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The TRR reports for K–8 and high school science are now available. The new Instructional Materials Review and Approval (IMRA) rubrics for K–3 and 4–8 English language arts and reading, K–3 and 4–6 Spanish language arts and reading, and K–12 mathematics are now available for review. Provide public comment through December 15, 2023, or sign up for a November focus group.
The quality review is the result of extensive evidence gathering and analysis by Texas educators of how well instructional materials satisfy the criteria for quality in the subject-specific rubric. Follow the links below to view the scores and read the evidence used to determine quality.
Section 1. English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Alignment
TEKS Student %
TEKS Teacher %
ELPS Student %
ELPS Teacher %
Section 2. Texts
Section 3. Literacy Practices and Text Interactions
Section 4. Developing and Sustaining Foundational Literacy Skills
Section 5. Supports for All Learners
Section 6. Implementation
Section 7. Additional Support
|Grade||TEKS Student %||TEKS Teacher %||ELPS Student %||ELPS Teacher %|
The materials meet the criteria for including high-quality texts for ELAR instruction and cover a range of student interests. The texts are well-crafted, representing quality content, language, and writing produced by experts. The resources include increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse, multicultural texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, texts include content that engages students and represents various cultural settings, characters, and authors within increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse texts. Some of the texts in the materials are published books with awards and distinctions and cover a range of student interests, including animals, science, and history. While there are traditional and classical texts, the bulk of texts are both contemporary and diverse. Texts engage students through intentional illustrations, language components and figurative language, plot structures suitable to the target audience, and meaningful insights into diverse cultures and historical periods. Each unit combines whole-class read-aloud titles, leveled readers, chapter books, trade books, and mentor texts for various reading and writing workshop mini-lessons.
The Carp by Marie Yuen is a legend from Japan about a boy named Rosetsu who longed to become a painter and overcame many trials and tribulations to achieve his dream. This text features figurative language such as “with a fire in his belly” and “study at the feet of” and contains archetypal characters such as senseis and students. The text’s theme is that one must have determination and persistence and never give up to succeed. The text engages students through the use of figurative language, cultural aspects from Japan, and a theme that students can relate to in their own life.
Into the Volcano, a non-fiction text by Donna O’Meara, transports readers through a typical day in the life of Donna O'Meara—volcano researcher, writer, and photographer. Her photographs and accounts of treacherous journeys get readers up close and personal with some of the world's most dangerous volcanoes.
Why We Live Where We Live, an award-winning non-fiction tale by Kira Vermond and Julie McLaughlin, is an accessible story on the development of human civilization, with plenty of potential to spur classroom activities and conversation.
The Bill of Rights by Amie Jane Leavitt is an informational text that explains part of the Constitution through facts, examples, and various text features. Students gain knowledge of the development of the Bill of Rights, along with an explanation of various freedoms.
Pedros’ Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus, August 3, 1492–February 14, 1493, a historical fiction text by Pam Conrad, is written as a diary of the ship’s boy of the Santa Maria. Conrad’s details of the adventures make the famous 1492 journey come alive for readers.
Delivering Justice by Jim Haskins is a biographical text that tells the story of Westley Wallace Law, a mail carrier who orchestrated the Great Savannah Boycott and was instrumental in bringing equality to his community. The text incorporates historical components from the early twentieth century and the African American fight for rights. The text brings in content-specific vocabulary such as segregation, sit-ins, boycotts, and NAACP. This text was a Jane Addams Children’s Book winner in 2006 and engages students in critical historical events that shaped our nation.
People Should Manage Nature by Lee Francis IV is an argumentative text. The author makes a claim that people should manage nature to lessen the damage from natural disturbances. The text is supported with facts, reasons, evidence, and questions for the reader to make connections to personal experiences and observations.
Hatchet is an award-winning contemporary classic by Gary Paulson that depicts the survival story of a boy named Brian. Paulson keeps readers mesmerized with suspense while readers imagine how they would survive in the wilderness.
The materials meet the criteria for including a variety of text types and genres across content that meet the TEKS requirements for grade 5. The literary texts include folktales, fables, legends, myths, tall tales, drama, poetry, and realistic and historical fiction. Informational texts include information, exposition, argument, procedures, and a variety of documents as outlined in the TEKS. Materials include various print and graphic features that enhance the text.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, both literary and informational texts include varied structures, and students have the opportunity to interact with print and graphic features within a variety of genres and formats.
Examples of narrative texts include:
Examples of informational texts include:
Examples of supportive print and graphic features include:
Picturesque Journeys by Yanitzia Canetti uses photographs of famous artists, maps, and flags to show where they are from and some of their famous pieces.
From Far from Shore by Sophie Webb includes graphs about animals, diagrams to show the parts of a ship, and illustrations with labels of the animals found in the ocean.
A Pet for Calvin by Barbara Robinson uses sketching and brightly colored images throughout the text.
Rocks and Fossils by Richard Hantula uses close-up photos to show readers the details of specific rocks, and then he uses wide-scale photographs to highlight large rock formations and real-life uses of rocks. Hantula also uses easy-to-read diagrams of cycles that have created rocks.
Ezekiel Johnson Goes West by Guy A. Sims uses a graphic novel structure and monochromatic images to tell a story.
Don’t Release Animals Back to the WIld by Rene Saldana Jr. has photographs showing animals in their natural habitat and uses highlighting to compare facts with information learned from another shared read.
Let’s Talk Trash is an infographic made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has bold graphics and number visuals to explain facts about recycling and the costs of food waste.
Amie Jane Leavitt uses famous paintings, portraits, and photographs of historical events to help readers visualize the creation and impact of The Bill of Rights.
The materials meet the criteria for including challenging text that is at an appropriate level of complexity. There is a text-complexity analysis provided; texts are both qualitatively and quantitatively relevant for grade 5.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
All aspects of the program continuously focus on text complexity. The materials provide an article detailing text complexity systems within their professional development component for teachers. The article outlines the two most widespread systems used for establishing text complexity; both a qualitative system, Guided Reading levels, and a quantitative method, Lexile Framework. The article describes the systems and clarifies how each system supports teachers to increase students’ capacity as readers. The myView Literacy component includes a Text Complexity Chart for all of the shared read selections in the order in which they appear. Each text is broken down into several categories: recommended placement, quantitative measures, complexity level, qualitative measures, and reader and task considerations; however, this section does not include a grade-level baseline for comparison. The quantitative measures include Lexile level, average sentence length, word frequency, and word count. The qualitative measures are shown on a color spectrum with complexity levels ranging from simple to very complex and include levels for meaning/purpose, text structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands. Reader and task considerations are organized by English language (EL), intervention, and on-level/advanced student populations, and they provide overarching information about the text that may be relevant to each group.
Although not all units increase in complexity through the course of a unit, all selections are placed at the lower level of readability for grade 5, in the grade 4–5 complexity band, or the upper level of readability for grade 5, with the exception of transcripts, poetry, and drama, as text complexity is not generated for these genres. Shared reading texts are above the complexity level of what on-level grade 5 students can read independently. The teacher's guide includes a table of contents that lists the shared read for each of the five weeks, the weekly question, title, author, and genre.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen has a Lexile level of 780L and a word count of 3,372, which puts the text in the grade 4–5 complexity band. There are multiple subtle levels of meaning in the text, but the central idea of survival and self-reliance is easy to determine. Vocabulary is familiar, and sentences are simple with only a few compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Plot events are clear and easy to follow.
Keeping Mr. John Holton Alive is an excerpt from Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul. The quantitative features of this text are Lexile level 850L in the grade 4–5 complexity band. Qualitative features to consider include a first-person narrative that follows a chronological order and uses illustrations to support the story. Most sentences are simple and compound with mostly conversational vocabulary and some dialects that may be unfamiliar to students, such as, “it ain't nothing but jibber-jabber.” Students may need background knowledge of slavery and how enslaved people escaped to Canada. The themes of fighting for freedom and the power of a person's soul can be easily discerned through characters’ actions and words.
People Should Manage Nature by Lee Francis IV has a Lexile level of 900L. The average sentence length is 11.585, the word frequency is 3.201, and the word count is 2,734. The text is placed in the grade 4–5 complexity band based on these quantitative measures. Using the qualitative measures, students might need additional support with this and that pronouns (language) and natural disasters (knowledge demands).
“Life & Art” from The Wright 3 is a realistic fiction text by Blue Balliett with a Lexile level of 950L, which places it in the grade 4–5 complexity band. The text is rated “very complex” for levels of meaning. Materials state, “The themes—what makes something art and why art is worth saving—can be inferred through Ms. Hussey’s feelings and the newspaper article included within the text.” The text has a simple, chronological order, and sentence structure is mostly simple with some compound and complex sentences.
The Bill of Rights is an informational text by Amie Jane Leavitt with a Lexile level 990L, which places it in the grade 4–5 complexity band. The level of meaning is “simple,” as the author's purpose is easy to infer. This text rates as very complex for knowledge demands; materials state, “The text requires a moderate level of background knowledge of topics such as American independence and the Revolutionary War. The text also includes allusions to other topics and historical events, such as the rise of the Nazis in Germany and policies about speech in China.”
The Hermit Thrush by Dana Crum is a drama used as a shared read within the materials. The drama follows a clear sequential order and illustrations directly support the text by showing characters, setting, and events. Sentences are simple with some complex sentences, and vocabulary is mostly familiar and conversational.
The materials meet the criteria for containing questions and tasks that support students in analyzing and integrating knowledge, ideas, topics, themes, and connections within and across texts. Most build conceptual knowledge, are text-specific/dependent, target complex elements of the texts, and integrate multiple TEKS. Both questions and tasks require students to make connections to self, other texts, and the world; plus, students are asked to identify and discuss important ideas, themes, and details.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Students have multiple opportunities to interact with a variety of texts throughout all lessons and answer text-dependent questions during mini-lessons. Students have listening comprehension opportunities, close reading opportunities of shared reading texts, individual conferences about independent reading texts, and responding to text opportunities. Each unit has an essential question, and within the unit, each week has an additional question for students to reflect on as they read various texts. Questions and tasks given during the shared read/close read are text-specific, and many target more complex elements of the texts. Later in the week, questions and tasks integrate multiple TEKS and make connections across multiple texts or genres. Each week within the unit follows the same structure. Lesson 1 focuses on the weekly question, theme, and genre; it includes a pre-reading page that reviews the definition of important vocabulary from the story and names four reading strategies. Lesson 2 is the shared read, with students reading for enjoyment and understanding using first read strategies; questions and think alouds during the first read focus on these reading strategies, such as noticing, generating questions, and connecting. Lessons 3 and 4 are the close read, where students return to the text to learn strategies that deepen comprehension and knowledge; during these readings, the callout boxes have the Close Read title and include a short think-aloud or explanation of a story element or structure, a question to ask students, and possible responses, as well as objectives and TEKS alignment. Lesson 5 allows students to compare texts by connecting what they experienced and learned in the text to their world in oral and written responses. The student interactive contains comprehension questions that build on what is covered in the class discussion. Students record their answers in the student interactive; the student text includes shortened summaries of the teacher's think-alouds to explain text structure and story elements, as well as definitions of bolded vocabulary words. Questions and tasks build in rigor over the year.
In Unit 1, one selection is from Life on Earth—and Beyond by Pamela S. Turner. After finishing the shared read, the teacher uses the suggestions to prompt students’ initial responses to the selection. The prompts are “Brainstorm and Discuss,” with questions such as, “In what other places on Earth could Chris McKay look for life in inhospitable conditions? Do you think Chris McKay’s research will ultimately be helpful to the space program? Why or why not?” After the discussion, students complete comprehension questions to check for their understanding of the text, including “What examples from the text helped you determine that the passage from Life on Earth—and Beyond is an informational text? Choose a sidebar feature and explain why the author includes this text feature. Use text evidence to support your answer.” The close reads for Life on Earth—and Beyond focus on the strategies of “Analyze Text Features and Make Inferences.” When students revisit the text, there are prompts for students to underline or highlight specific details, while the teacher’s edition includes questions that the teacher can ask using these details. Student prompts for “Make Inferences” include, “Highlight details from the caption and headings that help you make inferences about the Dry Valleys. Highlight details in the text and caption that help you make inferences about how the scientists camped on Battleship Promontory.” Questions the teacher can ask are, “What can the reader tell about the Dry Valleys based on the words in the headings and photo caption? Why do you think the scientists had different tents for different activities?” Students use their close read notes to complete a chart with “What I see or read (evidence) + What I already know = My inference.”
In Unit 2, the unit’s essential question is, “How do we learn through our observations?” The question during Week 5 is, “What are some different ways people can observe and protect wildlife?” The shared read consists of two argumentative texts, one of which is called Let Wild Animals Be Wild. Think-alouds that focus on the “Generate Questions” strategy include, “As I read, I’m going to write down questions I have about the text. I wonder what examples there are of keystone species.” Close read prompts to help students Analyze Argumentative Texts include, “What word in this paragraph signals in opinion?” “How do you know this is one of the author's reasons?” What point does the author make about reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park?” Prompts for vocabulary in context ask students to find context clues to understand the meaning of the word rehabilitating. The student edition includes shortened summaries of the teacher's read-alouds to explain text structure and story elements, as well as definitions of bolded vocabulary words. After the story Let Wild Animals Be Wild, a comprehension page checks for understanding by asking questions about the text and permitting students to look back at the text to answer them. Questions include, “How do you know that [both texts] are argumentative texts? Give three examples.” “Based on what you read, analyze claims about animal conservation from both texts.” Another page titled “Synthesize Information” includes a graphic organizer for students to make notes to show how their thinking changes as they read. Another page titled “Monitor Comprehension” includes a KWL chart for students to take notes to clarify their understanding of the text.
In Unit 3, students compare The Carp to The Hermit Thrush. Students consider each text’s characters and their experiences to answer the question, “Do people from different times and cultures share experiences?” Students write an opinion about which experiences are universal.
In Unit 5, students engage in a close reading activity using the informational text Rocks and Fossils. A main focus during the close reading is making connections. Throughout the reading, students answer questions related to connections, including “Scan paragraphs 6–7 and highlight details that help you make connections to what you already know about gemstones.” “Read the inset ‘Putting Sedimentary Rocks to Work’ and highlight a detail that helps you make a connection to your own experience. Then explain the connection between the detail you marked and your own experience.” and “Scan pages 444–445 and highlight details that indicate where you personally might find metamorphic rocks in your everyday life.”
The materials meet the criteria for including questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. In cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts, these questions and tasks ask students to analyze, make inferences, draw conclusions about the author’s purpose, and provide evidence to support their understanding. Students compare and contrast the stated or implied purpose of different authors’ writings on the same topic; students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning in single or across various texts. Students study the language within texts to support their understanding.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, materials contain text-specific/dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze details and how they support the author's craft and text structure. Each unit consists of a theme and a related essential question. Each week of the unit has an overarching question that supports the unit’s essential question and theme. Students read a variety of genres throughout the unit to see how each author approaches the theme. Students engage in a close read of a shared reading text; during this lesson, students answer various questions related to the author’s purpose and craft. Questions and tasks require students to identify and support the author's purpose by making notes as they read and citing text evidence in written and oral responses, and ask students to study specific language within texts. In the reading-writing workshop bridge for every unit, a specific mini-lesson explicitly explains the strategy of analyzing the author’s message and purpose. The teacher’s edition provides several callouts titled “Read Like a Writer/Author’s Craft” that offer teaching tips and discussion points about the author’s craft within a specific text; the student edition includes shortened summaries of the teacher's think-alouds to explain text structure and story elements, as well as definitions of bolded vocabulary words. Students apply the mini-lesson to shared reading texts. Students analyze the author's craft with various texts in the student interactive component and use that analysis to apply elements to their own writing. Students also can apply the author's purpose and craft mini-lessons to their independent texts. After the story, a comprehension page checks for understanding by asking questions about the text and permitting students to look back at the text to answer the questions.
In Unit 1, as the teacher conducts guided reading small group lessons with students on informational texts, students reflect on questions such as, “What text features did the author use? What are the purposes of the text features in the text? How do the text features help readers better understand the text? Are there any text features that the author should have used but did not?”
In Unit 2, the unit’s essential question is, “How do we learn through our observations?” The question during Week 5 is, “What are some different ways people can observe and protect wildlife?” The shared read consists of two argumentative texts, one of which is called Let Wild Animals Be Wild. During the first reading of the text, callout boxes titled “Generate Questions” direct students to write questions about the author’s claim and evidence. Think-alouds with this title include, “The author talks about how an ecosystem requires both predator and prey to stay in balance. It makes me wonder how the food chain would be affected if something in it disappeared.” Think-alouds during the first reading that focus on the connect strategy include, “The author talks about how tourism and how releasing captive animals into the wild makes financial sense. In what other ways can tourism have both positive and negative impacts on the natural habitat of species?” A close read callout box titled “Synthesize Information” asks, “How does this information help you better understand the author’s claim?”
In Unit 3, students analyze the author’s choices and how they influence and communicate meaning. When students read the selection Love, Amalia, the teacher asks students to close their eyes and listen as a sentence with imagery is read aloud. The teacher asks, “To what senses does the sentence appeal, and what overall feeling does it convey? Did they feel calm or nervous? Happy or sad?” Also, in Unit 4, students read Ezekiel Johnson Goes West. Students scan a page of the selection to find a metaphor. The teacher then opens the discussion of the metaphor’s meaning and how it achieves the author’s purpose.
In Unit 5, students compare and contrast the purposes of different authors’ writing on the same topic when reading the infographic Let’s Talk Trash and the informational text It’s Time to Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste, Feds Say. During the reading of the text, students underline details that are supported in the infographic, along with discrepancies. After reading, students complete a chart comparing and contrasting the two authors’ accounts on topics discussed in both selections. Students then make an analysis, finding an important similarity and difference.
The materials meet the criteria for including a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build academic vocabulary in and across texts. The plan includes ways to apply words in context as students build their vocabulary. There are scaffolds and supports for teachers to differentiate vocabulary development for all students.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, the professional development center has teacher videos defining the generative approach to vocabulary instruction and describing how to start teaching with a generative vocabulary approach. Unit and weekly academic vocabulary is directly taught and then used and applied to student tasks, class and small group discussions, and student writing. The program overview describes how developing academic word knowledge with generative vocabulary focuses on teaching words as networks of ideas instead of single unrelated words. Within the process, the first step is to introduce academic vocabulary at the beginning of the unit. The second step is for students to generate more words connected to the unit academic vocabulary through instruction and practice. Finally, the third step is for students to practice and apply the words learned throughout the unit in the writing and research project-based inquiry. As for a year-long plan, the materials include an instructional path for many lessons based on anticipated student learning. Many lessons can be reordered to accommodate the learning and progress of students.
The materials give scaffolds and supports with vocabulary development prompts, strategic small groups, and English Learner (EL) targeted support for different proficiency levels; these are in the teacher's edition and in callout boxes that include think-alouds for understanding words. There are differentiated vocabulary supports for ELs as well. The interactive student edition provides opportunities for students to learn words within the context of the shared read and apply or transfer word meetings in other stories or workbook pages that ask them to either define the words or create new sentences that demonstrate their meaning. In addition, there are language routines and vocabulary activities, and games in the Language Awareness Handbook. During guided reading, there are prompts to focus on developing vocabulary, such as, “What context clues can help you know the meaning of the word ___? What is the word’s definition? What does the word ___ tell us about the setting of the text?” The reading workshop includes a mini-lesson bank that supports the development of different writing genres and skills such as specific figurative language, sensory details, or conventions like transition words to enhance writing. After explicit vocabulary mini-lesson instruction following shared reading texts, students have formative assessment opportunities to show their understanding of developing vocabulary. Each week during the “Reading-Writing Bridge,” there is an opportunity to practice with the unit vocabulary.
In Unit 1, students begin the unit with an oral vocabulary routine; the teacher reads each word’s definition. Students respond to the expand and ask questions using their newly acquired academic vocabulary. Using the word insight, the expand statement is “When you share your experience, you give insight” and the ask question is “What topic can you give insight on?” During the close reading of the Shared Read of Pedro’s Journal, there is a possible teaching point for teachers about academic vocabulary and context clues. In this teaching point, the teacher uses the word watch to explain how readers can use context clues and a dictionary to figure out which meaning of a multiple-meaning word applies in a particular situation.
In Unit 3, students focus on how authors choose certain words to convey information about the characters in a story and make dialogue more engaging. Using the word conscientious, the teacher models how to think through what the word means and how to ask what the author is trying to convey about Rosetu, one of the characters in The Carp, by using that specific word. The teacher adds the words careful, hard-working, and precise to a graphic organizer that shows connections among terms. Students complete the rest of the graphic organizer with other terms from the text. The “Quick Check Notice and Assess'' directs teachers to decide if students can identify how vocabulary words help readers understand characters in The Carp and The Hermit Thrush. If students struggle, materials suggest teachers revisit instruction for developing vocabulary in the small group component that follows the mini-lesson; if students show understanding, materials suggest a different task to develop vocabulary.
In Unit 4, a vocabulary lesson previews the following words that appear in the Shared Read, The Scarlet Stockings Spy: assembled, suspicious, relaying, stocking, and solemnly. The teacher defines the words as needed. The Interactive Student Edition includes brief definitions of each of these words in the sidebars of the pages in which they first appear. There are callout boxes for EL-targeted support. One helps students use pictures and context clues to understand the plot, setting, and characters; another one directs students to use synonyms to understand the meaning of suspicious; one points out the words disguise and disguised and guides students in understanding the meaning of both words using context clues.
In Unit 5, the vocabulary words are disturb, cycle, impact, composed, and engineer. An Expand and Ask question includes, “Expand: A person who disturbs you interrupts what you are doing. Ask: When is it appropriate to disturb someone who is busy?” The teacher begins an academic vocabulary word wall and adds to it as new vocabulary is generated related to the unit’s theme. Cognates of the vocabulary words are available, along with EL targeted support for each proficiency level during the oral vocabulary routine. Students turn, talk, and share; students read the words and definitions, use each word in a question and answer with space to write them down in the Interactive Student Workbook, and share those questions and answers with a partner. Next, the teacher begins the weekly launch with a selection, and the Teacher’s Edition includes prompts in Week 1 such as, “What impact do extremely high temperatures have on rocks? How is a geologist different from an engineer? Emphasize that these words will be important as students read and write about the essential question.”
The materials include a clearly defined plan to support and hold students accountable and engaged in independent reading. There are procedures, protocols, and support for teachers to foster independent reading. Resources provide a plan for students to self-select texts and read independently for a sustained period of time; this program includes planning and accountability for reaching reading goals.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Within the program overview, a component of the reading workshop, the materials include independent reading. An article written about the reading workshop states, “Supported independent reading is an essential part of the workshop. The amount of independent reading time depends on readers’ varying levels of proficiency. However, the amount of time must be sufficient for readers to engage meaningfully in reading.” In each unit, the materials give a suggested amount of 20–30 minutes for students to engage in either small group learning or independent/collaborative learning, including independent or partner reading. The teacher can support students with their independent reading by helping students set goals for their reading and track progress toward their goal; reminding them to ask and answer questions before, during, and after reading to understand the text better; checking with students to make sure they still find their independent reading selection interesting; and recording the time they read each day to encourage them to increase their daily reading time.
Every week, when providing support to teachers related to small group instruction, there is information for what students should be doing during independent reading. Within the student actions, there are independent reading, partner reading, and book clubs. Students can read a self-selected trade book, read or listen to a previously read leveled reader or selection, begin reading their book club text, or read from a list of suggested titles in the teacher edition. If students choose to read a book from the leveled reader library, they can read books online, in the app, or using physical texts. For book club, there is a list of several titles in each unit for students to select from; most texts relate to the main text selections for the unit. Book clubs meet twice a week during small group time, and the book is to be read independently across ten days. Teachers guide the clubs by helping students pace the book to clearly define reading expectations before each book club meeting. Teachers confer with three students daily about their independent reading texts for three to four minutes; teaching points and possible conference prompts for teachers directly relate to the week’s mini-lessons and focus of instruction. The materials include step-by-step instructional support that includes implementation options and strategies as well as discussion charts for group conversations to help students think about their reading. Student materials incorporate tips and reminders for selecting books, and strategies for independent reading are provided for students, along with a reading log to be used throughout the unit. The reading log allows students to track the date, book, genre, pages read, minutes read, and give a rating out of five stars.
At the beginning of the program, there are several reading logs and bookmarks for both fiction and nonfiction for student accountability during independent reading. The first nonfiction bookmark is called “What I Learned.” It has blanks for the student to write the title, author, important ideas, key details, and what surprised the reader. The second bookmark, “Questions for the Author," includes blanks for the students to write the title, author, and three questions. The third bookmark, “Key Words and Vocabulary," provides blanks for students to write the title, author and keywords, and any new words. The first of the three fiction bookmarks, “What I Think,” has blanks for the students to write the title, author, best part of the book and why, the worst or most boring part of the book and why, as well as what is surprising and why. The second bookmark, “Questions for the Author," is similar to the nonfiction bookmark with the same title. The third fiction bookmark, “Interesting Language," includes blanks for the students to write the title and new or interesting words/phrases. A “Genre Log” lists nine genres and has two charts for students to track and set a goal for how many works to read in each genre and unit. The reading log includes blanks to add titles, authors’ names, minutes spent reading, and the number of pages read in each sitting; plus a place for parent and student signature.
In Unit 1, the materials state that students read with their teacher as well as self-select texts to read independently. The Student Interactive takes students through the process of choosing a book at the right level and using a strategy to determine if the book is just right for them. Students learn the process of filling in the independent reading log.
In Unit 3, the Student Interactive provides support to students about establishing a purpose for reading. Students determine a purpose for their reading and then pick a genre that best matches their purpose. Then students select a book and read the first two pages, using a strategy to determine if the book is right for them. Students reflect on questions such as “Does the topic interest me? Do I understand most of the ideas? Can I read the text smoothly? Do I understand most of the words?”
In Unit 4, after reading a literary mentor text, materials give several leveled text suggestions that teachers can use for guided reading or student self-selected reading. There are teaching prompts for the teacher to use during the conference, including, “How do the characters interact with each other?” and “How do the relationships change over the course of the story?”
In Unit 5, students evaluate and respond to books they read on their own. Students ask themselves questions and highlight or underline ideas and details that help them evaluate the quality of the information in the text. After reading, students write a summary or book review and share it with a classmate.
The materials meet the criteria for including support for students to develop composition skills across multiple types and for a variety of purposes and audiences. There are opportunities to write literary text to express ideas and feelings about real or imagined characters, events, and ideas. Resources include chances to write informational texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for particular purposes. Materials provide activities where students write argumentative texts to influence a specific audience’s attitudes or actions for certain issues. There are opportunities to write correspondence in a professional or friendly structure.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, the writer's workshop structure is well organized; the 35–50 minute block follows the steps of beginning immersion, developing elements, developing structure, and revising and editing before publishing. These daily opportunities provide students the opening to develop composition skills authentically. The units include five-week structures for writing within the unit’s particular genre. Week 6 concentrates on applying the learned skills through project-based inquiry writing. Week 6 allows students to write for different audiences and purposes and moves away from traditional stories and essay writing. There are opportunities to write literary, informational, argumentative, and correspondence texts, including a personal narrative, informational article, a survival guide, an opinion essay, a public service announcement, and a business email. There are options for teachers regarding mini-lessons and prompts for conferring topics within the materials, such as craft, structure, writing elements, or process. The mini-lessons follow the structure of teaching point and model and practice, including the teacher reading books from the mentor stack to further expose students to the genre they write. After the daily mini-lessons, students write independently and apply their learning to their own writing. During this time, the teacher assesses students’ understanding of the writing task using conference prompts and support. The interactive student edition has questions and graphics organizers in the Writing Workshop section of each unit that assist students in brainstorming and adding details to their writing, editing their writing, or understanding the genre’s elements. Students not only write during the writing workshop but also for assessment pieces and during the end-of-unit research projects. There is a “Share Back” portion at the end of the block.
In Unit 1, students compose personal narratives. During Week 1, students study the personal narrative genre by reading sample personal narratives from the mentor stack. Students begin to plan their personal narratives. In Week 2, students begin to develop elements such as narrator, setting, and events as they draft their narratives. Students also focus on developing an engaging idea and using sensory details in their narratives. Week 3 has students develop structural elements by composing an introduction and conclusion for their narratives and developing dialogue. During Week 4, students focus on editing narratives for clarity and conventional use of adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. Students also revise and edit drafts for subject-verb agreement during Week 5 before publishing and sharing their writing. Each week includes writing club opportunities for students to share their ideas and writing in small discussion groups. In the inquiry project week, students create a travel guide convincing readers to visit a country they would like to visit. They read the research article “Culture Shocks” and the argumentative travelogue “All Aboard!” before gathering online research. Students create a travel guide outlining their claims for why people should visit the country, including photographs and drawings. Students research and write a travel guide about a country they would like to visit. Students conduct online research. The materials provide a mini-lesson on how to create formal correspondence requesting information on their topic. After reviewing the components of a business letter, materials direct students to create a formal inquiry requesting information from the tourism bureau director. A sample student request is given, and students discuss how questions for requests to be formal and professional.
In Unit 2, during the workshop, students learn about the elements of informational writing as they write their own informational articles. After analyzing features found in mentor texts, lessons include analyzing a lead paragraph and photos, writing facts versus opinions, finding the audience, and conducting an interview. The project-based inquiry research project for Unit 2 requires students to research a national park or wilderness area in order to write an informational survival guide. Lessons include identifying features of informational texts, checking the credibility of sources, and doing peer review.
In Unit 3, students use elements of opinion writing to write an essay or argumentative text during the workshop. The mini-lessons in Week 1 include how to organize an opinion essay, analyzing a point of view, and planning the opinion essay. Week 2 mini-lessons include topics such as developing an opinion, reasons, facts, and details; and including and using graphic features and technology to produce writing. The teaching point for the “Develop Facts and Details” mini-lesson is to explain that a strong opinion is logical and supported by facts. The model and practice have the teacher read aloud a Mentor Stack text and prompt students with questions such as, “Is this a fact or an opinion? How do you know?” In Week 3, the mini-lessons include developing an introduction, conclusion, reasons, and supporting Information; and composing with transition words, phrases, and clauses. Week 4 focuses on grammar with the mini-lessons teaching editing for capitalization, punctuating titles, and rearranging ideas for clarity. In Week 5, students edit, proofread, and present their final drafts with the mini-lessons of incorporating peer and teacher suggestions. The assessment gives students a chance to write an opinion essay independently. The opinion essay assessment prompt is, “Think about how the experience has changed the way you think about the world. Write an opinion essay about how an experience has shaped your view of the world and what you feel others should learn from it.”
In Unit 5, during the project-based inquiry week, students research and write a script for a public service announcement (PSA). Students research ways people can help the environment and create positive changes in one of Earth’s systems. Students explore mentor texts to recognize the characteristics and structures of public service announcements and argumentative writing and develop a plan to compose and research their own text. Students create a bibliography and include graphics in their PSAs.
The materials partially meet the criteria for including written tasks that require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-support claims to demonstrate the knowledge gained through analysis and synthesis of texts. There are clear directions for students to identify text evidence; however, there are limited opportunities for students to develop these skills independently. Students do demonstrate in writing what they have learned through reading and listening to text; however, the scaffolds control most of the activities so that students do not analyze or synthesize separately from the modeled claim.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Within each unit, each week includes five lessons. After each close reading mini-lesson in the Reading Workshop, students have the opportunity to apply the strategy they have learned directly to Independent Text. For example, in the “Apply” step of the mini-lesson, Option 2 directs students to use sticky notes to mark places within the text that indicate proof of evidence. Lesson 1 introduces students to the genre with a listening comprehension activity. Lesson 2 is the Shared Read, where students read for enjoyment and understanding. Lessons 3 and 4 are the Close Read, where students return to the text to learn strategies that deepen comprehension and knowledge. Lesson 5 allows students to compare texts by connecting what they experienced and learned in the text to their own world in oral and written responses. This lesson includes a “Respond to Text” opportunity. Throughout each weekly lesson scaffold, materials direct students where to look for evidence, and students highlight or underline the same information. Students complete the activities in whole group, and students answer with the same information. During the weekly shared read, the materials direct students to highlight and underline parts of the text during the second and third close read. The “Student Interactive Edition” includes questions and graphic organizers that ask students to use these notes as text evidence to support their opinions and claims. During Lesson 5 Respond to Text, students reflect on the various texts from the weekly reading at the end of each week, which lends itself to independent analysis. Students complete “Check for Understanding” and “Write to Sources” activities within the Student Interactive Edition that allow them to write their opinions and thinking while citing evidence from the texts. The Write to Sources activities give students the opportunity to use multiple texts in their opinions and analysis. Even though materials offer students daily opportunities to underline certain parts of the mentor text and use this evidence in follow-up tasks, tasks do not grow in sophistication over the year. While scaffolding with text evidence at the beginning of the year is appropriate, materials continue to offer the same types of support through the end of the year.
In Unit 1, after reading Picturesque Journeys, the various comprehension pages include questions that ask students to use text evidence to support their opinion and write about what they have learned. On the page called “Analyze Text Structure,” students use text evidence to show how different locations influence each artist’s work. Students use text evidence to confirm and correct predictions made during the reading on another page. The “Reflect and Share” page asks students to prepare a presentation that gives their opinion about how traveling to different places can influence people. The teacher guides students to record direct quotations from the text that support their opinion with the following sentence prompts “ I think that ___. Evidence from ____ says that ____.”
In Unit 2, while reading the text Hatchet, students underline text evidence that shows the narrator has access to Brian’s thoughts and memories. After reading the text, A Place for Frogs, students reflect and share their opinions in a “Write to Sources” activity. In this activity, students consider all the texts they have read throughout the week and reflect on how humans have affected the environment in positive and negative ways. Students use examples from the texts to write and support their responses.
In Unit 3, students read A Pet for Calvin, a realistic fiction text. The sidebar supports analyzing the plot and setting, prompting students to underline related details throughout the text, “Underline the sentence that tells the story’s conflict, or problem,” “Highlight details that develop the conflict of the story,” and “Highlight details that show Calvin making both a decisive and unexpected action.” Students complete a graphic organizer about the setting, text evidence, and the connection between the setting and plot. Students turn back to the underlined text to select needed text evidence.
In Unit 4, after reading The Scarlett Stockings Spy, comprehension pages incorporate questions that ask students to use text evidence to support their opinion and write about what they have learned. The Check for Understanding page asks students to identify details about the text that make it historical fiction. Another question is, “How does the news of one character affect another?" A page called “Infer Multiple Themes” has students use their text evidence to make inferences about similar themes in two of the stories they have read. The Reflect and Share page asks students to write an opinion about what other people they have read about fall for something they believed in and whether the risk was worth it. Students are not given specific sentence frames to use but include quotation marks around direct quotations and transition words to introduce paraphrased information.
In Unit 5, students think about how they have learned about systems in nature and what causes water to change form. Students write to explain “what you learned and how it may influence your everyday life.” The given questions help students evaluate the text evidence, such as, “Does this information clearly support my answer? Is there information that better supports my response? If yes, then I need to review my annotations and notes.”
The materials meet the criteria for including composition convention skills applied in increasingly complex texts, with opportunities for students to publish their writing over the year. The resources facilitate students’ coherent use of the writing process to compose multiple texts, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. There are opportunities for practice and application of the conventions of academic language when speaking and writing; grammar, punctuation, and usage are taught systematically, in and out of context, and materials allow for editing practice in students’ own writing as the year progresses.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, there are explicit mini-lessons in the “Reading-Writing Bridge” and the “Writing Workshop,” activities in the “Student Interactive Workbook,” and, during Week 6’s inquiry, authentic applications for the writing process to build students’ abilities. Materials facilitate an in-depth use of the writing process throughout each unit, with frequent opportunities for students to collaborate with peers and their teachers as they compose their writing. Students practice grade 3 conventions first orally and then apply them to sample writing and then to their own writing. Within the Reading-Writing Bridge, the mini-lessons connect to skills learned in the current or previous units. After the daily mini-lessons, students write independently and apply their learning to their own writing. During this time, the teacher assesses students’ understanding of the writing task by using provided conference prompts, guides students through each step of their writing in smaller chunks, and ensures students are on the right track, offering support as needed. The Student Interactive Workbook has questions and graphics organizers in the Writing Workshop section of each unit that assists students in brainstorming, adding details, and editing their writing. After learning particular grammar, punctuation, or usage lessons as a whole group, students have the opportunity to peer edit within their own writing for the examples of the given topic, i.e., proper/common noun. There is a large focus at the end of the week on editing and peer review of their products. There is a checklist in the Student Interactive Workbook that lists conventions students must look to correct.
In Unit 1, students compose personal narratives. During Week 1, students study the personal narrative genre by reading sample personal narratives from the mentor stack; students begin to plan their personal narratives and plan in the writing club as they brainstorm together in a small group. In Week 2, students begin to develop elements such as narrator, setting, and events as they draft their narratives and focus on developing an engaging idea and using sensory details. Week 3 focuses on developing structural elements by composing an introduction, a conclusion, and developing dialogue. During Week 4, students edit for clarity and conventional use of adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns. There are conference prompts for teachers, and each prompt is specifically related to the structural elements of focus for the week. For example, suppose students are working on composing an introduction. In that case, the teacher conference prompts direct the teacher to help students who need additional support by analyzing the introduction from mentor texts. If students show understanding, materials direct teachers to ask, “How will your introduction lead into the first event?” Students also revise and edit drafts for subject-verb agreement (independently and with peers) during Week 5 before publishing and sharing their writing. In Week 6, students research a country they want to visit and compose an argumentative travel brochure. Students review the genre, conduct research, collaboratively analyze a student model of writing, and identify an argumentative text’s features. Students compose a business letter requesting information from a source about their country and revise and edit their brochures, both independently and with a peer. Students share their published travel guides and reflect on their projects.
In Unit 2, students work through the writing process for five weeks to produce an informational article. In the first week, the teacher immerses students in the genre as they analyze mentor texts for lead paragraphs and details in photographs. Students brainstorm and plan their informational article. In Week 2, students develop elements such as an engaging idea, specific facts, concrete details, definitions and quotations, and visuals. During Week 3, students develop structure as they develop an introduction, related information, transitions, and a conclusion. Weeks 4 and 5 focus on revising and editing their writing for precise language, verb tenses, adverbs, simple and compound sentences, punctuation marks, and capitalization; students spend part of Week 5 publishing and celebrating their writing.
In Unit 4, a lesson sequence in Reading-Writing Bridge in Week 1 focuses on using three specific prefixes. The teacher leads the class in a series of mini-lessons throughout the week in which they continue to apply the prefixes to determine the meaning of new words and practice using them in oral sentences. The “Student Interactive Workbook” pages provide definitions, and students must write in the correct root word and prefix.
In Unit 5, the editing checklist has spelling, punctuation, capitalization of names and places, capitalization of titles, quotation marks around ideas quoted from research, and a variety of simple and complex sentences. The revision checklist focuses on having strong and clear claims and ending with a strong conclusion.
Materials fulfill the TEKS requirement for the grade level even though there is no formal procedure for assessing the students' handwriting. However, there are informal opportunities for handwriting assessment.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Grade 5 materials contain a Handwriting Practice for All resource for grades K–2 students. Lessons include pencil grip, posture, and letter formation. Materials also contain a handwriting model that displays print and cursive models, including D'Nealian, for each letter of the alphabet. The materials include practice for students to write legibly in cursive; however, there are few mini-lessons and cursive handwriting resources. Instead of instruction in letter formation, the program includes practice in cursive handwriting with individual letter formation practice pages. The writing workshop has an editing checklist to remind students that writing should be easy to read or legible so that others can learn from their ideas. The list tells students to form letters carefully, leave proper spacing between letters and words, write with a slight slant, and maintain proper letter size. To practice, students read a paragraph and then write the paragraph on a separate sheet of paper in their most legible cursive.
Occasionally in Units 1–4, materials direct teachers to remind students to use cursive handwriting, but only once. It is only mentioned when students complete a self-reflection activity during Week 5.
In all units, students publish their genre writing of the unit and then complete a page in the student interactive to reflect on their published writing. As they complete the sentences to reflect on the writing experiences, they write legibly in cursive.
In Units 1 and 2, students have opportunities to practice their cursive writing in the student workbook during the “Publish and Celebrate” mini-lessons. Students reflect on their writing experience for the unit writing workshop genre in each of these opportunities and write their responses legibly in cursive. The teacher explains what legibly means, though there is no additional instruction or lesson beforehand.
In Unit 4, there is a suggested writing support in a sidebar. The teacher provides modeled support by reviewing and demonstrating appropriate cursive writing for students.
The materials meet the criteria for including support for students’ listening to and speaking about texts. Opportunities focus on the texts studied in class and allow students to demonstrate comprehension. Most oral tasks require students to use clear and concise information and well-defended text-supported claims to demonstrate their knowledge through analysis and synthesis of the assigned texts.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Each unit starts with an essential question and a unit video, followed by a “Turn, Talk, and Share” opportunity. After the unit introduction, the materials begin the “Weekly Launch” with a lesson where students read a selection from a specific genre with text or graphic features. Students move on into the reading workshop with a listening comprehension activity in which teachers read aloud a short text in the same genre as the main mentor text. During “Spotlight on Genre,” the teacher introduces students to the genre they focus on with the shared and close read. The teacher shares the characteristics of the genre, and students have various opportunities for oral tasks that are completed within a teacher conference, in pairs, small groups, or whole group. Before the first reading of the shared read, the materials include a pre-reading page that names four reading strategies. After the shared read, students can respond and analyze the text with teacher questions to prompt students’ initial response to the shared read. Sidebars integrate academic vocabulary with the unit’s close read strategies; however, some of the subsequent readings’ questions do not require students to defend answers with text evidence. Questions and think alouds during the first read focus on these reading strategies, such as noticing, generating questions, and connecting. During the second and third readings, callout boxes in the teacher’s edition have the title, close read passage, a shorter think-aloud, explanation of a story element or structure, a question to ask students, and possible responses. The strategies apply to close reading and focus more on analysis and comparisons and discussing the author’s craft or purpose. The student text includes shortened summaries of what the teacher demonstrates in the think-aloud to explain text structure and story elements, as well as definitions of bolded vocabulary words. Materials provide discussion questions in the teacher’s edition for use during the first read, and most discussion questions require students to first scan the text for evidence before answering a question. There are opportunities to listen and speak about texts with the book club to discuss their noticings, connections, and wonderings about the text with other students in their club.
In Unit 1, students discuss their learning about journeys. Questions to guide their discussions include, “What did you learn about journeys by seeing the images?” and “What did you learn about journeys by listening to the sounds in the video?” A read-aloud titled Life in Black and White is an informational text with two think alouds. The first teacher think-aloud points out dates and words to help the reader understand the chronological order of events in history. The second think-aloud connects a key idea and details to explain why the photographer highlighted it in the text. To assess students' listening comprehension, the class completes a sequence graphic to note three important events in the article.
In Unit 2, a listening comprehension activity directs teachers to explain to students that they “should listen actively for main, or central, ideas and details as well as text features such as section headings that may provide clues about central ideas” before reading aloud “Jellyfish: Valuable Slime.” Materials provide sidebar supports for teachers as they think aloud while reading the text. Afterward, as a class, students discuss what scientists used to believe about jellyfish and what they now believe. There is a T-chart graphic organizer available for use.
In Unit 3, when reading the shared text Love, Amalia, students synthesize information from the text as they respond to the question, “What can you tell about how Abuelita feels about loss based on the details in these paragraphs?” The teacher prompts include, “Explain that students should listen actively, paying careful attention to the characters in the story as you read. Prompt them to ask questions to clarify information and follow agreed-upon discussion rules.” The teacher then begins the routine think-aloud, which involves purpose, read, and reread. For reread, the teacher rereads the text aloud, this time pausing to model think-aloud strategies related to the genre and the characters in the story. Students discuss the problems and solutions from the selection using a T-chart.
In Unit 4, students read the historical fiction text The Scarlet Stockings Spy. Materials direct students to underline parts of the text that help them infer a theme. The teacher’s edition sidebar for the close read directs teachers to ask, “What do the similes and other descriptive language convey about Philadelphia in the fall of 1777, at the beginning of the American Revolution?” and then give students time to respond and discuss how the author compares the city to a nervous mouse, hungry alley cats, and horseflies—animals that are skittish, which suggests the city is on edge.
In Unit 5, while reading The Dog of Pompeii, the sidebars in the teacher's edition have a mix of think-alouds and discussion questions such as, “Tito has no idea what time of day it is. Why do you think that is?” “What challenges do Tito and Bimbo face on a daily basis?” Other questions on the subsequent close reading indirectly require students to respond using text evidence: “What clue in the text tells you that the city of Pompeii is located in Italy?” “What sensory details describe the setting and let you know that the climax is near?” Some questions explicitly ask for text evidence: “Based on these text details and others, make an inference about what Tito’s life would be like without Bimbo.” “What details show you how Tito experiences the changes that occur in Pompeii in this scene?” For the book club, students read the text Into the Volcano, and they start by discussing the essential question for the unit, “How do elements of systems change” and how they think this book relates to that question. They discuss the details that catch their attention in the texts, their connections to their lives, and any questions that remain after reading the text. There are conversation starters for students, such as, “Why do you think the author chose to open the chapter the way she did? What effect does it have on the reader?” “What is one of the main ideas in this first chapter? What details support this idea?” and “What detail in this first chapter reminds you of something you already know or have read about volcanoes?”
The materials meet the criteria for including engagement in productive teamwork and student-led discussions, both formally and informally. The resources provide guidance and practice with grade-level protocols for discussions that express their own thinking. Students have opportunities to give organized presentations or performances and speak clearly and concisely using appropriate oral conventions of language.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, protocols are set for discussions. Resources include an academic vocabulary “Expand and Ask” routine for students to practice using academic vocabulary with a partner. The teacher previews unit vocabulary at the beginning of the unit through an “Oral Vocabulary” routine. Teachers read definitions of unit vocabulary, and students respond to the Expand and Ask questions (script provided) using the newly acquired vocabulary and then complete a speaking task with a partner to follow up. The materials provide five speaking and listening lessons to foster collaborative conversations among students. These lessons focus on how to have a conversation, how to distinguish fact from opinion, how to present information as a group, how to follow and give instructions, and how to retell a story. For example, when discussing facts and opinions, students prepare ahead of time by gathering relevant information from several sources and then distinguishing the facts from opinions. Students present the topic to their partners/group. Materials direct students to “Speak coherently about the topic, presenting facts and opinions, then give your opinion about the topic.” Students include one or two reasons to support their opinions and listen actively to others’ reactions and responses; they record in the space given, including any notes to help them remember others’ opinions and reasons. Week 6 in every unit is a performance-based inquiry project. Students conduct research to write a final project or presentation to be shared with the class. Materials provide a rubric for teachers to evaluate the student’s language and vocabulary in the project and the delivery of the presentation; these sections are always scored, though the wording for each unit’s rubric varies slightly. A high score of “4” includes clear and precise language with appropriate use of conventions, and an effective delivery includes appropriate eye contact, speaking rate, volume, and enunciation.
Two routines for listening and speaking are in the Language Awareness Handbook. These routines are titled “Prepare for Discussions” and “Have a Discussion.” The purpose of Prepare for Discussions is to help students prepare for and engage in one-on-one, group, and teacher-led discussions; the purpose of Having a Discussion is to provide a frame for conducting accountable discussions. The “Small Group Guide” gives support in various aspects of small group time. One page explains the benefits of students working with a partner. It explains the difference between three partner work strategies, “Turn and Talk,” “Think Pair Share,” and “Mix and Mingle.” A chart at the bottom of the page lists the following rules for working with partners, “Review the work you need to do. Share the work. Restate what your partner said to be certain you understood. Make eye contact. Give each person time to talk. Praise and encourage each other. Disagree politely. Speak in a voice that only your partner can hear.” Callout boxes throughout the teacher’s edition direct students to turn and talk with partners; some boxes remind teachers to add the direction to follow “agreed-upon rules and norms (ways of talking).” Each book club planning page shows the same discussion chart in all units for the teacher to display so students may copy them in their notebooks; it is a three-column chart with the headings Noticings, Connections, Wonderings. The materials direct teachers to offer students examples of how to phrase their ideas productively and respectfully with sentence frames such as, “I understand your point, but I think _____,” “Why did you say that?” and “Can you repeat what you said?”
In Unit 1, students engage in listening comprehension of an informational text, Call Me Joe. They listen actively, paying careful attention to the text’s main ideas; students ask questions to clarify information and follow agreed-upon discussion rules. One “expand” sentence requires students to expand on the word insight; the teacher defines it as, “When you share your experience, you give insight.” The “ask” question for the same term is “What topic can you give insight on?” Students read the words and definitions in the student interactive, make a list of synonyms, share their lists with a partner, explain their word choice, and relate them to the academic vocabulary.
In Unit 2, after reading a shared text, students engage in a “Respond to Text” activity to reflect and share. With a partner, they discuss and make inferences about the importance of teamwork based on their reading of Far From Shore. Students discuss the most important ideas and supporting details that point them to the meaning of the text and the author’s purpose for writing. The student interactive includes information on how to make pertinent comments. When discussing, students share ideas that are on topic, discuss specific ideas in the text, and build on others’ comments. There are sentence frames to help with the conventions of the English language, such as “Teamwork is important because…,” “Your comment made me remember that…,” “I agree with _____, because _____,” and “Based on ____, I think _____.”
In Unit 3, students write a speech about why a day should be dedicated to a person who has impacted their lives. Before the final publication of their speeches, students present their speeches orally to another group. The teacher models first to point out traits of effective speech. These traits include looking at the audience, making eye contact or smiling, speaking at an understandable rate and volume, enunciating words, using gestures, and actively listening to the audience’s questions before making comments. After the teacher models, students practice their oral delivery and make adjustments to their speeches based on questions, comments, and reactions from their classmates. The teacher scores the final student presentations and projects using a rubric. For a project to receive all four points for language and vocabulary, it must have language that is “clear, and academic vocabulary is specific and informative about the topic.” For students to receive all points for delivery, delivery “mode is effective, and the presenter employs appropriate eye contact, speaking rate, and volume.”
In Unit 5, sentence frames include “I agree with _____, because _____.” “One interesting detail that stuck out to me is _____.” For the Week 6 inquiry project, students work with a partner to write a speech that convinces the state to dedicate a day to a person who has positively influenced the lives of others. Students work together to research articles, apply academic language, plan their research, search databases for sources, create a bibliography, create a timeline, and do peer review. Student partners have time to practice their oral delivery, speaking clearly at a correct rate and volume, and make adjustments based on the reactions of their peers. Students also write down suggestions from their classmates in the student interactive. When presenting, students choose the most effective mode of delivery to convince their audience, make eye contact, and speak clearly at a natural rate and volume.
The materials meet the criteria for including short-term and sustained inquiry processes to confront and analyze various aspects of a topic using relevant sources; they support the identification and summary of high-quality primary and secondary sources. Resources aid student practice in organizing and presenting appropriate grade-level ideas and the research’s assigned purpose.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, recursive inquiry is directly related to the unit and weekly essential questions. Within the research, students have multiple opportunities to learn and determine the difference between primary and secondary sources and apply that learning within the reading, writing, and researching. There is explicit instruction in the research skills, such as analysis and synthesis of information, as well as conducting and refining research. Children generate questions and use those questions to guide their research within short-term opportunities, and they engage in a week-long project-based inquiry at the end of each unit, which relates the essential question to a relevant topic in students’ lives. Many research projects include collaboration components. Students work independently in each unit to create the finished real-world project. There are opportunities for demonstrating inquiry and synthesis of research skills since many of the projects require a summary of findings and students' opinions based on evidence from their research. Small groups or partners discuss and decide the purpose, structure, audience, and research plan for their projects, building on their knowledge of informational text and symbiotic relationships developed in the unit. For each project, students have pages in the interactive workbook to plan their research, along with space to conduct and record research. A student model allows students to see an example of a finished product and analyze its components. It highlights the characteristics and structures of the project and provides a checklist for students. Materials direct students to develop their topics by “searching for information, such as facts, definitions, and details.” Using a library database and trade books, students gather information. Materials encourage students to change keywords to find more specific information. The teacher edition directs teachers to “be sure that they can identify their topic, the evidence to support their topic, and the text features they will use.” A research project checklist containing a four-point research project rubric is broken down into five areas: Focus, Research, Organization & Development, Language & Vocabulary, and Delivery. The delivery section focuses on their presentation skills. Students are rated on how well they maintain eye contact, speaking rate, volume, and enunciation.
In Unit 1, students study journeys, with a focus on how journeys change us. Students read informational texts and a historical fiction text about journeys to unknown and faraway places. At the end of the unit, students research a country’s language, culture, holidays, food, and other characteristics to write a travel guide convincing others to visit a chosen country. Students work in pairs to research online, using the navigation toolbars and site maps of websites to gather information. Materials provide space for students to record notes and how they evaluated each site’s credibility in the “Student Interactive.” Students decide their travel guides’ intended audience, such as adults, students, families with children, senior citizens, experienced travelers, or people new to traveling. The teacher’s edition states that “the audience you choose will determine how you will write your guide.” Students discuss, plan, and use elements of informational text to format and organize their travel guides.
In Unit 2, during the project-based inquiry week, students engage in a lesson about analyzing primary and secondary sources to evaluate the source’s credibility. In this lesson, the teacher explains how to determine websites’ credibility based on government websites. Students use this information as they go online to research their survival guide and evaluate each website’s credibility. Students list websites found and explain why they did or did not use each website.
In Unit 3, students interact with an infographic to obtain information and discuss ideas related to the essential questions, “How do the experiences of others reflect our own? What are some different ways in which people can reach a goal?” During differentiated, small-group instruction, students, on- and above-level, use the infographic to generate questions about some different ways in which people can reach a goal. Throughout the week, students research one question. For the inquiry project in Week 6, all students research a person or hero who has affected their lives and write a persuasive speech about why a day should be dedicated to that person. Students begin by reading an article related to the topic and generating questions while applying academic vocabulary. They identify features of argumentative text and apply those while researching, using databases and other tools. Students analyze and compile a bibliography while avoiding plagiarism. Before presenting their posters, students incorporate photographs and timelines into their speeches and review and edit for clarity.
In Unit 4, one of the goals for the unit is for students to learn about historical fiction and explain the author's purpose to answer the essential question, “What does it mean to be free?” and the weekly question, “How can going to a new place give a person new opportunities?” In launching the unit’s theme, the materials include a lesson called “Explore the Primary Source,” which explains the difference between the two sources. The workbook includes song lyrics from “I Will Go West” by Joseph L. Eldridge. Class discussion focuses on the singer’s feelings at the start and end of the song and the difference in information provided in the primary source, the lyrics, and the secondary source. For English Learners, the materials suggest creating a T-chart with headings for primary source and secondary source. After the teacher reads three facts about sources, the materials ask, “Which tells about a primary source?” “How do you know?” “Which tells about a secondary source?” Students work in pairs to sort the statements into the correct column.
In Unit 5, the essential question is, “How do elements of systems change?” Students research a natural disaster and create a public service announcement about the environment. Students identify possible sources they use to gather information. Examples of primary resources students can use include quotations, interviews, or personal interactions.
The materials meet the criteria for including interconnected tasks that build student knowledge and provide opportunities for increased independence. Questions and tasks are designed to help students build and apply knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, thinking, and language. The resources provide coherently sequenced, high-quality, text-dependent questions and activities that require students to analyze and integrate their knowledge and ideas within individual texts and across multiple texts. Students integrate reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking; they include components of vocabulary, syntax, and fluency as needed while building appropriately increased independence.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Across all units, there is cohesion in the form of organized protocols for activities, questions, and growth toward independence. The unit themes and essential questions are interconnected with the assignments related to that topic and require students to utilize all of their language arts and reading skills, including thinking, integrating knowledge (prior and learned), and analyzing information. The essential question relates to questions, tasks, literature, and research-based inquiry throughout the unit, and each week includes a focus question that adds to the unit essential question. Questions and tasks build in complexity throughout the unit with a final analysis of each text in the unit and its relation to the unit theme. While the beginning of the week is teacher-led, by the end of the week, students engage in deeper levels of thought and discussion so that by the end of the unit, they can apply learning to a real-world situation to research or solve. Materials contain interconnected tasks within each unit that build student knowledge. There are various texts to use within small group instruction, and each text aligns to the essential question for the unit and the week. Students have listening, speaking, reading, and writing tasks aligned to the essential question that allow students to make connections across themes and texts. Many tasks in the Student Interactive integrate tasks, such as reading a text and writing a constructed response, practicing with a partner both listening and speaking a new vocabulary word, or sharing one’s thoughts about a text during book club. Students revisit the text during the close read, have an opportunity to reread parts of the text while thinking about specific close read strategies, and make annotations through discussions using teacher prompts and questioning. Students then use these annotations to complete a chart on the close-read strategies independently. During the “Writing Workshop,” mini-lessons range from focusing on the writing process steps to enhancing vocabulary, syntax, and word choice in different genres. At the end of each unit, students have an opportunity to integrate knowledge and ideas across all texts from the unit in the launch of the “Project-Based Inquiry,” which includes student research, reading and writing related to topics covered in the unit, and application of unit vocabulary in order to create a final product that is presented to the class or a group.
In Unit 1, students study journeys, with a focus on how journeys change us. Students read informational texts and a historical fiction text about journeys to unknown and faraway places. Students read two informational texts, The Path to Paper Son and Louis Share Kim, Paper Son, about Chinese immigrants using the “paper son” system to come to the United States during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Students compare each author’s purpose for the text and both texts’ central ideas. Students discuss and write about how both texts portray journeys that are stressful and dangerous yet offer opportunity. Students use text evidence to discuss in a small group the topic “What motivates people to leave a place they call home?
In Unit 2, after students view an infographic about how scientists study ocean life, guiding discussion questions include, “Why do you think biodiversity, or a variety of living things, in a coral reef is important? Why do you think so many animals have been discovered in the last two decades? What facts about biodiversity and ocean exploration surprised you?” Following the discussion, students read the infographic in the Student Interactive, then engage in a “Turn, Talk, and Share” to discuss the question with a partner. The question in Unit 2 is, “What parts of the ocean would you like to explore or know more about? Why? Discuss with a partner.”
In Unit 3, the Turn, Talk, and Share directs students to contrast poetry and realistic fiction. They discuss with their partner and use the information on the “Poetry Anchor Chart” to compare and contrast the genres. As students discuss with their partners, they write notes on their discussion. Later, students “Consider all the texts you have read this week. Do people from different times and cultures share experiences?” Students use the question to write an opinion about which experiences are universal and include text evidence from two texts they read from the week.
In Unit 4, students collaborate to determine what it means to be free. In the reading workshop, they listen to and read historical fiction texts and analyze characters to evaluate details and infer multiple themes. When studying the informational text, students interpret text structure to help them write summaries. Students learn to generate questions and explain the relationships between ideas while reading biographies. Discussion prompts during shared read prompts include, “Why do you think the author gives so many details about the difficulty of the trip West?” “Ask students to explain where they see causes and effects in the text, and why the sections help them understand main ideas and details.” “What impact did the students coming to Westley have on his life?” Students use text evidence to support their response to writing prompts such as, “What other texts have you read where characters follow their dreams? Do you know anyone who left home to pursue an opportunity? Use these questions to express an opinion about the characters’ choices. Be sure to connect your personal experiences to your opinion.”
In Unit 5, the essential question is “How do elements of systems change?” and the Week 4 question is, “How do human actions create and change cycles?” Students begin the week by analyzing a diagram that shows how waste is a problem and engaging in a discussion using questions such as “Why is plastic not good for the environment? What could people use instead? What effect do landfills have on our water systems?” Students engage in a turn and talk activity to discuss the different ideas to reduce the amount of waste their school produces. The materials review the theme of systems as students reflect on the texts read during the week and discuss how elements of systems changed within each text read throughout the unit. Students then address the theme of systems by collaboratively researching and writing a script for a public service announcement that details ways people can help the environment and create positive changes in one of Earth’s systems.
The materials meet the criteria for including spiraled and scaffolded practice. The resources contain distributed practice over the year, and the design scaffolds for students to demonstrate the integration of literacy skills that spiral throughout the school year.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, there are spiraled and scaffolded skills that repeat throughout the year. Materials provide teachers with a detailed “Scope and Sequence” for the grade level and also a comprehensive TEKS K–8 vertical alignment document that outlines how skills build and spiral across grade bands. Every day, there are multiple opportunities for students to read, think, write, speak, comprehend, and practice literacy skills; objectives connect between reading, writing, language, and grammar. This connection is primarily made through the workshop model, which includes small group and whole group reading, a writing workshop, and a combined “Reading-Writing Workshop Bridge” that focuses on word study, spelling, and grammar. Materials state, “Each unit is a multi-genre text set designed to teach how to read while developing content knowledge around a content-related theme and an essential question.” At the beginning of each week, students hear about the genre they will be reading during the “Listening Comprehension” and then learn more specifics about the genre in the “Spotlight on Genre.” Connections continue through read/think-alouds, shared reads, close reads, and student activities that revolve around the same text. Every unit has mini-lessons covering a variety of topics; these mini-lessons follow a scaffolded structure that releases the work from the teacher to the student. Each unit focuses on multiple genres of reading so students can compare text structure and features, and the theme offers a purposeful way to tie in writing and grammar topics. The materials have a distribution of writing opportunities across the year to pen literary, informational, argumentative, and correspondence texts. The “Language Awareness Handbook” provides scaffold instruction that targets English Learners, but the included strategies, routines, sentence frames, and lessons support all students. The teacher supports students through teacher modeling, partner and small group collaboration, and a “Quick Check,” which also serves as a formative assessment for the teacher. If students apply the skill easily, materials include an extension task. If students need extra practice, materials provide additional small group and practice opportunities. At the end of each week’s lessons, students have a “Respond to Text” opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the texts read throughout the week. There are scaffolds such as sentence starters, questions, and reminders to support students discussing and responding to the prompt and weekly questions.
In Unit 1, one of the weekly objectives is for students to develop language knowledge to make connections between reading and writing. A lesson about academic vocabulary introduces the four basic parts of speech. Students identify nouns in a set of sentences and then write their own sentences using the same base word but as a different part of speech in each sentence. Support for English Learners in this lesson includes having the group work to form sentences with the vocabulary words, then write new sentences together by changing the word to a different part of speech. There is also a weeklong set of lessons that focus on regular and irregular plural nouns. The first lesson is a spiral review of common, proper, and collective nouns. In the following day's lesson, the teacher writes the words person, place, thing, and idea to remind students that a noun names one of these, then explains that plural noun names at least two people, places, things, or ideas. The teacher challenges students to find the irregular plural noun among those eight words the teacher has written on the board. Students work in partners to name irregular plural nouns and are encouraged to find word pairs with a regular spelling, such as man and men, and one with the same spelling such as moose and moose. The next day's lesson focuses on regular plural nouns that end with -s or -es. Again, students work with partners to come up with as many words as they can that follow this pattern and the irregular plural noun pattern. The following day, students use a page from the student interactive book to edit a draft paragraph for the correct spelling of regular and plural nouns. The teacher reminds students during the Writing Workshop to check that they have correctly spelled the irregular and regular plural nouns.
In Unit 1–5, students make and adjust predictions through the units to support students' ability to apply their knowledge to new genres or texts. In Unit 1, when reading the informational text Picturesque Journeys, students make a prediction in a graphic organizer about three different artists, provide text evidence, then confirm or correct their prediction. In Unit 2, students read the informational text Tracking Monsters, make a prediction, and evaluate whether their prediction was correct, partially correct, or incorrect with an explanation. In Unit 3, students read the realistic fiction Life & Art, make a prediction, and evaluate whether their prediction was correct, partially correct, or incorrect with an explanation. In Unit 5, students read the informational text Earth’s Water Cycle and make a prediction about the heading, diagram, and sidebar text features; students provide text evidence and confirm or correct the prediction.
In Unit 3, students engage in a mini-lesson covering analyzing plot elements. The lesson begins with a focus on strategies where the teacher explicitly teaches the five plot elements of introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution and their purpose within a story. The teacher models and practices with students as they use the student interactive to annotate the plot elements in the shared reading text, A Pet for Calvin. Students engage in the “my turn” component where they use the strategies of identifying plot elements independently; they either complete the student interactive by identifying additional components of plot elements from the shared reading text or use sticky notes to mark places where they can identify plot elements within their independent reading text. Students continue to use the practice of identifying plot elements within their daily reading of shared, independent, and book club texts. Students also apply this knowledge in Unit 4 as they write a fictional piece of text and focus on each plot element as they include it in their writing.
In Unit 5, students create poems after analyzing mentor stack poems and elements of poetry. In Week 3, students learn about poem structure and apply that knowledge to use line breaks, stanzas, and a rhyme scheme. Materials provide a scaffolded sequence of gradual release to independent writing. During modeled writing, teachers provide explicit instruction to help students choose line breaks for their poems and develop punctuation. During shared writing, teachers allow students to work first in a group to start writing and then work independently. Teachers can also provide guided writing help by offering specific words to students as students learn how to rewrite some words for precise meaning.
The materials meet the criteria for including the systematic instruction and practice of foundational skills, including phonics and word analysis skills. There is a research-based sequence of grade-level foundational skills instruction and opportunities for student practice to achieve mastery. Resources include a system to develop knowledge of grade-level phonics patterns and word analysis as outlined in the TEKS for grade 5. Grade-level word recognition skills options promote automaticity, and students practice and apply word analysis skills both in and out of context. Spelling knowledge is built according to TEKS requirements, and specific supports are available for students in need of remediation.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, the program’s approach is research-based; for instance, the materials include two white papers. “Building a Strong Foundation for Successful Reading'' by Sharon Vaughn describes the importance of building foundational literacy skills and phonemic awareness and phonics early on in order to achieve comprehension. “Learning to Read and Write in English—It’s Complicated” by Pat Cunningham explains that the process of learning to read is a combination of learning rules and patterns, as well as the rule expectations. It explains that research supports a comprehensive, well-rounded literacy program that encompasses a variety of instructional approaches. The “myFocus Intervention Teacher’s Guide” notes that the program utilizes a gradual release of responsibility to facilitate skills mastery and cites Fisher and Frey’s research for this approach. Materials explain that skills should be taught in context and refer to literacy expert Tim Shanahan’s position that “engaging and motivating context allows for effective reading instruction.” There is also a research bibliography. Systematic instruction and distributed practice of foundational skills, including opportunities for phonics and word analysis skills, are included. The lessons include a sequential approach to concepts that build on one another and allow students to practice foundational skills. The resources support the development of grade-level phonics patterns, word analysis skills, and spelling knowledge as identified in the TEKS. Each week’s lesson focuses on word study and spelling in alignment. Word study lessons include five lessons for the week, with Lessons 3–5 as flexible options to support intervention or remediation. The spelling and word work lessons are aligned to reinforce each other. Opportunities to practice high-frequency words, word analysis skills, and spelling knowledge are provided through word study lessons, shared reading experiences, and writing workshops. The scope and sequence summarizes TEKS and breaks them into categories by strand. Materials provide sufficient guidance and materials for remediation of foundational skills. A resource called the “Language Awareness Handbook” states that it intends teachers to use these linguistically accommodated lessons during small group time with students. The teacher determines if they need additional scaffolded instruction. The handbook has models of scaffolded instruction, strategies, and routines for both reading and writing workshops. The program “provides a clear sequence of discrete lessons that cover the full range of Foundational Skills, as identified in national and state standards, that are critical to reading success.” The myFocus Intervention Teacher’s Guide includes a “Foundational Skills Trace” that shows when concepts are introduced in the program and how they develop and expand across the grade band and consist of a four-day lesson plan following the same weekly routine. Day 1, the teacher introduces, models, and teaches the skill (“I do” portion); the three following days include practice and monitor progress portions for each day (“We do”) and then conclude with an independent practice at the end of Day 4 (“You do”). The myFocus Intervention resource includes 10 intervention lessons and periodic assessments for groups of related skills.
In Unit 2, students engage in explicit instruction and practice words with prefixes of il-, in-, im-, and ir-, and open and closed syllables. Students practice spelling words with the same prefixes, such as inoffensive, irrational, irreplaceable, inaccurate, and illogical. There are challenge words, such as illumination, inefficiency, and inexplicable. Students practice decoding and dividing the words relax, value, human, and animal into syllables to determine whether each word’s first syllable is open or closed. Following the lesson, students practice the skills in their student interactive by decoding multisyllabic words in syllables and determining if the first syllable of the word is open or closed. Students complete a turn-and-talk activity where they work with a partner to use the words listed on the page in a sentence. An intervention activity supports a variety of skills, including open and closed syllables. The teacher uses the myFocus reader to read the text “The Ocean Explorer” and provide instructional support for open and closed syllables. Students have the opportunity to apply word study lessons within leveled readers.
In Unit 3, a weekly focus is on the suffixes -ous, -eous, and -ious and aligns to TEKS. Lesson 1 begins by reminding students that adding suffixes to a base word changes its meaning and explaining that the suffixes -ous, -eous, and -ious all mean “full of” or “having.” The teacher displays the words famous and hazardous and explains their meaning, models, and guides students to properly identify the base word, suffix, and word meaning. Students can use a dictionary for support. In Lesson 2, students use the interactive workbook to complete a chart by decoding each word, defining the word, and identifying its base word. The teacher explains to students that high-frequency words are ones that “appear often in texts but do not follow regular words study patterns” but instead need practice. The materials provide the words ahead, chance, plural, opposite, wrong, and solution for students to practice. A TEKS-aligned lesson during Week 4 begins with assessing students on their prior knowledge of the suffixes with words such as cautious, adventurous, and humorous. For students who understand how to form and spell words with these suffixes, challenge words for them include advantageous, impervious, and mischievous. In Lesson 2, the teachers remind students that adding a suffix can change the spelling of a base word and that using a dictionary can verify a word’s spelling. The teacher displays the word furious and identifies the base word fury and the suffix -ious. Another spelling word is selected and discussed, and students complete the activity in the workbook. They read the spelling words, spell the words, and sort them by their suffix. For this unit, the word study and spelling lessons do not review the same suffixes. The lesson reminds students that a suffix is a word part added to the end of a word to change its meaning. The teacher models reading a paragraph and points to specific words with the suffix -ness and -ion, such as darkness and direction. The teacher identifies the suffix, covers up the suffix to show the base word, defines the word, and rereads it in the paragraph. This procedure is repeated for the rest of the words in the paragraph. Students identify the words with a suffix, identify the base word and suffix, and determine its meaning. The checkpoint to assess mastery involves the teacher saying a word and a suffix aloud; students add the suffix to the word, say and write the new word, and tell its meaning. Examples include begin + -er, happy + -ness, and invent + -ion. By the end of the week’s intervention lesson, the materials describe mastery as “an overall score of 80% correct is typically considered mastery.” If students have not demonstrated sufficient mastery of one or more skills, the teacher is to review by going back to the lessons to reteach and scaffold as needed.
The materials partially meet the criteria for including diagnostic tools that assess student mastery, in- and out-of-context, at regular intervals, and providing opportunities for teachers to make instructional adjustments. Most tools and assessments focus on comprehension, vocabulary, and writing as opposed to foundational skills; there are foundational skills assessments sprinkled in throughout the materials. There is guidance on specific data points and materials provide some guidance on how to inform instruction based on these assessments. There are few explicit lessons provided to teach students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or correct understanding, or reread when appropriate.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
There is phonics, decoding, and spelling assessment sprinkled throughout myView. In the “Reading-Writing Bridge” of the “Teacher’s Edition,” there is a five-lesson plan for instruction on both phonics and decoding (with the label “Word Study”) and spelling. The fifth lesson focuses on assessment. The “Assessment Guide” at each grade provides teachers with guidance on informing instruction based on assessment data. The Assessment Guide is available in print and on the “Realize” course. There are two parts to the Assessment Guide. Part 1 is all about guidance for the teacher on collecting and using assessment data. The first chapter specifically focuses on the types of data that can be gathered from various assessments and how to use that data to inform instruction. The other chapters in Part 1 provide additional support for the teachers on many aspects of what to assess, how to assess, and how to inform instruction based on the assessment data. Part 2 of the Assessment Guide at each grade level provides teachers with tools to support the assessment of student growth by using the “Reading Behaviors Checklist.” In addition, the “Reading Strategy Assessment Checklist” can be used to support teachers when working with students on critical reading behaviors and self-monitoring skills. Teachers can also use the Skills Conference Record Chart to record students’ behaviors, strategies, and proficiencies in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
In this program, the Baseline Test is a diagnostic assessment that helps teachers determine specific student areas of strength and need at the beginning of the school year; the Middle-of-the-Year Test assesses student progress towards mastery of skills in Units 1–3, while the End-of-the-Year Test assesses progress on skills taught throughout the year. “Cold Read Tests” help teachers determine each student’s word count per minute (a measure of fluency), vocabulary acquisition, and comfort with comprehension. The “Weekly Standards Practice for Word Study” includes one slide with a TEKS practice question in a STAAR-like format. These assessments assist teachers in determining the appropriate instructional grouping for each child. Teachers use this data to group students of similar needs together during small-group instruction and mini-lessons. The materials state that teachers can use “several well-known leveling systems—including DRA™ and Fountas & Pinnell (F&P) Text Level Gradient™” (not included with the materials)—to find a student’s specific reading level. Teachers can pair this data with the materials’ myView Cold Reads (a fluency and word recognition assessment tool) to assess student progress. The “Summative Assessments” includes the “Remediation Opportunities” table for each unit test and the Middle-of-Year test using the “myFocus Intervention” resource; this resource provides the teacher with scripted, step-by-step lessons, with 19 lessons total for foundational skills. Materials assess grade-level phonics within each unit assessment, and a weekly “Progress Check” assesses phonics and word study in five out of 14 test items. This checklist provides an opportunity for the teacher to observe and make notes on student mastery of various foundational skills. For example, the teacher analyzes the student’s ability to decode words with consonant changes and decoding multisyllabic words with vowel teams, including digraphs and diphthongs. The teacher can mark yes or no based on student mastery and make comments, but no specific follow-up instruction is provided with the checklist. Grade 5 materials include leveled readers at levels S–W and a “Leveled Reader Teacher Guide,” containing the instruction of specific skills related to word study in addition to vocabulary and comprehension. There are few specific supports for teachers when working with students to self-monitor, use context to confirm or self-correct understanding, and employ rereading when appropriate. However, when appropriate, students use these strategies through a “close read” mini-lesson in Units 2, 4, and 5, focusing on students monitoring their comprehension using rereading and background knowledge, asking questions, and annotating the text. Callout boxes prompt the teacher to give fluency practice during the shared read and allow students to self-monitor or self-correct their reading with a partner.
In Unit 1, the materials suggest asking students to look at their notebooks to share what they have learned about text structure. One of the possible conference prompts includes, “What is the structure of the text? How does knowing the structure help you understand this text?” During the Shared Read of a selection from Pedro's Journal, the materials include a note in the teacher’s edition about fluency; and direct students to reread a section of two paragraphs aloud with a partner, reminding them to read at an appropriate rate. While the lesson addresses the foundational skill of fluency, it does not help students self-correct and self-monitor.
In Unit 5, the materials suggest conferring about comparing and contrasting two accounts on the same topic. One of the possible conference prompts asks, “What can you learn from this text that you do not find in the other text? What information is the same in both texts?” The student interactive gives students another chance to monitor comprehension as they read complex text. Students check their comprehension to make sure they understand what they read by using a variety of fix-up strategies such as rereading, annotating, reviewing images, and asking questions to adjust and clarify their understanding. These strategies are more aligned to comprehension rather than decoding but still provide some opportunity to monitor and adjust. Students fill in a graphic organizer with details from the text and an explanation of how each fix-up strategy was used to understand the text. While the lesson addresses the foundational skill of fluency, it does not fully support students to self-correct and self-monitor.
The materials meet the criteria for including opportunities for students to practice and develop oral and silent reading fluency while reading a variety of grade-appropriate texts, including rate, accuracy, and expression that supports comprehension. Materials provide grade-level texts to make meaning and build foundational skills and include explicit instruction in fluency, including phrasing, intonation, expression, and accuracy. There are routines for teachers to monitor and provide corrective feedback on these fluency skills.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The materials provide guidance and routines for teachers to monitor student progress in oral reading fluency, especially in the small group guide and throughout the teacher’s edition in various callout boxes and mini-lessons. Small group opportunities focus on fluency both during leveled readers and specific small group instruction based on fluency. Teachers have options to regularly monitor and provide clear, corrective feedback using the “Cold Reads for Fluency and Comprehension” resource. These five weekly options, containing a short passage with multiple-choice and short answer questions (based on TEKS and previously learned skills), are available in each unit at three levels: developing, on-level, and advanced. Teachers can administer them independently or in a small group. As the student reads the text aloud, the teacher records any miscues or errors the student makes during the reading and then stops the student after one minute. There is scoring information on how to score the assessment for words correct per minute (wcpm), expression, prosody, reading rate, and comprehension. For wcpm, the teacher counts the total number of words the student read, subtracting the number of errors, and then calculates the words correct per minute. There is a chart with suggested wcpm data for various stages in grade 5 to guide teacher understanding. Students engage in listening comprehension as the teacher reads a text aligned to the week’s genre; after the read-aloud routine, the teacher provides explicit instruction on different components of fluency and has students practice the skill with the same text. Fluency is one of the “teacher-led options” for small groups for Lessons 2–4 weekly in the reading workshop and allows for practice and assessment. During practice, students work with a partner and take turns reading a passage from the text or a leveled reader; the teacher reminds students of the fluency skill focus of prosody, rate, or accuracy, and if needed, the teacher models the skill. The teacher assesses students on “Oral Reading Rate and Accuracy,” using the specific pages and passages in the cold read resource. There are lessons in the digital reading workshop lesson called “Spotlight on Genre” for each of the literary genres that include a subsection called “Be a Fluent Reader.” There is a fluency rubric for the teacher to score students from 1–4 on volume and expression, syntax/prosody, accuracy, and rate. The leveled readers include fluency components for teachers to monitor and provide corrective feedback, and students have the opportunity to interact with grade-level texts as they make meaning and build foundational skills related to fluency.
In Unit 1, after the listening comprehension lesson about informational text, the materials direct the teacher to project the passage, reread a section, model expression and intonation, and direct students to pay attention to the teacher’s prosody. The teacher has partners select a section to read to each other with expression; students can choose a listening comprehension section to practice reading with a partner. The materials include a note to remind students of the importance of reading with expression or intonation. The teacher models reading aloud a short section of the text Call Me Joe, asking students to pay attention to how the teacher pauses using punctuation; students practice reading aloud while paying attention to punctuation. During the shared read of a selection from Pedro's Journal, the materials include a note in the teacher’s edition about fluency. The note directs students to reread a section of reading paragraphs aloud with a partner, reminding them to read at an appropriate rate. One “Spotlight on Genre” focuses on historical fiction. During the fluency mini-lesson, students practice their fluency by reading aloud a paragraph from the selection Rosa’s Journey or from another historical fiction text. The teacher models by reading a passage aloud, then has the class join in to read it together. The teacher emphasizes accuracy and appropriate rate before students practice reading independently. In the interactive workbook, a section titled “Be a Fluent Reader” states, “Fluent readers read accurately and at an appropriate rate. As you read important ideas in historical fiction, be sure to adjust your rate to emphasize their significance.” Tips also include, “Read at a rate that is slow enough to not skip any letters or words. Do not read so slowly that you lose your place in the text. Read at about the same speed you would speak normally.”
In Unit 3, one “Spotlight on Genre” focuses on realistic fiction. During the fluency mini-lesson, the teacher explains that fluent readers use prosody, which means they read aloud with expression and intonation; students then practice reading aloud with prosody using pages from a realistic fiction text. In the interactive workbook, the section titled “Be a Fluent Reader” states, “Reading with fluency requires practice. Fluent readers read with prosody or expression. Realistic fiction often contains dialogue, which is perfect for practicing prosody.” Tips include, “Raise or lower the pitch of your voice to express the emotion of the character. Read with excitement when you see an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence.” Students have an opportunity to practice reading grade-level text with fluency using the selection Life & Art. The materials direct students to reread a section “focusing on reading with expression.” Students read one of the three poems studied during shared reading and take turns reading it with appropriate punctuation, pauses, and stops. If needed, the teacher models reading with fluent phrasing. During the reading workshop, the teacher reads aloud the short text “Advice from Mr. Chan.” The teacher asks students to pay attention to intonation, which is described as “the rise and fall of your voice.” The teacher emphasizes that appropriate intonation is an important part of expressing meaning. In the independent/collaborative portion of the literacy block, materials direct teachers to have students choose a short passage from a text or leveled reader and work in pairs to practice reading with expression. Materials direct the teacher to tell students to pay attention to the words that show feeling and express them as they read.
In Unit 5, the teacher explains to students that fluent readers are accurate when they read, especially with argumentative texts. Students work in pairs to practice reading aloud with accuracy, focusing on reading unfamiliar words or difficult sentences by looking for letter sounds and spelling patterns they already know, applying rules they have learned for letter sounds and pronunciations, and rereading the sentence to make sure words were not added, skipped, or replaced. Students choose a short passage to read smoothly and at an appropriate rate with a partner during the independent/collaborative portion of the literacy block. The teacher monitors the reading rate of each student and models the rate if needed. If a student is reading too fast, materials direct teachers to tell students that “slowing down will help them read more accurately and understand what they are reading.” If a student is reading too slowly, the teacher instructs them to work through difficult words or phrases and reread the passage.
Leveled readers are throughout all units. While reading the leveled text “An Icelandic Adventure,” the teacher models the reading of dialogue, paying particular attention to exclamation points and question marks. Students reflect on the importance of punctuation and how that affects prosody when reading. Then students read the dialogue on a page, using punctuation to make character emotions clear. In “The Banquet,” the teacher explains that quotation marks tell the reader that someone is talking, and, “The text within quotation marks is to be read as if you are that character.” The teacher reads the conversation between Alena and Sarah, emphasizing the two characters’ dialogue; students practice reading other pages, trying to sound as if the characters are speaking. Students discuss how emphasizing and properly phrasing dialogue helps to understand. The teacher monitors and provides corrective feedback as necessary. When reading the text “Challenger Deep,” the teacher models how to pause and vary the rate of reading to express the suspense of the story. Students reflect on how rate affects the text’s mood and tone and practice reading another suspenseful or exciting page of the text with a partner.
The provided materials meet the criteria for including supports for students who demonstrate proficiency above grade-level. Resources include extensions and differentiation in planning for teachers and learning for students.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout all units, the “Small Group Guide” includes a section addressing modifications for students who need enrichment or more advanced work. Materials state that “Every learner can learn a skill at a deeper, more complex level…. Rather than focusing on more advanced skills, help students become masters of the skills using a variety of more complex texts.” The whole class shared-reads include questions in callout boxes titled either “First Read” or “Close Read,” the latter for use on the second reading of the text. The Close Read questions are marked with the depth of knowledge (DOK) levels and range throughout all four levels. Though the questions are used in a whole-class setting, teachers may make use of questions marked with higher DOK levels to engage above-level students. Small group reading, literacy stations, shared reading texts, and project-based inquiry offer sidebar suggestions on supporting above-level students. The materials include a “Text Complexity Chart” for all of the “Shared Read” selections during the “Reading Workshop.” During the Reading Workshop, teachers model a strategy or skill using a text within a mini-lesson. Students practice the skill with a whole group text or an independent text. Materials provide teachers with specific look-fors in the “Quick Check Notice and Assess” portion of the Reading Workshop. If students show understanding, materials provide specific tasks for an extension. “Quick Checks” are formative assessments. Some of the Quick Checks state if students “show understanding,” they continue practicing the learned strategies in small groups. Additional extension activities from the “Resource Download Center” include nonfiction and fiction bookmarks, genre logs, book recommendations, and reading logs. The bookmarks give students space to write about what they learned, questions for the author, keywords and vocabulary, what they think, and engaging language.
In Unit 1, students discuss historical fiction and specifically how the narrator reflects the times in which they live. Students read Rosa’s Journey and discuss which events and characters are real, and how her journey relates to the unit theme of Journeys. For an extension, students use a map to generate questions about what people can learn by visiting unknown lands, choose one question to investigate, and conduct research about the question. Extension activities for the unit include a “Share Menu,” in which students can choose how they want to share their research, such as creating an infographic or a skit to dramatize what they have learned. In Unit 1, during a five-day project-based inquiry lesson, students research collaboratively and write a travel guide about a country they would like to visit. For extension, students read Culture Shock to build background knowledge and compile a list of more than three questions for research. They highlight keywords and phrases to employ when researching online. Students answer these questions as they conduct research.
In Unit 3, during a small group lesson, the teacher conducts a strategy group that reviews how good readers think about characters’ behavior in different texts to understand the texts better. The teacher works with students to create a simple grid chart to compare how characters from Love, Amalia, and “Morning Serenade” deal with their problems. Upon completing the small group lesson, students who demonstrate skills on- or above-grade-level complete an inquiry activity. Students write about what can be learned from the experiences of older generations and organize their findings into an effective format. Additional extension activities include share ideas menus, inquiry records, inquiry plans, and research plans.
In Unit 4, students explore genres of historical fiction, biography, and informational text surrounding the theme of Freedom in the whole group portion of the Reading Workshop. Materials offer several leveled readers from varying genres, including texts that are at a higher Lexile. Students performing above grade level can read and discuss, To Tell the Truth, a historical fiction Level V text about a newspaper editor who is put in jail for telling the truth. After reading and discussing the text, students write a paragraph arguing whether they think the newspaper was right or wrong to continue publishing editions even after the governor told them not to and use information from the text to support their opinions.
In Unit 5, the class concludes a discussion on informational texts’ elements. The materials provide a Quick Check that asks, “Can students identify elements of informational text?” If students “show understanding,” the materials direct the teacher to extend instruction in small groups. In the teacher-led options for small group instruction, the callout box for “On-Level and Advanced” students says to have students use a specific diagram and text to generate questions about how human actions affect the environment. Then students should choose one question to investigate by conducting research throughout the week. The materials also point out specific “Extension Activities'' from the “Resource Download Center.” A shared read is called Let’s Talk Trash. The Text and Complexity Chart includes prompts such as “What could you tell people to do to help them reduce the amount of food they waste?” and “Think of two ways to reduce wasting food. Explain your thinking to a partner.” After a second reading of Let’s Talk Trash, one of the Close Read questions, marked DOK 3, asks students to scan a specific page of the text using the keywords food and waste to find facts about food waste that differ from those in the infographic on the previous page. The materials ask, “What might explain the discrepancy, or difference, in the number of pounds of food wasted each year and what they could do to learn which figure is more accurate.” The sample response includes one possible reason for the difference and suggests looking at other sources to determine the correct figure.
The materials meet the criteria for including support for students who perform below grade level to ensure they meet grade-level literacy standards. The resources provide opportunities for teachers to plan and students to learn when they demonstrate literacy skills below the grade-level expectation; there are both extensions and differentiation assessments and activities.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, materials state, “While working on the same skills as other students, you may need to adjust the amount of support and scaffolding based on needs. The goal is to have all students master the grade-level expectations.” Strategies such as modeling, small group, and partner work meet the needs of struggling learners. This resource works with core whole and small group instruction. There are opportunities for teachers to assess student learning through informal assessments and “Quick Checks.” The materials provide teachers with specific look-fors in the Quick Check “Notice and Assess” of the Reading Workshop and allow teachers to diagnose students' needs and determine groupings for daily workshop lessons. Literacy stations allow students to practice strategies and improve skills during small group time. This practice includes fluency, word work, reading for meaning, writing, words to know, and spelling. Each activity has specific options for students who demonstrate literacy skills below grade level.
The “Language Awareness Handbook” states that these linguistically accommodated lessons be used during small group time with students that the teacher has determined need additional scaffolded instruction. The handbook has models of scaffolded instruction, strategies, routines, and teacher prompts for both reading and writing workshops. When working with students struggling with a skill, the teacher identifies the related sub-skills they have mastered and builds from there. The suggested sequence for an intervention lesson includes introducing the skill and explaining how mastering it helps students to become better readers and writers, modeling and teaching a strategy for approaching the skill, providing supportive prompts when guiding practice, providing anchor charts that clearly lay out the steps as well as adding visuals to the chart and highlighting keywords, having students practice the strategy on texts they can read, and finally working with students to add the strategies to a strategy journal. This resource includes scaffolded writing. The lessons include introducing the type of writing and understanding its purpose, providing model and practice opportunities for each step of the writing process, and using graphic organizers to organize the writers’ ideas. Within each area of writing, the prompts refer to either “If students need additional support…” or “If students show understanding….” Sidebars in the materials refer teachers back to the bank of mini-lessons for writing. Teachers use observations, conference notes, student work samples, informal progress checks, and formal assessments to determine if students’ literacy skills are below that expected at grade level. The “Small Group Guide” includes a section addressing modifications for students who need intervention.
The Unit 1 “Notice and Assess” section states that if students struggle with the task, teachers should revisit instruction for point-of-view in Small Group titled “Intervention Activity: Understand Point of View.” It directs teachers to use Lesson 22 in the “myFocus Intervention Teacher’s Guide,” which covers more literary devices than just point-of-view, using several shorter, easier texts, but in more specific and gradual steps. The lesson format includes an introduction, teacher modeling, a direct teach portion, and then several practices and monitor progress sections. Sidebar supports include vocabulary support and reminders for teachers such as “Remind students point of view, imagery, sound devices, metaphors, and similes are all literary devices that affect the text in different ways.” The intervention lesson breaks down two identical texts told from different points of view.
In Unit 2, a Quick Check directs teachers to notice and assess, “Can students identify an argumentative text?” The materials state that if students struggle, the teacher should revisit the information in a small group lesson that points out argumentative text features while reading a passage aloud. The materials provide a paragraph script to be stated before reading and directs the teacher to refer to the anchor chart from the whole group lesson. The Intervention Activity is from a separate resource guide. The guide provides two argumentative texts and directs students to pay attention to the reasons and evidence that the author gives to support his argument. The guide includes discussion questions and prompts for the teacher: “When you read an argumentative text, first identify the author’s claim. This is usually found at the beginning or end of the first paragraph.” Additional support activities include completing a graphic organizer that summarizes the author’s reason and evidence to support the argument.
In Unit 4, as a Quick Check, students respond to questions in the Student Interactive using newly acquired vocabulary. If students struggle with this activity, the teacher revisits instruction for developing vocabulary through a small group lesson where students use the text A Leader of the Underground Railroad to recognize academic vocabulary words such as resist, grace, empower, and limitation. They monitor comprehension and identify the text’s theme or central idea and connect it to the Essential Question. Another Quick Check asks if students can identify informational text and compare it to historical fiction. If students struggle, the Intervention Activity focuses on informational and procedural texts. The activity includes two selections and prompts the teacher to explain informational texts and their purpose and identify facts in context within a specific section of a passage. The teacher explains the characteristics of different types of informational text before guided practice opportunities are available for students. During guided practice, the teacher monitors student progress through a formative assessment to determine student proficiency and next steps.
The materials meet the criteria for including support for English Learners (EL) to meet grade-level expectations. There are clearly communicated, sequenced, and scaffold accommodations for linguistics commensurate with all English proficiency levels defined by the ELPS. The resources include adapted text, native language support, cognates, summaries, and pictures. Materials encourage strategic use of students’ first language as a means to develop their English: linguistically, affectively, cognitively, and academically. Vocabulary is developed through connected discourse.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, materials provide all students, including those who read, write, speak or listen in a language other than English, with opportunities to work with grade-level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards. The bulk of supports are tailored for teachers rather than ELs. The materials contain “ELL Observational Assessment Checklists'' for reading, writing, listening, and speaking within the assessment guide. There are differentiated supports for every EL level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, advanced high. Scaffolds include adapted text, cognates, summaries, graphic organizers, sentence frames, connecting or providing background knowledge, gestures, and using strategic talking partners. However, leveraging students’ first language is usually limited to identifying cognates. Only Spanish cognates are mentioned within the units; there are no supports specifically tailored for ELs such as translations, realia, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, or thesauri. Photos or drawings are not in hard copy, but digital resources are available. There are sidebars for “ELL Targeted Support” in every literacy block phase, and there are the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). The materials include a “Guide to the ELPS” chart that supports each ELPS with tips to clarify the standard, suggested examples of the standard, sentence frames for student understanding, and suggested activities for teaching the standard. The “Language Awareness Handbook” is a supplemental resource that includes scaffolded strategies, routines, sentence frames, and lessons to help ELs. The “Linguistic Contrastive Analysis Chart” identifies common errors made between the student’s native language and English. There are lessons for ELs to support the mini-lessons, small group strategy lessons, shared reading opportunities, reading and writing workshop bridges, writers workshop conferences, and project-based inquiry. Vocabulary is developed in the context of connected discourse tied to texts included for whole group, small group, and partner readings.
In Unit 1, students engage in a mini-lesson on figurative language during the reading-writing workshop bridge. To support ELs, the teacher presents students with a text and asks them to look for examples of figurative language. For ELs at the beginning and intermediate levels, the teacher asks, “What form of figurative language is this—is it a simile or some other form of imaginative writing?” For ELs at the advanced and advanced high levels, the teacher asks, “What meaning does the figurative language convey? For example, smooth as glass conveys the idea that the item is extremely smooth.” The support and questioning are differentiated based on where they are in their English development.
In Unit 2, the materials spend a week analyzing and synthesizing information to compare argumentative texts. The weekly opener uses an infographic and a video to stimulate discussion on endangered animals and efforts to protect them. The EL-targeted support focuses on prior knowledge by previewing the images and labels in the infographic as the teacher previews key vocabulary words before reading about each animal. As the whole class learns about the features of argumentative texts and creates the anchor chart, the EL-targeted support focuses on retelling details from the short whole-class read-aloud and having students complete sentence frames to summarize the author's beliefs and claims made in the text. Similar sentence frames are used during the reading workshop with the strategy group as they identify features of an argumentative text.
In Unit 4, students work on writing their own science fiction stories. Conference support for ELs is available for each proficiency level and supports include using modeled writing to help students plan a science fiction story for beginner ELs, asking students to use a flow chart when planning for intermediate ELs, using guided writing to help students brainstorm and plan their stories for advanced ELs, and using guided writing to teach characteristics and structure of science fiction for advanced high ELs. The EL mini-lesson support in this unit gives the option to focus on organizing a science fiction story or setting a purpose. Each option includes activities for each proficiency level, along with additional writing support that can be found in the Language Awareness Handbook.
In Unit 5, students study the informational text genre. The EL Language Transfer callout points out Spanish cognates related to informational text, such as information/informacion, diagram/diagrama, map/mapa, and photo/foto.
The materials meet the criteria for including assessment and guidance for teachers and administrators to monitor student progress, including interpreting and acting on the data. Formative and summative assessments are aligned in purpose, intended use, and TEKS emphasis. There is sufficient guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance, and assessments are connected to the regular content to support learning.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
For all units, the formative and summative assessments, available in both print and digital form, include a baseline diagnostic test, unit tests, middle-of-the-year (Units 1–3) and end-of-year tests (Units 1–5), weekly standards practice, and progress check-ups. In grade 5, the skills and standards addressed are comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. The assessments and scoring information provide guidance for interpreting and responding to student performance and help teachers inform the whole group and small group instruction. A 192-page “Assessment Guide” explains the program’s assessment philosophy, best practices, and descriptions and locations of all the assessments in the program. It covers topics such as how teachers can use assessment and data to inform instruction, how to do data-based decision making, how to use all kinds of assessments to drive instruction, when to use each type of assessment, how to facilitate ongoing assessment using the myView classroom, and how to assess student writing in a writer’s workshop format. The baseline test helps teachers determine each student's starting profile to guide and inform instruction; the accompanying item analysis chart displays each question’s focus or skill, the depth of knowledge (DOK) level, and the aligned TEKS. There are suggestions for instruction based on students’ overall scores on the test. There is fluency support based on miscue types. A “TEKS Practice Assessment” mirrors the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test format, and selections and questions in the unit tests become progressively more difficult from Unit 1 to Unit 5 to reflect the increasing sophistication of materials. The unit tests monitor progress on skills and standards taught within a unit and typically focus on comprehension, conventions, word study, and writing. These assessments include clear purpose, intended use, and the emphasized TEKS and literacy goals, and they connect to the regular content to support student learning. Each unit test is thirty questions consisting of ten comprehension questions paired with two to three passages, ten-word study items, ten convention items, and a writing assignment. Progress check-ups are formative assessments that provide the teacher with information each week about their students’ ability to use the skills and standards taught in class. Other formative assessments happen during lessons that are used to inform instruction, including turn-and-talk opportunities, “Quick Checks” during reading workshop mini-lessons, checks for understanding within the student interactive, individual conferences during reading and writing workshops, and “my turn” opportunities after mini-lessons for word study and spelling. Within the reading workshop, the Quick Check formative assessment provides teachers with an “if/then” response to student data, with two options. For one of the options, the materials describe what the teacher looks for and the next steps to do if students struggle or if students show understanding; this description helps to assess, differentiate, and determine small group instruction using choices from the “Teacher-Led Options.” All modes of assessment are to be used comprehensively: “Combined, your observations, running records, inventories, small-group conferences, surveys, student self-assessments, and ‘Weekly Progress Check-Ups’ results will help to inform your understanding of where your students are and how they are progressing.” During Week 6 of each unit, materials provide a project-based inquiry project related to the unit theme. This assessment encompasses several TEKS skills, such as comparing across texts, inquiry, and research; listening and speaking; and reading and writing.
In the Unit 1 assessment, one question aligned to TEKS 5.9.D.iii analyze text structure asks, “The author ends the selection with the ideas in paragraph 3 most likely to show that....” Five of the multiple-choice questions ask students to find a synonym for an underlined word in a given sentence in a weekly assessment. Five multiple-choice questions ask students to select a word with the same vowel sound as a target word. The last five questions connect to a short passage. There are three multiple-choice comprehension questions, one short answer response, and one longer response that asks students to use the first-person point of view to write a description of what daily life might be like in a remote settlement or faraway place.
In the Unit 3 assessment, one question aligned to TEKS 5.8.C analyze plot elements is, “Which sentence best shows the Walker family’s conflict in the story.” For the writing assignment, the teacher states, “in ‘Martina and the Mystery Tree,’ Martina takes a walk through a forest. Write a brief opinion essay of at least three paragraphs about whether people should explore nature or leave it alone. Write your essay on a separate sheet of paper.”
In the Unit 5 assessment, one question aligned to TEKS 5.9.Dii Identify Main Idea and Details is “Which sentence states the main idea of paragraphs 1 and 2...?” Two questions relate to interpreting text features and are aligned to the TEKS 5.9.D.ii. The materials also show that one question is written in STAAR test format to give students experience. If a student misses both of those questions, the teacher understands the skill that needs to be retaught, the aligned TEKS, and they use lesson 31 from the myFocus remediation opportunities.
The materials meet the criteria for including year-long plans and supports for teachers to identify students’ needs and provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a range of learners for grade-level success. Materials provide an overarching year-long plan to engage students in multiple groupings. Plans are explicit for on-level students. There are additional options for students who perform above or below grade level. However, there do not appear to be entry or exit points for individual differentiation needs. Teacher edition materials include annotations and supports for engaging students and implementing ancillary and resource materials that support student learning and teacher direction. There are no specific plans to differentiate for students that are below or above grade level.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
The program has an overarching year-long plan for teachers to engage students in multiple grouping structures with the provided instructional model and daily plans found at the beginning of the teacher’s edition (TE) and in the “Program Overview.” The TE has multiple sidebars with differentiated support for teachers as well as information and support found within ancillary materials. The TE and “Small Group Guide” also include annotations and support for student learning and engagement and assistance for teachers in implementing ancillary or resource materials and student progress components, including reference to lessons or page numbers in the handbooks. There are multiple grouping strategies for teachers to implement flexible groupings, such as whole group, small group, partner work, individual work, and turn and talk opportunities. The overall plan describes learning for a typical on-level student and is not differentiated for various student needs. Most differentiated instruction occurs in small groups, with intense small group time for remedial students and independent reading or worksheets for advanced students, with no specific guidance for differentiated pacing and timing.
The “Getting Started with myView” component provides teachers with a detailed scope and sequence, a TEKS correlation, and a table of contents. These documents clearly show how the materials build student knowledge throughout the year while connecting to content that has been previously learned in the current and previous grade levels. These materials do not include a year-long plan for grouping, but they do include a variety of grouping strategies within different components. Students frequently engage in turn and talk opportunities during the unit introduction, when interacting with genre sources, during formative assessment opportunities based on reading strategies, and during reading conferences.
While there is not a year-long plan of instruction, the materials include both a “Unit of Study” plan and a “Unit Overview,” which lists the main title for the shared read and learning goal, titles, social-emotional learning goals, daily goals, and a summary of the Week 6 inquiry and research project. The “Skills Overview” page lists the skills and TEKS in the lesson bank for each phase of the workshop blocks and in the Week 6 project. The “Workshop Overview” page lists observable behaviors, in the form of question stems, for each part of the literacy block. These help teachers guide their “observations of students' literacy behaviors and to identify responsive teaching points out the unit.” The final page in the unit overview lists titles and levels in the leveled readers library and directs teachers to use the “Leveled Reader Teacher’s Guide” or the “Small Group Guide” for support to incorporate reading into small group time.
The reading block’s daily plan includes beginning with whole group instruction to focus on word work, genre, theme, comprehension, and time to reflect and share. Following the whole-group lesson is small group, independent, collaborative action time, all of which support differentiation. Small-group can be used for guided reading, strategy groups, intervention, on-level and advanced activities, EL targeted support, conferring, and fluency. Students participate in partner reading, independent reading, “book club,” literacy activities, or word work during the student independent and collaborative action time. The reading workshop ends in a whole-group with an opportunity for a “share back.” Students share their observations or reflections from their small group, independent work time, or collaborative time.
The teacher forms a strategy group based on the support needed for a specific skill. Materials state, “Strategies are actions or steps used to help readers and writers accomplish a skill or task; instructions for these strategies are explicit and focused.” In an on-level small group, the teacher works with students to teach strategies or guide the practice of skills introduced during mini-lessons. With intervention groups, the teacher works with students struggling with a skill. Materials support teachers by identifying related subskills students have mastered to build from that point; these activities are tiered, specific, and scripted. For advanced groups, materials state, “Rather than focusing on more advanced skills, [enrichment groups] help students become masters of the skills using a variety of more complex texts.” For English Learner (EL) groups, teachers are to “focus attention on individual language strengths and make modifications as needed.” Lessons provide support for students in each stage of EL proficiency.
During the writing workshop block, the daily plan includes beginning with whole group instruction using mini-lessons. Following the whole group lesson, students engage in independent writing and individual conferring, allowing the teacher opportunities to differentiate instruction. The writing workshop ends with “share back.” Students share their observations or reflections from their small group, independent work time, or collaborative time.
The materials meet the criteria for including implementation support for teachers and administrators. A TEKS-aligned scope and sequence shows the essential knowledge and skills taught, the order they are taught, and how they build and connect across grade levels. Materials include additional support to aid teachers in the implementation of the materials. The program provides enough lessons for 180 or 220 days and allows for flexibility. Pacing includes directions to guide teachers in how to pace the lessons, including pacing of remediation, extensions, or deletion of lessons.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
This program contains five units with six weeks of instruction in each unit and a five-day lesson each week for 150 days worth of lessons. The first five weeks are spent on literacy instruction, with the sixth week as a research and inquiry week. The “Baseline Test,” unit tests, Middle-of-Year, End-of-Year, TEKS Practice tests add another nine days for these assessments, totaling 159 days, allowing for some flexibility for the weekly progress check-ups, remediation after assessments, and STAAR preparation; the provided mini-lesson banks for each workshop contain lessons that can extend days of instruction from 180 to 220. Through “Realize,” administrators can customize and differentiate their dashboard, focusing on teacher support. Among other things, these options allow educators to view standards mastery and usage across the classroom, create teacher PD and training plans, and streamline school data analysis.
The combined time for the reading and writing workshop ranges from 70–105 minutes daily. This time includes the “Reading-Writing Bridge” lessons. The Bridge consists of one lesson per week for “Academic Vocabulary,” “Read Like a Writer,” and “Write for a Reader,” and five lessons per week for “Word Study,” “Spelling,” and “Language and Conventions.” The time allotted for each component is unrealistic; students and teachers need more time to complete the lessons in their entirety. Materials state a “flexible option” next to some bridge lessons, but no guidance is given for which lessons are mandatory or optional. Likewise, in the “Unit Skills Overview,” all listed reading and writing mini-lessons are labeled in the “Minilesson Bank.” No guidance is given for which lessons are mandatory or optional. The lessons have time recommendations for each component which are often longer than most districts provide; suggested breakdowns for each component of the literacy block, totaling 120 minutes for the reading and writing workshop block, include Reading mini-lesson or shared reading: 10–20 minutes, Reading workshop bridge: 5–10 minutes, Small group/Independent reading: 20–30 minutes, Writing mini-lesson: 5–10 minutes, Independent writing: 30–40 minutes, and Writing workshop bridge: 5–10 minutes.
The materials meet the criteria for including print and digital visual design that is neither distracting nor chaotic. There is an appropriate use of white space and design that does not divert students’ attention; the pictures and graphics are supportive of student learning and engagement without distraction.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
Throughout the program, pictures and graphics are easily identifiable by students and supportive of student learning. The teacher’s edition is user-friendly, and sidebars and callout boxes for think-alouds, discussion prompts, and small group support are consistently in the same place. Tables, charts, and other graphic organizers in the workbook are clear, concise, purposeful, not distracting, and large enough for students to label or write in. The interactive student workbook includes all whole group/shared read texts with ample sidebar and line space for students to annotate. All texts include either illustrations or photographs. Images on the pages align to the instruction and are typically those within the shared reading texts. There are anchor chart examples for genre information, which are clearly designed and supportive for student learning. There are cartoon figures throughout the student materials, as well as icons and common phrases that denote a routine, such as “Turn and Talk” or “My Turn.” Some handouts in the “Resource Download Center” consist of practice for the components of “Language and Convention,” “Word Study,” and “Spelling”; all of these handouts begin with notes or definitions at the top of the page, then a My Turn section where students complete practice on the lines, space, or table. Digital components of the student interactive mirror the print version, so white space and graphics have the same productivity. There is a drop-down menu for each week; therefore, students can toggle back and forth between the components of reading, reading and writing bridge, and writing workshop. The student edition flipbook allows students to turn a page, as in a traditional hardcopy book. The digital edition in the “Realize Reader” presents the shared read as a continuous scroll with a nearly two-inch header at the top; depending on the device’s size, a student may struggle to scroll through the correct place as they read.
In Unit 1, there is an anchor chart on informational text. The anchor chart includes the purpose, its elements, and a list of the different text structures. The selection Picturesque Journeys includes photos of famous artists, maps, and flags to show where they are from and some of their most famous pieces.
In Unit 2, an anchor chart on text structure defines the problem and solution structure and shows how to explain each part using a graphic organizer. Far from Shore utilizes graphs about animals, diagrams to show the parts of a ship, and illustrations with labels of the animals found in the ocean.
In Unit 3, an anchor chart describes the different parts of a story’s plot, including the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The parts are numbered and show an illustration of a character going up and down a mountain, with each step representing a part of the plot. The poetry collection has crayon drawings and illustrations in sepia and other shades of brown as described in the poems.
In Unit 4, there is an anchor chart for historical fiction. The anchor chart is in a checklist format. Ezekiel Johnson Goes West is a comic strip with a black, white, and blue color scheme throughout the entire selection.
In Unit 5, an anchor chart on text features lists the different types of lists, visuals, titles, and text. An excerpt from Rocks and Fossils shows a variety of graphic features, such as photographs of diamonds and graphite; Yosemite National Park, which is made of granite; the Lincoln Memorial made from marble; and a diagram of the rock cycle. The background on each page of the selection is a close-up of a rock, demonstrating the lines on the rock and its texture.
The materials include technology components that are grade-level appropriate and support learning. The supports enhance learning, and there is appropriate teacher guidance.
Evidence includes but is not limited to:
This program incorporates technology for students that enhances student learning. The digital “Student Interactive” includes all mentor texts and student activities, which are easy to navigate, complete, and submit to the teacher. Students annotate texts digitally. Assessments are available for students to complete digitally and are easy to navigate. Question prompts and directions are in logical places. A “Notebook” button allows students to type questions, thoughts, ideas, and responses. Some pages, such as the unit opener, include a clickable response option for ranking progress toward learning goals. The Student Interactive also includes unit-launch video shorts students can view, pause, and repeat. Each page also includes an audio feature that provides an audio reading of the text on the page; this feature is on student activity pages as well as mentor text readings. The videos relate to the essential question and are engaging in vocabulary activities. Students fill in a digital reading log and engage in all components and activities related to the reading workshop, writing workshop, and reading and writing workshop bridge. The materials include a “Student Interactive Flipbook”; it is identical to the physical copy of the student edition and includes various features that enhance student learning such as a search function, full text, brush tool, bookmark sticky note, and the ability to project. The search function allows users to search for a word or phrase, with results yielding all page numbers where the word or phrase is found. Only the text on the page is shown on a white background with all images and colors removed when the full-text feature is enabled. The leveled readers are available online, and many include a video to build background knowledge and a list of important vocabulary words. All text can be read from the screen, or the student can push a play button to have the words read to them; there is a separate button to turn the left or right page of the book. The materials include teacher guidance with the “Digital Walkthrough” document for the online platform found in the “Getting Started with myView” section of the online resources. In this document, there are step-by-step directions on how to assign content and activities to students.