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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. Spanish Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
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ELPS Student %
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Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Progress Monitoring
Section 6. Supports for All Learners
Section 7. Implementation
Section 8. Bilingual Program Model Considerations
Section 9. Additional Information
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials include high-quality texts for Spanish Language Arts and Reading instruction and cover a range of student interests. The texts are well crafted by experts in various disciplines and provide high-quality content, language, and writing experiences for students. Reading selections encompass increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical and multicultural texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students explore the theme of helping others through the study of three genres: expository text, realistic fiction, and argumentative text. First, students study natural disasters through a shared reading of Un mundo de cambios and a close reading of Los terremotos by Sneed B. Collard III. The teacher introduces students to the genre of realistic fiction through El juguete de Juan by Lina Cruz and ¿A quién le toca? by Gabriela Peyron. Unit 1 concludes with a Time for Kids article entitled “Dólares con $significado” and the anchor text Niños Emprendedores.
Unit 2 begins with an informational book called Arañas by Nic Bishop. The teacher guides students to focus on the text features of photos and captions, visualizing and verbalizing the spider’s actions. The topic of spiders extends to the classic Ghanaian fable Anansi y los pájaros, through which students compare and contrast text structures and practice the skill of sequencing. The next genre of Unit 2 is drama, featuring two plays: La zorra y el cuervo (Aesop’s fable) and Palabra de urraca. The third genre is poetry. The teacher models think-alouds about the author’s purpose during a shared reading of “Mediodía.” Other poems in the unit are “El canto de la cigarra” by Cuban writer Alexis Romay and “El ave marina” by Argentinian author Leopoldo Lugones.
Unit 3 explores the genre of fantasy and the theme “Ayudar a los demás.” Students read El farolero by Alejandro Lorenzo and learn about points of view and dialogue. Unit 3 also includes the genre of biography. Students read José by Georgina Lázaro, the story of the Cuban national hero and poet. Unit 3 concludes with argumentative text and the “Essential Question” “¿En qué medida los avances científicos pueden ser útiles o perjudiciales?” The anchor text is Una nueva variedad de maíz; students learn about informational text structure and the author’s point of view.
Unit 4 begins with a genre study of narrative nonfiction and the Essential Question “¿Por qué necesitamos un gobierno?” Teacher and students conduct a shared reading of Un mundo sin reglas, followed by a close reading of the anchor text Mira cómo son las elecciones by Susan E. Goodman. The next reading is Juliana en lente de Gaviola and examines the contributions of Argentinian astrophysicist Enrique Gaviola. This work is paired with informational text about the McDonald Observatory called Fiesta de estrellas. The final genre of Unit 4 is poetry. Teachers and students examine the theme of “éxito” through shared reading of “Mama Gallina” by Mara Mahia and close reading of paired poems, “Proverbios y cantares” and “La clave de éxito.”
Unit 5 begins with a shared reading of a contemporary text entitled Tu mundo de cerca, which invites students to discover the world with a close, microscopic look. The text exposes students to technical words, such as fotomicrografía, electrones, disuelve, huella dactilar. The anchor text, Una gota de aqua by Walter Wick, delves deeper into the topic. The next genre is Árbol de las preguntas by Guadalupe Alemán; this text discusses the adoption of the main character coupled with information about the laws of heredity. An informational Time for Kids article entitled “Redescubramos nuestros comienzos hispánicos” concludes Unit 5.
In Unit 6, students begin with the expository text El gran debate energético, which is paired with narrative nonfiction called La isla de energía by Allan Drummond. Students enjoy historical fiction while reading the anchor text Rodrigo, un relato de Texas by Julia Mercedes Castilla. The unit closes with a poem by Uruguayan poet Juana de Ibarbourro entitled “La Cuna” and a “Reader’s Theater” by Aileen Fisher entitled Pequeñas Conversaciones.
Finally, the ”Libros por nivel,” found in the “Carpeta de recursos,” provides additional readings that vary in reading complexity, genre, discipline, and cultural background. For example, Cambio de local is about a Vietnamese family who decides to find a new location for their restaurant to gain more customers. Students explore the process of leaving a home country through the perspective of Tran, the main character. This book offers an opportunity for students who are children of immigrants to relate to the main character. The Carpeta de recursos includes expository texts for students to read during small groups or independent reading. For example, Animales extraños entices children to learn about rare animals found around the world. In this scientific text, students come across words such as camuflaje, depredador, presa. The Carpeta de recursos includes 90 books that encompass various genres and disciplines.
The materials include a variety of literary genres and informational text types that meet the requirements of the TEKS. Informational texts feature exposition, argumentative, and procedural text types; there are print and graphic features of a variety of texts. The informational and argumentative texts correspond to fourth-grade science and social studies TEKS. The materials also provide opportunities for students to recognize and analyze characteristics of multimodal and digital texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the first genre is expository text, focusing on the effects of natural disasters on the Earth’s surface. The teacher frames the shared reading about “Un mundo de cambios” with the “Essential Question” “¿En qué se parecen y en qué se diferencian los cambios en la superficie de la tierra?” Students demonstrate their understanding of the compare/contrast text structure by completing a digital graphic organizer about volcanoes and mudslides. While reading the anchor text “Los terremotos,” students use a map of tectonic plates to deepen their understanding of the complex text and discuss the role of a first-hand account in expository text. The unit concludes with an economics-themed argumentative text. Students learn about the free enterprise system through the Time for Kids article “Niños emprendedores.” The selection features four young people who started nonprofit businesses to help others. The article is paired with a procedural text called “Cómo empezar un negocio exitoso.”
The genre studies of Unit 2 represent the diverse literary and informational text found throughout the instructional materials. The unit begins with expository text; the lessons emphasize the importance of text features (i.e., bold words, pictures, captions) as students learn about animal adaptations. The materials include teacher guidance for asking questions, such as, “¿Qué se dice en la leyenda acerca de la foto?” The anchor text, “Arañas” by Nic Bishop, explains how the spider survives in its habitat; students use captions to deepen understanding. The second genre of Unit 2 is drama. Students learn about the elements of drama and explore the theme through two plays: La zorra y el cuervo and Palabra de urraca. Unit 2 concludes with the study of poetry. The teacher explains figurative language such as simile, metaphor, and personification with three poems: “El canto de la cigarra” by Alexis Romay, “El ave marina” by Leopoldo Lugones, and “Barrillete” by Claudia Lars.
In Unit 3, students use print and graphic features while reading the biographical text “La niña que se imaginaba reinos” by Ernesto Ariel Suárez. The selection includes images, captions, bolded words, and a timeline. The teacher draws attention to the timeline, guiding students to compare the information included in the first paragraph of the text to the information offered in the timeline. After completing the story, the students use the timeline and their notes to summarize the important events in the life of Maria Elena Walsh. The anchor text in Unit 3 is a biographical poem called “Jose.” While reading about the life of Cuban poet and politician José Martí, students also learn about poetic devices (e.g., stanzas and rhyme) and analyze the meaning of the illustrations.
In Unit 4, students read texts that connect to social studies TEKS. The Essential Question for the unit is “¿Por qué necesitamos un gobierno?” The teacher activates background knowledge by using a digital image that students can write on and manipulate to learn about elements of a courtroom. The teacher guides the discussion with questions such as “Why is it important to have legislation or laws? and “What does your state government do?” Students read an expository text titled “El nacimiento de la democracia” to explore the theme further. This text informs students about the history of the Constitution and how the Bill of Rights represents the pillars of our democracy. This selection is available digitally; however, it does not include text-to-speech features nor additional components to manipulate the text.
In Unit 5, students use multimodal text features to deepen understanding and demonstrate learning. For example, while studying photos about how water molecules change, students make annotations using a digital pen. Students then use the images and the annotations to summarize the sequential text. Students can access text-to-speech by clicking on the speakers found on each page. The unit continues with a focus on sequential text structure through the genre of realistic fiction. While reading “El árbol de las preguntas” by Guadalupe Alemán, students complete a story map. This graphic organizer, and many others, are available for students to complete digitally.
In the “Carpeta de recursos,” the teacher has access to leveled books, such as the expository selection “Animales extraños” by Jane Buxton. The author provides information about animals’ special characteristics that enable them to survive in their environment, connecting to fourth-grade science TEKS. This selection is available online and contains text-to-speech features. Furthermore, the online component allows students to annotate and make notes while reading. There are 90 leveled books in the “Carpeta de recursos,” many of which address science and social studies TEKS (e.g.,“El poder del planeta”; “Jacob Riis, Campeón de los pobres”; and “La noria gigante de George”).
The materials are appropriately challenging and are at an appropriate level of complexity to support fourth-grade students. The publisher provides a text-complexity analysis that includes information about the quantitative and qualitative features of the texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Quantitative and qualitative considerations guide the teacher to understand the factors for text complexity. The digital “Teacher’s Edition” includes an overview of text complexity by Dr. Tim Shanahan and multiple videos that explain aspects of complexity (e.g., genre in informational text, organization in literature, and sentence structure in informational text). The teacher guide offers a detailed overview of the unit’s reading selections and includes a rationale for the educational purpose of the texts as well as their Lexile levels. For example, Unit 2 has an expository genre guide that explains why the texts Cómo se adaptan los animales (Lexile 750L), Arañas (Lexile 850L), and Anansi y los pájaros (Lexile 740L) were grouped in the same week. The guide states: “Students read and write about how animals survive in their environment” while exploring the “Essential Question” “¿Qué ayuda a un animal subsistir?”
The “Guía del maestro” resource includes “Suggested Lesson Plans” for each day of the genre study. The daily plans recommend a sequence of activities for whole group and small group instruction. Teachers find best practices ideas throughout this resource. For example, the second genre study of Unit 2 is historical fiction. The resource suggests previewing the historical fiction genre by creating an anchor chart. The teacher guides students to “add characteristics of the genre to the anchor chart.” Though minutes of instruction are not included in these resources, the clear text analysis and unit overview give teachers a strong foundation for pacing the lesson appropriately and provide the support needed for students to master the content.
In addition, each whole group anchor text lesson in the digital Teacher’s Edition includes a “¿Qué hace complejo este texto?” tab. Teachers have access to a bulleted list of points for consideration that are particular to the text. For example, in Unit 3, the anchor text for fantasy is El farolero by Alejandro Lorenzo. The text complexity tab informs teachers that prior knowledge, sentence structure, organization, genre, and connection of ideas contribute to the selection’s complexity. Teachers address these points through tips and strategies within the lesson plan.
The “Carpeta de recursos” includes a Guía del maestro for every unit with an overview and three genre booklets that address the complexity of the texts. Each booklet is organized in a similar manner: key features of the genre, active engagement in learning, student outcomes, text set information, and suggested lesson plans. In the text set information portion of the guide, teachers find the Lexile level for the texts and a designation as “Approaching, On Level, or Beyond.” The genre guide also includes text complexity information about the “Leveled Readers with Paired Reads” and “Genre Passages” recommended for small group intervention and extension. In addition, the digital edition allows teachers to search for leveled texts by guided reading or DRA level.
The digital Teacher’s Edition has an “Organizador semanal” in the “Plan” section. The outline for the week provides teachers with an overview of the whole group, small group, and Beyond level lessons for reading, writing, and spelling. By clicking on a specific date, teachers have access to detailed lesson plans for listening comprehension, shared reading, vocabulary, grammar, independent reading, and more. Unfortunately, Lexile levels for the unit texts do not appear in the digital Organizador semanal. Teachers have to navigate through multiple clicks to the genre guide for specific readability information.
Two additional resources for teachers support best practices for instructional delivery. The “Instructional Routines Handbook” and the “Wonders Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” provide detailed information for teachers that address day-to-day instruction for 60- or 120-minute blocks of instruction. The pacing guide includes multi-tiered instructional tips for reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar and indicates suggested minutes for each component.
The materials contain questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, topics, themes, and connections within and across texts. Most questions and tasks are text-dependent, build conceptual knowledge, and integrate multiple TEKS. Through the questioning and tasks, students make connections (to self, to text, to the world) and discuss important ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students read an expository text about earthquakes and respond to questions that require them to synthesize information and draw conclusions related to science TEKS. The student workbook includes the question “¿Cómo cambian la superficie terrestre los terremotos y la meteorización?” The materials also include questions that require students to reread and provide text evidence during the lesson cycle.
During the second week of Unit 1, students engage in an analytical writing activity. The teacher asks students to read a new text and take notes while considering the Essential Question “¿Cómo reacciona la gente a los desastres naturales?” The teacher guides students to compare the text to the one they read the day before. After rereading, students integrate their new learning by answering the “Texto y otros textos” question “¿En qué se parecen las inundaciones a los terremotos?”
Unit 2 is a genre study of expository text, focused on the Essential Question “¿Qué ayuda a un animal a subsistir?” Students explore this theme through a close reading of Arañas. The teacher guides the students to take notes using the main-idea-and-key-details graphic organizer. Students explore content-specific vocabulary about spider adaptations (e.g., “seda, hileras, y pedipalpos”) and focus on text features to support comprehension. Students continue to reflect on the Essential Question through a paired selection at the end of the unit, Anansi y los pájaros.
In Unit 3, students read a biography, framed by the Essential Question “How can one person make a difference?” The teacher explains that “injusticia means a lack of justice or fairness.” The teacher guides the discussion of photographs and videos that focus on the idea that “in real life, everyday people who work to make a difference are real superheroes.” The teacher prompts personal connections through questions such as “How has somebody made a difference in your life? How could you make a difference?”
In Unit 5, students read realistic fiction to explore the Essential Question “¿De qué formas las personas muestran que les importan los demás?” In the student book, “Mi libro de lectura y escritura,” students respond to text-dependent prompts in writing, such as “¿Por qué cambia lo que piensa Isa de sus padres? Vuelve a leer para buscar detalles que apoyen tu respuesta.” The student book also includes questions that require students to make inferences. For example, one of the student book’s sidebars explains how authors sometimes omit information yet provide clues that help the reader make logical decisions about the characters and story events. The students answer the question “¿Qué puedes inferir de la relación de Isabel con sus padres a partir de las claves del relato?”
Unit 5 concludes with the Time for Kids article “Redescubrimos nuestros comienzos hispánicos.” Students build conceptual understanding during the first reading by sequencing and summarizing. The teacher guides students to make notes using a simple graphic organizer to record four major events from the story. During the second reading of the article, the questions and tasks increase in complexity. Students analyze the author’s purpose and craft by annotating in the margins regarding text features such as photographs, captions, and sidebars.
Unit 6 focuses on narrative nonfiction and includes questions and tasks that gradually increase in complexity. During the initial reading of La isla de la energía, the teacher asks questions such as “¿Cuál es la idea principal de la página 462? ¿Qué elemento de narrativa de no ficción emplea el autor en la página 473?” The depth of knowledge required to answer questions increases in the second reading. The student responds in writing to questions about the author’s purpose (e.g., “¿Por qué hace el autor que toda la clase diga ‘¡sujeten sus sombreros!’ después de hablar acerca de nuevas formas de producir energía?”) The unit concludes with the integration of concepts, asking students to make connections between paired texts by paraphrasing what they have learned about how energy resources have changed over the years.
Throughout the units, the color-coding system of questions and tasks by the depth of knowledge is consistent, guiding teachers to build toward complex cognitive tasks by the end of the unit. In addition, each genre study includes a two-week science or social studies research project. Students learn a specific study skill as they work on their project and present it to the class upon completion.
The materials contain questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Questions and tasks support students’ understanding of texts’ literary and textual elements by asking students to analyze, make inferences, and draw conclusions about the author’s purpose. Students also compare and contrast different authors’ stated or implied purposes and authors’ choices for communicating with readers. The questions and tasks require students to make and correct or confirm predictions and study the language within texts to support understanding.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the shared reading lesson on El juguete de Juan includes questions that focus on making predictions, using text evidence, summarizing, and analyzing plot elements. For example, students preview the text and look at the illustrations prior to reading. The sidebar includes a question for students to demonstrate their thinking in writing: “¿Cuál crees que será el tema del relato?” As students continue reading, the prompts and questions within the text frequently require students to cite text evidence (e.g., “Encierra en un círculo la evidencia que muestra que hicieron Sofia y Akki para resolver el problema.”) Students analyze word choices and idioms within the text with prompts such as “Encierre en un círculo las palabras que sirven para comprender el significado del modismo ¡qué mala pata!”
In Unit 2, students analyze literary and textual elements while reading a play about how a rumor can impact relationships. The teacher guide outlines the process of close reading to analyze the author’s use of text features as well as the choice of text structure. The teacher explains that authors use stage directions and dialogue to tell the story through the characters and asks questions such as “¿En qué lugar se desarrolla el diálogo?” The lesson plans also include sections called “Enfoque en el lenguaje” for studying the language. For example, while reading a dialogue between two characters, the teacher guides discussion of the phrase “son habladurías…. ¡solo son cuentos!” In a subsequent lesson, students explore the main character’s attitude by analyzing the dialogue with the question “¿Por qué el autor utiliza expresiones como ‘Bla, bla, bla…’?”
In Unit 3, students explore the theme of helping the community while reading paired texts El farolero and La participación en el servicio comunitario. The teacher prompts students to think about the “Essential Question” “¿De qué formas puedes ayudar a los demás?” and make notes with evidence from both pieces. Students analyze text structure and explain how the text structure supports the author’s purpose. At the end of the unit, the student workbook includes an illustration of a community in “Conexiones al texto.” Students consider how the artist’s message is similar to the ideas in the paired readings. Students respond in writing, supporting their answer with text evidence.
In Unit 4, students analyze textual elements while reading historical fiction about how an invention impacted the lives of two siblings. In the anchor text lesson, the students and teacher read the selection carefully to focus on the skill of making predictions. The teacher asks the question “¿Por qué crees que Marina invitó a Enrique a ver el programa de televisión?” The teacher models the skill by thinking aloud and encourages students to apply the strategy and think aloud themselves. The student book, “Mi libro de lectura y escritura,” includes questions and tasks that require textual analysis, such as this question on the author’s craft: “¿Cómo emplea la autora los diálogos para visualizar los personajes y así captar tu atención?”
In Unit 5, the teacher guides discussion of literary elements during a shared reading of Tu mundo de cerca. The teacher explains that, as students read, they should use the left column to note questions, interesting words, and key details. Multiple prompts in the shared reading lesson guide students to analyze the text. For example, students practice the skills of summarizing and sequencing and closely examine the text features and vocabulary in the text. The teacher guides students to look for signal words that support the text structure and text features that support the purpose of the text.
Each unit includes three genre studies, and each genre study has paired texts that require students to make cross-text comparisons through reading and writing experiences. The lesson cycles follow a three-part close reading routine: 1) “Leer”: Students read the paired selection and answer specific questions to grasp the basic, literal meaning of the text. 2) “Releer”: Students reread the selection to answer deeper questions about craft and structure. 3) “Integrar”: Students synthesize and evaluate information from the two texts by looking back at the anchor text and paired selection to respond to the Essential Question and text-to-text prompts.
The materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary in and across texts. The lessons provide ways to apply words in appropriate contexts as well as scaffolds and supports for differentiation of vocabulary instruction.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resource folder has a “Plan general del curso” with an annual scope and sequence that addresses vocabulary. For each genre study, the materials provide a target and additional word list as well as a vocabulary strategy. Strategies include compound words, context clues, multiple-meaning words, affixes, and more.
In Unit 1, students study words in context and suffixes. The lesson plan for shared reading has two parts: “Words in Context” and “Compound Words.” For the Words in Context lesson, the teacher uses the “Visual Vocabulary Card” routine to introduce each word. Cues on the digital cards prompt the teacher to define, provide an example, and ask a question. When studying suffixes, the materials guide the teacher to remind students that a suffix is a word part added to the end of a word to change its meaning. Next, the teacher models using a suffix (e.g.,-dor) to determine the meaning of the word innovador in the anchor text Dólares con significado. For guided practice, students work in pairs to identify and define the suffixes in the words inmediatamente, recaudación, and donaciones.
In Unit 2, there are lesson plan sections titled “Expand Vocabulary” and “Connect to Words.” The teacher introduces each vocabulary word and asks a question to check for understanding. For example, the teacher presents camuflaje, defines it, and asks, “¿Alguna vez te has camuflado para esconderte?” The lesson resources also include a specific document for content words. The document explains that these words are found in biology and ecology studies or in cross-curricular units or studies.
In Unit 3, the materials provide guidance for teaching word meanings related to the anchor text, a biographical poem about the famous Cuban poet and politician, José Martí. The teacher reminds students of the importance of identifying words in context to help them understand the meaning of unknown words. The teacher then asks the students, “¿Qué creen que significa afición? ¿Cómo lo pueden saber?” The semi-scripted lesson also provides answers to suggested questions. In a subsequent lesson on the anchor text, the students participate in a writing activity to expand the vocabulary. The teacher asks the students to write sentences with the vocabulary words they learned using the appropriate context to show the words’ meaning.
In Unit 4, the genre study is narrative poetry. The target vocabulary words are connotación, denotación, estrofa, gloria, jolgorio, pasear, repetición, and triunfal; the additional vocabulary is estelas. In small groups, the teacher uses the Visual Vocabulary Card routine (i.e., “Define, Example, Ask”) to review words with the “On Level” and “Beyond Level” students. For example, the teacher states the target word gloria and defines it (“Alcanzar la gloria significa lograr un éxito”). Then, the teacher gives an example: “El mayor momento de gloria para Dora fue cuando llegó a la cumbre.” In the last step, the teacher asks the indicated question, “¿Cuál sería un momento de gloria para ustedes?” The students view the image on the digital card, discuss, and write sentences in their “Writers’ Notebooks.”
In Unit 5, the teacher uses scaffolds and supports to differentiate instruction for “Approaching Level” students. Using the Visual Vocabulary Cards, the teacher says each word and explains how the photograph supports the word’s meaning. Then, following the gradual release of responsibility, the teacher states the word and spells it (“I do”). The students read and spell the word with the teacher (“We do”). In the third step, students read the word and write it in the Writers’ Notebooks (“You do”). The teacher provides cloze sentences for the words (e.g., “En una…, excavar da mucha información a los arqueólogos.”) The teacher then checks for understanding with questioning (e.g., “En arqueología, ¿se estudia el futuro o el pasado?”) The materials also provide opportunities to practice the words with an online component that includes text-to-speech, example sentences, and questions about the vocabulary word.
In Unit 6, the materials provide digital practice with synonyms through a matching activity. Students match the underlined word in a sentence with its proper synonym by drawing a line. The instructions appear on the sidebar of the screen and are also read to the student through voice-to-text. The teacher deepens understanding of the target vocabulary words by studying them in context and then explicitly teaching them using the Visual Vocabulary Card routine (“Definición, Ejemplo, y Pregunta”). The teacher supports understanding of the vocabulary by discussing cognates when applicable. For the word ancestro, the online tool states, “Ancestro en español y ancestor en inglés son cognados.”
Direct teaching of vocabulary is complemented by digital and hands-on games. The teacher resource folder includes the following games: “¡Ordénalas!, Ta-Te-Ti de antónimos, Fábrica de palabras, Igual y diferente, Arma la palabra, Bingo de sinónimos, ¿Qué quieres decir?” Each game includes materials, objective, preparation, and simple directions for how to play.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” has a section titled “What You Need to Know about Vocabulary.” It defines Tier I, II, and III words and provides examples. The handbook describes opportunities for students to learn and practice new vocabulary throughout the units (e.g., mini-lessons, Visual Vocabulary Cards, and spiral reviews). It includes the rationale for strategies and techniques. Though the Instructional Routines Handbook provides general information that applies to all units of instruction, it does not specifically address the acquisition of Spanish vocabulary in a dual language or bilingual classroom. This routine is written in English and identical to the handbook for the English version of the materials.
The materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable as they engage in independent reading. The procedures and protocols, accompanied by adequate support for teachers, foster independent reading. The plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time includes planning and accountability for achieving independent reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the teacher resource folder, includes detailed information about independent reading in intermediate grade classrooms. The resource is not grade-specific, nor is it connected to specific lessons. The handbook provides guidance about independent reading time and supplies resources to support its implementation in language arts classrooms. However, the handbook does not provide supporting materials, such as the reading log, in Spanish. It is written for the English version of the program and would benefit from being adapted to include all materials in Spanish.
The handbook illustrates the importance of independent reading time for young readers by stating, “Daily independent reading provides your students with the opportunity to apply reading strategies and skills they are taught in class, and helps them make connections to what they are learning.” The handbook also notes the evidence from research that independent reading increases students’ comprehension, builds their vocabulary, and enhances background knowledge. The handbook recommends that students in the intermediate grades engage in independent reading for 30–40 minutes daily. The handbook draws attention to the program’s resources for engaging with independent reading (i.e., selections in the anthology, differentiated genre passages, classroom library trade books, bonus leveled readers, online leveled library, and Time for Kids online digital articles).
The handbook includes the section “Additional Strategies for Independent Reading.” This section provides ideas for implementing a systematic, independent reading routine that emphasizes the self-selection of books. Subheadings in this section include “How to Choose a Book,” “Journal About Books,” and “Share Time.” This section also contains information about reading logs and lists the information to be recorded in the logs, where to find a template, and how to use reading logs to set future reading goals.
The instructions for the “Independent Reading Routine” state, “Teach this routine to students so they can choose books and read independently while you work with groups or confer with individuals.” The students first select a book that interests them. To support good choices, the teacher educates the students about determining the book’s difficulty by using the “Five Finger Rule.” Secondly, the students read their book every day during independent reading time and use the skills and strategies they have been working on in class. Third, the students think about what they are reading. Fourth, the students use their reading log to record what they read at the end of each session. Fifth, the students share their opinions about the book they read. Finally, they restart the process all over again with a new book.
The handbook recommends that teachers circulate during self-selected reading time to ensure that students are on task and have chosen an appropriate book. If not, teachers remind students that it is okay to abandon a book that does not fit their interest or reading level and help them find a more appropriate one.
The materials provide options for students to share what they are reading with others. For example, the section “Help Students Respond to What They are Reading” in the Instructional Routines Handbook describes strategies such as “Journal About Books, Literature Circles, Thinking Codes, Share Time, Perfect Pitch, Design a Movie Poster, Sketch a Selection, Book Talks.” The handbook also describes and encourages peer conferences about independent reading to build motivation and hold students accountable.
Teachers foster student ownership of their reading by providing a reading log that notes the date, title, pages or time read, and any other information that the teacher wants to emphasize. In addition, the “Respuesta del lector” tracking sheet allows students to give books a star rating, write a recommendation, and respond to a question regarding the book.
The materials also provide opportunities for students to read independently during whole group and small group instruction. Close reading routines embedded in the shared reading and anchor text lessons include time for rereading and independent study, framed by modeling and questioning from the teacher. Small group differentiated lessons include independent reading opportunities as well. Students choose from the leveled reading library during genre studies to reinforce learning during whole group lessons. The teacher sets a purpose for reading in small groups and guides students to discuss the book and its connections to the anchor text featured that week.
The materials provide support for students to develop composition skills across multiple text types for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students have opportunities to write literary, informational, and argumentative texts as well as professional and friendly correspondence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes a systematic writing process routine found throughout the units. Units of study begin with analyzing the expert models (i.e., the anchor texts) and discussing the features of the genre. During the planning stage, students brainstorm and choose a topic, discuss purpose and audience, and gather relevant information. The next stage is drafting. The teacher and students discuss developing the topic, organizing the writing, and writing a draft. Students use checklists and apply partner and teacher feedback during the conferencing and revising stage. Finally, students edit and proofread revised drafts using editing checklists before publishing, presenting, and self-evaluating their writing with a rubric.
In Unit 1, the students go through the writing process to craft a personal narrative. The teacher starts by reviewing how writers use different text structures to organize information. The teacher indicates that most personal narratives have a sequential structure, demonstrating the order of events. The teacher uses an example from the student workbook to show how authors use “adverbios de tiempo” such as primero, antes, luego, and finalmente to indicate the order of events. Students plan their personal narrative with a sequence graphic organizer and then write their drafts. Students complete the composition process by engaging in peer conferencing, editing and proofreading, publishing, presenting, and evaluating their pieces. Unit 1 includes specific supports to guide the teacher and students through the writing process. For example, the teacher goes over the process of reviewing drafts and provides step-by-step instructions for the peer conferencing routine. The lesson plan also has tips for monitoring partner feedback and guidance for holding teacher conferences with individual students while the class revises their drafts. The student workbook has information to assist with the planning of their writing. Students read prompts for the brainstorming process and clarify their purpose and audience by answering questions such as “Piensa en el público de tu narrativa personal” and “¿Quién la leerá?”
In Unit 1, students write a business letter. The directions explain that business letters have a formal tone and are written using proper language structures and complete sentences. The teacher shows an example of how a business letter is organized, starting with a header and ending with a complimentary closing and signature. Students choose a law in their community about which they would like to know more. The students write a letter to a public official asking for more information or sharing their thoughts about the law.
In Unit 2, students write lyric poetry about an animal, insect, or plant based on the expert model from the genre study, “El canto de la cigarra.” The teacher explains that a lyric poem is a short rhythmic poem that expresses a feeling. The teacher tells students that the author shares an experience or emotion that appears simple but is expressed through a complex structure of lines, stanzas, repetitions, and other poetic techniques. The students and teacher create an anchor chart that lists the characteristics of a lyric poem after analyzing the expert model. The lesson plan section titled “Word Wise” draws attention to the poet’s use of descriptive words and phrases to help the reader visualize an image. The teacher reads the words vioín and tonada, defines them, and asks, “How do these words help you to understand and visualize the topic of the poem?” The students use a point-of-view graphic organizer to brainstorm ideas and review a rubric before beginning to draft their poem.
In Unit 3, students write an opinion essay. The teacher encourages students to use strong facts and examples that support their opinions as demonstrated in the anchor text, Una nueva variedad de maíz. Students read another example of argumentative writing, Pelea de alimentos, and identify the author’s opinion and the facts and examples that support the opinion. The teacher instructs the students to answer questions about determining which facts to include in their own opinion essay. The students begin planning a draft of their essay, using a graphic organizer for ideas. Students can choose to write the opinion essay on paper or online. Online tips in the student resources guide students to revise, edit, and publish their opinion essays.
In Unit 4, students study the genre of narrative nonfiction and choose a historical figure about whom to write. As part of the planning stage, the students define their essay’s purpose and audience. The teacher guides students to choose one central idea to focus on and explore in an engaging, story-like way. The teacher explains that one way that authors present the information in a narrative nonfiction essay is through cause-and-effect relationships. Students use a cause-and-effect graphic organizer to collect and generate ideas. The teacher and students analyze the anchor text, “Mira Como,” to review a narrative nonfiction essay’s characteristics and guide students through the planning process.
In Unit 5, after reading the anchor texts Tu mundo de cerca and Una gota de agua, students write an explanatory essay. The teacher explains that an explanatory essay is a form of expository text that provides facts and information to inform readers about a topic and requires research. The teacher and students create an anchor chart with the features of explanatory essays. In “Word Wise,” students learn about the author’s choice of words and how it contributes to the tone of a selection before beginning to draft their piece.
The materials provide written tasks that require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. Students have opportunities to use evidence from texts to support their opinions and claims and demonstrate in writing what they have learned through reading and listening to texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes an analytical writing routine found throughout the units. The materials state, “This routine aligns with lessons provided in the Teacher’s Edition, but you can also use it when students respond analytically to any text.” Step 1 of the routine is to analyze the prompt. The materials suggest that students work with partners to analyze the prompt by identifying key language and what it is asking them to do. The teacher supports students by defining difficult academic terms in the prompt. Step 2 is to state a clear topic or opinion. The teacher models how to use sentence stems to respond concisely to the prompt and encourages their use during group and partner discussion. Step 3 is to cite text evidence. Students revisit the text to find evidence to support their ideas. The teacher encourages students to evaluate the strength of the evidence, make inferences, synthesize information, organize their notes by grouping related ideas together and link reasons for opinions or arguments together. Step 4 is to provide a strong conclusion. The teacher reminds students that well-developed analytical writing ends with a conclusion that restates the topic or opinion and models how to write a strong conclusion.
In Unit 1, the students read the anchor text, A quien le toca, and respond to the prompt “¿De qué modo emplea la autora distintos recursos para transmitir al lector el mensaje de que a todos nos toca velar por el bienestar de los demás?” which asks about how the author relays their message to the reader. The teacher starts by helping students analyze the prompt and asks scaffolding questions to help with the task. The teacher guides the students to refer back to specific pages of the anthology and answer questions such as “¿Qué siente Elvira en este momento?” and “¿Por qué se siente así?” The students fill out a bubble map in the student workbook to gather evidence from the text. To prepare for writing, the students discuss their evidence with a partner or in a small group. The materials include additional supports such as sentence stems in the student workbook and guidance tips for teachers such as the recommendation to discuss problems and solutions while analyzing the text.
During a shared reading lesson in Unit 2, the teacher and students focus on the structure of plays while discussing the prompt “How does the way the author structures The Ant and the Grasshopper help to develop the theme?” The teacher models sentence starters to discuss the text, such as “The stage directions help…. Dialogue shows how each character feels by…. Scene changes help me understand plot changes because….”
In Unit 2, the lesson plan section called “Reading Digitally” provides practice with rereading to find information. As the teacher reads aloud from the Time for Kids article “Tiburones en peligro,” the teacher asks students why shark populations are shrinking and about the effect of this on ecosystems. Students refer to the text and access interactive features to find text evidence. The teacher asks guiding questions: “How did the author organize the information so that it was easy to understand? Which of the interactive features was the most helpful? Why?” Students make notes on a graphic organizer throughout the lesson and use the notes to summarize the text in writing.
In Unit 3, the teacher guides shared reading of a fantasy titled Koshi y la fuerza de los aldeanos. The digital text has sidebars called “Buscar evidencias” with two questions per page for students to discuss and answer in writing. Students focus on author’s technique with questions such as “¿Cómo muestra el autor la fuerza de los aldeanos a partir de las descripciones?” and “¿Cómo aporta información al texto la ilustración que incluyó el autor?”
In Unit 4, the response tasks require students to closely read poetry and cite text evidence to support their answers in writing. The student workbook prompts students to discuss, make notes on a graphic organizer, and respond to prompts such as “¿Qué palabras y frases utiliza el poeta para referirse al éxito?” Students return to specific pages to reread and record text evidence in a flowchart with the heading “Evidencias del texto.” Students refer to the text and the graphic organizer while crafting a written response.
The “Reading/Writing Companion” lesson in Unit 5 guides students to closely read while thinking about how the author presented the information. The teacher asks, “How does the author’s use of text structure and text features help you understand how electron microscopes help scientists?” The lesson plan and student workbook provide sentence starters to discuss the text and organize ideas (e.g., “The author explains that first…. The author shows how…. The author helps me understand why….”
In Unit 6, while reading narrative nonfiction titled El gran debate energético, students discuss open-ended questions found in the sidebar. The questions ask students to find text evidence for the main idea and supporting details. Another question asks, “¿Cómo te muestra el autor que el narrador va a estar listo para el debate?” Students annotate the digital text, then cite evidence as they write their answers on paper or digitally.
The materials apply composition and convention skills in increasingly complex contexts and offer opportunities for students to publish their writing. Students utilize the writing process elements for composing texts and have opportunities to practice and apply the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing. The materials include systematic instruction on grammar, punctuation, and usage, both in and out of context, and provide editing practice throughout the year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the teacher resource section, includes a writing process routine for teachers and students to follow as they progress through the genre studies in each unit. The routine specifies the following steps: 1. Study, analyze, and discuss the features of the expert model in the genre study. 2. Plan the writing by brainstorming about the topic, discussing the purpose and audience, and gathering relevant information. 3. Write the draft after developing the topic and organizing the writing. 4. Revise the writing using checklists and partner feedback from conferences. 5. Edit and proofread revised drafts using editing checklists. 6. Publish, present, and evaluate with a rubric to self-evaluate. Each genre has a four-point rubric with specific categories. For example, the categories for informational text are “enfoque, organización, apoyo, y normas.” The materials promote different modes of publication and presentation (e.g., print, digital, audio, and video).
In Unit 1, students compose a personal narrative and access the digital “Writers’ Notebook” to support the writing process. The digital notebook has several tabs to guide students as they write their essays. The tabs are planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. In each tab, the notebook includes links to editable documents such as checklists and graphic organizers. This online resource also provides multiple videos that students can access to support the stages of writing. For example, in the planning tab, students can watch a video about paraphrasing an idea. In the publishing tab, students can view ways to present their writing. This resource also has a genre-specific rubric displayed in the margin as the student digitally drafts.
In Unit 2, the students go through the stages of the writing process to compose a compare/contrast essay about animal adaptations. Students activate and build background knowledge by brainstorming with partners. After selecting two animals to study, students use a Venn diagram to organize the facts. The materials provide guiding questions for the teacher to ask while students conduct research, such as “¿Que partes de la estructura corporal de estos animales son similares?” The teacher explains the use of linking words such as tanto and como to denote similarities and diferente de for differences. Students follow a peer conferencing routine and use an editing checklist to improve their piece. The final piece should include illustrations, pictures, and other graphics; students have the option to publish their work in print or digitally.
In Unit 3, the materials include a variety of supports to guide students through the writing process for writing a fantasy text. After a close reading of the anchor texts, Koshi y la fuerza de los aldeanos and El farolero, students engage in freewriting about an activity that could make someone nervous the first time. The teacher provides sentence starters to help students get started. Students select one of the ideas from their freewriting as the topic for their fantasy. The teacher guides the planning phase with a lesson on the sequence of events and asks questions such as “What events will you include to show how your character works to solve a problem?” The students use an online graphic organizer and refer to a “Quick Tip” box to support logical sequencing as they draft. During the revising stage, the teacher provides instruction on the inclusion of sensory details, stating: “When you edit, you might substitute vague, general words with sensory details that will help your readers better relate to your character’s experiences. You can use a digital or print thesaurus to help you choose more specific language.”
In Unit 4, students learn about adjectives through lessons in the grammar practice book. The instructions include definitions of adjectives and tips for how to identify them. The student identifies abstract or concrete adjectives in the grammar exercise. At the bottom of the page, students write two sentences about a beautiful place and describe it using at least two adjectives. Students also study the conditional tense in Unit 4 through a “Talk About It” activity for small groups and partners. The teacher provides scenarios and asks the students, “What would you have done?” The students tell each other what they would have done differently using the conditional tense of regular verbs. The other student listens and verbally identifies the verbs.
In Unit 5, grammar lessons focus on indefinite and reflexive pronouns. The teacher explains that reflexive pronouns “refer to the subject that carries out the action (me, te, se, nos).” After explaining the concept, the teacher asks the students to complete a page of the student workbook. The students underline indefinite and reflexive pronouns and engage in a writing activity that connects with their reading. The students reread sentences from the anchor text, Tu mundo de cerca, replace the nouns with indefinite pronouns, and rewrite the sentences. The materials also include an online activity to identify the different kinds of pronouns. The Talk About It section provides more practice with indefinite and reflexive pronouns, asking students to work collaboratively to identify and classify the pronouns.
In Unit 6, the teacher provides instruction on linking words in complex sentences. Students practice the skill out of context with exercises in the student workbook and then apply the skill in context. As students revise their draft of narrative nonfiction, the focus is on linking words. During the editing and proofreading stage, the teacher states, “Remember that when you edit, you change sentences and words to make more sense and add linking words.”
To further support grammar instruction, the teacher resources section includes a “Grammar Manual.” The topics include sentences, phrases, nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, articles, adverbs, prepositions, accents, and language norms. Each section of the manual has the definition of the grammar rule, an example, and practice questions for small or whole group settings.
The materials provide practice for students to write in cursive, including an instructional plan for procedures and supports for teachers to assess students’ handwriting development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Teacher’s Edition” includes explicit instruction in cursive handwriting for grades 3–6 by unit. The cursive lessons have objectives (e.g., “Alignment and Margins: To write a sentence; to keep within the margins of the paper, and; to have letters sitting on the bottom line.”) The lessons have a clear sequence for the teacher to follow: 1) Getting Started, 2) Using the Page, 3) Extension, and 4) Evaluate. The first three units focus on lowercase letters; the last three emphasize uppercase letters.
The student workbook, “Caligrafía, Grados 3–6,” provides multiple pages of practice for students learning to write in cursive. The practice workbook is arranged by unit with letters grouped by movement. The student workbook has tips for posture, pencil pressure, and position of the paper to support students’ handwriting development.
In Unit 1, students self-assess their cursive handwriting by circling their best attempts at cursive formation and completing a series of sentences that assess vocabulary related to handwriting. The student practice pages provide explicit tips on letter formation but also include opportunities for students to show their developing skills. For example, after practicing the letters m, n, v, x, y, and z, students come up with their own words that curve over themselves. As the units advance, the tasks become more complex, moving from letter formation to word practice to copying sentences and eventually to answering open-ended questions in cursive. Each unit ends with a quiz that allows students to demonstrate growth.
Unit 2 addresses letters that involve “trazos hacia arriba” (strokes that curve up). The lesson on e and i begins with the teacher modeling how to write the letter e on the guidelines while saying: “Comiencen en el renglón inferior. Hagan un bucle hacia la izquierda en dirección al renglón inferior. Hagan un trazo curvo hacia arriba en dirección al renglón central.” The students practice by tracing the letter e with their fingers, then writing a line of the target letter. The teacher repeats the process with the letter i. The teacher reminds students that they have learned four letters that use the same stroke (e, i, l, and t). The student workbook lists words with these letters (e.g., el, ele, elle, tele, tile), and students practice these words. The extension activity is multisensory; students practice forming the letters e, i, l, and t on construction paper with glue and yarn or glitter.
Unit 3 addresses “trazos que conectan” (connectives). Students practice appropriate size and form as well as the distance between words. In the lesson on b and f, the teacher models the formation of the b while saying, “Comiencen en la línea inferior y hagan un trazo curvo hacia arriba.” The teacher draws attention to f as a dropped letter by modeling and saying, “Hagan un bucle hacia la izquierda y hacia abajo hasta llegar a la línea superior de la línea guía que hay debajo.” The teacher demonstrates how to connect b and f to other letters, and students practice writing words such as boa, faro, bebe, oficio, falda, and fina. For the extension, the teacher challenges students to think of and write three- and four-letter words that begin with b and f that only include previously learned letters (e.g., bala, fama, buena, faena).
In Unit 4, students begin to study the formation of capital letters. Each lesson emphasizes a pair of letters (e.g., A and O). The teacher demonstrates the target letters’ size and shape and continues to give reminders about posture and grip. Students write complete sentences in the workbook, such as “Alicia vive en Alaska” and “Olga viaja a Oregon.” The extension challenges students to write tongue twisters with a and o.
Unit 5 completes the study of capital letters with an emphasis on spacing letters and words. The final two lessons of the unit focus on the importance of learning to respond to prompts on tests in cursive. Students read the prompt and sample response in cursive, then copy it in the first lesson. In the next lesson, students read a similar prompt and craft their own responses in cursive. The teacher reminds students that the composition must be easy to read to receive a good grade.
Unit 6 emphasizes alignment, margins, and fluent reading and writing in cursive. Students read and copy a short story, a news article, a report, a letter, and more. Students practice additional skills, such as the use of punctuation. Students read sample sentences in cursive that end with different punctuation marks, emphasizing expression. The teacher selects a student to read aloud a short story. The “Evaluate” section of the lesson plan includes questions to prompt student self-evaluation (e.g., “¿Puntuaron de manera correcta?” and “¿Se inclinan sus letras de manera uniforme?”) The extension activity invites students to continue the story and write possible endings. In the final lessons of Unit 6, students transition from writing with the midline to writing without it. Seven lessons emphasize this skill.
The materials support students’ listening and speaking about texts. Students demonstrate comprehension through oral tasks that require the use of clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims as they analyze and synthesize texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” includes “Collaborative Conversations,” a sequenced protocol for interacting with partners and small groups. The teacher displays prompts and response frames in the classroom for student reference and provides reminders for turn-taking procedures and accountable talk during discussions. The materials include two visual checklists for students: “Sentence Starters” and “How to Have a Collaborative Conversation.” In addition, the Instructional Routines Handbook refers teachers to videos on Collaborative Conversations that feature simulations by students and a teacher on various genres. However, the handbook and videos are provided only in English, and Collaborative Conversations is the sole protocol for small group discussions explicitly suggested throughout the program.
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces the topic through a brief video on natural disasters. The introduction section of the lesson is called “Talk About It.” The teacher shares the “Essential Question” for the unit, “¿Cómo reacciona la gente a los desastres naturales?” and states the student learning goals. The teacher poses two questions: “How do people respond when there is a crisis or natural disaster?” “What might be the hazards of responding to a natural disaster?” The teacher models how to use the concept web to record ideas. The students discuss in pairs or groups, adding related words and phrases to the graphic organizer.
In Unit 2, the teacher introduces the text ¿Cómo se adaptan los animales? After reading and discussing animal adaptations with the whole group, the students view an image of a chameleon and discuss its adaptations. The teacher directs students to continue the discussion with partners, talking about other animals and their ability to adapt and survive. After a shared reading of the anchor text on animal adaptations, the teacher explains that students can improve their understanding of expository text by thinking about what they read and summarizing key details in their own words. Students work with partners to orally summarize the selection in logical order.
In Unit 3, the teacher introduces the unit theme by asking the Essential Question “¿En qué medida los avances científicos pueden ser útiles o perjudiciales?” After reviewing the lesson objectives and explaining how new discoveries have affected humanity, the teacher asks, “What are the benefits and drawbacks of creating new technology?” The teacher models how to use a concept web to generate words and phrases related to the topic and directs students to discuss the question in pairs or groups. Students collaborate to add ideas and examples to the concept web. As the students discuss, the teacher visits groups to guide the conversation about the topic and keep students on task. The “Teacher’s Edition” includes suggested reminders, such as “Wait for a person to finish before they speak.” “Do not interrupt or speak over others.”
In Unit 4, students practice speaking and listening through a lesson called “Wrap Up the Unit.” The teacher writes the Essential Question on the board, “¿Cómo tratan el mismo tema distintos escritores?” and focuses the lesson on text-to-text connections. The teacher models how to compare the information with examples from the leveled readers. After reminding students about the Collaborative Conversation guidelines, the teacher divides the class into small groups. Students review their class notes and complete graphic organizers before beginning the discussion. When students finish their discussions, a volunteer from each group reads their notes aloud. The teacher facilitates the conversation by asking, “¿Cuáles son las cinco cosas más importantes que hemos aprendido acerca de cómo distintos escritores interpretan temas similares?” At the end of the discussions, groups reflect on their collaboration and acknowledge one another’s contributions.
In Unit 5, the shared reading lesson focuses on the anchor text Tu mundo de cerca and has a section titled “Colabora.” The teacher directs students to return to a specific page and reread. After closely reading the section, students turn to a partner and summarize the key details verbally in their own words. The teacher prompts students to examine text features. Students study a specific page and explain to a partner what information they obtained from the text features.
In Unit 6, students make text-supported claims during discussions regarding the Essential Question “¿Qué forma la identidad de una persona?” The teacher provides guidelines for the conversation, such as “Always look at the person who is speaking.” The materials include a bubble map graphic organizer that students fill out collaboratively. As students discuss what contributes to forging one’s identity, they search for evidence in the text and write ideas in the graphic organizer.
The materials engage students in productive teamwork and student-led discussions in both formal and informal settings. Students use grade-level protocols for discussion to express their thinking and practice social communication skills. The materials have opportunities for organized presentations and performances that include nonverbal techniques for communicating with an audience.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” has a section on “Collaborative Conversations,” a protocol used throughout the units that details specific steps for student-led discussions. The steps are: “1) Introduce the focus of the conversation; 2) Review relevant guidelines to support student participation; 3) Provide specific information, so students know exactly what to do; 4) Monitor student conversations and provide corrective feedback as necessary; 5) Close the conversation(s).” The handbook also provides visuals of sentence starters and procedural checklists for students, as well as guidelines for self-evaluation and peer feedback. The materials include an instructional video about Collaborative Conversations featuring teacher and student actions in a classroom setting. However, the handbook checklists and video are in English, and Collaborative Conversations is the sole protocol for small group discussions explicitly suggested throughout the program.
The Instructional Routines Handbook provides guidelines for planning, presenting, and listening to presentations. Presenting is a regular practice in each unit; each two-week genre study concludes with drafting, publishing, and presenting a piece of writing. The materials include an instructional video in Spanish called “Diseñar una presentación” that gives specific tips for creating an audiovisual presentation. The online “Writers’ Notebook” has links to videos that guide students as they prepare to present. The video “Grabar y editar un audio” explains how digital devices can be used to record audio clips in Spanish. The video titled “How to Give Presentations” provides a helpful simulation of students providing feedback to one another as they prepare. However, the students in the video are speaking in English, and though subtitles are provided, it is difficult to follow due to the pace of the conversation.
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces students to Collaborative Conversations. The teacher guides students to understand that there are agreed-upon rules, norms, and protocols to use during discussions. Students learn the following guidelines: “a) Escuchar activamente: mirar siempre a la persona que habla; b) hacer preguntas relevantes sobre el tema para aclarar información; c) hacer comentarios pertinentes sobre el tema.” After learning about the routine and the norms, students collaboratively discuss the anchor text, Un mundo de cambios, and the teacher monitors and facilitates.
In Unit 2, students plan a presentation of their research and inquiry projects about animal adaptations. The teacher models how to highlight the most important facts in the presentation, and students rehearse. The teacher reminds students to follow the presentation guidelines: “a) Speak slowly, clearly and with adequate expression; b) Make eye contact with the audience; c) Be sure to point out discussion points on the diagram you are presenting; d) Listen attentively to questions from the audience; e) Respond to questions with friendliness.”
In Unit 3, the students prepare to publish and present personal narratives to the class. The teacher reviews the bulleted points on the rubric under Level 4, which represents meeting all expectations, and asks questions such as “Is the dialogue realistic, and does it develop the characters plot?” To support students as they prepare to speak in front of the class, the digital Writers’ Notebook contains a sidebar with tips to ensure good performance, such as “Habla lentamente y con claridad.” “Utiliza un tono de voz diferente para cada personaje.”
In Unit 4, the teacher tells students that they need to prepare well for presentations in order to provide the best representation of their hard work. The teacher directs students to reread their presentation piece until they feel familiar with it, and students rehearse with partners. The teacher reminds students to look at the audience and make eye contact rather than simply reading straight from their paper. Prior to the final presentation, students review the checklist with the following tips: “a) Have all your notes and visuals ready; b) Take a few deep breaths; c) Stand up straight and look at the audience; d) Speak clearly, slowly, and accurately; e) Speak loudly enough that everyone can hear; f) Speak with excitement and use appropriate gestures; g) Hold your visual aids so that everyone can see; h) Remember to smile.”
In Unit 5, the teacher introduces the genre study with an activity called “Comentar.” The teacher asks the “Essential Question” “¿De qué manera aprender sobre el pasado sirve para entender el presente?” and explains that they will read about how people go on expeditions to study the past. The teacher displays a photograph of a diver and engages the students in a discussion of expeditions in the sea. The teacher thinks aloud and makes notes on a concept web, adding student ideas. The instruction shifts to partner or small group discussion, and students complete the web with additional words and phrases.
To support social communication skills, the materials provide the article “Building Social and Emotional Learning Into the School Day: Seven Guiding Principles.” The sixth guiding principle focuses on how to communicate. This article by Dr. Annie Snyder offers strategies to effectively communicate with families, school staff/colleagues, and community partners. For example, the resource suggests: “Learn about your students’ families, ideally through face-to-face interactions. This will help ensure your SEL instruction is culturally responsive and builds on the strengths and habits of families.” In addition, the supplementary materials include the teacher resource “Oraciones para completar oralmente,” with sentence starters and frames to support students’ use of social and academic language when speaking with others. For example, in the section “Hacer comentarios positivos,” the resource includes frames such as “Me gusta la idea de...acerca de….” “Estoy de acuerdo con...acerca de….”
The materials engage students in both short-term and sustained recursive inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources. The materials include identification and use of high-quality primary and secondary sources. Students organize and present their ideas and information in accordance with the purpose of the research and the appropriate grade-level audience. The materials guide students to use an appropriate delivery mode, whether written, oral, or multimodal, to present results.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resources folder includes a specific routine for research and inquiry in the “Instructional Routines Handbook” for grades 3–6. The routine is followed throughout the units and specifies five steps for the research process. Step 1: The teacher introduces the project, identifies the research focus, and states the final product. Step 2: The teacher provides examples of quality sources (e.g., texts read in class, digital media, print sources, and interviews with experts). Step 3: The teacher and students identify reliable sources and relevant information; the students take notes relevant to their inquiry question and cite sources. Step 4: Students organize their information by annotating, highlighting, and using a graphic organizer to sort and clarify categories of related information; students identify any need for further information. Step 5: Students synthesize their learning, create the final research product, and present their findings.
The materials include a “Kit de recursos: Evaluar las fuentes” for the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. The slide presentation guides students through the process of evaluating the reliability of a resource and provides questions to ask, such as “¿Quien es el autor?” and “¿Es el autor un experto en el tema?” The “Kit de recursos: Investigar” provides two video articles in Spanish. The first video focuses on the credibility of sources; the second discusses the relevance of sources and provides explicit examples of primary and secondary sources.
In Unit 2, the students conduct a research project on sharks and create a digital slide presentation. The “Escritura e investigación” section has a resource for planning the presentation that includes the following tips: consider an audience and purpose for the presentation; select audio, visual, or multimedia aids; plan how to present key information; and practice the presentation. The teacher provides a rubric with a detailed checklist called “Lista para evaluar el trabajo del estudiante.” The indicators for a Level 4 project provide expectations for the student: “El esquema está ordenado de forma lógica.” “Las notas están parafraseadas y no son transcripciones textuales de las fuentes.” “Usa palabras y frases de enlace para conectar las ideas de forma natural.”
In Unit 3, students conduct a research project on a historical figure and focus on the study skill of paraphrasing. The teacher explains that expository text includes information from primary and secondary sources and that authors must describe the facts and details in their own words. The teacher states: “Copiar las palabras de alguien más sin darle crédito es ‘plagio’. Parafrasear es decir o escribir las ideas principales de un texto con otras palabras.” The teacher models how to paraphrase text for students by choosing a sentence from the text and reading it aloud. The teacher thinks aloud, “Puedo parafrasear esta oración diciendo…. Mencioné las ideas principales del autor sin utilizar las mismas palabras.” The students engage in guided practice. The teacher provides a statement from the text and circulates as partners take turns paraphrasing the statement in different ways. Over the next several days, students apply the skill of paraphrasing as they research a person who played an important role in the state government. Students create a book cover for a biography of that person with an image on the front cover, a brief list of the person’s achievements on the inside flap, and a persuasive summary of why this person made a difference in Texas on the back.
In Unit 5, students research local cultural festivities and create a traditional or digital poster for presentation. First, the students create an investigation plan, which includes completing an inquiry chart to record what they already know about the topic, what they want to know about the topic, and what they learned while conducting research. The teacher models how to fill out the chart and reviews how to cite sources of information. The student workbook has guidelines to support students’ presentations. For example, a checklist for students has action items such as “Ensaya tu presentación frente a un amigo. Pídele sugerencias.” Prior to the presentation, the teacher discusses options for presenting, such as displaying the poster on the wall, making a digital presentation, or a combination of media with audio or video commentary. The teacher models ways to highlight the most important information in their presentation and models how to be active listeners while others present. The teacher tells students to write questions for the presenter to address at the end.
In Unit 6, students conduct interviews with family members to investigate physical features and other traits that they have in common. The student workbook includes interviewing tips such as “Acuérdate: Puede ser difícil tomar notas mientras alguien está hablando. Considera grabar la entrevista y tomar notas cuando escuches la grabación.” After students have gathered information through the interviews, the teacher reviews the presentation plan. The steps include adding visuals or audio and tips for presenting. For example, the teacher guides students to focus on the following while presenting: “hablar con expresión, hacer contacto visual, usar gestos con las manos, y proveer audio y visuales para mantener la atención de la audiencia.”
The materials contain interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Questions and tasks help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. High-quality, text-dependent questions and tasks require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas within individual texts as well as across multiple texts. Tasks integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking and include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the teacher shares the objectives and introduces the “Essential Question,” “¿Cómo reacciona la gente a los desastres naturales?” The teacher generates words and phrases related to natural disaster response and models using a graphic organizer. The students work with a partner to talk about the topic and complete the graphic organizer. As the students engage in collaborative conversations, the teacher helps them understand the importance of following agreed-upon rules, norms, and protocols, such as “Escuchar activamente: mirar siempre a la persona que habla.” The teacher shares the “Expertos en desastres” “Blast” assignment. In this assignment, the students post a social media-like message of 140 characters or less, answering the question “¿Por qué planear para un desastre natural nos permite sobrevivir?” The Blast includes a “StudySync Blast Info” short read to build background on the topic and a “StudySync QuikPoll” in which students give their opinion about how prepared their community is to face a natural disaster.
In Unit 2, students study poetry and read a collection of poems that address the Essential Question “¿Cómo inspiran los animales a los escritores?” To support comprehension, the teacher uses the “Words in Context” routine to teach students key vocabulary. The teacher displays the “Visual Vocabulary Card” to introduce the term, defines it, provides an example, and asks a question for clarification. For example, students learn camuflado, depredador, and venenoso to support their comprehension of the poems. The lesson concludes with a mini-lesson on metaphors and similes. The teacher reads “Versos sencillos” to the students, asking them to identify the metaphor and simile in the verses.
In Unit 3, the anchor text is a biographical poem called “José” by Georgina Lázaro. The teacher guides discussion about the childhood of Cuban poet and politician José Martí with questions such as “¿Cómo describe la autora los valores y las aptitudes que José cultivó en su niñez?” and “¿Cómo muestra la autora la importancia que tenía la escritura para José en su infancia?” Students closely read two pages and discuss the events of José’s childhood. At the end of the selection, the “Respuesta al texto” asks students to answer questions in writing. Students use the main-idea-and-key-details graphic organizer to write a summary. Students respond to the following prompts: “Cómo relaciona la autora la infancia de José Martí con sus logros que alcanzó en la adultez?” “Comenta de qué forma aportó José Martí su grano de arena a la sociedad latinoamericana.”
In Unit 4, the teacher guides students to cite text evidence while answering questions about the anchor text Una nueva era. The teacher asks questions such as “¿Cómo emplea la autora el diálogo y la narración para caracterizar al personaje?” The student workbook includes a graphic organizer that requires students to cite text evidence to answer the question. The workbook directs students to reread pages from the anthology and discuss information about Guillermo’s invention with a partner. After collecting their evidence, the students answer the question by completing the following sentence stem: “A partir del programa de televisión inferí que Guillermo….”
In Unit 5, students study the genre of realistic fiction by reading the anchor texts Vacaciones de verano, El árbol de las preguntas, and De Miami via Fujian. The teacher shares the learning objectives for the unit and introduces the Essential Question “¿De qué formas las personas muestran que les importan los demás?” Students discuss and contribute to a shared graphic organizer about the theme. The “Teacher’s Edition” includes questions for discussion for each story, such as “¿Cómo pueden visualizar las acciones de Marcos, Cecilia y su maestra?” and “¿Qué esperan aprender Marcos y Cecilia en el campamento?” Students work in pairs, taking turns to ask and answer questions about each page.
In Unit 6, students read the historical fiction text called Rodrigo: un relato de Texas by Julia Mercedes Castilla. Within the text, there is an embedded question for partner discussion. Students are prompted to pause, reread, and respond to the question “¿Por qué Onawa no quería que la pusieran otro nombre?” At the end of the story, there is a graphic organizer in the student workbook. Students cite evidence from the text in a web that focuses on “Descripción de la vida al aire libre en la misión.” In “Responder a la lectura,” students answer the question “¿Cómo sabes que a Rodrigo le gustaban las casas del campo y estar al aire libre?” Suggested sentence stems such as “Esto es importante para el mensaje del cuento porque…” guide students to answer in academic language, citing text evidence.
The materials provide distributed practice over the course of the year. The design includes scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral over the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, the teacher introduces strategies for monitoring comprehension and making adjustments such as “Volver a leer, hacer conexiones, y activar el conocimiento previo.” Each day during the first week, the teacher explains a strategy, creates an anchor chart, models, and provides guided practice. For the next three days, the strategy is practiced with the anchor text Los terremotos. The student workbook includes a green banner that prompts students to “Releer” every time the students are expected to use the strategy. The strategy is also practiced during small group differentiated instruction. For example, “On Level” students read the text Paisajes que cambian and engage in a close reading routine that requires them to reread, make adjustments, ask questions, and write about the text. Week 2 addresses comprehension monitoring again, and Week 5 addresses it in three lessons. Standards not only spiral within weeks and units but also throughout the year. For instance, in Unit 4, comprehension monitoring is revisited as students apply the strategy to understanding the author’s craft.
In Unit 2, the teacher provides vocabulary instruction in the lesson component called “Palabras en contexto.” The teacher follows a specific routine to introduce essential vocabulary for each genre study. Students learn words such as despegar, portento, and vereda to facilitate comprehension of the anchor text La zorra y el cuervo. The teacher displays the “Visual Vocabulary Card,” introduces the term, defines it, provides an example, and asks a question for clarification. The vocabulary section on prefixes supplements the “Words in Context” routine. The teacher models how to separate prefixes from their base words (e.g., “super/viviencia and in/móvi”) to determine each word part’s meaning, and then provides guided practice with additional words.
In Unit 3, the teacher guides practice with close reading during small group differentiated reading lessons. The “Teacher’s Edition” provides prompts for students to reread particular pages before discussing questions. The questions address multiple standards and allow for distributed, spiraling practice. For example, as “On Level” students read El farolero, the guide includes questions such as “¿Cómo saben qué siente el farolero porque va a retirarse?” and “¿Cómo emplea el autor el diálogo y la narración para mostrar la relación entre los personajes?”
In Unit 4, students revisit strategies for monitoring comprehension while reading the anchor text Mira como son las elecciones. When the teacher first introduced the strategy in Unit 1, the teacher explicitly modeled it, and the students used it for comprehension purposes. In Unit 4, the students apply the strategy to analyze how the author helps the reader understand the achievements of the Founding Fathers. The materials include scaffolds to help students meet the standard. For example, the teacher asks the students to make notes with a graphic organizer and models asking and answering questions to monitor comprehension. The teacher asks, “¿Por qué los Padres Fundadores rechazaron el método griego de votación?” and thinks aloud, “Antes de responder, me preguntaré....” The student workbook includes other supports to help the students monitor for understanding. For example, the sidebar prompts students to reread and discuss with a partner how the Founding Fathers established the U.S. government. The students write the answer to the question by completing a sentence stem: “Los Padres Fundadores rechazaron el método griego porque…,” which is another support embedded in the materials.
The Unit 5 overview includes a “Key Skills Trace” section stating when the skill is introduced, reviewed, and assessed. For example, the teacher reviews text structure during Unit 5 and formatively assesses understanding at the end of the unit. The teacher and students previously studied text structure during Units 2, 3, and 4. The units also include a standards overview with hyperlinks to lessons that address the standards that week.
Unit 6 includes a paired selection titled Del fuego y el agua to supplement and support the anchor texts El gran debate energético and La isla de energía. The students use the paired selection to deepen their understanding of the anchor texts. The teacher guide includes questions to address multiple standards and skills (e.g., cause and effect, making inferences, main idea, and paraphrasing). The teacher guides students to analyze the “Essential Question” of the unit (“¿Cómo han cambiado nuestros recursos energéticos a través de los años?”) by comparing the three texts read over the last two weeks.
The materials provide systematic instruction and practice of foundational skills, including opportunities for phonics and word analysis skills. Teachers follow a research-based sequence of grade-level foundational skills instruction, and students have ample opportunities to practice to achieve grade-level mastery. The materials provide opportunities for students to practice grade-level word recognition skills and apply word analysis skills both in and out of context. The lessons build spelling knowledge and include systematic instruction of orthographic rules and patterns identified in the TEKS. The materials include support for students in need of remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide a scope and sequence document that includes information about target skills in each unit, including phonics and spelling. For example, the document shows that in Unit 1, students study four specific word patterns: words with ce, ci, and z; words with c, s, and z; words with c, qu, and k; and words with b, bl, and br. The teacher follows a weekly routine for introducing the words. First, the teacher displays and pronounces each word, emphasizing the focus pattern. Next, the teacher points out the orthographic pattern and provides a sentence from the “Oraciones del dictado” list (e.g., “cebra, énfasis en ce, hay una sola cebra en el zoológico”). Then, the students take a pretest and self-assess. The materials provide differentiated spelling lists for each pattern.
The units include intervention lessons for the orthographic patterns in addition to the differentiated lists. To support understanding of s, z, and c, the materials direct the teacher to use the resource “Grados 3–6 Intervención: Fonética y taller de palabras.” The lesson on “Palabras con s, z, c” suggests that the teacher build understanding with the “Sound-Spelling Cards.” The explicit routine includes modeling, choral response, and articulation of sounds: “Esta es la letra s. Representa el sonido /s/. Escuchen: /sss/. Digan: /sss/.” The teacher writes words on the board (e.g., sapo, cine, zapato) and points to each letter. Students chorally say the letter names, make the sounds, and blend the sounds to read the words. The lesson also includes “Tarjetas arma palabras” so that students practice building words and creating new ones by changing, adding, or removing letters in words such as “ceno, celo, zafa,” and “casa.”
In Unit 2, the small group differentiated lesson for “Approaching Level” students includes an intervention lesson, “Phonics/Decoding: Palabras con r, rr.” The teacher follows the “Yo, Juntos, Ustedes” routine to model, provide guided practice, and check for understanding. In the “I do” section, the teacher reminds students how to pronounce each letter. The teacher says, “Cuando la r está al inicio de una palabra, tiene un sonido fuerte /rr/.” The teacher writes and shows the words “rico, reloj, rana,” and “rueda” as examples. The teacher explains the strong /rr/ when it follows a closed syllable (e.g., “alrededor, enredo, Israel”). In the “We do” step, the teacher writes “rojo, reposo,” and “enriquecer” on the board and students practice the strong r pronunciation, followed by “carretera” and “carruaje” to practice the /rr/ between two vowels. In the “You do” step, the teacher adds three more words and asks students to read each one aloud and identify why they are written with r or rr. The teacher points to the spelling of the word. The students practice reading the words aloud as the teacher randomly points at words in the list.
In Unit 3, the students learn about “Palabras con h.” The teacher presents the spelling words, reads them aloud, and explains, “H es una letra muda.” The teacher writes words on the board that exemplify the spelling pattern (e.g., “hallado, helioterapia, heptagonal”). The students practice saying the words, reading them in sentences, and writing the words. The students engage in independent practice by cutting apart spelling cards available for print online, reading them aloud, and sorting them by spelling pattern.
In Unit 4, spelling instruction focuses on “División en sílabas: diptongos, triptongos, y hiatos” and includes differentiated lessons for small groups. The teacher follows the gradual release of responsibility routine to teach about triphthongs. The teacher explains that in Spanish, there are words that contain three vowels in the same syllable. The materials state: “Escriba anunciáis en el pizarrón. Analice la división silábica de la palabra: anunciáis. Explique por qué iái es un triptongo.” The teacher guides practice by writing “Paraguay y buey” on the board, dividing the words into syllables, and underlining the triphthongs. The teacher explains that the letter y acts as a vowel. For independent practice, the teacher adds “Uruguay, estudiáis, cambiáis, actuéis,” and “limpiáis” to the list. Students read each word aloud, identify the vowels next to each other that form the triphthong, and read the words.
In Unit 5, the whole group spelling lesson focuses on words with “palabras con x, x como j, y el acento diacrítico.” The teacher introduces the spelling words for the week, emphasizing the sound of x. The teacher explains that “en algunos casos la x suena como /j/ y en otras como /s/.” The teacher explains that the diacritic mark indicates words with the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings. The teacher reads the words aloud, emphasizes the spelling pattern, and provides a sentence. The students open the student workbook with the list of words and prepare for the pretest by folding the paper in half. The teacher dictates each word; the students write the words and then open the paper to self-assess their work.
In Unit 6, students engage in independent practice with various spelling patterns and words with the suffixes -ción and -cción. The digital activity prompts students to “usa las marcas de corrección para escribir las palabras correctamente.” Students edit words in sentences such as “Mi avuelo tiene una colexion de estampas y me regaló unas cuantas.” Students make corrections and click the check button before advancing the slide.
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 tools support and direct teachers to measure students’ growth in and mastery of foundational skills. The materials provide guidance and direction to meet students’ literacy needs based on assessment data. The materials support teachers in helping students to self-monitor for comprehension and reread when appropriate.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a comprehensive collection of diagnostic tools to support and direct teachers to assess students’ growth in foundational skills. The collection is called “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” and is intended for grades K–5. It contains inventories to assess Spanish phonological awareness, letter naming, phonics, oral reading, and spelling. The tool includes an informal reading inventory to assess comprehension and accuracy, as well as quick-check observation forms for primary and intermediate grades. The overview explains the rationale for using multiple measures for assessment and includes a planning and pacing guide. The introduction provides information for teachers about the types of assessments. For example, the resource defines a screening test as “a short, skill-specific instrument that can be administered quickly to give a general idea of what a student knows.” Diagnostic assessments are described as “expanded screening tests that provide more items and additional ways to determine a student’s knowledge of a skill and to monitor the student’s progress with that skill throughout the school year.” The resource defines and discusses other assessments (i.e., placement tests, progress monitoring assessments, and summative assessments).
Each section in the placement and diagnostic assessment resource begins with an introduction and directions for administration and scoring. For example, the phonics survey called “Fonética y descodificación” has scripted steps for teachers while delivering the test. Step 1 tells the teacher to state: “Voy a pedirles que lean algunas letras, palabras y oraciones. Así sabré qué palabras leen con facilidad y qué palabras necesitan aprender.” There are ten tasks that progress from beginning skills, such as letter naming and open and closed syllables, to more complex tasks, such as diphthongs and hiatus and prefixes and suffixes. The survey indicates suggested grade levels for the tasks on the teacher scoring sheet. It provides tips for where to start and when to discontinue the assessment due to lack of mastery or frustration.
The most extensive component of the placement and diagnostic assessment book is the “Prueba informal de lectura (PIL),” or informal reading inventory. This assessment provides feedback on the student’s comprehension and accuracy and provides the teacher with the student’s independent, instructional, and frustration reading level. Teachers identify an appropriate starting point for the student by administering a graded word list that includes Dolch words, story words, and words with appropriate sound-spelling sequences for that level. The materials provide steps for administering the PIL, including a detailed example of how to code a running record. There are two fiction and two nonfiction passages per grade level, and students read orally to assess fluency and silently to measure comprehension.
The placement and diagnostic assessment book provides guidance on how often to use the assessments. For example, in the introduction to the fluency assessment, the tool contains a chart with the three recommended benchmarks for fall, winter, and spring. It explains how each grade level should show growth according to the norms. In addition, the assessments in the resource explain how the diagnostic tools inform instruction. The developmental spelling inventory, for example, includes a feature analysis and “Words Spelled Correctly Planning Chart” that indicate instructional and generative word study objectives for students based on their performance.
The materials include a complementary resource to the diagnostic and assessment book called the “Manual de evaluación.” It is divided into three parts: “Part 1: Assessment Options”; “Part 2: Using Assessment to Guide Instruction”; and “Part 3: Additional Resources and Included Forms.” The overview for this resource explains that the purpose is “to help you manage the use of multiple assessments.” It includes basic definitions and clear guidance about how assessment data helps teachers address student needs. The manual provides a chart on assessment options that indicates the component (e.g., placement, fluency, progress monitoring, etc.) and how and when to administer the assessment.
The materials embed guidance about assessment and instructional support at regular intervals throughout the units. Each two-week genre study includes a chart on formally assessed skills (e.g., problem/solution) and indicates informal sources of data for teachers such as the “Reading/Writing Companion” and the student workbook. A section called “Making the Most of Assessment Results” accompanies the chart and explains tools for analyzing assessments as well as reteaching/intervention opportunities online and suggestions for regrouping students per assessment results. The “Teacher’s Edition” refers teachers to collections of intervention lesson plans specifically for the different reading components (i.e., comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, phonics, and writing/grammar).
In addition, the materials emphasize the strategy of rereading to monitor comprehension and deepen understanding throughout the units. For example, the guide includes a section called “Volver a leer” when students read the anchor text Un mundo de cambios. The teacher reminds students that when they read an expository text, they may come across unfamiliar concepts and detailed explanations. The teacher says, “Los buenos lectores vuelven a leer algo que no comprenden.” The teacher models the strategy and guides students to create an anchor chart with points about rereading. In the student workbook, there are embedded prompts and questions in green font that say “Volver a leer,” encouraging students to regularly engage in this practice while reading stories, poems, and articles.
The materials provide frequent 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. The materials include explicit instruction in fluency and provide opportunities and routines for teachers to regularly monitor and provide corrective feedback on phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include a handbook for teachers called “Evaluación de fluidez, Grados 1-6.” This resource provides an introduction to fluency and answers questions such as “¿Qué es la fluidez?” and “¿Por qué la fluidez es importante?” The handbook guides teachers to understand how and when to assess fluency for letter naming, sounds, syllables, words, and passages. Charts provide the Lexile levels for the passages and national norms for rate (words per minute) for grades 1–6 in the fall, winter, and spring. In addition to measuring words read per minute, the passages assess prosody and check for comprehension. The teacher rates prosody on a rubric with four levels. The Level 1 descriptor states: “El estudiante lee palabra por palabra, con algunas frases más largas; no tiene un fraseo adecuado o una velocidad apropiada; lee el pasaje con excesiva lentitud.” A Level 4 reader “lee frases largas y con sentido; ocasionalmente puede repetir palabras o frases cortas, pero la estructura y la sintaxis general del pasaje no se ven afectadas; lee a un ritmo adecuado y con expresividad.” The systematic directions for the teacher indicate that the student reads aloud for one minute, finishes the passage, and answers two comprehension questions; an answer key is provided.
In Unit 1, students practice reading with intonation during the fluency section of the shared reading of Un mundo de cambios. The teacher explains, “Entonación requiere cambiar el tono de la voz y poner énfasis en las palabras importantes,” and models using a section of the text. The guide includes specific tips for the teacher to demonstrate intonation while reading the excerpt, such as “Slow your rate on the sentence ‘ocurre cuando una fuerza natural, como un río, se lleva los fragmentos de roca desgastados.’” “Read loudly and with excitement the phrase ‘en el transcurso de miles de años.’” Students practice and apply the skill of intonation with small groups while the teacher monitors and supports.
In Unit 2, the teacher leads a shared reading of the drama La zorra y el cuervo, which is based on an Aesop’s fable. The teacher guides students to identify the main idea and key details about the animals in the story while thinking aloud about the dialogue and events of the story. Students respond to embedded questions in the margin during the lesson, such as “Buscar evidencia: Encierra en un círculo las oraciones en que se describe el ambiente. ¿Por qué es importante saber cuál es el ambiente?” After the shared reading, the students read independently. Prompts in the sidebar direct students to “releer” for details about the author’s craft. For example, students pause reading and consider questions such as “¿Cómo muestra el autor las relaciones entre los personajes por medio de los diálogos?” and “¿Qué mensaje les transmite el autor a los lectores por medio de las acciones de Zorra?”
In Unit 3, students practice expression during the fluency mini-lesson on the anchor text La niña que se imaginaba reinos. The teacher explains that students can change the volume, tone, and pitch of their voice “para expresar una emoción relacionada con los hechos descritos en el texto.” The teacher models reading with expression using an excerpt from the story and asks students, “¿Cómo pueden comprender mejor las ideas con una lectura expresiva?” The teacher divides the students in two groups, and the students practice modifying volume, tone, and pitch. One group intentionally reads without expression and a second group reads the same passage with expression. The students discuss the differences and the effects on comprehension. Students reinforce the skill by orally reading the online differentiated genre passage “La vida de Barbara Jordan.”
In Unit 4, the students take part in a “Reader’s Theater” of the play Todo el dinero del mundo. The teacher explains the genre and setting, briefly summarizing what readers can expect from the plot. After reviewing the list of characters, the teacher models reading the play as students follow along in their scripts. The teacher divides the class into groups and allows students time to practice their parts in the play. The materials suggest the teacher pair fluent readers with less fluent readers and that “las parejas pueden leer sus papeles a coro o repitiendo en voz alta.” The teacher monitors and supports less fluent readers by noting pauses in their scripts with one slash for a short pause and two slashes for longer pauses. Students practice the play through the week before performing “con dinamismo.”
In Unit 5, students practice proper expression during the mini-lesson on fluency. The teacher explains that reading a text with expression includes paying attention to punctuation. The teacher explains, “Por ejemplo, cuando los estudiantes vean un signo de interrogación, deben poner énfasis en él elevando un poco la voz.” The teacher models using expressive reading of the first three paragraphs of the anchor text Tu mundo de cerca. The teacher divides the class into small groups, and students take turns reading the passage, one sentence per student. The teacher provides corrective feedback, modeling, and encouragement as they read.
The materials include a handbook specifically for fluency called “Intervención: Fluidez, Grados 3-6.” The resource contains multi-tiered lessons on fluency routines, high-frequency words, precision, and other fluency skills such as intonation, expression, and rate. For example, Lesson 3 focuses on a choral reading routine. The lesson is broken into a teaching/modeling section, guided practice, and application. The lesson also has a “Fluent Reading Checklist” that highlights behaviors such as “Leer oraciones en fragmentos o en frases.” “Enfatizar palabras importantes.”
The materials include a variety of developmentally appropriate diagnostic tools for formative and summative progress monitoring. The materials provide guidance for consistent, accurate administration and tools for students to track their own progress and growth. The diagnostic tools address content and process skills for SLAR, as outlined in the TEKS.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher handbook “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” includes screeners and diagnostic tests that evaluate “reconocimiento fonológico y fonético, nombrar letras y visualización de palabras, decodificación, fluidez, prueba informal de lectura, ortografía, vocabulario, comprensión.” The introduction gives an overview of assessment and guidance for placement decisions for grades K, 1, 2–3, and 4–5. The introduction explains that assessments can be used for screening and placement into the following instructional levels: “On Grade Level,” “Beyond Level,” or “Approaching Level.” The handbook provides an “Assessment Planning and Pacing Guide” and “Assessment Record Sheets.” Assessment directions in the Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico include scripted directions in Spanish for assessment administration for the teacher. However, most information for teachers in this handbook is provided only in English.
Informal assessments in the handbook include “Quick Checks Observation Forms” for primary and intermediate levels throughout the units. The materials state, “Every assignment or activity allows you to assess reading behaviors.” The materials encourage teachers to be systematic in their approach to informally observing and recording data. The Quick Checks Observations Form includes space for teachers in the intermediate grades to record data related to the student’s “Phonics/Word Study,” “Fluency,” “Comprehension,” and “Vocabulary” performance.
Teachers find guidance for consistent and accurate administration of diagnostic tools. For example, the Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico handbook includes an assessment of “Vocabulario” called the “Critchlow Verbal Language Scales, K–5.” For this assessment, the examiner provides a series of spoken words in increasing order of difficulty, and students say the opposite of each word. Before beginning the test, the teacher determines that the student understands what an opposite is by saying, “Si no es de día es de...” and “En la escuela hay niños, y también….” The directions specify administration conditions (i.e., “individual and approximate testing time of 15 minutes”).
In the “Carpeta de recursos,” the teacher has access to an extensive collection of benchmark books for conducting running records. This guide, written in Spanish, includes multiple books at different levels for grades K–5. The table of contents includes a chart with correlations between the “Reading Wonders Benchmark,” “Guided Reading,” DRA, and Lexile levels. The introduction explains that “Running Records ayuda a los maestros a identificar el nivel de lectura, el estilo y el uso de las estrategias de lectura del estudiante.” The guide recommends that the teacher administer running records every three to four weeks “para controlar el progreso y documentar las estrategias de desarrollo del estudiante.” The guide includes explicit directions for administration and scoring as well as details regarding how to diagnose the student’s reading level accurately.
The unit evaluation handbook, “Evaluaciones de la unidad,” is written in Spanish and explains summative assessment opportunities in Units 1–6. The teacher learns about the objective, focus, and purpose of these assessments in the “Introducción para el maestro.” The materials state that the unit assessments “se centran en áreas clave de las artes del lenguaje en español identificadas por los conocimientos y destrezas esenciales de Texas (TEKS).” Each unit assessment includes fiction and informational passages with multiple-choice questions that focus on the unit’s standards. The answer key for the multiple-choice questions includes the content focus for each question, the TEKS, the complexity level of each question (DOK), and an explanation of the answer choices. Also, the unit assessments for grades 3–5 include revising and editing items as well as a written composition prompt accompanied by a scoring rubric.
Students monitor and reflect on their own progress with the “Autoevaluación de la lectura.” This checklist asks students to reflect on how frequently they demonstrate certain behaviors before, during, and after reading. For example, in the “Antes de leer,” or “Before Reading” section, students self-assess whether they never, seldom, or always comprehend the purpose of their reading. Another tool students can use to reflect on their own progress is found in the “Evalúa tu progreso: ¿Qué Aprendi?” sections of the “Mi libro de lectura y escritura.” At the end of each unit, students complete a rubric to self-assess on SLAR skills from the three genre studies (e.g., “Punto de vista del autor,”“Causa y efecto,” “Prefijos y sufijos,” and “Homófonos”). The rubric has four levels. Level 4 states, “Puedo identificar con éxito todos los ejemplos de esta destreza.” Level 1 states, “Necesito trabajar más en esta destreza.” Students reflect in writing in the workbook about the skill they need to work more on and why. The materials also include student self-evaluation for writing portfolio pieces.
The materials include guidance for teachers to analyze and respond to data from diagnostic tools. Diagnostic tools yield meaningful information for teachers to use when planning instruction and differentiation. Teachers receive guidance and direction about responding to individual students’ needs in all domains, based on student progress measures appropriate to the developmental level. The materials provide various resources and teacher guidance on how to leverage different activities to respond to student data. The materials provide guidance for administrators to support teachers in analyzing and responding to data.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Manual de evaluación” provides an overview of assessment and the options available to teachers. Part Two of the manual contains information on “Using Assessment to Guide Instruction,” with seven subsections: “Using Multiple Measures, Managing the Information, Forming Groups, Assessment Opportunities, Feedback, Making Instructional Decisions, High-Stakes Testing.” The manual explains how teachers can use assessment data to inform instruction. For example, the materials encourage teachers to interpret the data collected from various assessments to decide, “What can you do to meet the student’s learning needs?” The guide recommends that teachers continually collect information about students’ progress and modify or adjust instruction if students are not achieving the expected results. The subsection includes a series of questions that help teachers make instructional decisions for grouping, learning goals or objectives, materials, methods, and rate of instruction, such as “Which goals or objectives will I teach?” and “How much time should be allotted to each lesson?” Part Three of the manual contains additional resources to support teachers in using assessment to inform instruction: “Accommodations, Response to Intervention, and Recording Forms.”
The Manual de evaluación is written in English with occasional references to Spanish assessments. The manual does not consistently include Spanish materials or explanations of the availability of assessments in Spanish. For example, the manual refers to the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) as a diagnostic and progress monitoring assessment without reference to Tejas Lee, the Spanish counterpart. The manual also refers to DIBELS Next as a progress monitoring tool but does not mention that many of the DIBELS Next probes are not in Spanish.
The “Running Records/Benchmark Books” for K–5 include guidance for teachers in Spanish for how to use running records to respond to students’ needs. The guide explains, “Running Records ayuda a los maestros a identificar el nivel de lectura, el estilo y el uso de las estrategias de lectura del estudiante.” The guide recommends that teachers administer running records every three to four weeks and use the information to determine the student’s reading level. The guide explains how to gather data regarding comprehension through “Volver a contar” and “Comprobar la comprensión.” The teacher scores the retelling on a four-point rubric, records the student’s oral answer to the comprehension questions, calculates the student’s accuracy rate, and checks off observed reading behaviors. The running record form helps the teacher compile the information, analyze the results, and use the data to differentiate instruction according to students’ needs.
The “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” tool guides teachers to make placement decisions based on student data. For example, the “Grades 2–3 Placement Decisions” flowchart indicates that students who score in the 50th percentile or higher on the “Oral Reading Fluency Assessment” and 80% correct or higher on the “Reading Comprehension Tests” should begin instruction with “On Level” materials. The flowchart indicates that teachers can move students who score high on placement assessments and easily complete On Level assignments to “Beyond Level” materials. The Placement Decisions flowchart recommends that teachers use additional assessments and subtests such as phonics subtests and sight word fluency assessments to determine placement and instruction for students at “Approaching Level.”
The materials provide an administrator’s observation tool that includes beginning-of-the-year, mid-year, and end-of-year forms. The tool includes sections for teaching whole groups and small groups. The checklist allows administrators to rate evidence of the indicators as “yes,” “in progress,” “no,” or “not observed.” Indicators include expectations for proper use of diagnostics to inform instruction (e.g., “Teacher administered placement and diagnostic assessments at beginning of year and set up groups for differentiated instruction.”) The mid-year and end-of-year observation forms have sections on “Using Assessments,” with indicators to ensure teachers complete progress-monitoring assessments, take unit assessments, and complete a benchmark exam or a test prep assessment. The “Using Data and Reports” section includes indicators such as “ensure online assessments and downloadable resources are used to provide students with targeted support.”
The materials offer a short video titled “Administrator Tips: Best Practices for Implementation.” The tips in the video address sharing research, providing central oversight, setting up curriculum advisory boards, and organizing ongoing training. However, the five-minute video is in English and does not address specifics such as how administrators can support teachers with data analysis and planning differentiated instruction.
The materials include frequent, embedded opportunities for monitoring progress. Routine and systematic progress monitoring opportunities allow teachers to measure and track student progress accurately. The frequency of progress monitoring is appropriate for the age and content skill.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Manual de evaluación” includes a section titled “What Is Progress Monitoring Assessment?” and a bulleted list of definitions. The manual includes explanations of various diagnostic assessment tools that teachers use for progress monitoring of phonological awareness, phonics and decoding, spelling, fluency, and reading comprehension. The guide recommends that teachers “use the results of progress monitoring assessment to guide instructional decision-making.” The manual makes recommendations for how to manage student placement with assessment results. For example, the guide states: “Place the student in a small group and continue to monitor his or her progress with additional assessments to make sure your hypothesis was correct. If it wasn’t, change the placement and the instruction.” The manual introduction includes an “Assessment Options” chart that lists the progress monitoring assessments found at the end of each genre study and unit for reading comprehension, vocabulary strategies, literary elements, text features, grammar, mechanics, usage, and writing.
The genre studies follow a pattern of Weeks 1 and 2, Weeks 3 and 4, and Week 5 in every unit. Week 6 is dedicated to spiral and review. Each study concludes with a progress monitoring assessment of the genre study’s comprehension skills and vocabulary strategies. The materials provide assessments digitally or as printables. The tests include fiction and informational passages with multiple-choice questions and an answer key with the correct response, the content focus, the TEKS, and the complexity level (DOK). The “Evaluaciones de la unidad” occur every six weeks and evaluate students’ progress on the reading and writing TEKS addressed in the unit. The unit tests include passages for comprehension assessment as well as multiple-choice questions for usage and editing. The third component of the unit tests is writing composition, which the teacher scores with a four-point rubric. However, the genre study and unit assessments do not include reading responses. Opportunities to respond to text in writing are frequent in the student workbook. Teachers monitor progress on reading response informally throughout the units, but the inclusion of reading responses on the assessments is recommended.
The “Evaluación del nivel y diagnóstico” handbook includes “Quick Checks” as a type of informal assessment. The Quick Check approach reminds teachers “to observe students and see if any of them are having difficulty with a skill they have just learned.” The guide recommends that the teacher use the Quick Check information to decide if the skill needs to be addressed further in small group instruction. The materials provide a “Quick Check Observations Form” for intermediate students, including columns for phonics/word study, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. The handbook also explains that every assignment allows the teacher to assess reading behaviors. Anecdotes from observation and analysis of the assignments are treated as potential sources of information about what students know, what they still need to learn, and what their misconceptions or difficulties are. The handbook also recommends classroom observations in which teachers observe students at work and play, working alone, and interacting with other students. The guide states, “Be systematic with the way you do and record observations.”
The materials recommend specific guidelines for the frequency of progress monitoring as appropriate for age and content skill. For example, the “Evaluación de fluidez” manual explains how and when to assess fluency. The guide does not recommend formally evaluating a student’s oral reading fluency in K–1 until the student acquires phonemic awareness and can recognize multiple sight words. The guide recommends that students in kindergarten and the first half of first grade develop fluency through “escuchar la lectura de libros en voz alta e imitar modelos auditivos de expresión natural.” The guidelines specify that students in the second half of first grade to sixth grade participate in oral reading fluency assessment three times per year or at the end of each unit. The materials provide 30 fiction and 30 nonfiction oral reading passages for each intermediate grade level. The materials include a Lexile chart for the passages as well as a norms chart to assess student performance. The teacher records words read per minute and assesses prosody with a four-point oral reading fluency scale.
The Assessment Options charts found in the Manual de evaluación address developmental and grade-level appropriateness for assessments. The charts detail the assessment options with columns noting the assessment component (e.g., progress monitoring, unit assessments), the test names, the grades, the type of test, when and how to give the tests, and additional information. For example, the “Phonological Awareness Subtests,” which measure phonological and phonemic awareness, are intended only for grades K–3. On the other hand, the “Phonics Survey” can be used with K–6 students as a screening and progress-monitoring tool for phonics. The chart states that teachers use the phonics survey every four to six weeks in grades 1–3 until students achieve mastery of needed skills. For grades 4–6, teachers use the phonics survey as needed.
The materials include guidance, scaffolds, supports, and extensions that maximize student learning potential. Activities guide students who have not yet mastered the content as well as those who have achieved grade-level mastery to understand the unit objectives. In addition, the instructional materials provide enrichment opportunities for all levels of learners.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The instructional materials provide a differentiated vocabulary section with multi-tiered recommendations for all learners (“Approaching Level, On Level, Beyond Level”). In Unit 1, the activities, designed for small groups and divided into two to four sections, include “Vocabulary (Review Concept Words), Vocabulary (Review Vocabulary Words), Vocabulary (Identify Related Words), Vocabulary (Idioms).” During Review Concept Words, the teacher “displays the word responsable, then reads and spells the word.” The students say the word and write the word with the teacher. During Review Vocabulary Word, the teacher displays the “Visual Vocabulary Card” and states the word. Students read the word and engage in partner talk, using the image on the back of a Visual Vocabulary Card. Next, the teacher displays cards in random order, and students match definitions with image cards. Identify Related Words is labeled as Tier 2. In this activity for students who have not yet mastered the content, the teacher displays Visual Vocabulary Cards and reads word sets. Students identify words that do not belong and discuss why.
Recommendations for whole group lessons in Unit 2 provide guidance for scaffolding instruction for students who have not yet mastered the content. During the “Reading/Writing Companion” section of the lesson, the teacher scaffolds by explaining that similes and metaphors are two kinds of figurative language. The teacher then gives an example of a metaphor from the text and explains why it is a metaphor. In the guided practice, students work in pairs to identify and compare “una metáfora en ‘versos sencillos,’” change it into a simile, and share it with the rest of the class. Notes in the “Teacher’s Edition” also direct teachers to explain how to decode words when reading during whole group instruction. Though the Teacher’s Edition indicates that teachers reteach the lesson for students who did not master the content, no specific guidance is provided regarding how to reteach the lesson.
Unit 3 materials include targeted instruction and small group activities for all students. A “Leveled Reader” section provides activities that focus on four objectives: preview and predict, review genre, close reading, and fluency: accuracy and rate.” To preview and predict, the teacher reads the “Essential Question,” “In what way can advances in science be helpful or harmful?” Students read the title and the first two pages. The teacher asks students to predict methods scientists and farmers have used to combat pests. To review genre, students identify features of an argumentative text. For close reading, students make notes with a graphic organizer while reading. To practice accuracy and rate, the teacher models reading with proper accuracy and rate while students follow along. Students do repeated readings of the passage with their partners. Focus on these four objectives is a regular practice throughout the units as students explore multiple genres.
In Unit 4, the materials provide recommended whole group instruction for all learners. For example, the Reading/Writing Companion includes explicit guidance for reviewing craft and structure. After teacher modeling, students reread a selection and analyze the techniques the author used to write the text. The teacher reviews text structure with the students by asking these questions: “¿Con qué evidencia de la página...se muestra que el autor escribió el texto con una estructura de causa y efecto? ¿Cómo muestra el autor, por medio de la estructura del texto de causa y efecto, lo que sucedería si no hubiera reglas?” The teacher reads another paragraph of the selection and asks another set of questions. This process is repeated one more time with two other paragraphs.
In Unit 5, the Reading/Writing Companion embeds scaffolding questions to help students who have not yet mastered the content write a response to the reading. First, the teacher models how to analyze the question “¿Cómo desarrolla el autor la relación de los cuatro niños a lo largo del relato?” by asking “¿Qué pide la pregunta?” Then, the teacher directs students to reread to find information about the characters and how they interact throughout the story. Next, the teacher guides students through the analysis of text evidence by having them go back to the text and answer a series of scaffolded questions: “¿Qué problema enfrentan Cecilia y Marcos al comienzo de relato? ¿Logran solucionarlo a lo largo del relato? ¿Cómo fortalece su relación el trabajo en equipo?” Finally, the teacher models how to answer one of the questions via a think-aloud, and students work in pairs to respond to questions in the student book.
Extension activities for students who have mastered the content maximize student learning potential. For example, in Unit 6, the teacher guides students to take notes on expository text. Then, students research their own town by interviewing local community members and writing about their reflections. Students connect historical texts they have read with this research. There is an additional enrichment activity for “Gifted and Talented” students: a self-selected reading activity. Students read different books on various topics and keep a reading journal. The Teacher’s Edition suggests that students summarize self-selected readings in reading journals. To extend the activity further, the teacher asks students to share their opinions about the topic they are reading with the class.
Finally, the “Carpeta de recursos” provides an array of supporting instructional materials for all learners, such as digital resources and interactive games. Teachers assign interactive activities to a student’s digital resource page or share them in Google classroom. There are five categories to choose from: “Estrategia de vocabulario, Gramática, Normas de lenguaje, Ortografía, Vocabulario.” For example, in a spelling activity about “El plural de una palabra con /z/,” students place the letter c or z where it belongs to write the words correctly. Additionally, the “Intervention” tab in the Carpeta de recursos provides teachers with access to resources for Tier 2 instruction in five different categories: “Comprensión, Escritura y gramática, Fluidez, Fonética y taller de palabras, Vocabulario.”
The materials provide a variety of instructional methods that appeal to a variety of learning interests and needs. The instructional approaches are developmentally appropriate and engage students in mastery of the content. The strategies are multimodal and support flexible grouping of students. Guided, independent, and collaborative practices provide guidance and structures to achieve effective implementation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Unit 1 begins with El juguete de Juan and a regular instructional routine for shared reading. The teacher guide provides questions such as “¿Qué crees que pasará con el juguete que construyó Juan?” The teacher thinks aloud, referring to evidence in the text, then directs students to look at the illustration and reread the third paragraph to inform their own predictions.
In Unit 2, students read an online article, “Tiburones en peligro,” and a play, El ruiseñor, while engaging in indirect learning through discovery. For example, the lesson plan for the article has four sections: “hacer conexiones, investigar en línea, motivar a la acción y estudio independiente.” Students make connections by comparing information about sharks with other animals featured in the unit. The teacher demonstrates how to conduct online research with tips such as how to return to the result page to link to additional web pages. Then, the teacher guides students to inspire action by writing an argumentative piece about their opinion regarding how to protect sharks. The final element is independent study; students choose a question to research that connects to the unit theme.
Unit 3 has clear guidelines for implementing the gradual release of responsibility during small groups. For example, the teacher displays a “Visual Vocabulary Card” and reads the word during the “Approaching Level” vocabulary lesson. The teacher explains how the picture illustrates the word, reads the example sentence, and repeats the word during the “I do” phase. In the “We do” step, the teacher points to the word and reads it along with the students. The students repeat the word and discuss the illustration with a partner. Finally, in the “You do” step, the teacher displays the images out of sequence, hiding the word and asking students to connect the definitions with sentences and pictures. The small group lessons consistently include scaffolded supports such as this. However, lessons for students in need of one-on-one support are not included.
Unit 4 includes visual support for students with anchor charts and graphic organizers. To introduce the genre, the teacher starts a narrative nonfiction anchor chart and asks students to add features of the genre. The student book, “Mi libro de lectura y escritura” includes visuals to enhance comprehension. For example, the student book highlights the use of text features in narrative nonfiction to share opinions or present facts. Then the student book provides practice with text features. Students read and draw an arrow from pictures of text features to matching titles and captions (e.g., “Encabezados - Los encabezados indican de qué se trata la sección.”)
Unit 5 features the guided release of responsibility for learning how to use digital text. During the whole group lesson, the teacher informs students that they will read the article together and then access the digital features. The teacher models how to navigate the text electronically and access interactive features such as a pop-up sidebar, rollover map, slide show, and video links before shifting to student work with the digital text. The unit also includes recommendations for independent or collaborative learning extensions to engage students. For example, the materials suggest a research and inquiry project on cultural celebrations in Texas. In addition, students participate in activities that are student-led, such as word study on “símiles y metáforas,” word study on “raíces de palabras,” and writing practice with “selección de palabras de transición.” However, the instructional materials do not provide resources specifically for learning centers.
In Unit 6, the materials offer guidance for three leveled groups (i.e., “Approaching, On Level, Beyond Level”). The small group differentiated lesson plans provide strategies for building background, reviewing the genre, and close reading. During the differentiate and collaborate portion of the small group lesson, the materials include student-led activities. One of these activities invites Beyond Level students to create a podcast in which they interview someone who has taken steps to reduce energy use in the school building.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook,” found in the “Carpeta de recursos,” provides clear guidance to teachers about dozens of routines for word work, reading, writing and grammar, and research and inquiry. For example, the section called “How Does Wonders Teach Close Reading?” provides a chart with specific components used to teach, model, and guide students to closely read. The chart is divided into eight steps: introduce the genre, teach the shared read, teach craft and structure, respond to reading, read the anchor text, make connections, teach in small groups, and encourage independent reading.
The materials do not include supports for English Learners (ELs) to meet grade-level learning expectations. The materials do not include accommodations for linguistics commensurate with various levels of English language proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in the target language.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials are in Spanish and dedicated to the development of literacy skills in the Spanish language. Units 1–6 support Spanish language acquisition through the use of videos, visuals, and high-quality texts in Spanish. However, there is no evidence that the materials provide accommodations for ELs with various levels of English proficiency. The materials do not encourage strategic use of students’ primary language as a means to develop linguistic, affective, cognitive, and academic skills in English. The goal is to develop literacy skills in the Spanish language that will serve as a bridge to literacy in English.
The materials include year-long plans with practice and review opportunities that support instruction. The year-long plan is cohesive and builds students’ concept development from year to year. The materials provide spiraled review and practice of knowledge and skills in all domains throughout the span of the curriculum.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the “Carpeta de recursos” tab, the “Wonders Research Base Alignment” guide (available only in English) states, “It is vital that curricula are aligned with rigorous research and learning standards.” The guide provides information on how the materials align with standards, research, and curricula with a focus on the following key processes: text comprehension, speaking and listening, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency, vocabulary and language, conventions, writing, and social-emotional learning. The guide includes a chart that provides examples of alignment for each of the key processes. For example, under text comprehension research recommendations, specifically “Analyze the meaning of text through group discussion,” the guide notes the location of aligned lessons throughout the grade levels. The guide describes the materials’ regular practices, such as “Shared Read, Talk About It, and Collaborative Conversations,” as evidence that students have frequent opportunities to make connections, discuss, summarize, and listen within each unit of instruction across the grade levels.
The teacher resource section includes a scope and sequence document for the year called “Plan general de cursos.” This document outlines the genre studies within the six units and the concepts the students learn each week. For example, in Unit 1, students learn about text features while reading expository texts. Students receive additional instruction in text features in Unit 2 while reading argumentative text; Unit 3 while reading narrative nonfiction; Unit 4 while reading expository text; and Unit 5 while reading narrative nonfiction. The materials provide spiraled review of various standards in this manner.
The materials include focused practice of foundational skills within the units and spiraled review across the span of the curriculum. For example, in Unit 1 fluency lessons, students practice expression and rate during Weeks 1 and 4. In Week 6, the materials emphasize phrasing and expression with a “Reader’s Theater” titled ¿Quién lo hizo? Woo lo sabe. The teacher models reading fluently with proper phrasing and expression. The students practice fluency skills as they rehearse and prepare to perform the play. The lesson plans include similar strategic work on fluency throughout the year.
Within the units, the materials include clear plans to introduce new content and build upon prior knowledge. For example, in Unit 2, spelling lessons focus on “Palabras con r, rr.” The teacher uses the “Oraciones de dictado” during the pre-test, and students self-assess when finished. The teacher then displays the week’s spelling cards, and students identify the spelling pattern for each card. Throughout the week, the teacher guides practice with the words. For example, the teacher and students collaborate on sentences with the spelling words and a brainstorming activity on word families for r and rr. Students engage in extended practice by completing open and closed word sorts as well as digital activities with error correction and syllable division.
The materials demonstrate developmental advancement as the year progresses. For example, in Unit 1, while reading the argumentative text titled, Niños emprendedores, students review the main idea and key details, a skill learned in the primary grades. Students revisit the main idea in Unit 2 with the expository text ¿Cómo se adaptan los animales? The materials build on student understanding of the main idea with the study of theme. In Unit 2, students explore theme while reading the drama La zorra y el cuervo, and in Unit 4 while reading poetry. Identifying the theme requires students to look at the overall message of the entire text, which is a more complex task than the main idea.
The plans include clear and explicit guidance for content instruction. An “Essential Question” frames each genre study. For example, the first genre study of Unit 1 is expository text; the Essential Question is “¿Cómo reacciona la gente a los desastres naturales?” In the “Weekly Organizer,” the plans include an overview of the whole group and small group lessons. The design is systematic across the week and includes essential elements such as listening comprehension, shared reading, comprehension strategy instruction, vocabulary, and grammar. Each lesson includes semi-scripted directions in Spanish and English for the teacher and tabs to explain key points such as standards, learning objectives, and routines. Links to the student workbook, the “Reading/Writing Companion,” and other materials provide access to supporting and extension activities for the students.
The materials include implementation support for teachers, including a TEKS-aligned scope and sequence that outlines the essential knowledge and skills taught in the program. The materials provide support for teachers to implement the materials as intended and include a school year’s worth of instruction with realistic pacing guidance and routines. The materials include sufficient resources and guidance to help administrators support teachers in implementing the materials as intended.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resource section includes the “Plan general del curso,” a scope and sequence document that outlines the TEKS-aligned concepts and skills to be taught at each grade level in the order in which they should be implemented by the teacher. The guide is organized by unit and identifies the three genre studies within each unit, framed by “Essential Questions.” The document lists the titles of texts to be read in each genre study as well as basic details about the objectives for comprehension; vocabulary; phonics and spelling; fluency; writing and grammar; and research and inquiry. The Plan general del curso provides an overview of the unit’s objectives for “Read Aloud,” “Shared Read,” “Literature Anthology,” “Leveled Readers,” and “Vocabulary.”
A menu of videos addresses the following themes for a teacher new to the program: “Overview, Structure and Resources, Teacher Materials, Set Up the Classroom, Get to Know Your Students.” The overview informs teachers that there are six units of instruction and three genre studies per unit. The first two genres of each unit are two weeks long, the third genre is one week long, and the sixth week of each unit is “Review, Extend, and Assess.”
The genre study guides, located in the teacher resource tab, catalog the TEKS addressed in each two-week genre study cycle. The study guide, available online as a PDF, includes lesson plans with TEKS-aligned objectives and details to support implementation. Each lesson plan in the study guide is sequenced and semi-scripted, providing teachers with necessary questions, scaffolds, and extensions. Teachers access lesson plans in the digital calendar called “Organizador semanal.” This calendar provides an overview of the week for the teacher and facilitates navigation to daily lesson components. The daily components include the essential knowledge and skills for the day’s lessons. The TEKS can be viewed at a glance in the “Estándares semanales” tab. This tool lists the standards for the lessons and how many times each standard is taught in a given week.
The materials provide a pacing guide that suggests a timeline for implementation to ensure the delivery of a year’s worth of instruction. The “Professional Development: Suggested Lesson Plans and Pacing Guides” handbook includes three flexible pacing guides for grades 3–6: 60 minutes, 90 minutes, and 120 minutes. Each model includes the number of suggested minutes for whole group and small group lessons as well as options for modification and extension.
The “Instructional Routines Handbook” outlines important concepts for teachers such as the gradual release of responsibility, student-driven learning, and differentiated learning. The handbook explains the program model and philosophy, followed by sections on “Collaborative Conversations”; “Word Work”; “Reading”; “Writing and Grammar”; and “Research and Inquiry”. Within each section, the teacher finds explicit and sequenced routines to follow in the classroom such as sentence segmentation, “Define/Example/Ask,” and close reading. More than 40 routines are described.
Materials include some resources to guide administrators in understanding appropriate learning environments, structures, and approaches to Spanish Language Arts and Reading in grades 3–6. Administrators can watch a three-minute video overview of the program’s instructional focus as well as a video on administrator best practices. The “T-TESS Coaching Guide” explains how the curriculum supports teachers in the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) dimensions. This guide recommends that the administrator “reviews the instructional element and uses coaching questions to facilitate reflection to ensure quality instruction is embedded, embraced, and taught with fidelity.” Furthermore, materials provide feedback templates to assist administrators in providing effective feedback to classroom teachers that specifically aligns to the implementation of the publisher’s materials. Guidance and questions assist administrators in providing feedback.
The materials provide implementation guidance to meet variability in programmatic design and scheduling considerations. The sequence of content is explicit and follows a developmental progression. The materials allow LEAs to incorporate the curriculum into district, campus, and teacher programmatic design and scheduling considerations.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The teacher resources include a scope and sequence chart called “Plan del curso.” This tool shows the progression of standards for the foundational skills (i.e., phonics/spelling, grammar, and fluency). In addition, the document lists the titles of texts for each genre study as well as basic details about the objectives for comprehension; vocabulary; phonics and spelling; fluency; writing and grammar; and research and inquiry.
The “Plan” tab allows the teacher to see the layout of all six units by week and the genre study for each two-week period. Each genre study begins with an introduction to the “Essential Question” and characteristics of the genre, followed by shared reading, vocabulary, grammar, and phonics/spelling. The teacher and students revisit and extend their understanding of these components during the two-week cycle through comprehension strategy and skill instruction as well as small group and independent reading experiences. Reading response is embedded in the student workbook, called the “Reading/Writing Companion.” During each genre study, students take a related writing piece through the writing process. For example, while reading realistic fiction anchor texts, students draft, revise, and publish personal narratives. Each six-week unit culminates in a research and inquiry project and presentation that address the Essential Question explored throughout the unit.
The genre study guides explain lesson implementation and include detailed plans for whole group and small group instruction (“Approaching Level, On Level, Beyond Level”). For each lesson, teachers receive guidance regarding lesson delivery, questions to ask, and follow-up activities. The lesson plans include TEKS, learning objectives, close reading routines, vocabulary, and more. Lesson plans are semi-scripted in Spanish and English with color-coded subheadings such as blue for skills and strategies (e.g., “Volver a leer” and “Comparar y contrastar”), red for “Leer,” and green for “Releer.”
In the Plan home page, the teacher clicks on “Opciones” to eliminate non-essential lessons and hide inactive lessons. This option allows teachers to focus on literacy basics in the time allotted by the district and school. In the planning calendar, the teacher has the ability to edit to modify the schedule. For example, teachers add “un día de no enseñanza” or expand the lesson blocks to add an extra day in the sequence. The teacher also edits the order of the lessons or removes lessons as necessary. The teacher views the schedule adjustments in the “Organizador semanal,” an overview of the week.
The flexible pacing guides suggest 60-minute, 90-minute, or 120-minute timetables for implementation. Each model includes the number of suggested minutes for whole group and small group lessons as well as options for modification and extension. The pacing guides indicate activities that may be taught in small groups or in lieu of an activity in the core column. Furthermore, the resource includes a “Small Group Options” page that outlines how the 30 minutes allotted to small group instruction may be used with the different level groups.
The materials provide guidance on fostering connections between home and school. The materials develop strong relationships between teachers and families with specific activities for use at home to support students’ learning and development.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In the resource folder, teachers find back-to-school resources to support home-school connections. Resources include a digital scavenger hunt for grades 2–6 in Spanish, a digital scavenger hunt template, an “Introducing...Family Letter Template” in English and Spanish, a “Systems Requirement” document, and an “Introducing...Family Presentation” slideshow. The slide presentation provides important information about weekly letters and suggested at-home activities to enhance learning. Unfortunately, the slideshow presentation is only in English, but it is editable. The systems requirements information is only in English.
An online space called “De la escuela al hogar” allows students to view and complete school work from home. The “Para la semana” section includes weekly activities for students in three categories: “Trabajo con palabras, Chequeo de comprensión, y Listas de ortografía.” Families find weekly letters that list student learning goals on “De la escuela al hogar” and can communicate with the teacher in the “Mis mensajes” tab. The program automatically generates the letters to match the weekly objectives, but teachers can personalize as needed. Students can play digital games for skills practice from home and access the digital library. An informational document in Spanish explains how to access the digital resource at home. The step-by-step instructions include screenshots for support.
In Unit 1, families receive a letter that welcomes them to the program. The letter has two headings: “¿Cómo será la experiencia de su niño/niña en la clase?” and “¿Cómo será la experiencia de su niño o niña en casa?” Families can log in to see bimonthly study topics and information from the teacher. For example, the family letter lists “Objetivos de aprendizaje del estudiante.” The materials suggest the student check off each completed objective (e.g., “Vocabulario, Repaso en espiral, Palabras de ortografía, Comprensión”).
In Unit 2, the comprehension skill is “main idea and key details.” The student accesses the comprehension passage digitally; the title is “Organizar detalles.” In the sections on “Los camaleones” and “Los pingüinos,” the student finds five sentences, one of which represents the main idea; the rest are details. The directions say, “Encierra en un círculo la oración con la que se expresa la idea principal.” However, the PDF is not editable and requires a paper copy to follow the direction on the worksheet.
In Unit 3, the “Carta a la familia” suggests word work that focuses on synonyms and antonyms. The directions state, “En esta actividad, túrnese con su niño o niña para definir las palabras de la lista y buscar otras que tengan el significado opuesto.” The spiral review for vocabulary directs family members to use the list of words to create sentences but omit the target vocabulary words as they say the sentence. The student fills in the blank with the word from the list that best completes the sentence and then defines the word.
In Unit 4, spelling lessons focus on syllable division and stressed syllables. The materials provide differentiated lists. For example, the Approaching Level list includes auto, huella, reino, and juicio; the Beyond Level list includes creído, android, abstraído, and acentuado. Families study the words with students using flashcards, sentences, and rhyming games.
In Unit 5, the focus skill is “problem and solution.” Students read the passage “¿Qué instrumento toca cada quien?” After reading the logic story, the child and family member complete a matrix. The family letter states that the genre study is realistic fiction and that in class, “Conversaremos sobre cómo las personas expresan sus sentimientos.”
In Unit 6, the spelling lessons focus on suffixes (i.e., -cción, -ción, -sión, -xión). Suggested activities guide students to focus on the suffix. For example, the directions state: “Elija una palabra de la lista y dígala en voz alta pero sin el sufijo. Su niño o niña debe decir qué sufijo le falta a la palabra y, luego, deletrearla.” In addition, the materials encourage students to use the vocabulary words to write a story about ways to save energy, which is the theme of the unit.
The visual design of student and teacher materials is neither distracting nor chaotic. The materials include appropriate use of white space and design that supports and does not distract from student learning. The pictures and graphics support student learning and engagement.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The digital teacher materials are efficiently organized and support easy navigation of resources. The top and side toolbars have clear labels and allow the teacher to locate information quickly. For example, the top toolbar is color-coded in dark blue and lists the following tabs: “Plan, Recursos, Evaluar y datos, Escritura e investigación, Administrar y asignar, Carpeta.” Each tab has a dropdown menu of two to six items. The unit lesson plans are systematically organized with the genre study and “Essential Question” at the top. Teachers can view a weekly overview of linked lesson components organized by day. Each link in the weekly organizer opens the page with daily lesson plans. The whole group and small group lesson components are displayed on the left toolbar with clear, colorful labels. The whole group tab opens a series of lesson components (e.g., “Introduce the Concept, Listening Comprehension, Shared Read, Vocabulary, Grammar, Spelling”). The small group tab opens lessons for “Approaching Level, On Level, Beyond Level.” Lesson plans are presented in the middle in detailed, sequenced steps with multiple print features to support understanding (e.g., bold print, italics, and key terms in red). On the right, the toolbar displays other important information, such as “Normas, Objetivos, Rutina de lectura atenta, Lectura diferenciada.”
The digital student workbook displays the story in the middle and color-coded sidebars with tasks and prompts to engage the student. The sidebars have clear headings (e.g., “Texto principal: Los tamales de guanaco”; “Lectura complementaria: Hacer conexiones”). The student workbook uses consistent icons and headings throughout the units. For example, the magnifying glass indicates “Buscar evidencias,” and the green speech bubble labeled “Releer” indicates close reading. Clipart of two students talking has a label that reads “Colabora” to prompt students to read the “Tu turno” conversational prompt. The workbook includes many editable graphic organizers throughout the units to help students record text evidence and complete higher-level-thinking tasks.
In Unit 1, during the shared reading lesson of the expository text Un mundo de cambios, the student digital anthology displays clean and concise text. The sidebars are easily identifiable, with a white background and a blue banner at the top that reads “Lectura compartida” on the left and the genre of the text (“Texto expositivo”) on the right. The questions and prompts in each column are clearly visible, with bold, black text on white background. A diagram of a volcano is in the corner, has clear labels, and is surrounded by an orange outline to not distract from the text.
In Unit 2, the teacher finds tabs in the digital guide that provide brief but important details about the lesson. For example, on the first day of the unit, during the “Introduce the concept” lesson, the teacher sees the following gray tabs on the right: “Normas, Objetivos, Lenguaje académico, Apoyo vocabulario.” The objective states, “Listen actively, ask relevant questions to clarify information, and make pertinent comments.” The “Academic Language” tab displays actitud and its cognate, attitude. The Apoyo vocabulario for the lesson includes personaje, guapo, familiar, and favorito.
In Unit 3, the teacher uses quality visuals (“Tarjetas de vocabulario”) and a systematic routine to teach vocabulary from the anchor text. The guide explains that “las tarjetas introducen visualmente el vocabulario específico del programa.” The whole group instructional steps are “1) Definición 2) Ejemplo 3) Pregunta/Pida, así como los cognados, cuando corresponda.” For example, prior to reading the anchor text La niña que se imaginaba reinos, the “Visual Vocabulary Cards” include afición, boicotear, crueldad, estimular, injusticia, lograr, publicar, and tímido. Each card has a clear, professional image on one side, with the word in bold print above it and the routine on the other side of the card. The teacher begins by reading the definition for a word (e.g., “afición: Alguien que siente inclinación o amor hacia alguien o algo, siente afición.”) Next, the teacher gives an example: “Me emociono mucho cuando voy al estadio a ver a mi equipo favorito porque mi mayor afición es el fútbol.” Then, the teacher checks for understanding with a question: “¿Cuál es su mayor afición?” Finally, the teacher flips the card to display the image of fans at a soccer game and provides additional information: “Ellos sienten una gran afición por el fútbol, por eso animan a su equipo favorito.”
In Unit 4, students read historical fiction titled Juliana en la lente de Gaviola during a shared reading lesson. The graphics and pictures in the digital text are directly related to the story and depict what Juliana and Gaviola look like. Although the pictures are drawn, they are very realistic and surround the actual text in a smooth way that does not distract from the story. The picture supports understanding and helps the student make predictions about the telescope in the background. The prompt in the sidebar states, “Haz una predicción del impacto que tendría construir un telescopio económico.” The student has space under the prompt to answer the question; digital tools allow students to annotate with ease.
In Unit 6, under the dropdown menu for whole group lessons, there is a spelling lesson on “homófonos.” The teacher guide has “Oraciones de dictado,” with sentences such as “La baca del auto es muy grande.” “La vaca no está dando leche.” The lesson plan explains that the teacher will present each word in a clear voice, “señalando el patrón entre los homófonos.” Guided practice includes an open sort with word cards and digital practice in which students complete sentences with the correct homophone.
The materials provide clear guidance specific to bilingual program models. The materials include recommendations for how to apply the guidance and cite current, relevant research on Spanish literacy development and second language development and acquisition.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials include the following videos: “Dual Language Versus English Language Instruction, How is Dual Language Instruction Different, One-Way and Two-Way Dual Language Instruction, Lesson Planning in a Dual Language Classroom, Student Interaction in a Dual Language Classroom, Setting Up a Dual Language Classroom, Effectively Pairing and Grouping Students, Dual Language: The Roles of Teacher and Student, Best Practices for Building and Maintaining Two Languages, Bridging Lessons: Transfer Learning Between Languages, Building First Language Proficiency, The Reciprocal Nature of Language Arts and English Language Instruction.”
In One-Way and Two-Way Dual Language Instruction, Dr. Josefina Tinajero discusses the differences between one-way and two-way dual language instruction. She states that one-way models include “all students from one language group,” while two-way models serve monolingual English and monolingual Spanish speakers as well as students who are bilingual. She communicates the exciting opportunities offered by dual language classrooms to increase biliteracy and raise the prestige of bilingualism.
Lesson Planning in a Dual Language Classroom addresses the scheduling and fundamentals of dual language instruction, though it does not refer to a specific model such as the 90-10 or 50-50 ratio model. The presenter, Peggy Cerna, states, “Each district or school decides which content area will be taught in each language.” The presenter also emphasizes that content should be taught once in the language of instruction; there is no need to repeat objectives in the partner language. Bridging lessons connect the concept to the other language. She notes the helpful role of color-coding the language of instruction in the bridging lessons and highlights the importance of weekly bridging lessons that occur only after the teacher “is sure that her students have mastered the objective that they are working on.”
In The Reciprocal Nature of Language Arts and English Language Instruction, Dr. Jana Echevarria emphasizes the reciprocal processes of language arts instruction and language development. She discusses the concept of redundancy: “Students need to have multiple exposures to the same words to really internalize them.” Schools should strive to establish coherence between the English language arts and English language development programs, focusing on overlapping skills, vocabulary, and strategies to provide the multiple exposures students need to master literacy and language objectives. Though she does not explicitly connect these points to Spanish language learners, she communicates that all language learners need meaningful, strategic lessons that pair language arts and language development goals.
The materials provide a handbook called “Research Base Alignment: A Summary of Key Research and Demonstration of Program Alignment.” The handbook has sections on the pillars of language arts (e.g., text comprehension, phonological awareness, phonics, and word recognition) but does not specifically address dual language classrooms or Spanish language literacy. The teacher resources folder contains multiple white papers written by literacy experts such as Donald Bear and Tim Shanahan; these papers contain information applicable to all language arts classrooms. For example, Dr. Douglas Fisher defines close reading as “the instructional practice of having students critically examine a text, especially through multiple readings” in the white paper “Close Reading in Elementary Classrooms.” These resources are instructive for all teachers of language arts. However, white papers specific to dual language instruction would be valuable complements to the videos.
The “Dual Language Planner” includes side-by-side Spanish and English lessons for each unit. Transferable lessons for core instruction pair the anchor texts in the partner languages. This resource also highlights non-transferable lessons that should be taught in both languages, typically for “Grammar/Gramática” and “Spelling/Ortografía.” For example, the resource lists “Gramática el verbo: infinitivo y tiempos verbales” and “Grammar Action Verbs” as non-transferable lessons. The Dual Language Planner also provides optional instructional topics to cover if the teacher chooses. The optional lesson topics include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and more.
In the “Carpeta de recursos,” there is a guidebook called “Guía de transferencias lingüísticas” that clarifies the connection between the two languages and identifies grammar skills and phonics sounds that are transferable and non-transferable. In the introduction to “Cognate Knowledge and Reading Comprehension,” the guide states: “Studies indicate that—under some circumstances—English learners whose first language shares cognates with English are able to draw on first language knowledge to figure out the meanings of cognates in their second language.” The guide references current research that supports the importance of cognate instruction in dual language classrooms: “Students use their first-language knowledge in inferring the meaning of unknown second-language words that are cognates (August, 2009; August, Branum-Martin, Cardenas-Hagan, & Francis, 2009; Carlo et al., 2004).” “Once taught, the transparency of cognate pairs may enhance bilingual students’ reading comprehension (August & Shanahan, 2009).”
The materials support teachers’ understanding of the connections between content presented in each language and provide guidance on how to help students understand this connection. The materials highlight opportunities for students to make cross-linguistic connections and allow for equitable instruction in both languages. The materials support teacher and student understanding and application of transferable skills between the languages.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The “Guía de transferencias lingüísticas” (“Language Transfers Handbook”) includes charts and instructional information about “Sound Transfers,” “Grammar Transfers,” and “Cognate Knowledge and Reading Comprehension.” The section “How to Use the Sound and Phonics Transfers Charts” guides teachers through three tasks: “1) Highlight Transferable Skills, 2) Pre-teach Non-Transferrable Skills, 3) Provide Additional Practice and Time.” The Grammar Transfer Chart has three columns: “Grammatical Form, Transfer Mistakes in English, Cause of Difficulty.” The handbook states that the information can be used “to address common mistakes that some English learners make when they transfer grammatical forms from Spanish into English,” such as the overuse of articles. The guide identifies the cause (e.g., the common use of articles in Spanish) and explains how teachers can help students transfer skills efficiently and proficiently.
The Guía de transferencias lingüísticas provides sample lessons and suggests practice activities for multiple transferable skills. For example, in the section on Sound Transfers, the guide identifies sounds /b/, /k/, and /d/ as positive transfers. In the section on cognates, the teacher explains cognates, models differences and similarities in sample cognates, and gives students an opportunity “to find cognates in authentic text.” A sample teacher lesson on the cognate word pair liberty/libertad illustrates how to present a cognate lesson and provide students with opportunities for practice.
In the daily lesson plans, cognates are highlighted as well. For example, the guide regularly includes vocabulary mini-lessons called “Palabras en contexto” that recognize cognate pairs. In addition, the “Apoyo de la lección'' sidebar has a dropdown section for “Lenguaje académico.” Content vocabulary terms that are cognates are noted in this area, such as context/contexto and synonym/sinónimo.
The “Dual Language Planner” provides side-by-side lesson plans in English and Spanish. The planner pairs skills that transfer with applicable anchor texts and highlights non-transferable lessons in yellow. The planner identifies transferable skills in multiple areas (e.g., writing, grammar, vocabulary, fluency). The non-transferable skills are typically grammar and spelling. For example, the resource lists “Gramática el verbo: infinitivo y tiempos verbales” and “Grammar Action Verbs” as non-transferable lessons. The Dual Language Planner also provides optional topics of instruction to support student learning, which include phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and more.
The genre studies regularly include opportunities to focus on language transfer. The unit overview includes a specific section on the topic, and the daily lesson plans note opportunities to teach transferable and non-transferable skills. For example, the teacher explains similarities, (i.e., transfers between Spanish and English verb forms) by explaining that both Spanish and English have gerund forms of verbs and verb infinitives. The teacher emphasizes a non-transferable skill by teaching students that the letter h is silent at the beginning of words in Spanish. In English, the letter h sounds like a puff of air.
The Spanish “Literature Collection” includes diverse texts that represent world cultures. For example, in Unit 3, students explore the “Essential Question” “¿De qué forma puedes ayudar los demás?” During the unit’s three genre studies (fantasy, biography, and argumentative text) students read multicultural selections: El farolero by Cuban American author and illustrator Alejandro Lorenzo; José, a biographical poem about Cuban politician and writer José Martí; and “Una nueva variedad de maíz,” a magazine article from Time for Kids. In other units, students read ¿A quién le toca?, realistic fiction by Mexican author Gabriela Peyron; Palabra de urraca by Spanish playwright Iñigo Javaloyes; and El árbol de las preguntas by Mexican author Guadalupe Aleman, illustrated by the Mexican graphic designer Enrique Torralba. Each anchor text concludes with biographical information about the author and illustrator, representing a wide array of cultural and linguistic diversity.
The instructional materials include an extensive library of “Leveled Readers” available in both English and Spanish, with very diverse characters to which students can relate. There are over 270 leveled reader books for “Approaching Level,” “On Level,” and “Beyond Level” reading groups. The leveled readers align with the genre studies and extend student understanding of instructional concepts and the world. For example, during a unit on biography, students read Inventivo Lewis Latimer, a short chapter book about an African American inventor of the 19th century, during small group lessons. The story is provided for all three levels of readers.
The Spanish language materials for teachers and students are authentic and culturally relevant. The materials are originally written in academic Spanish or are quality transadaptations or translations. The materials support the development of socio-cultural competence and represent the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
In Unit 1, students explore the “Essential Question” “¿Cómo reacciona la gente a los desastres naturales?” during shared reading of Un mundo de cambios. Through the text and diagrams, students learn about volcanic eruptions. The teacher guides the discussion to include worldwide natural disasters and changes in the earth’s surface. The anchor text in the unit, Los terremotos, extends the discussion to earthquakes as students read about Chilean seismologist Inés Cifuentes.
In Unit 2, students study the genre of drama through shared reading of the Aesop’s fable La zorra y el cuervo. The teacher guides instruction about the elements of drama (e.g., “ambiente, dialogo, y narrador”), while students engage in collaborative conversations to build comprehension. For example, students answer questions such as “¿Qué información hay en las acotaciones de la conducta de Cuervo y Zorra?” and “¿Por qué sale Cuervo de escena?” Students also have the opportunity to improve oral reading fluency through repeated readings of this quality translation of a classic fable.
In Unit 3, the students read an authentic Spanish text titled José, written by Puerto Rican writer Georgina Lázaro. José is a biographical poem that explores the life of Jose Marti, a famous Cuban politician and writer. The materials include guiding questions and think-aloud prompts in Spanish for teachers to follow during the lesson. For example, after reading a stanza, the teacher pauses and says: “Para responder la pregunta, debo volver a leer la tercera estrofa de la página 202. Puedo leer que José expresaba el cariño de su madre con poemas que compuso para ella empleando palabras gentiles.” Questions and information in the student workbook are written in authentic, academic Spanish as well. For example, students respond in writing to questions such as “¿Cómo describe la autora los valores y las aptitudes que José cultivó en su niñez?”
In Unit 4, the shared read is Juliana en la lente de Gaviola. The Essential Question is “¿Cómo afectan tu vida los inventos y la tecnología?” The teacher guides discussion of the narrator’s point of view and the impact of building an inexpensive telescope. Students learn about Gaviola’s important contributions to astronomy with questions such as “¿Qué expresión en el párrafo muestra la opinión del narrador sobre los telescopios económicos?” and “¿Qué pueden inferir sobre la influencia de Gaviola?”
In Unit 5, students develop sociocultural competence through the anchor text El árbol de las preguntas, written by Mexican author Guadalupe Aleman and illustrated by Mexican graphic designer Enrique Torralba. The teacher draws attention to Aleman’s figurative language (e.g., “Me sentí como bicho raro”) and how it helps the reader to understand Isabel’s feelings about being adopted. The teacher encourages collaborative discussion about the mystery of Isabel’s biological parents by asking “¿Cómo emplea la autora los diálogos para mostrar la relación entre los personajes?” After a close reading of the text, students continue to reflect on socioemotional aspects of the story by responding to the following prompt in their workbook: “Comenta en qué forma los padres de Isabel le demuestran lo importante que es para ellos.”
In Unit 6, students read historical fiction text Rodrigo, un relato de Texas. The text tells the story of an Apache child that arrived ill and famished at a friar mission in Texas. Upon arrival, he was given a new name, Rodrigo. Though Rodrigo was taught new customs and beliefs by the friars, he and his aunt Onawa fought hard to maintain their ancestral traditions. At the end, Rodrigo embraces his Apache traditions and retakes the name Kuruk. The story calls students to reflect on the value of traditions and to consider the Essential Question “¿Cómo conectan las tradiciones a las personas?” The student workbook includes a “Respuesta al texto” prompt that urges students to think about the importance of cultural roots: “¿Cómo sabes que las raíces de Rodrigo son importantes para el mensaje del relato?”
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