determine the skills and reading behaviors that need support. Teachers then assign practice activities to students to enhance their skills and assess progress throughout the school year at recommended intervals as outlined within the materials.
Teachers are also able to assign customized lessons to students through the digital platform. These lessons are tailored to help support areas of need, such as character analysis, author’s purpose, cause and effect, classifying information, compare and contrast, fact and opinion, setting, main idea and details, inferencing, drawing conclusions, problem and solution, sequencing events, story elements, and vocabulary. Teachers also access scripted lessons for each area of focus and/or assign students specific online lessons for reteaching.
The lessons provide scripted guidance for teachers, including sidebars and tips. The materials provide support for implementing ancillary and resource materials as well as student progress components. For example, each writing process lesson contains specific criteria for teachers to rate each student through each writing phase (Pre-Write, Draft, Revising, Editing, and Publication). The PBLs include text boxes throughout the lesson plan that specify what the teacher needs to write on the board as the lesson progresses. The PBLs also contain live links embedded throughout the lesson plan that connect to resources such as Peer Review Sheet, Team Project Planner, Ask and Answer Questions KWLS, Investigation Planner, Driving Question Project Outline, and Teamwork Rubric. Additionally, some of the leveled texts contain small group guided lessons containing scripted Think Alouds for teachers to model how readers think.
The teacher edition materials include annotations and support for engaging students in the materials, as well as support for implementing ancillary and resource materials and student progress components. For example, “Raz-Plus” has a comprehensive blended learning platform that includes the curricular support teachers need and the personalized resources necessary to improve students’ reading skills. Although the materials contain a wide range of ancillary and resource materials with implementation guidance for these resources, they do not always give specific guidance as to when to utilize these components. Instead, it is left to teacher discretion. Additionally, since the ancillary materials are not part of the lesson plan (in many cases), the teacher has to search outside of the primary lessons to access these supports.
The materials provide a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program, the order in which they are presented, and how knowledge and skills build and connect across grade levels. However, the materials only provide 32 weeks’ worth of literacy instruction, which does not support a 180-day or 220-day schedule. Furthermore, the materials provide additional support to help teachers implement materials as intended but lack support for administrators.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Materials have a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence, the “Literacy Curriculum Map Sequence & Standards,” which contains a sequence and standards for each grade level. It is broken up into eight units and 32 weeks of curriculum, which would not cover a 180 or 220-day school year. Each weekly plan lists the Reading Strategy, Vocabulary, Comprehension Skill, Speaking & Listening, Writing, Fluency, Text Structures, Text Features, and Grammar & Word Work to be taught. If one clicks on the different components, it states the TEKS that are aligned. For example, in Unit 1, Week 2, it states “Retell” as the Reading Strategy. When one clicks on “Retell,” it states the objective, “Retell key details and/or events in a text,” and states the standards by state. Additionally, the lessons for each skill or concept are consistent in grades 3-5. For example, the lesson on text features has the same objectives, purpose, discussion questions/question stems, and implementation guidance in grade 3, grade 4, and grade 5. The teacher adjusts the lesson plan to fit the current text. Furthermore, the writing lessons follow suit with the same lesson provided for informational/explanatory writing in grades 3-5. While the materials do not automatically “link back” or “link forward” to lessons that spiral nor “list” within the lesson units when the current lesson of study was previously taught or will be revisited in the future, the skills and concepts are listed in the unit scope and sequence so that teachers can view when that same skill or concept will be addressed within that unit.
The Literacy Curriculum Map provides implementation details for teachers for each section of the literacy block and includes definitions, the purpose behind each part, and strategies for teaching. Additionally, the materials provide professional development opportunities for teachers to provide information, background, and implementation support. For example, a “Getting Started” video provides teachers with the ability to view the various literacy component implementation as intended. There are live and recorded webinars available by topic so that teachers can choose based upon need. Additionally, there is a “Breakroom” that provides helpful teaching tips and inspiration. Topics include but are not limited to guest authors, book ideas, career goals, and organizational tips. Teachers may also utilize the scripted lesson plans to foster vertical and horizontal alignment in implementation of the materials. Furthermore, there is specific guidance and protocols for teachers to access when assessing fluency so that accuracy and consistency are maintained from student to student as they move from grade level to grade level. Rubrics also provide specific criteria for teachers to use when scoring student writing development and presentation delivery.
The “Administrator Reports Overview” provides administrators guidance in the use of data. If an administrator has deep knowledge of the program, the administrator may choose to assign live or recorded webinars as part of a teacher professional development plan designed to provide support as needed. These can also be a part of a teacher growth plan or refinement plan in helping teachers attain professional goals. However, the materials lack specific supports to help administrators guide teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
The materials divide the curricular components into eight broad units. Each of the eight units is divided into four weeks of lessons for the following literacy areas: Shared Reading, Read Aloud, Writing, Grammar and Word Work, Small Group Instruction, and Stations. Each week spans five days, which equates to a total of 160 instructional days. Because the materials offer additional lessons and resources, such as Project-Based Learning Lessons, Close Read Lessons, Literature Circles, and Text Sets, knowledgeable teachers could use resources within the program to expand to a 180-day schedule, but a structured plan for 180-days of instruction is not included.
While there is no specific student edition or student workbook, the visual design of the student materials, which includes graphic organizers, leveled texts, worksheets, and digital components, are neither distracting nor chaotic and maintain student focus on the learning objectives. Additionally, the resources contain sufficient white space with grade-level appropriate sizing and spacing, and the graphics are colorful and engaging while also supporting the written content.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials use different colored fonts throughout to denote different parts of the materials. For example, the Scope and Sequence uses purple, black, and blue fonts. The purple font distinguishes between whole-group instruction and small-group instruction. Bolded black font is for headings (“Shared Reading,” “Read Aloud,” “Grammar & Word Work,” “Writing”) and unbolded black font for the remainder of the materials. The blue font is for hyperlinks.
Additionally, throughout the materials, the margins are wide enough for students to annotate as needed on graphic organizers and worksheets. The margins are narrow for the close read passages, thus increasing attention to the text. The leveled texts contain sections of white space between headings and the body of the text. Text features such as bold print, italics, captions, and other written components enhance the resources. Spacing and font are appropriate throughout all texts and resource supplements. For example, Unit 1, Week 2 contains the text Running for Freedom by Katherine Follett, which contains white space within the text that does not distract from student learning and provides ample spacing between the paragraphs and other text features within the text (table of contents, heading, glossary). The arrangement of the text components is visually appealing to students at this developmental reading level. The pages contain margins that are wide enough for students to place small tabs or small post-it notes if needed.
Also, in Unit 4, Weeks 1- 4, the materials contain a persuasive writing activity that provides a graphic organizer. This resource has ample space for students to write with boxes that help contain the students’ thoughts and ideas. The boxes also help the students to be concise with their writing. The column descriptors are in bold font and easy to understand. The layout of the graphic organizer helps the students appropriately categorize information to systematically use in drafting their piece.
Additionally, the cursive handwriting practice pages and the “Daily Language Practice” student activity sheets throughout all units contain ample white space and appropriate line spacing for the developmental level of the student by grade level. The directions for each task are in bold font, and the sample sentences are in the same font. The space where students rewrite the sentence is large enough for students to successfully perform the task.
Also, the materials include pictures and graphics supportive of student learning and engagement. For example, the Leveled Readers include color photographs or illustrations. The printable books are in color or black and white and provide either single or double-sided printing options. In Unit 1, a read-aloud, The Big Storm, contains a picture at the beginning that engages students and directs their attention to the main details of the story. The picture is of two girls, one older than the other, sitting on a bed. The younger girl has a tear running down her face as they sit in front of a window where the reader can see trees blowing over and heavy rain coming down. This image supports students’ understanding of the upcoming text.
Additionally, in Unit 4, a shared reading text, Art Made from What? by Terry Miller Shannon, provides readers with bright pictures and graphics connected to the text. Additionally, captions and diagrams enhance student learning.
The materials include technology components that are grade-level appropriate and support learning. The supports enhance learning, and there is appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The technology within the materials supports and enhances student learning as appropriate and includes sufficient teacher guidance. Specifically, the materials include a “Getting Students Started in 3 Steps” section that provides teacher guidance on how to set up and use the online materials. The first step walks teachers through adding students to their roster, creating logins, sending messages, and managing student activity. The second step illustrates how teachers determine student reading level. The last step guides teachers in how to communicate Kids A-Z instructions to students and parents. Additionally, the materials include teacher training via free live webinars. A catalog of Learning A-Z professional development opportunities is available, and teachers use the dropdown menus to filter by Learning A-Z product name, class type, or experience level.
The materials include a “File Cabinet,” allowing teachers to store and organize instructional resources digitally. The teacher may create custom file folders and subfolders and categorize materials by TEKS, content unit, comprehension skill, student groups, and other structures. Teachers can also share file folders with colleagues, fostering collaboration and planning opportunities.
The materials contain eBooks for students to either listen to or read in a digital platform. The listening versions contain continuous-play audio and follow along with highlighted text. The reading versions contain features that enable students to record and listen to their oral reading. The constructed response quiz questions give students the opportunity to type a short-answer response to a question, which promotes close reading and critical thinking skills while also strengthening the reading-writing connection. Answers to these questions are submitted to the teacher’s “In-Basket” for grading using an online rubric. The materials also provide online tools for note-taking, drawing, highlighting, and stamping so students can annotate as they read. According to the materials, these tools “support active reading practices for better comprehension.” The supports also contain “Individual Word Audio” playback that reads individual words aloud to students to support phonics and fluency development. The eJournal gives students a place to explore new words and practice their vocabulary through writing. Vocabulary Cards provide additional information and context about key vocabulary words in a text. The teacher can connect classroom instruction with students’ use of online resources by monitoring “Activity Reports” that show student progress. The materials recommend that the teacher review student scores on assessments to identify gaps in understanding and target content or skills that need to be retaught.
The technology components are available by grade level, and some portions are customizable for student needs. For example, the materials include online space-themed components available through both KidsA-Z.com subscriptions and a Kids A-Z mobile app. Furthermore, within the online component and app, the materials contain multiple components, including the following: “Level Up!,” “My Assignment,” “Reading Room,” “Flight Check,” “Messages,” “Star Zone,” “Stats,” and “Badges.” Specifically, Level Up! contains a collection of books that students can read and complete to automatically advance to the next reading level. Students automatically level up once they listen to/read all the books and pass the comprehension quiz with a score of 80% or higher. Also, teachers can assign students’ reading levels and customize the listening version anytime within the Classroom Roster. The My Assignment component is where students go to complete activities that teachers have digitally assigned to them. The Reading Room allows students to access reading resources for reading practice and enjoyment. Students find level-appropriate books by topic, category, and popularity and can save their favorite books for easy access anytime. Teachers can also customize students’ Reading Room experience in the “Roster” under the Raz-Plus tab. Lastly, in Flight Check, students find digital Running Records using the Benchmark Passages or Books. Teachers assign this to students; when students complete the tasks, teachers can digitally access the data regarding a student’s reading level, ability to name letters, and ability to recognize high-frequency words.
The materials also contain components to enhance communication with students and parents, including the “Messages” component, where students can view messages from the teacher or their parents. Students also receive notifications regarding earned badges and bonus stars through Messages.
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