Alignment to College and Career Ready Standards: Overall Summary

The instructional materials for Journeys Kindergarten do not meet expectations for alignment. While the materials partially meet expectations for Gateway 1, they do not meet expectations for Gateway 2.

The Kindergarten materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. While some literary texts included in materials are of quality, informational texts are often short and lack engaging, content-area vocabulary. Though there are text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text, students are seldom asked to draw their own conclusions or inferences. Culminating tasks are present, but often are not supported by the unit texts. Grammar and conventions lessons and practice are often not aligned to grade level standards. Texts are organized around a theme with some topic organization, but the materials do not consistently support building students' knowledge of topics or themes over the course of a school year. The materials contain few sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts, and said culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic. The year-long vocabulary plan does not ensure that students will interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year. Materials partially support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year and do they include some progression of focused research projects. The materials for Kindergarten partially do provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

See Rating Scale
Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
27
52
58
45
52-58
Meets Expectations
28-51
Partially Meets Expectations
0-27
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
14
28-32
Meets Expectations
16-27
Partially Meets Expectations
0-15
Does Not Meet Expectations

Usability

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Not Rated

Not Rated

Gateway 3:

Usability

0
23
30
34
0
30-34
Meets Expectations
24-29
Partially Meets Expectations
0-23
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway One

Text Quality & Complexity and Alignment to Standards Components

Partially Meets Expectations

+
-
Gateway One Details

The Kindergarten materials partially meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the standards. Many texts included in materials are of quality, and include rich language, engaging illustrations and images, and well-crafted elements. Some texts, however, lack complexity and do not require students to think critically, thus limiting opportunities for rich conversation about the text.Texts are organized around a theme with some topic organization, but the materials do not consistently support building students' knowledge of topics or themes over the course of a school year.

Text dependent questions to accompany each anchor and supporting text and require students to return to the texts, however, these texts and questions do not support the culminating tasks required each week. The materials contain few sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts, and said culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic.

Grammar and conventions lessons and practice are aligned to grade level standards. The year-long vocabulary plan does not ensure that students will interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year.

Materials partially support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year; however, there is limited support for teachers to facilitate focused research projects with their students. The materials for Kindergarten partially do provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class, however, there is limited support to aid teachers in supporting students in making appropriate text choices.

Criterion 1a - 1f

Texts are worthy of students' time and attention: texts are of quality and are rigorous, meeting the text complexity criteria for each grade. Materials support students' advancing toward independent reading.
16/20

Indicator 1a

Anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2 and shared reading texts in Grade 2 used to build knowledge and vocabulary) are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading/listening and consider a range of student interests.
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations for anchor texts (including read aloud texts in K-2 and shared reading texts in Grade 2 used to build knowledge and vocabulary) are of publishable quality and worthy of especially careful reading/listening and consider a range of student interests. The Kindergarten anchor texts are a combination of read alouds, big books, and paired selections, which contain rich language, engaging illustrations and images, and well-crafted elements which address a wide range of student interests. Examples of quality texts include:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, the teacher reads aloud a big book called How do Dinosaurs go to School? by Jane Yolen. This text contains a unique style of asking questions for the majority of the book. The illustrations have vibrant colors and details.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 6, the teacher reads aloud a big book called My Five Senses by Aliki. This text contains lifelike illustrations and precise details. The text has descriptive verbs with illustrations to support the verbs.
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 13, the teacher reads aloud a big book called What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins. This text contains paper art as illustrations. The text is well-crafted using a repeating pattern to explain different animals’ tails.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 20, the teacher reads aloud a big book called Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery by Margret Rey and H.A. Rey. This text is engaging for students as it features a popular literary character. The text contains suspenseful events as the character tries to find a dinosaur bone.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 22, the teacher reads aloud an anchor text called A Tiger Grows Up by Anastasia Suen. This text contains intricate paintings of tigers and their habitats. The paintings support the text and help students understand the text.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, the teacher reads aloud a big book called Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. This text contains black and white illustrations, which are unique in a children’s picture book. The creative wording is engaging.

However, some texts are not of publishable quality. At least one story in each unit (including read-alouds, big books, and paired selection) does not require the students to read or think critically. Since these texts do not require critical thinking, students may struggle to engage in rich conversation about the text. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, the students listen to What Makes a Family? by Pam Munoz Ryan. This text contains outdated photographs and simple sentences.
In Unit 1, Lesson 2, the students listen to Friends at School by Rochelle Bennett. This text contains outdated photographs, which do not contain relatable images for students of the 21st century.

Indicator 1b

Materials reflect the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards at each grade level.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten fully meet the expectations for reflecting the distribution of text types and genres required by the standards. The Common Core State Standards recommend that there be a 50-50 balance between informational and literary texts in Grades K-2. The Journeys literacy materials for Kindergarten are divided into big books, read-alouds, and paired selections. Though the read-alouds are more heavily weighted toward literary selections, the balance is achieved by working across all three categories. It is also important to note that many of the literary selections support the topics covered by informational texts. This balance is represented in the list below:

  • Big books- 15 informational texts to 15 literary texts.
  • Paired selections- 17 informational to 13 literary texts
  • Read-alouds- 9 informational to 21 literary texts
  • Total: 41 informational to 49 literary texts

The texts also reflect a distribution of genres by including realistic fiction, fantasy, poetry/song, fables/folktales/fairytales, and one biography. The titles below represent a sample of genres in the materials.

  • “My Five Senses” by Aliki (informational)
  • “The Tortoise and The Hare” by Aesop (fable)
  • “El Cocquito” a Puerto Rican lullaby (song)
  • “Good Morning Digger” by Anne Rockwell
  • The Curious George books by Margret and H.A. Rey (fantasy)
  • “Kitten’s First Full Moon” by Kevin Henkes (realistic fiction)
  • “Silverly": by Dennis Lee (poetry)

Indicator 1c

Texts (including read-aloud texts and some shared reading texts used to build knowledge and vocabulary) have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade level according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and a relationship to their associated student task. Read-aloud texts at K-2 are above the complexity levels of what most students can read independently.
4/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations that the read aloud texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Many of the read-aloud texts for shared and interactive reading are at a higher Lexile level usually recommended for grades 2-3. Most Lexile or Guided Reading levels for these texts are not provided by the publisher, but are labeled as “Teacher Reads Aloud” because students will not be reading them independently. Lexile levels used below were found at https://lexile.com/. The teacher materials also provide a “Why This Text?” section that explains why the selected text is relevant to the reader’s learning. Teacher materials outline planned scaffolding to ensure that these texts are accessible for Kindergarten students. For guided reading materials and the vocabulary readers, the quantitative information according to leveled readers is also provided. In Unit 1, guided readers begin at level A or B and move to levels C to F by the end of Unit 6. The vocabulary readers for support also range from level A to B for independent student reading. Texts for teacher read-alouds begin at the low range (350L) of the second to third grade Lexile band and advance to higher end of the range (740L) of Grade 6.

Texts for read-alouds and shared reading are also reviewed with a qualitative analysis based on criteria as outlined in Appendix A in the CCSS: purpose/levels of meaning, text structures, language features, and knowledge demands. Like the quantitative progression, the texts used at the beginning of Unit 1, fell into the lowest level of qualitative complexity, but by Unit 6 the texts scored middle to high on each of the categories of the qualitative complexity analysis.

The evidence listed below exemplifies the quantitative and qualitative complexity across the year.

Unit 1: Lesson 2

Guided Reading Leveled Readers: Level A to D

Vocabulary Reader: Level A

Read-Aloud: Friends at School by Rochelle Bunnett

  • Readability Level: 350L
  • Qualitative analysis: low range of complexity

Big Book: “How do Dinosaurs go to School” by Jane Yolen

  • Readability level: 420L
  • Qualitative analysis: low to middle range of complexity

Paired Selection: “My School Bus” by Stephen Schaffer

  • Readability level: AR 1.4
  • Qualitative analysis: low level of complexity

Unit 4: Lesson 16

Guided Reading Leveled Readers: Level A to C

Vocabulary Reader: Level B

Read-Aloud text: “Dear Mr. Blueberry” by Jane Yolen

  • Readability level: 660L
  • Qualitative analysis: low to middle range complexity

Big Book: “What is Science?”

  • Readability level: 350L
  • Qualitative Analysis: middle range qualitative complexity

Paired Selection: “Benjamin Franklin, Inventor” by Linda Ruggieri

  • Readability level: No Lexile found
  • Qualitative analysis: middle range complexity

Unit 6: Lesson 28

Guided Reading Leveled Readers: Level A to F

Vocabulary Reader: Level B

Read-Aloud text: “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper

  • Readability level: 740L
  • Qualitative analysis: middle range complexity

Big Book: “You Can do it Curious George” by Margret and H.A. Ray

  • Readability level: 470L
  • Qualitative Analysis: middle range qualitative complexity

Paired Selection: Poems about “Things You can Do” by various authors

  • Readability level: Lexile measures are not applicable to poetry
  • Qualitative analysis: middle to high range of complexity

Indicator 1d

Materials support students' literacy skills (comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (leveled readers and series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels).
2/4
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations for materials supporting students’ literacy skills (understanding and comprehension) over the course of the school year through increasingly complex text to develop independence of grade level skills (Leveled readers and series of texts should be at a variety of complexity levels). While the texts (Read-Aloud Book, read-aloud Big Book, Paired Selection), increase in complexity across the school year, the scaffolding of each read-aloud and paired selection for reader and task is similar and comparable for each text regardless of the complexity and demands of each text. This may not ensure students are supported to access complex texts.

Texts for read-alouds begin at the low range of the Grade 2-3 Lexile band and advance to the higher end of the range or even into the lower Grade 4 level by the end of Unit 6. Texts for read-alouds and shared reading are also measured for qualitative complexity based on criteria as outlined in Appendix A in the CCSS: purpose/levels of meaning, text structures, language features, and knowledge demands. Like the quantitative progression, the texts used at the beginning of Unit 1, fell into the lowest level of qualitative complexity, but by Unit 6 the texts scored middle to high on each of the categories of the qualitative complexity analysis. Teacher materials outline planned scaffolding. All students only have access to the most complex texts in the materials for a limited time. The Read-Aloud Book has two days (Day 1 and Day 4) for instruction. The read-aloud Big Book has two days (Day 2 and Day 3) of instruction. The Paired Selection has one day of instruction. Although whole-group texts increase in complexity, the scaffolding across texts is similar and the same amount of time for support is recommended across the units.

For leveled reading materials and the vocabulary readers, the quantitative information according to leveled readers progresses through the year. In Unit 1, guided readers begin at level A or B depending on the students' current reading levels. The vocabulary text for support also begins at level A. By the end of Unit 6, these texts range from level C to F depending on students’ reading progress. The vocabulary readers for each lesson series ends with Level B for students with the expectation that they will independently read them. Leveled readers are provided to support student knowledge and comprehension of whole-group lesson content and build student literacy skills. The materials also provide foundational skills, independent reading suggestions, word study, and intervention materials for each lesson series to support student literacy.

Overall from Units 1 to 6, the quantitative and qualitative aspect of texts grow in complexity, although at times less complex texts are used to support student understanding and reading practice.

Indicator 1e

Anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2) and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for anchor texts (including read-aloud texts in K-2) and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis. Texts are identified as having an appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and relationship to their associated student task.

Each lesson series is preceded by a “Prepare for Complex Text” page in the Teacher Edition that offers quantitative and qualitative information for read-aloud books, big books, and paired selections. Big books and paired selections are labeled as “Teacher Reads Aloud” because students will not be reading them independently. For guided reading materials and the vocabulary readers, the quantitative information according to leveled readers or DRA scores is provided.

The teacher materials also provide a “Why This Text?” section that explains how the selected text is relevant for the reader’s learning. Teacher materials also select key features and academic language focus for the big books and paired selections that adhere to the qualitative or quantitative complexities in the text and offer suggestions for reader support and tasks.

Texts for read-alouds and shared reading are also reviewed with a qualitative analysis, based on criteria as outlined in Appendix A in the CCSS: purpose/levels of meaning, text structures, language features, and knowledge demands. Below is an example from the “Prepare for Complex Text” page:

Unit 3: “Jump into January” by Stella Blackstone

Genre: Informational Text

Why This Text?

  • This interactive rhyming text describes weather and seasonal activities over a year.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about weather across the months
  • Compare and contrast information
  • Gather information from text and visuals

Quantitative Measures: Teacher Reads Aloud

Qualitative Measures: Low Complexity

Purpose/Level of Meaning:

  • Density and Complexity: 25% of the texts contain a single level of meaning

Text Structures:

  • Organization: 25% of the texts contain a clear sequential organization
  • Text features: 50% of the secondary texts, complex tasks include naming items in the illustrations

Language Features:

  • Conventionality and Register: 25% of the texts contain mostly familiar and concrete language
  • Sentence Structure: 25% of the texts contain a repeated, predictable sentence structure

Knowledge Demands

  • Life Experiences/Background Knowledge: 50% of the texts contain some possibly unfamiliar life experiences.

Indicator 1f

Anchor text(s), including support materials, provide opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the expectations for providing opportunities for students to engage in a range and volume of reading to achieve grade level reading over the course of the school year. There are many opportunities for students to practice with different texts in and out of the topics being studied at the time. The core materials contain read-alouds, anchor texts, the student textbook, and paired reading selections. Supporting materials include big books, guided readers, vocabulary readers, Alphafriends cards, high frequency word cards readers’ notebooks, and biliteracy resources in Spanish, which offer students access to multiple texts daily for shared, guided, and independent reading. Materials also provide a Common Core ELA Exemplar Text Resource that provide teachers close reading support, pacing, and tasks for texts found in the K-1 CCSS Exemplar texts. These are texts offered beyond the curriculum for extended shared or independent reading practice.

Each lesson series follows a general format in which students engage in reading or having access to multiple texts each day. The typical lesson series for all 30 lessons features multiple texts and resources centered around the current topic. Guided readers are also used throughout the entire lesson series. The Audio Hub in Teacher Resources also provides audio versions of the big books and texts in the student books.

For example, a week of instruction may include:

Day 1: Read-aloud text, Big book, word cards, vocabulary reader

Day 2: Big Book, word cards, reader’s notebook, student textbook

Day 3: Big book, Paired selection, student textbook, word cards

Day 4: Big book, student text book, read-aloud text

Day 5: Big book, word cards, literacy guide, student textbook, reader’s notebook

Each lesson also includes interactive literacy visuals and projectables to aid in literacy development. While maintaining a close balance between informational and literary texts, the materials also provide students a range of genres such as illustrative texts, narratives, realistic fiction, fantasy, poetry/song, fables/folktales, fairy tales, readers’ theater, and biographies. Texts are organized by topics such as family, friendship, animals, pets, weather, science, self, careers, technology, geography, food, and letters


Materials provide suggestions for teachers that give attention to oral reading skills and offer ways for teachers explicitly teach foundational skills. Differentiation options are provided which includes extra reading materials, audio recordings, and fluency practice.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
11/16
+
-
Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of questions, tasks, and assignments being text-based and requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Students are asked text-based questions throughout the daily lessons. These questions are included in the teacher read-aloud, big book reads, and the paired selection read.

The instructional materials do not meet the expectation for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions and activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination). The questions largely focus only on text relationships (to text, to self and, to world), and do not build toward a culminating task to demonstrate mastery of skills. The culminating task is repeated throughout the year and asks students to compare two texts.

There are some opportunities and protocols within the materials for evidence-based discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. While there are occasions for students to work in pairs, small groups, and as a large group, there is little guidance as to discussion protocols to help the teacher guide students as they learn reciprocal communication skills.

There is partial support for relevant follow-up questions and support to bolster students’ listening and speaking opportunities related to what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects). Students practice listening comprehension during the weekly read-aloud and are asked follow-up questions about the reading. Students read and respond to questions during the reading of big books in whole class discussion and partner talk, though protocols and follow-up questions are limited.

The materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where necessary to meet the requirements of the Common Core standards which call for students to combine drawing, dictating, and writing to be able to compose complete sentences or short pieces in which they state an opinion, explain a topic, or write about a single event.

There are some opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level provided in the materials. Writing prompts and tasks are only occasionally connected to texts and minimal guidance and scaffolding is available for both teacher and student.

Daily, student receive explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of the context.

Indicator 1g

Most questions, tasks, and assignments are text-based, requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text).
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of questions, tasks, and assignments being text-based and requiring students to engage with the text directly (drawing on textual evidence to support both what is explicit as well as valid inferences from the text). Students are asked text-based questions throughout the daily lessons. These questions are included in the teacher read-aloud, big book reads, and the paired selection read.

The following are examples of text-based questions:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, students are asked, “Look at the children on these pages. How are the children different from one another?”
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 9, students are asked, “What do the words say about the cement mixer?”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students are asked, “What do the photographs show about how the seeds scatter? Look carefully at both photos.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 15, students are asked, “How are the things in the sky on these pages different from what we have seen so far?”
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 20, students are asked, “What happens when George tries to help? Are the people happy?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 23, students are asked, “What animal can you see in the garden in this story?”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 25, students are asked, “What does the baker make in this story?”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, students are asked, “What can George do?”

Indicator 1h

Materials contain sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions with activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate, may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).
0/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectation for materials containing sets of high-quality sequences of text-based questions and activities that build to a culminating task which integrates skills to demonstrate understanding (as appropriate may be drawing, dictating, writing, speaking, or a combination).

At the end of each lesson, students are asked to compare texts. Students answer three questions: Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, and Text-to-World. Only the Text-to-Text questions refer back to the lesson’s text(s). The question is consistently the same. Students are to compare two texts and tell how they are alike and different. The lesson’s questions and tasks do not build to this question. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students are asked to compare and contrast the Big Book, Jump into January, and the Read-Aloud book, Every Season. Students are asked, “ How are the two books the same? What is different about the way these books look?” There are no text-based questions that would lead students to answer these questions.
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 23, students are asked to compare and contrast Zinnia’s Flower Garden and “Growing Sunflowers.” Students are asked, “How are the texts alike? How are they different?” There are no text-based questions that would lead students to answer these questions.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, students are asked to compare the kitten in Kitten’s First Full Moon and George in Curious George Makes Pancakes. Students are asked, “How are the two characters alike? In these two stories, which animal character acts like a real animal? How do you know? Which animal character acts like a person? How do you know?” There are no text-based questions that would lead students to answer these questions.

Indicator 1i

Materials provide frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for providing frequent opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions (small group, peer-to-peer, whole class) that encourage the modeling and use of academic vocabulary and syntax. While there are opportunities for students to work in pairs, small groups, and as a large group, there is little guidance as to discussion protocols.

In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students are asked to return to the essential question for the lesson. The Think-Pair Share directions state:

  • Have partners think about the Essential Question and recall details from “Jump Into January”, using details and their own experiences to answer.
  • As partners discuss the question, remind them to take turns speaking and to listen carefully when their partner is speaking.
  • Have children ask their partners questions about their favorite season and activities that they do during that season. Encourage them to answer questions their partner asks them to keep the conversation going.
  • Remind children to use the words they learned to describe the seasons and seasonal activities in their questions and answers.
  • As needed, guide the children to stay on the topic of seasons and to speak in complete sentences.
  • Bring the group together, and call on several sets of partners to share their ideas.

Teachers are asked to have students participate in a Think-Pair-Share, but there is little guidance as to what this structure looks like and no opportunity for modeling. The children are instructed to ask their partners questions about their favorite season and activities, but there are no suggested questions or sentence starters, nor the guidance to have the kids generate possible questions as a class that could be used to help facilitate the discussion. Children are asked to use words that they learned in their discussion, but again, a list of words (either posted or discussed before they broke into partnerships) is not available. There is no modeling or scaffolding that would allow students to carry out this task successfully and be able to ask and answer questions.

Text selections have a Text X-Ray in the Prepare for Complex Texts section that offers some guidance for teachers concerning key ideas and academic language, but it specified as English Language Support and may be overlooked by the teacher when seeking supports for students who are native English speakers.

Academic words are listed in the “Respond to the Read Aloud” section and discussed in the “Discuss Oral Vocabulary” section. They are discussed after the reading of the story and mainly follow a teacher-led question and answer format.


The selection vocabulary for the Big Book is introduced and discussed before the reading of the selection and little guidance is given. An example is Unit 3, Lesson 14, “Tell children that they may hear some words they might not know as you read the Big Book together. Share the explanations of the Selection Vocabulary with children.”

Indicator 1j

Materials support students' listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.
1/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet expectations for supporting students’ listening and speaking about what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching (shared projects) with relevant follow-up questions and supports.

Students practice listening comprehension during the weekly read-aloud. Students are asked follow-up questions during the read-aloud. Students read and respond to questions during the reading of big books in whole class discussion and partner talk.

On Day 5 of each week in the Extend the Topic section, there is a Speaking and Listening or a Research and Media Literacy activity. Directions for this are minimal and do not give examples or provide extra scaffolding where it may be needed. There is limited instruction to support students mastering listening and speaking skills. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Lesson 14, Day 5, students are asked to discuss animal habitats. Students work in groups to research habitats using the Read Aloud book, the internet or other reference sources. Students then draw and present their findings to the class. The direction given states, “Ask each group to share their habitat drawing with the class and point out all the features of the habitat. Encourage other children to ask questions. Display the drawings in the classroom, and make copies for the children in each group to take home.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 24, Day 5 students play a guessing game in which they guess an animal when they are given clues by the teacher. Students then take turns giving clues while classmates guess animals. Teachers are directed to, “Encourage children to think about what the animal looks like, its habitat, and what it eats when thinking of clues to describe it.”

While the activities offer opportunities to speak with and listen to one another about what they are reading and researching, there is little support for the teacher to guide them as they build these skills in young students.

Indicator 1k

Materials include a mix of on-demand and process writing (e.g. multiple drafts, revisions over time) and short, focused projects, incorporating digital resources where appropriate.
2/2
+
-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation of materials, including a mix of on-demand and process writing and short, focused projects incorporating digital resources where necessary. The Common Core standards for Kindergarten call for students to combine drawing, dictating, and writing to be able to compose complete sentences or short pieces in which they state an opinion, explain a topic, or write about a single event. Each weekly lesson provides students the opportunity to meet these standards by moving from shared writing to guided writing and culminating with an independent writing task. Students perform tasks such as responses to literature, drawing and writing about the topic, literacy centers, a writer’s handbook, and a reader’s notebook. Lessons provide Teach/Model sections for students to engage with the teacher in learning or reviewing the writing process before working independently or with a group. Students also use their Reader’s Notebook and Writer’s Handbook frequently to complete lesson-aligned and text-based writing tasks.

The Writer’s Handbook provides structured response sheets for students that align with each lesson. The Teacher’s Guide for the Writer’s Handbook offers instructional support and strategies that follow a gradual release of responsibility (I Do/We Do/You Do/Evaluate) pattern. The lessons typically end with students sharing their work with a peer or the class for the evaluation portion which is equivalent to a revision/editing process. Most writing lessons have a Focus Trait included as well. In addition to the handbook, lessons are accompanied by projectables that offer further models/examples and texts for student writing.

Lessons are accompanied by a digital platform called myWriteSmart in which students can engage in game-like writing activities and answer prompts provided or constructed by the teacher. The writing is published to the teacher’s dashboard to be reviewed/scored. The Kindergarten access is more limited than other grades due to the complexity of maneuvering a digital literacy dashboard.

Throughout the year students move from writing or drawing simple words or phrases to crafting complete sentences. After extended practice in writing sentences with or without sentence stems, students move into writing narrative, explanatory, or opinion pieces aligned to the grade appropriate expectations of the standards.

The following are examples of the writing expectations to build independence across the units.

Unit 1 focuses on narrative writing in the form of learning to write names, label pictures, and writing captions for pictures. Student writing practice depends more on drawing and dictating as students are in the early stages of literacy learning and letter formation. An example task after a read aloud in Unit 1 is “Ask children to draw and write about the steps the boy and his dad take to build the school” after which students share their compositions with the class.

Unit 2 focuses on Informative writing and building complete sentences. Students write or dictate sentences from stems about the texts or topics they are studying. Students focus on building descriptive sentences from stems to share information about the images they see or draw related to their texts.

Unit 3 focuses on narrative writing with an emphasis on understanding how sentences form complete thoughts. Grammar lessons focus on the two parts of a sentence: naming and action. Students take on more independent responsibility for building story sentences to form a whole thought about images or texts. Teachers model collecting evidence on flip charts as a class. An example task after reading about the seasons and collecting: Draw and write about your favorite season.

Unit 4 turns toward opinion writing. Now that students have had more practice with writing complete sentences, they engage in writing thank-you notes, friendly letters, and opinion sentences. Each of these lessons starts with a teacher model with the whole class and then moves toward independent practice. The Writer’s Handbook provides students with the frames and stems to complete these tasks. Students also share their work with peers for evaluation and complete presentations in class. Materials suggest that they publish their work digitally or through myWriteSmart.

Unit 5 focuses on explanatory/informative writing. With teacher modeling, students share writing and practice independent writing to create lists, invitations, and reports. The lists are created by pulling details from the texts or topics they are studying. The Focus Trait for the lessons on lists and invitations is organization, which includes how to use text structures such as numbers. Students then move into gathering evidence from the text to prepare for report writing. The unit finishes with students writing about a real-life topic that they want to know more about. Students move throughout the process of prewriting (using a K-W-L chart), gathering evidence from a chosen source, writing a draft, revising with peers, and publishing a final draft digitally.

Unit 6 returns to opinion writing but with more demand on students to perform independently as they respond to literature and learn to write journals. The Focus Trait for this unit is development, and students continue to practice writing complete sentences and study subject-verb agreement. After writing about texts they have read, students finish the year with a reflection journal and publish it as a report on this prompt: “Draw and write about your favorite part of Kindergarten.”

Indicator 1l

Materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectation for Indicator 1l because materials provide opportunities for students to address different text types of writing (year long) that reflect the distribution required by the standards. The Common Core standards for Kindergarten call for students to combine drawing, dictating, and writing to be able to compose complete sentences or short pieces in which they state an opinion, explain a topic, or write about a single event. Each lesson consists of a daily writing component with a process of shared, guided, and independent practice in a mode of writing. The distribution of the types of weekly writing tasks are fairly balanced with two units (10 lessons) per type of writing: narrative, informative, and opinion. At the Kindergarten level the focus is on building words and then sentences based on the texts read in class or the topics they are studying. By the end of the year, students are writing multiple sentences on a single topic or event.

The majority of the weekly writing tasks are not text dependent; however, they are connected to the topics studied in the read-alouds and big books. The shared and guided practice tasks are generally more text-dependent as students engage with what they are reading. For example after reading and working with multiple texts about seasons, students then draw or write about their favorite season.

The Common Core Writing Handbook accompanying the series contains 60 additional writing mini lessons for teachers to use. Note: this is a supplemental resource and is not part of the Teacher Edition’s weekly planning. There are 20 mini lessons of each type of writing.

The following are examples of the different text types of writing across the units.

Unit 1 (narrative writing) Students learn to write their names, label pictures, and write captions for pictures.

Unit 2 (informative writing) Students work toward building complete/descriptive sentences using sentence stems as starters.

Unit 3 (narrative writing) Students practice writing sentences to form complete thoughts and take on more independent responsibility for building story sentences about images or texts.

Unit 4 turns (opinion writing) Students engage in writing thank-you notes, friendly letters, and opinion sentences. Students use templates and stems to complete these tasks.

Unit 5 (informative writing) With teacher modeling, students share writing and practice independent writing to create lists, invitations, and reports with a focus on text features. Students also work through the entire writing process with prewriting (using a K-W-L chart), gathering evidence from a chosen source, writing a draft, revising with peers, and publishing a final draft digitally.

Unit 6 (opinion writing): Students perform more independently as they respond to literature and learn to write journals to publish and share with the class. This is a reflective unit for students to consider their journey through Kindergarten.

Indicator 1m

Materials include regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level.
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for including regular opportunities for evidence-based writing to support recall of information, opinions with reasons, and relevant information appropriate for the grade level. Writing prompts and tasks are not frequently connected to texts. The Teacher Edition provides minimal guidance and scaffolding for both teacher and student.

In Unit 2, the writing focus is informative writing. Each lesson of the unit has a writing focus, including:

  • Lesson 6, the writing focus is descriptive sentences. The focus trait is purpose.
  • Lesson 7, the writing focus is descriptive sentences. The focus trait is conventions.
  • Lesson 8, the writing focus is captions. The focus trait is purpose.
  • Lesson 9, the writing focus is writing a description. The focus trait is elaboration.
  • Lesson 10, the writing focus is writing a description. The focus trait is evidence.

At the end of the unit, students publish one to two sentences that describe a picture of a car, truck, or bus.

In Unit 3, the writing focus is narrative writing. Each lesson of the unit had a writing focus:

  • Lesson 11: the writing focus is story sentences. The focus trait is elaboration.
  • Lesson 12, the writing focus is story sentences. The focus trait is evidence.
  • Lesson 13, the writing focus is story sentences. The focus trait is development.
  • Lesson 14, the writing focus is composing a story. The focus trait is organization.
  • Lesson 15, the writing focus is composing a story. The focus trait is organization.

At the end of the unit, students publish three sentences that describe the beginning, middle, and end of a surprise party at a pond, using three illustrations.

In Unit 4, the writing focus is opinion writing. Each lesson of the unit had a writing focus:

  • Lesson 16, the writing focus is writing a message. The focus trait is organization.
  • Lesson 17, the writing focus is writing a thank-you note. The focus trait is development.
  • Lesson 18, the writing focus is writing a friendly letter. The focus trait is conventions.
  • Lesson 19, the writing focus is writing opinion sentences. The focus trait is elaboration.
  • Lesson 20, the writing focus is writing opinion sentences. The focus trait is organization.

At the end of the unit, students publish opinion sentences on a topic they choose.

Most writing lessons do not connect to the texts and are not evidence-based. There is little guidance for the teacher to demonstrate to students how to use evidence from texts in their writing. For example, in Unit 5, Lesson 22, the teacher reminds the students that a list is a group of ideas or items that people use to keep track of or remember things. The teacher then models how to write the following list on the board: 1. Swim, 2. Read, and 3. Play guitar. The teacher states, “I will write a list of things I can do now that I could not do before. First, I will write the number 1. Then I will write the first thing I can do now: swim.” The teacher continues with the other two items on the list. The teacher’s edition states, “Have children pay special attention to how you write the numerals. Ask children why you write each thing on a new line. To make it easier to read. Remind children that organization—putting things in order—makes it easier to remember the items on a list. Explain that the items can be organized by the order in which they are done or by the order of their importance.” Finally the teacher uses the Display Flip Chart page 15 and follows the directions on the chart to have children dictate a list of things they can do now that they are older.

Indicator 1n

Materials include explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet expectations for explicit instruction of the grammar and conventions standards for grade level as applied in increasingly sophisticated contexts, with opportunities for application both in and out of the context. Each unit has a daily direct instruction lesson specifically titled, “Grammar”.

Each week focuses on specific grammar skills and conventions as well as language features such as figurative language. Each day, explicit grammar instruction takes place, and students practice the skill in context with the texts/writing types used in class as well as completing tasks in the Reader’s Notebook and Writer’s Handbook. There are also supporting materials labeled Projectables that teachers can click on the right from the digital Teacher Edition that provide examples, images, and tasks to practice the grammar lesson. Most of the grammar lessons extend across several days and may be reviewed in later units.

The following grammar and convention topics covered in each unit:

  • Unit 1: Nouns for people, places, animals, and things; present tense action verbs; capital letters; antonyms/synonyms
    • Lesson 1, students are taught nouns for people.
    • Lesson 4, students are taught action verbs.
    • Lesson 5, students are told good writers check that all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.
  • Unit 2: Word placement in a sentence; adjectives for color, numbers, size, and shape; synonyms
    • Lesson 6, students are taught to write the letter a.
    • Lesson 7, students are taught that the author of Mice Squeak, We Speak, used periods and exclamation points. Students point to and name end punctuation.
  • Unit 3: Sentence parts- subject/verbs; figurative language; past tense verbs; capitals and periods
    • Lesson 15, students practice forming complete sentences with the Vocabulary in Context Words.
  • Unit 4: Question words; proper nouns, future tense verbs; present/past tense verb review; antonyms/synonyms
    • Lesson 20, students are told to use their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to spell words.
  • Unit 5: Pronouns; antonyms; punctuations; questions; proper nouns; exclamation marks
    • Lesson 21, students learn to form regular plural nouns
    • Lesson 24, students are taught how to write question words.
  • Unit 6: Singular/plural nouns; antonyms/synonyms; subject-verb agreement; figurative language, prepositions
    • Lesson 29, students are taught frequently occurring prepositions: for, to, with, from, and of.

Criterion 1o - 1t

Materials in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language targeted to support foundational reading development are aligned to the standards.
18/22
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Criterion Rating Details

The instructional materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression. Additionally, they provide explicit instruction to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2). Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid-Grade 1 and through Grade 2.

Materials, questions, and tasks do not fully support systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. While students have opportunities to utilize word recognition and analysis in connected text and isolated text during reading, students have limited opportunities to practice phonics and word recognition in writing situations.

Assessment occurs regularly across the year at frequent intervals to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, and there is a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.

The materials feature high-quality lessons and activities that allow for some differentiation of foundational skills. The program’s Response to Intervention component provides directions and guidance to the teacher as to how to support students at the various levels with foundational skills, although differentiated lessons for students who are at grade level or above grade level in foundational skills are minimal.

Indicator 1o

Materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relations, phonemic awareness, phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression with opportunities for application both in and out of context.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the expectations that the materials, questions, and tasks directly teach foundational skills to build reading acquisition by providing systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, phonemic awareness, and phonological awareness (K-1), and phonics (K-2) that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression.

Phonemic awareness is addressed starting in the Getting Ready to Learn section. During Days 1-5 for two weeks, students are taught how to rhyme in Listen to a Rhyme. Students listen to the teacher read-aloud the Big Book, A Journey in Songs and Rhymes. The teacher is directed to teach the children the rhyme and have students recite or sing the song several times. Next, students practice phonological awareness with the same text, “Jack and Jill.” The teacher emphasizes Jill and hill and states, “I hear -ill at the end of Jill and hill. Jill and hill rhyme.” Finally the teacher displays rhyming picture cards and students raise their hands when they hear picture names that rhyme. Other opportunities to recognize and produce rhyming words include:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 5, students play Rhyming Simon with bug, hug; cat, pal; and, sand; hot, dot; big, best; I, my.

Phonemic awareness is practiced in the Opening Routines and the level of phonemic practice increases on the hierarchy of competence. For example:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 1, students practice rhyming. The teacher states three words and students must figure out which words rhyme.
  • Unit 4, Lesson 16, students practice blending phonemes. The teacher states: “Now we will say the sound we hear in the middle of a word. I’ll do the first one. Listen: fit, fiiit. What is the middle sound?”
  • Unit 6, Lesson 26, students practice substituting phonemes. Students practice changing out final sounds such as man to mat.

For syllable practice in phonological awareness, all students practice counting, pronouncing, blending, and segmenting syllables only in Unit 1 and Unit 6 for the whole class. For example:

  • In, Welcome to Kindergarten, students blend syllables. The teacher defines syllable as part. Short words have one part and longer words have more. “Explain that you will say the parts in the words. The first one is ro-bot. Listen: ro-bot. Hold up a finger for each syllable. Blend the syllables together. What is the word?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 29, students track syllables in the Opening Routine. “The word pumpkin has two parts or syllables. Listen: pumpkin; pump-kin. Clap for each syllable in pumpkin. What syllables do you hear in pumpkin? pump-kin. How many syllables are in pumpkin? two”.

Other opportunities to practice syllables are included in the Reteach section (Instructional Sessions) of the materials. For example, students have additional help with blending syllables in Session K.33, with segmenting syllables in Session K.34, and with deleting syllables in Session K. 35.

To practice blending and segmenting onsets and rimes, the materials have some whole class opportunities, which are mainly limited to Unit 2. For example:

  • Unit 2, Lesson 6, Day 1 of the Opening Routine in Daily Phonological Awareness: “I’m going to say a word in two parts. You will blend the sounds to say the word. I’ll do the first one. Listen: /j/ /am/. When I blend /j/ /am/, I get jam. Help the children blend these sounds: /g/ /et/ get; /n/ /et/ net.
  • Unit 2, Lessons 6 and 7 of the Interactive Instructional Flip Chart, students practice blending onsets and rimes.

Materials do contain onset and rime practice in the Reteach section of the materials such as in Unit 1, Lesson 8, Day 5, in the Small Group Options, students practice blending onset and rime and segmenting onset and rime.

Opportunities to learn isolating and pronouncing initial, medial vowel, and final sounds of consonant-vowel-consonant words are included. For example:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 2, Day 1, of the Opening Routines, the materials contain a short lesson on beginning sounds. The teacher asks students about what sound students hear at the beginning of words.
  • Unit 2, Lesson 10, Day 1, of the Phonemic Awareness/Phonics section, the materials include a short lesson for phonemic awareness for beginning sounds.
  • Unit 3, Lesson 13, Day 1, of the Opening Routines, the materials contain a short lesson for final sounds.
  • Unit 6, Lesson 34, Day 5, of the Opening Routines, the materials contain a short lesson on middle sounds such as pole, cone, bone and the long /o/ sound.

The materials contain lessons for adding and substituting sounds. For example:

  • Unit 4, Lesson 20, Day 4, of the Opening Routines, the materials contain a short lesson on adding phonemes. “Tell the children now you will add /t/ to the beginning of the rip to make a new word: /t/, rip, trip. Have children at /t/ to win, /p/ to ant”.
  • Unit 5, Lesson 22, Day 1 of the Opening Routines, the materials contain a short lesson on substituting phonemes. “Listen: man. I will change the /m/ in man to /k/. The new word is can. What is the new word? For practice have students change change /n/ in nap to /k/; /b/ in box to /f/; /t/ in ten to /h; and /s/ in sit to /p/.
  • Reteach lessons from Instructional Sessions provide more practice with adding and substituting sounds.

Phonics instruction begins with the letter/sound Mm /m/ in Unit 1, Lesson 4. For 4 days, phonics instruction focuses on lessons and activities about /m/ starting with an Alphafriends card and song called Mimi Mouse. In Day 2, students learn words that begin with /m/. In Day 3, students practice saying words with /m/ and identifying words with /m/ at the beginning. Students draw a picture of something that starts with /m/. The teacher uses a wordless story book with the students, and students identify illustrations that have objects beginning with /m/. In Day 4, students read a decodable text called “I Like Mm.” Learning letters and sounds follows a similar 4 day plan to Unit 1, Lesson 4, with Mm /m/. Students learn their first vowel and vowel sound in Unit 2, Lesson 6, which is Aa /a/. The phonics sequence continues with Tt /t/, Cc /k/, Pp /p/, Aa /a/, Nn /n/, Ff /f/, Bb /b/, Ii /i/, Gg /g/, Rr /r/, Dd /d/, Oo /o/, Xx /ks/, Jj /j/, Ee /e/, Uu /u/, Ww /w/, Vv /v/, Zz /z/, Yy /y/, Qq (qu) /kw/. When vowels are taught and practiced, short sounds and long sounds are learned and practiced. There are opportunities to practice spelling based on sounds such as in Unit 5, Lesson 25, during the Whole Group lesson, the teacher adds letter cards to help students spell words. Next students blend selected words such as pod, got, ox. Finally, students copy one of the words and read the word to a partner.

Opportunities to practice letters and sounds in the daily lessons as well as during Literacy Centers, Small Group Instruction in Day 1 (Differentiate Phonics & Words to Know, Day 3 (Differentiate Phonics & Fluency) and Day 5 (Options for Reteaching).

Indicator 1p

Materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acqusition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks provide explicit instruction for and regular practice to address the acquisition of print concepts, including alphabetic knowledge, directionality, and function (K-1), structures and features of text (1-2).

Beginning in the Getting Ready to Learn section, students learn print concepts about the alphabet and directionality.

  • First, students are taught “The Alphabet Song.” As the teacher previews this song, the teacher is to point to each letter on the alphabet chart.
  • Next in the lesson, the teacher is to show students the Big Book, A Journey from A to Z, and point to and name Aa. The teacher states: “This is the letter A. Let’s look at capital A. It has straight lines, no circles. Capital A has a buddy, called small, or lowercase, a. What lines do you see in that letter?”
  • Then the teacher points to pictures on the page of the Big Book and emphasizes the letter “a” at the beginning of the picture. Students are also taught how to write a capital A and a lowercase a. For example, the teacher states a Handwriting Rhyme for uppercase A: “Start at the top, slant down just a little. Repeat from the top and connect in the middle.”
  • During the two weeks of Getting Ready to Learn, students learn uppercase and lowercase for the following letters: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, and j.

Print concepts continue with letter naming in Unit 1. By Lesson 3, students will have been introduced to all the letters in the alphabet with a letter per day. In all the letter naming lessons, the teacher teaches the letter, guides the students through naming the letters they have learned, instructs the students how to write the uppercase and lowercase form of the letter, and has students complete letter naming practice in the Reader’s Notebook. Some lessons contain games for kids to play to learn the name of letters such as “Alphabet Red Rover.”

Students have opportunities to practice tracing letters using magnetic, cardboard, or letter cards when participating in some of the Guided Reading groups (page 3 of Lesson 29 Zoom!). Alphafriends are in the materials to help students learn letters. In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students practice identifying the letter a on the Alphafriend card, and students are reminded of what an a looks like in the lowercase form. The Intervention lessons also direct the teacher to have students finger trace letters. In the Intervention Resource, the teacher is also directed to access and use Alphafriends Cards and audio support for learning each letter.

Students learn other print concepts such as book handling, environmental print, distinguishing letters and numbers, and recognizing first and last names during Getting Ready to Learn. In the main units, students learn other print concepts such as:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, the teacher shows directionality when reading. The text directs, “Explain to children that when people read books written in English, they start at the top left of each page and read from left to right and top to bottom”.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, students learn the parts of a book such as the Table of Contents. Students are taught about the structure of the Table of Contents and how to turn pages: “Tell children that the story they are going to read, “See What We Can Do,” starts on page 10. Point to it on the Table of Contents. Then hold up the first page of the story so children can see what the page looks like. Point out the page number. Then have children turn the pages from right to left until they find the first page of the story.”
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 2, students learn to point to words as the teacher reads left to right. “Read the title page aloud. Point to each word in the title as you read it. Then ask children to point to each word as you read it again”. Students also practice turning the pages of the book from left to right.
  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, and Unit 1, Lesson 4, students learn about spaces between words.The teacher and students point out spaces in the Big Book.

For students who need more practice with print concepts, the teacher can use lessons from the Instructional Sessions. This resource contains lessons (Teach/Model, Guided Practice, Apply). For example, students can learn about what makes a word, what makes a sentence, and what makes a book. Additionally, there are lessons for Letter Knowledge. Students view Letter Cards and practice writing the letter using a handwriting rhyme. There are more opportunities for practicing letters in the Resources section.

Indicator 1q

Instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid-Grade 1 and through Grade 2.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the expectations that instructional opportunities are frequently built into the materials for students to practice and gain decoding automaticity and sight-based recognition of high frequency words. This includes reading fluency in oral reading beginning in mid Grade 1 and through Grade 2.

High-frequency words are addressed each week during each unit in Words to Know and the teacher follows Instructional Routine 10 after displaying the Vocabulary in Context Card. For example:

  • The teacher states the word and asks the students: “What’s the word?” Students chorally respond.
  • The teacher explains the phonics and structural cues of the word.
  • The teacher defines the word and has students read the word in a sentence.
  • Students view a picture of the word and use the word in the sentence to understand the word.
  • The teacher shares the Spanish cognates.
  • The teacher reads more sentences with the word and has children make sentences with the word.
  • Students complete activities found on the back of the Vocabulary in Context card.

Students also practice writing the high-frequency words in sentences in the Reader’s Notebook.

The number of high-frequency words to start is minimal. For example:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 1, students learn I and in Unit 1, Lessons 2,3 and 5, students learn like.
  • In Unit 2, the weekly words increases to four words: see, we, a, to, although see and we had be introduced in previous weeks.

High frequency words are reviewed in larger sets such as in Unit 6, Lesson 30, students focus on: do, down, have, help, went, only, little, just, one, every, ask, walk, look, out, off, take, very, their, saw, put, our, day, too, show. Students learned most of those words in other weeks during Unit 6.

During the Opening Routine of each day, students practice high-frequency words. The teacher points to a high-frequency word card and states: “Say the word. Spell the word. Write the word. Check the word.” Then students participate in a Chant and Cheer or another activity (e.g., Word Match, Word Train) to practice the high-frequency word. For example, in Unit 3, Lesson 11, the Opening Routine is:

  • Point to High-Frequency Word Card come.
  • Say the word. come
  • Spell the word. c-o-m-e
  • Write the word.
  • Check the word.
  • Repeat the procedure with me.

Students have the opportunity to start decoding words by starting to decode letters. When students learn a new letter, they practice decoding letters in the whole group lessons. Students also decode letters when reading the title of the wordless story book. Once students have learned enough letters and sounds to read complete CVC words (starting in Unit 2, Lesson 11), students have the opportunity to practice decoding automaticity of words. For example, in Unit 3, Lesson 11, students read a decodable story called “Pat Cat, Sam Cat” by Greg Kent. Furthermore, during guided practice of phonics lessons in Day 3, students practice decoding words through blending. In Unit 3, Lesson 14, students practice blending CVC words by reading lines of words such bat, sat, fat, pat, mat, cat then cab, cat, cap, can, Cam. The sixth and seventh line contain sentences of decodable words for students to read. To practice independently, students write CVC words in the Reader’s Notebook or practice writing CVC words in the Leveled Practice. Also in the phonics lessons, students have opportunities to build words using Letter Cards and then practice decoding the word.

Opportunities to read emergent readers begin in Unit 1, Lesson 4. Students read a rebus text called “I Like Mm.” The text has high frequency words such as I, like, and the. It also has colorful illustrations to allude to the pictures that represent m words. Rebus texts are in Unit 1 and Unit 2 for students to read. In Unit 3, the students start to read decodable stories. In Unit 3, Lesson 11, students read “Pat Cat, Sam Cat.” Decodable stories are contained in Units 3, 4, 5, and 6. During Small Group Options, students can read emergent reader texts.

Indicator 1r

Materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations materials, questions, and tasks provide systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks. While students have opportunities to utilize word recognition and analysis in connected text and isolated text during reading, students have limited opportunities to practice phonics and word recognition in writing situations.

Students practice reading high-frequency words in connected text when students read from the Student Book and read the decodable story. For example, in Unit 2, Lesson 7, during that week, students have been learning the high-frequency word we. When students read the decodable story, “We Like Toys” by Matthew Lorer, they read the high-frequency word three times in context. Students also experience other high-frequency words in We Like Toys that they learned in earlier lessons such as I (Lesson 1), like (Lesson 2), and the (Lesson 3). By Unit 5, Lesson 25, students read a decodable story called Play It, Kid by Franco Denehy. The text contains high-frequency words such as said (Lesson 22), a (Lesson 8), play (Lesson 21), see (Lesson 6), and here (Lesson 19).

Students practice reading Vocabulary in Context Cards. These cards provide students the opportunity to read high-frequency words in context. After reading the Vocabulary in Context Cards in Unit 6, Lesson 28, students are informed they will see the highlighted words in the Big Book. For example, students read the following highlighted words in the Vocabulary in Context Cards: look, out, put, saw, their, very. In the Big Book, You Can Do It, Curious George! By Margret & H.A. Rey, students see and hear the same words: very on page 2, saw and their on page 3, out and look on page 6, put on page 22. After reading the Vocabulary in Context Cards in Unit 3, Lesson 14, students read high frequency words on a Flip Chart and find the high frequency words in the sentence(s).

In Unit 6, Lesson 28, the Opening Routine is for students use vocabulary in context from the lesson or previous lesson with a partner. The directions to the teacher state: “Give each child a word that the class has learned in this lesson or a recent lesson. (You may repeat words.) Then, pair children up. Have children work together to use both words in a single sentence. Go around the room and write down each pair’s sentence as children dictate it. Share all the sentences with the class”.

The decodable texts are designed to help students practice the phonics and word recognition focus for the week. For example:

  • Unit 4, Lesson 18, students practice reading the short i sound in the decodable reader.
  • Unit 5, Lesson 27, students practice reading the i and w sounds in the decodable reader.

Students also practice reading words in context when they participate in small group reading with leveled readers. The leveled readers contain high-frequency words.

Opportunities to use word recognition and analysis skills in writing are found in tasks such as writing situations. For example, in the Reader’s Notebook, students can practice writing the Words to Know in isolated sentences.

  • Unit 2, Lesson 6 of the Reader’s Notebook, students repeatedly write the same word (see) in three separate rebus sentences: “I ___ the chicken. I ___ the egg. I ___the chick.”
  • Unit 3, Lesson 15 of the Reader’s Notebook, students write one of four words (now, what, with, you) in four sentences.

Opportunities to use word recognition and analysis skills in connected writing are limited. During the shared writing lessons, the directions are not detailed or specific as to how the teacher should guide dictation at the Kindergarten level. Teachers are not directed to have students help with one-to-one letter-sound correspondence, help with the long and short vowels, or help with spelling the high-frequency words. For example in Unit 4, Lesson 17 during shared writing, the directions simply state: “Have children dictate the body of the letter of the thank-you note, and write it on the board.” In Unit 5, Lesson 25 during independent writing, the directions to the teacher are: “Have children use what they know about letters and sounds to check the spelling of the words in their reports.”

Indicator 1s

Materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meantingful differentiantion of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten meet the expectations that the materials support ongoing and frequent assessment to determine student mastery and inform meaningful differentiation of foundational skills, including a clear and specific protocol as to how students performing below standard on these assessments will be supported.

The materials contain a screening assessment as a part of their Intervention Assessments. This screener assesses letter-naming fluency, phoneme segmentation, nonsense words, high-frequency words, and word identification. The administering and scoring section provides directions to the teacher for how to conduct the Screening Assessment and helps the teacher interpret the results.

From the Screening Assessment, the teacher is directed to use the Diagnostic Assessments. Diagnostic Assessments further assess print concepts, letter-sound fluency, and phonological awareness inventory (words in a sentence, blend syllables, segment syllables, delete syllables, recognize rhyming words, produce rhyming words, categorize rhyming words, blend onset and rime, segment onset and rime, isolate initial sound, isolate final sound, isolate medial sounds, identify phonemes, categorize phonemes, blend phonemes, segment phonemes, delete phonemes, add phonemes, substitute phonemes). Once the Diagnostic Assessments are scored, the teacher can use the results to decide if a student would benefit from additional instruction in particular foundational skills. The directions to the teacher about the additional instruction are not clear as to how to provide additional instruction. For example, after administering the Print Concepts Inventory, the directions state: “Provide additional print concepts instruction for students who struggle on the Print Concepts Inventory.” A chart of suggestions contains the following suggestion for students with limited understanding of books and Print Concepts: “oral language activities and language experience or diction activities.” The suggestions are broad.

There are Progress-Monitoring Assessments, which should be used every two weeks. Progress-Monitoring Assessments include phonemic awareness, letter-sound relationships, high-frequency words, decodable words, and sentence reading. Based on the results, a teacher could adjust instruction. The guidelines suggest: “For phonics errors, provide additional word-blending activities using word lists that feature target phonics skills.”

In Recommendations for Data-Driven Instruction, the following steps are suggested: identify student needs, teach to the need, scaffold the core, monitor progress, and if necessary, problem-solve with colleagues. For a more detailed explanation, if a teacher provides the Screening Assessment and the Kindergarten student is below the goal in Letter-Naming Fluency, then administer the Diagnostic Assessment: Print Concepts Inventory (identify student needs) and administer the corresponding lessons in HMH Decoding Power, choosing from Sessions K.1-K.31 (teach the need).

Each unit contains formative assessment of foundational skills as part of Response to Intervention (RtI), which provides suggestions for what do for students struggling, students are on track, and students who excel. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 1, the Formative Assessment box contains: “Are children able to understand and use the Word to Know? If children struggle, then use the Vocabulary in Context Card and the Struggling Readers activity, page T80. If children are on track, then use the Vocabulary in Context Card and the On Level activity, page T80. If children excel, then use the Advanced activity, page T81.”
  • In Unit 3, Lesson 11, the Formative Assessment box contains corrective feedback for: “If a child does not match a picture with the correct letter, say the word, pronounce the sound, hold up the Letter Card, and name the letter. Guide children to repeat those steps.” Further directions state: “Go to page T78 for additional phonics support.” On page T78, there are the small group options for Differentiate Phonics and Words to Know.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, the Formative assessment box contains corrective feedback for: “When a child mispronounces a word, point to the word and say it. Call attention to the element that was mispronounced, say the sound, and then guide children to read the word.” Further directions state: “Go to page T84-T85 for additional Phonics and Fluency support.” On pages T84-T85, there are the small group options for Differentiate Phonics and Fluency.

There are multiple assessments in the materials which provide teachers with information about students current skills/levels in foundational skills. The materials provide teachers with instructional options to help students make progress toward master in foundational skills.

Indicator 1t

Materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten partially meets the expectation that materials, questions, and tasks provide high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills. The instructional materials contain a Response to Intervention component, which provides directions and guidance to the teacher as to how to support students at the various levels with foundational skills, although differentiated lessons for students who are at grade level or above grade level in foundational skills are minimal.

The small group lessons for phonemic awareness/phonics and fluency do not provide detailed, differentiated plans for every group of learners. While the options provide detailed lessons for struggling readers and English Language Learners, the lessons for student performing on grade level or above are sometimes limited. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Lesson 8, for students struggling to learn the letters Cc and the sound /k/, there is a gradual release lesson with formative assessment. Students look at picture cards, hold up Letter Cards, discriminate sounds, and draw and label pictures that begin with the /k/ sound. For English Language Learners, the lesson includes the week’s Words to Know, Vocabulary in Context Cards and students look in the big book, Move!, for the words. For ELL students at the different stages (Emerging, Expanding, Bridging), there are different lessons and tasks. For the students on level, the small group lesson is: “See Literacy Centers--Unit 2 Lesson 8 Word Study. If children have time after completing the purple activity, have them try moving on to the blue activity.” For students who are advanced, the small group lesson is: “See Literacy Centers--Unit 2 Lesson 8 Word Study. If children have time after completing the blue activity, have them continue reading, illustrating, and writing words.”
  • In Unit 5, Lesson 23, for students struggling to learn the letter e and the short vowel for /e/, there is a gradual release lesson with formative assessment. For English Language Learners, the lesson includes the week’s Words to Know, Vocabulary in Context Cards, and then students look for the word in the big book, Zinnia’s Flower Garden. For ELL students at the different stages, there are different lessons and tasks. For the students on level, the small group lesson is: “See Literacy Centers--Unit 5 Lesson 23 Word Study. If children have time after completing the purple activity, have them try moving on to the blue activity.” For the students who are advanced, the small group lesson is: “See Literacy Centers--Unit 5 Lesson 23 Word Study. If children have time after completing the blue activity, have them continue making new words.”

For small group options for fluency, there is not much differentiation. The small group options only contain an All Levels lesson plan. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 17, the fluency small group lesson plan is for reading with expression. The teacher models expression with a sentence (the same sentence for every group) and then is directed to select two sentences from each of the books and write them on the board. Students read those sentences and then take turns reading other sentences from the books while reading with expression. Then students read aloud a page from their own books.
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 28, the fluency small group lesson plan is for pausing for punctuation. The teacher models pausing for punctuation with a sentence (the same sentence for every group) and then is directed to select two sentences from each of the books and write them on the board. Students read those sentences and then take turns reading other sentences from the books, pausing for punctuation. Then students read aloud a page from their own books.

There is a section called Options for Reteaching. This section contains gradual release separate lessons for phonological awareness, letter names, phonemic awareness, and phonics. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Lesson 3, there is a reteach lesson for phonological awareness, which includes the teacher clapping the words in a sentence, students counting the claps, and then students say sentences to each other and clap the number of words.
  • In Unit 2, Lesson 7, there is a reteach lesson for phonics, which includes the teacher displaying a picture card of the letter t and then the teacher emphasizes the /t/ sound. The teacher shares a text, We Like Toys, and students take turns naming toys that begin with /t/. Finally students draw a picture of something that begins with /t/ and label their pictures.
  • In Unit 4, Lesson 19, there are two separate lessons for reteaching phonemic awareness. One lesson is for blending phonemes and one is for segmenting phonemes. In blending phonemes, students practicing blending sounds to make words on the picture cards. In segmenting phonemes, students practice saying each sound of the picture card.

When students are learning high-frequency words, phonemic awareness/phonics, the material contain an Response to Intervention box. For example:

  • In Unit 4, Lesson 20, the Response to Intervention box contains information to the teacher as to how to differentiate for a child who mispronounces a word. “When a child mispronounces a word, point to the word and say it. Call attention to the element that was mispronounced, say the sound, and then guide children to read the word.” There are steps (correct, model, guide, check) to help the teacher differentiate for the students needing help. The final step is reinforce: “Go back two or three words and have children continue reading. Make note of errors and review those words during tomorrow’s lesson.”
  • In Unit 6, Lesson 26, the Response to Intervention box contains information to the teacher as to how to differentiate for students not pronouncing the correct letter of c, h, or u. “If a child does not match a picture with the correct letter, say the word, pronounce the sound, hold up the Letter Card, and name the letter. Guide children to repeat those steps.” There are steps (correct, model, guide, check) to help the teacher differentiate for the students needing help. The final step is reinforce: “Have children write u each time you say a word that begins with a short /u/.”

Foundational skills guidance and lessons exist for teaching students who are struggling or are English Language Learners, but few lessons are provided in foundational skills for students who are at or above grade level.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Does Not Meet Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten do not meet the expectations of Gateway 2. Some texts are organized around topics. Materials contain few sets of questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. The materials do contain some sets of text-dependent questions and tasks; however, the questions and tasks do not require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Culminating tasks do not promote the building of students’ knowledge of the theme/topic. The materials include a year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words across texts throughout the year, however, it is not cohesive and the vocabulary does not connect across texts. Materials include some writing instruction aligned to the standards and shifts for the grade level, although teachers may need to supplement to ensure students are accessing end-of-year skills. The materials include little focused research skills practice. The materials partially meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Criterion 2a - 2h

14/32

Indicator 2a

Texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students knowledge and vocabulary which will over time support and help grow students' ability to comprehend complex texts independently and proficiently.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations that texts are organized around a topic/topics to build students’ knowledge and their ability to read and comprehend complex texts proficiently. Materials organize each unit by a broad, universal theme such as “Helping Hands,” and then each weekly lesson is centered around a knowledge building topic that supports the unit theme. Overall, the materials focus mostly on relationships, citizenship, science, and social studies topics. Within each weekly lesson, students will read multiple texts related to the lesson topic. The read-alouds, big books, paired selections, fluency charts, vocabulary readers, and guided readers are aligned to the lesson topic to support student comprehension of their reading as well as knowledge building.

Because the unit themes are broad, the lessons cover multiple topics in each unit. With the exception of Unit 2: Imagine It, the weekly lessons are linked to each other to help students extend their learning. Though all the lesson topics in Unit 2 are focused on teaching description (colors, sounds, movement, shapes), the lessons are chunked into topics that do not connect to each other. Unit 5, Lesson 24, does not align with other lessons or the unit theme “As We Grow” because it looks at how animals have various colors or can change like the chameleon, whereas the other four lessons in the unit are specifically about the growth of people, plants, animals, or relationships. Despite a few lessons that do not connect to others, the materials overall are organized and sequenced to help students develop knowledge, vocabulary, and literacy skills across the year beginning with a focus on introducing the school experience in Unit 1 to celebrating the school year and motivating students to persevere in Unit 6.

Below is a sample of unit themes and lesson topics:

  • Unit 1: Helping Hands
    • Lesson Topics: Families, Going to School, Pets, Jobs, and Helping
  • Unit 2: Imagine It!
    • Lesson Topics: The Five Senses, Sounds and Language, Ways to Move, Machines and Wheels, Using Shapes
  • Unit 3: Nature’s Wonders
    • Lesson Topics: Seasons, Weather, Animal Bodies, Animal Homes, Up in the Sky
  • Unit 4: The World to Explore
    • Lesson Topics: Testing Ideas, Nature All Around, Oceans and Waterways, Outdoor Adventures, Making Discoveries
  • Unit 5: As We Grow
    • Lesson Topics: Working Together, Growing Up, How Things Grow, Animal Colors, Growing Food
  • Unit 6: Do Your Best
    • Lesson Topics: Trying Your Best, Family Outings, Getting Help, Learning New Things, Good Neighbors

Indicator 2b

Materials contain sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language (words/phrases), key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts in order to make meaning and build understanding of texts and topics.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for containing sets of coherently sequenced questions and tasks that require students to analyze the language, key ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Lessons contain sets of questions and tasks that require students first to comprehend and then analyze the language, main ideas, details, craft, and structure of individual texts. Over the course of the year, instructional materials grow in rigor. Students respond with pictures or discussion in the first few Units and build to creating sentence responses later in the year.

As students engage with texts, they work in a Reader’s Handbook which provides some opportunities throughout the year to record main ideas, details (evidence) or story structures. They may also draw or write about characters in the story. Students also work in a Writer’s Handbook to practice writing about the topics they study, these tasks are not text-dependent until Unit 6 in which they begin writing responses to literature, mainly the big books. These tasks are in addition to the lesson questions provided in the Teacher Edition.

Each core text (read-alouds, big books, and paired selections) is accompanied by a section titled “Think Through the Text” as stopping points for students to summarize what they are reading. “Think through the Text” sections contain questions that focus mostly on details and language in the text but may also ask students to make inferences based on what they read or see in pictures. These questions lead students to either a “Dig Deeper” or “Analyze the Text” section which is indicated by a red square in which students extend their thinking about the text; however, there is not a “Dig Deeper” section for all texts. Most of these questions are answered orally in whole group sessions until students build more writing capacity.

Examples of text-dependent questions that focus on language, key ideas, details, craft, structure provided in the teacher materials inlcude :

Unit 1, Lesson 1: Families-

  • “Think Through the Text”questions - How can you tell the school is almost finished? Use the book’s words and pictures to help you answer. What have we learned so far about families in this book? What do the words say about how family members affect one another’s feelings?
  • “Dig Deeper”/”Analyze the Text”- What is the main idea on these pages? Have children compare the poetry and the big book. How are they the alike or the same? How are they different?”

Unit 4 , Lesson 16: Testing Ideas

  • “Think Through the Text”questions - What does Emily do after reading Mr. Blueberry’s letter? What information does Mr. Blueberry give Emily about whales in this letter? What question does the author asks? What do these pages tell us about what science is?
  • “Dig Deeper”/”Analyze the Text”- What is the main idea of these pages? What are some ways you can tell this is a poem?

Indicator 2c

Materials contain a coherently sequenced set of text-dependent questions and tasks that require students to analyze the integration of knowledge and ideas across both individual and multiple texts.
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

Materials reviewed for Kindergarten do not meet the expectations of materials containing a coherently sequenced set of text-based questions and tasks that require students to build knowledge and integrate ideas across both individual and multiple texts. Though the materials contain sets of text-based questions and tasks that lead students through the comprehension and main ideas of the text, these are only provided during the actual reading of the text. There are very few tasks that ask students to demonstrate knowledge gained from a text or across multiple texts. The major prompts and/or tasks are not text-based. Students respond to their readings with more self-to-text connections and devote most of their writing practice about topics and not texts. Although text-based questions are utilized to help students comprehend and analyze a text, any tasks for building knowledge across multiple texts is done typically without reference to the texts.

As students engage with texts, they work in a Reader’s Handbook which provides some opportunities to list evidence from the texts in graphic organizers. They may also draw or write about characters in individual or multiple texts but most writing is based on their personal feelings or response. Students also work in a Writer’s Handbook to practice writing about the topics they are studying but these tasks are not text-based until later units.

The Teacher’s Edition also contains a textbox for most readings that is labeled Cross-curricular Connection. These are typically discussion starters that extend what students learned from the text to their own experience or how it is relevant to their community or future learning. Most lessons also provide specified text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world discussions but it is not indicated how students are accountable for this information.

This is a representative example of how tasks for knowledge building are generally not text-based in the Kindergarten materials.

Unit 1, Lesson 1:

  • Essential Question: What is the same about all families?
  • Summarize: Have children summarize after reading page 18. What else have we learned about families? Retell it in your own words.
  • Write about Reading: Students connect the text to their own family by answering “What does your family like to do together?”
  • Write about Reading: After reading their big book, students respond to “What is special about your own family?
  • Text to text: (compare genres) Students discuss the two core texts they read about families to determine what is the same or different between the texts.
  • Independent Writing task: Have students draw a picture of themselves on a separate sheet of paper. Then have them write their first and last names.

Indicator 2d

The questions and tasks support students' ability to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic (or, for grades 6-8, a theme) through integrated skills (e.g. combination of reading, writing, speaking, listening).
0/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials for Kindergarten do not meet the expectations for providing questions and tasks that support students’ abilities to complete culminating tasks in which they demonstrate their knowledge of a topic or theme through integrated skills e.g combination of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Each lesson series provides an independent writing performance task as a culminating piece for the week. To complete the task students have an opportunity daily to practice the focus writing skill, share their ideas and pieces with peers, and discuss the topic about which they are writing. The majority of writing tasks focus mostly on the writing skill and rarely integrates the topic studied during the week. Though some lessons feature a performance task in which students discuss or respond to a question about the text they are reading, there is less emphasis on the knowledge of topics themselves.

The end of each weekly lesson builds to an independent writing task that does not consistently require students to use the knowledge built from their readings. Some can be completed based on their own personal experience or by demonstrating the weekly writing skill.

Below are examples of weekly independent writing tasks. These are found in the Teacher’s Edition and students complete some of the tasks in their Reader’s Notebook or Writer’s Handbook. The independent writing task is usually built over a series of days, examples include:

  • Unit 1, Lesson 5, Narrative Writing- Helping
    • Independent Writing: Tell children to think of something fun and interesting they have done in school. Have them write or draw their topic ideas in the circles graphic organizer. next instructional day Tell children they are now going to write a draft about the topic they chose. This task does not build knowledge of the topics read and studied, but does integrate the skills of reading and writing.
  • Unit 4, Lesson 19, Opinion Writing- Outdoor Adventures
    • Independent Writing: Remind children that the big book Sheep Take a Hike tells about sheep going for a hike in the country. Ask them to write opinion sentences about a walk they have taken with family or friends. Again, this task does not build knowledge of the topics read and studied, but does integrate the skills of reading and writing.

Indicator 2e

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact with and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of materials providing guidance for supporting students’ academic vocabulary. The materials do not include a cohesive, year-long plan for students to interact and build key academic vocabulary words in and across texts. Vocabulary is taught within the context of each weekly lesson as well as within each text read. The unit lessons do not always connect from one week to the next therefore, vocabulary practice across an entire unit is limited to the skills practiced instead of the focus topic for building knowledge. Students spend time practicing for fluency, high-frequency words, and spelling but these are set apart from vocabulary instruction.

Each lesson has a box for “Words to Know” on the Focus Wall. There are usually around 5-6 words in this box and are high-frequency words and not vocabulary from the texts. Each weekly pacing guide instructs the teacher to introduce words from the core text through “Oral Vocabulary” on Day 1, and then “Apply Vocabulary Knowledge” as well as an “Oral Vocabulary Boost” on following days. Students also work with the high-frequency words throughout the week using Context Cards. Students may also “Warm-up with Wordplay” that reviews the weekly words or engages students in speaking about the topic. On Day 5, students are introduced to “Domain Specific Vocabulary” which adds more to the weekly words found in the texts. In each of these vocabulary tasks, students answer questions or discuss the words in and out of the context of the week’s lesson topic. Though students practice reviewing the words, there are typically not opportunities provided within the writing and reading tasks to intentionally utilize the words. The vocabulary words are highlighted within the texts but generally do not overlap across texts and teachers are not prompted within the text to identify or engage with the highlighted words.

Vocabulary is generally introduced with Context Cards that students can view examples of how the word is used in real-life settings. The cards have images and sentences that offer a definition and example of the word. These are not based in the context of the texts they will read. Lessons are also accompanied by a Vocabulary Reader that is aligned to the week's topic for most lessons. Each vocabulary reader extends a language skill from the prior text and include tasks in which students practice using language or vocabulary; however, this vocabulary is not typically aligned to the vocabulary pulled from the core texts.

This is an example of vocabulary instruction for a weekly lesson. Though vocabulary is emphasized each day there is not a cohesive plan for interacting with and utilizing words across the week or into other lessons.

Unit 3: Lesson 13:Animal Bodies

  • Vocabulary Strategy: Context clues
  • High Frequency Words: you and what
  • Vocabulary Reader: Lots of Birds Level B (focuses on the various colors of birds)
  • Day 1: Oral Vocabulary: Revisit bloom, treasures, speckled, and pasture. Introduce Oral Vocabulary Words from the Read-Aloud Text: daily, herd, muscles, pattern, several, and usually. Students respond to questions about the text or outside context using the words. For example, “Do you usually brush your teeth in the morning?”
  • Day 1: Introduce Words to Know: you and what. Students practice using these words in sentence frames or discussions.
  • Day 2: Daily Vocabulary Boost: Students review words from the weekly vocabulary list. Students also hear four new words from the reading selection: belong, capture, nasty, sensitive
  • Day 3: Daily Vocabulary Boost: Students review words from the weekly vocabulary list.
  • Day 3: Enrich Vocabulary: Students work with prefixes -un and -re
  • Day 3: Apply Vocabulary Knowledge: Students are introduced to new vocabulary words antics, heroics, purpose, fantastic in addition to reviewing the words for the week from Day 1. The examples provided for meaning are connected to the anchor text though these words do not appear in the text itself. Then, students answer questions such as “What types of antics make you laugh?” to utilize the vocabulary out of the context of the texts or topic.
  • Day 3: Vocabulary Strategies: Students warm up by using the new words learned in Day 3 and then practice using the prefix -over. This is a connection to the vocabulary word overlooked.
  • Day 4: Warm Up with Wordplay: Students play Hot Potato to think of words that begin with letter f.
  • Day 4: Vocabulary strategies: COntext CLues- Students look at the meaning of the word clues and use their big book text to understand the meaning of the vocabulary word nasty. Then they work through guided practice looking for context clues in sample non-text based sentences on a Projectable.
  • Day 5: Domain Specific Vocabulary: Students use picture cards to focus on scientific terms for animals: insect, mammal, fish, reptile, bird. They orally place these words in sentences and then practice making their own sentences.

Indicator 2f

Materials contain a year-long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating substantive understanding of topics and texts.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet expectations for materials containing a year long, cohesive plan of writing instruction and tasks which support students in building and communicating a substantive understanding of topics and texts. Materials are not built around topics. Materials are organized around writing types to build students’ writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level by the end of the school year. The majority of writing instruction and tasks are not text-specific nor do they require a substantive understanding of topics. For example, in Unit 1, Lesson 4, students read several texts about the topic of jobs, but the writing tasks for the week prepare students to write a class and individual story about something that they did in class or at school. While the development of narrative writing is cohesive throughout Unit 1, the tasks do not demonstrate student knowledge or understanding of the texts and topics.

Daily lessons have writing tasks that range from learning to write names and labels to building and combining complete sentences for short reports. The first three days of the lesson typically follow shared and guided writing in which the class composes together. Days four or five of the week focus more on independent writing practice, though this is supported by the materials such as the Writer’s Handbook, sentence starters, or group discussion. Each week generally focuses on one type of writing or task and each day builds student capacity to complete the independent task each of the three writing types focus on for two units.

The following are examples of the different writing types that build across the units:

  • Unit 1, Narrative Writing- writing names, picture labels, and captions
  • Unit 2, Informative Writing- building complete/descriptive sentences using sentence stems
  • Unit 3, Narrative Writing- writing sentences to form complete thoughts.
  • Unit 4, Opinion Writing- writing thank-you notes, friendly letters, and opinion sentences
  • Unit 5, Informative Writing- writing to create lists, invitations, and reports writing a draft, revising with peers, and publishing a final draft digitally
  • Unit 6, Opinion Writing- responding to literature and writing journals

Indicator 2g

Materials include a progression of focused research projects to encourage students to develop knowledge in a given area by confronting and analyzing different aspects of a topic using multiple texts and source materials.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet expectations for materials including a progression of focused shared research and writing projects to encourage students to develop knowledge and understanding of a topic using texts and other source materials.

Daily and weekly writing tasks require students to brainstorm events or things that are familiar to them and discuss these with peers. In Unit 5, students write a report after walking through the writing process; however, this report is based on their opinion of a book they read in class and not based on gathering information from sources or texts.

Some lessons are accompanied by a “Research and Media Literacy” section. Kindergarten students have some opportunities to practice learning the components necessary to think critically and practice research skills; however, at times these tasks are not related to the writing type, text, or topic of the lesson. There is limited guidance as to how to conduct these tasks and most of research is completed by the teacher using the Internet while students discuss what they are seeing.

In Unit 5, an example of a “Research and Media Literacy” task is in Lesson 21 under the topic “Working Together.” This task asks students to think about musical instruments they read about in the text Zin!Zin! Zin a Violin!. The teacher researches video clips of these different instruments sound and instructs students that they will write a couple of sentences about an instrument they saw. After discussing different clips that the teacher should find, students draw and write about an instrument they read about in Zin!Zin! Zin a Violin! There are no recommended sources or links provided and students do not record the information they gather. The discussion is focused on how the instruments sound which is not aligned to the lesson topic of “Working Together” or the weekly writing task of making lists.

Indicator 2h

Materials provide a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.
2/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations for materials providing a design, including accountability, for how students will regularly engage in a volume of independent reading either in or outside of class.

Students complete independent reading on Day 5 of every lesson. The directions and format for independent reading are generally the same across the entire year. Students are to go back and reread portions of the anchor text or big book and speak about the text in complete sentences. Students then complete self-selected reading from the classroom library or other source and look at several pages of the text to see if it is “just right” for them to read. Materials do not recommend additional texts for independent reading but encourage teachers to provide a classroom library.

The materials provide limited instruction on how to support reader independence. The Teacher Edition gives the guidance, “Self-Selected Reading: Tell children that before they choose a book to read, they should take a good look at it to see if it will be “just right” for them. Model selecting a book by guiding children through these steps: Look at the books on display in the classroom library. Find a book that looks like something you would like to read. Take a look at some of the pictures inside. Tell children that once they have selected a book, they should look at one or two additional pages to be sure it is “just right” for them.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

Criterion 3a - 3e

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0/8

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
0/2

Indicator 3b

The teacher and student can reasonably complete the content within a regular school year, and the pacing allows for maximum student understanding.
0/2

Indicator 3c

The student resources include ample review and practice resources, clear directions, and explanation, and correct labeling of reference aids (e.g., visuals, maps, etc.).
0/2

Indicator 3d

Materials include publisher-produced alignment documentation of the standards addressed by specific questions, tasks, and assessment items.
0/2

Indicator 3e

The visual design (whether in print or digital) is not distracting or chaotic, but supports students in engaging thoughtfully with the subject.
0/0

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.
0/8

Indicator 3f

Materials contain a teacher's edition with ample and useful annotations and suggestions on how to present the content in the student edition and in the ancillary materials. Where applicable, materials include teacher guidance for the use of embedded technology to support and enhance student learning.
0/2

Indicator 3g

Materials contain a teacher's edition that contains full, adult-level explanations and examples of the more advanced literacy concepts so that teachers can improve their own knowledge of the subject, as necessary.
0/2

Indicator 3h

Materials contain a teacher's edition that explains the role of the specific ELA/literacy standards in the context of the overall curriculum.
0/2

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3j

Materials contain strategies for informing all stakeholders, including students, parents, or caregivers about the ELA/literacy program and suggestions for how they can help support student progress and achievement.
0/0

Criterion 3k - 3n

Materials offer teachers resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the Standards.
0/8

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
0/0

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
0/2

Indicator 3l.ii

Assessments provide sufficient guidance to teachers for interpreting student performance and suggestions for follow-up.
0/2

Indicator 3m

Materials should include routines and guidance that point out opportunities to monitor student progress.
0/2

Indicator 3n

Materials indicate how students are accountable for independent reading based on student choice and interest to build stamina, confidence, and motivation.
0/0

Criterion 3o - 3v

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards.
0/10

Indicator 3o

Materials provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so the content is accessible to all learners and supports them in meeting or exceeding the grade-level standards.
0/2

Indicator 3p

Materials regularly provide all students, including those who read, write, speak, or listen below grade level, or in a language other than English, with extensive opportunities to work with grade level text and meet or exceed grade-level standards.
0/4

Indicator 3q

Materials regularly include extensions and/or more advanced opportunities for students who read, write, speak, or listen above grade level.
0/2

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
0/2

Indicator 3s

0/

Indicator 3s3v

0/

Indicator 3t

0/

Indicator 3u

0/

Indicator 3u.i

0/

Indicator 3u.ii

0/

Indicator 3v

0/

Criterion 3s - 3v

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning. Digital materials are accessible and available in multiple platforms.
0/0

Indicator 3s

Digital materials (either included as supplementary to a textbook or as part of a digital curriculum) are web-based, compatible with multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.), "platform neutral" (i.e., are compatible with multiple operating systems such as Windows and Apple and are not proprietary to any single platform), follow universal programming style, and allow the use of tablets and mobile devices.
0/0

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
0/0

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
0/0

Indicator 3u.i

Digital materials include opportunities for teachers to personalize learning for all students, using adaptive or other technological innovations.
0/0

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
0/0

Indicator 3v

Materials include or reference technology that provides opportunities for teachers and/or students to collaborate with each other (e.g. websites, discussion groups, webinars, etc.).
0/0

Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: Fri Apr 07 00:00:00 UTC 2017

Report Edition: 2017

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
HMH Journeys Student Edition Book 2 978-0-5445-4327-0 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 1 978-0-5445-4342-3 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 2 978-0-5445-4343-0 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 3 978-0-5445-4344-7 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 4 978-0-5445-4345-4 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 5 978-0-5445-4346-1 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Teacher's Edition Unit 6 978-0-5445-4347-8 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017
HMH Journeys Student Edition Book 1 978-0-5445-4394-2 Copyright: 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2017

About Publishers Responses

All publishers are invited to provide an orientation to the educator-led team that will be reviewing their materials. The review teams also can ask publishers clarifying questions about their programs throughout the review process.

Once a review is complete, publishers have the opportunity to post a 1,500-word response to the educator report and a 1,500-word document that includes any background information or research on the instructional materials.

Educator-Led Review Teams

Each report found on EdReports.org represents hundreds of hours of work by educator reviewers. Working in teams of 4-5, reviewers use educator-developed review tools, evidence guides, and key documents to thoroughly examine their sets of materials.

After receiving over 25 hours of training on the EdReports.org review tool and process, teams meet weekly over the course of several months to share evidence, come to consensus on scoring, and write the evidence that ultimately is shared on the website.

All team members look at every grade and indicator, ensuring that the entire team considers the program in full. The team lead and calibrator also meet in cross-team PLCs to ensure that the tool is being applied consistently among review teams. Final reports are the result of multiple educators analyzing every page, calibrating all findings, and reaching a unified conclusion.

ELA K-2 Rubric and Evidence Guides

The ELA review rubrics identify the criteria and indicators for high quality instructional materials. The rubrics support a sequential review process that reflect the importance of alignment to the standards then consider other high-quality attributes of curriculum as recommended by educators.

For ELA, our rubrics evaluate materials based on:

  • Text Quality and Complexity, and Alignment to Standards with Tasks Grounded in Evidence
  • Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks
  • Instructional Supports and Usability

The ELA Evidence Guides complement the rubrics by elaborating details for each indicator including the purpose of the indicator, information on how to collect evidence, guiding questions and discussion prompts, and scoring criteria.

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