Alignment: Overall Summary

The Benchmark Advance 2021 materials for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of alignment. Texts included are partially of quality, although the rigor and complexity is appropriate for the grade. The program includes opportunities for students to learn and practice most literacy skills while engaging with texts. Included foundational skills instruction meets expectations. The materials partially support knowledge building, with text sets that are connected in different ways. Writing, speaking and listening, and language work is embedded throughout the year.

See Rating Scale Understanding Gateways

Alignment

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Partially Meets Expectations

Gateway 1:

Text Quality

0
27
52
58
53
52-58
Meets Expectations
28-51
Partially Meets Expectations
0-27
Does Not Meet Expectations

Gateway 2:

Building Knowledge

0
15
28
32
26
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
N/A
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

Meets Expectations

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Gateway One Details

Benchmark Advance 2021 includes some texts of high quality. Texts provide a wide variety of genres including a balance of literary and informational texts to provide students opportunities for a wide range and volume of reading across the year. Texts are of appropriate complexity, and materials include text complexity information. Texts and associated tasks do not grow in sophistication over the course of the year to support student mastery of grade level standards by the end of the year. Text-based questions, tasks, and assignments, and culminating tasks support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Opportunities for students to engage in cooperative discussions occur throughout the year. Frequent writing lesson and tasks engage students in a variety of writing processes, including opportunities to write using text evidence. While the materials include explicit instruction of all grade-level grammar and conventions standards, there are limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context, including in writing.

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
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-
Criterion Rating Details

Some texts included in the Benchmark Advance 2021 program are of high quality, however a number of the anchor texts are distillations or retellings of classic stories that lack the interest and texture of the original stories. The texts provide students the opportunity to read from a wide variety of genres with a balance of literary and informational texts. The majority of the texts are at the appropriate level of complexity for Kindergarten students, and the materials include text complexity information for most texts. However, the texts and associated tasks do not grow in sophistication over the course of the year to support student mastery of grade level standards by the end of the year. By the end of the year, students have the opportunity to engage in a wide range and volume of reading to support their literacy growth.

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
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-
Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1a.

Many texts such as extended reads and poems are of high quality; however, most mentor reads are not. Many of the mentor reads are short read-alouds that are not published works with a provided author and are often minimally related to the topic. Some of the vocabulary within the text of mentor reads is directly related to the topic. Specifically, the texts reviewed in the ‘Mentor Read Aloud’ book are mostly low-interest texts with simple structures and minimal rich vocabulary.

Examples of anchor texts of high quality include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 1: “What Do Plants Need?” by Debra Castor. This non-fiction text has high-quality photographs and rich vocabulary. The content is familiar to students but expands their knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Unit 3: “Catch a Little Rhyme” by Eve Merriam. This poem has an engaging rhyming pattern, strong vocabulary, and rich illustrations that accompany the content of the poem.
  • Unit 4: “Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems. This literary text is engaging and easy for students to relate to with vibrant illustrations.
  • Unit 5: “The No-Tech Day of Play” by Brenda Parkes and Jeffrey B. Fuerst. This literary text is engaging, high-interest events students can identify with, and powerful illustrations.
  • Unit 6: “The Toaster” by William Jay Smith. This poem contains rich figurative language and imagery. The illustration is interesting and connects the figurative language of the poem to real-life experiences.
  • Unit 7: “People We Celebrate” by Margaret McNamara. This text has strong academic vocabulary, a lot of picture support, and is of high interest.
  • Unit 8: “The Coolest Vacation” (author not cited). This informational text has vibrant illustrations and is something that students can identify with, albeit, not rich in vocabulary.
  • Unit 9: “Needs and Wants” by Michael Cavanaugh. This informational text includes engaging academic vocabulary with lots of picture support and age-appropriate text students can identify with.
  • Unit 10: “Motion” by Joy Brewster. The text has strong academic vocabulary, a lot of picture support, and is of high interest.

Examples of anchor texts of low quality include, but are not limited to:

  • Unit 2: “The Little Helper” (author not cited). This Mentor Read is one of a variety of short selections from stories that have no author or publisher and contain minimal academic vocabulary. This story is a retelling of a famous story.
  • Unit 3: “Let’s Be Friends” (author not cited). This text contains four simple sentences which are each repeated twice. It lacks strong content.
  • Unit 4: “Who Did it?” (author not cited). Little academic vocabulary is included in this text and the topic is too familiar to increase knowledge.
  • Unit 5: “The Tortoise and the Hare” (author not cited). This is a Mentor Read and is a retelling of a fable. It provides supplementary support to address the essential question and is very basic in vocabulary and language.
  • Unit 6: “Goldilocks Learns a Lesson” (author not cited). This is a brief summary of the original story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The language is basic and the illustrations only make sense if the reader has experience with the original story.
  • Unit 7: “The Mother of Thanksgiving” (author not cited). Short selection (4 paragraphs) that has little academic vocabulary or significant topic development.
  • Unit 8: “The Great Blizzard” (author not cited). This text uses mostly basic language and simple topic development.
  • Unit 9: “Up in the Air” (no author). This is part of the Mentor Reads with no published author and low academic vocabulary. The diagrams contain small text that is hard to read and does not fully address the essential question.
  • Unit 10: “The True Story of Balto, The Sled Dog” (author not cited). This text is an article that “summarizes the heroism of the dog sled teams.” The text contains limited information and vocabulary.

Indicator 1b

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1b.

Each unit contains a variety of genres including folktales, plays, biographies, and texts based on social studies concepts. Although there is a balance of both literary and nonfiction texts, there is a significant amount of poetry and rhyming used during Shared Reading which creates more of a literature focus during this part of instruction.

Examples of literary texts include:

  • Unit 1, “Bears Eat Honey” (author not cited) (poem)
  • Unit 2, “Horrible Bear” by Amy Dyckman (narrative)
  • Unit 3, “One Scary Bike Ride” by Carmen Fuerte (narrative)
  • Unit 4, “Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems (realistic fiction)
  • Unit 5, “The No-Tech Day of Play” by Brenda Parkes and Jeffrey Fuerst (realistic fiction)
  • Unit 6, “The Legend of the Coqui” by Georgina Lazaro (folkatle)
  • Unit 8, ”Two Wool Gloves” by Bo Jin (fantasy)
  • Unit 9, “Jaylen’s Juice Box” by Jerry Craft (realistic fiction)
  • Unit 10, “Tim Rows a Boat Gently Down the Stream” by Francisco Blane (reader’s theater)

Examples of informational texts include:

  • Unit 1, “What Animals Need” (author not cited) (informational big book)
  • Unit 3, “What are Some Rules at School?” by Margaret McNamara (informational big book)
  • Unit 5, “Technology at Home and School” by Barbara Andrews (informational big book)
  • Unit 7, “Make a Plan of the Library” by Courtney Silk (how-to book)
  • Unit 8, “Weather and the Seasons” by Margaret McNamara (informational big book)
  • Unit 9, “Firefighters at Work” (author not cited) (short mentor read-aloud)
  • Unit 10, “Forces” by Joy Brewster (informational big book)

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 of Indicator 1c.

Benchmark for Kindergarten Mentor Read Alouds have a Lexile level above 400 which is appropriate for Kindergarten since the teacher is reading the text aloud. The Shared Readings often include shorter passages and poems that “support foundational literacy skills in context” such as print concepts, fluency, phonics, and high-frequency words. This allows students to access the Shared Reading texts at an independent level.

Texts have the appropriate level of complexity for the grade according to quantitative and qualitative analysis and relationship to their associated student task. Anchor texts are placed at the appropriate grade level. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, students listen to the mentor text, “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 480
    • Qualitative measure: The qualitative measure is moderately complex. The sequence of events is presented in a straightforward, chronological order and includes some complex vocabulary and vivid images.
    • Task: The task requires students to ask and answer questions to make inferences about a text. The knowledge demands are minimal and the story is familiar to students.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, students listen to the mentor text, “What are Some Rules at School?”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 480
    • Qualitative measure: The total qualitative measure is moderate complexity. There is a simple purpose to the text and it has structured chapters. The pictures are engaging, the text is relatable.
    • Task: The text is taught throughout the week to reinforce the learning targets and essential questions.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, students listen to the mentor text, “Technology at Home and School: Past and Present.”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 600
    • Qualitative measure: The qualitative measure is moderately complex. The text structure is clear and straightforward, including photographs to compare technology used long ago and currently. The vocabulary is mostly familiar, but also extends kindergarten vocabulary with clear graphics and text support.
    • Task: Students use text features to make inferences.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, students listen to the mentor text, “The Mother of Thanksgiving.”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 640
    • Qualitative measure: The qualitative measure is moderately complex. The purpose of the text is simple and follows a logical sequence of events in chronological order. It includes a few complex sentences and some unfamiliar words. The knowledge demands are slightly complex because the text relied on the reader’s familiarity with the history of Thanksgiving in the United States.
    • Task: The text is taught throughout the week to reinforce the learning targets and essential questions.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, students listen to the mentor text, “Jaylen’s Juice Box.”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 500
    • Qualitative measure: The qualitative measure is moderately complex. The content is engaging and the purpose is simple. The graphics are vivid and it includes dialogue between characters. The text expands student vocabulary by introducing some unfamiliar words that are described in the text and/or illustrations.
    • Task: The task with this text varies for each day of the week, from making inferences to using illustrations to make sense of the text.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, students listen to the mentor text, “Motion.”
    • Quantitative measure: Lexile 560
    • Qualitative measure: The total qualitative measure has substantial complexity. Although the purpose is simple, it contains a range of detailed information.The text is organized into chapters, has content-heavy language, and conveys a range of scientific concepts. The teacher also uses the text to guide students in building content vocabulary.
    • Task: The teacher reads this text to the students multiple times during the week, and also guides students in identifying similarities and differences between this text and another text, Forces.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of Indicator 1d.

The complexity of anchor texts and supporting texts that students read/listen to partially provide an opportunity for students’ literacy skills (comprehension) to grow across the year towards independence, encompassing an entire year’s worth of growth. The texts used for Mentor Reads grow somewhat in complexity; however, as texts become more complex, minimal change in support is noted in the units. The Shared Reading Texts (seven per unit) provide students with daily shared reading experiences. While complex for the grade level, these texts are less complex than the mentor texts and extended read-alouds as they are used for applying foundational skills in-context. Additionally, there are 90 leveled texts available at a wide range of levels for small group instruction and independent reading (as appropriate). These texts are accompanied by prompting cards for each text level to support students in decoding, reading fluently, and making meaning from what they read. The prompting cards provide behaviors the teacher should look for as students read and provides three types of prompting: demonstration, prompting, and validation.

Although tasks change slightly in how students access the various texts, there does not seem to be a concrete method for introducing more complex texts with increased support and additional time reading. The routines and amount of time allotted for each part remain the same throughout the year. There are common, routine tasks, such as discussing with a partner, that do not seem to change as complexity changes. Grade-level appropriate scaffolds and/or materials are reiterated but not enhanced from the beginning to the end of the year as evident in the Model, Guided Practice, and Apply Understanding sections of each daily lesson. Independent tasks are often mentioned in lessons as something to be completed later, but there is no time allotted in the lesson, no rubrics for assessing independent work, nor no guidance for the tasks. Additionally, practice of skills occurs with previously-encountered independent reading/leveled texts; therefore, students may not have the opportunity to practice the skills on their own utilizing grade-level text.

Some examples include:

  • Throughout the units, students examine the relationship between the illustrations or photos in the text and the text itself.
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 3, Lesson 4, the teacher uses the text, What Do Animals Need? (Lexile 510L), to model how to use labels and captions to better understand the text. The teacher engages in a think-aloud to demonstrate gathering information. Then, the teacher reads another caption aloud and students pair up to answer the question, “What extra information about animals and shelters does the caption on page 10 give you?” Students discuss and a few partners are invited to share. During independent practice time, students place a sticky note next to a text feature in their independent reader that gives them more information.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 2, Lesson 3, the teacher again models how to use illustrations to gain understanding of the text. In this instance, the students examine thought bubbles connected to characters. Then, pairs of students respond to three questions posed by the teacher about the thought bubbles used in the story, Rules are Cool (Lexile 450L). The teacher calls on one or two students to describe how illustrations add details to the story. During independent reading practice, students place a sticky note next to an illustration in their independent reader that helps them to better understand the text.
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Day 5, Lesson 3, the teacher calls the students’ attention to the timeline at the bottom of page 6 of the unit text, People We Celebrate (Lexile 630L). The teacher talks through how to use a timeline to answer questions and then poses the question, “How do the photos and the timeline on pages 14–15 help you understand when we celebrate different people and holidays?” Students work with partners to respond to the question. Then, partners take turns sharing how a timeline helps to give or clarify information in a text. A few students share with the class. During independent reading time, students again mark examples with sticky notes in their independent readers.

While the types of illustrations grow slightly more complex over the course of the year, the opportunity for the students to engage in meaningful practice remains limited.

  • Across the year, students practice drawing inferences from the texts they read.
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 1, Lesson 3, the teacher models, via a think aloud, how to draw inferences about the story, “The Tortoise and the Hare” (Lexile 480L). The teacher creates an anchor chart showing readers how to draw inferences. The example shows the words, details from the text and illustrations being combined with background knowledge and a picture of a student thinking with the equal sign and then the word inference next to a light bulb. This statement appears at the bottom of the chart, “Drawing an inference means thinking beyond the details to understand what is NOT SAID in the text.” Most kindergarten students will not be able to read the chart yet. After the teacher models the think aloud, students work in pairs to draw a conclusion about what Hare learns at the end of the text. During independent practice time, students mark clues in a text that would help them draw an inference with sticky notes.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, Lesson 4, the teacher models drawing inferences. The teacher revisits the “Draw Inferences” Anchor Chart created previously, reiterating that drawing inferences is how the reader “understands ideas that are not clearly stated in a text.” Again, students work in pairs to discuss a caption on page 43 from “Up, Up, and Away!” (Lexile 590L) and what inference they might draw from it. Students repeat the sticky note activity from Unit 2.
    • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 1, Lesson 3, the teacher engages in a think aloud to model drawing inferences while referencing the related Anchor Chart. This time the think aloud models creating mental images and partners read two pages from the text and then share with one another how they created a mental image from the text, Jaylen’s Juice Box (Lexile 500L). As students read their leveled texts, they place a sticky note next to a place they applied a strategy from the lesson.

While the skills grow slightly more complex over the course of the year, practice opportunities remain limited and do not change in their demands on the student.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1e.

The online Teacher Resource System features a Guide to Text Complexity for each unit. The Guide to Text Complexity provides a detailed text complexity analysis of quantitative and qualitative measures for Mentor Read-Alouds and Extended Reads. The quantitative measure for each Mentor Text is a Lexile level, and the qualitative measure is based on an analysis of four criteria: purpose and levels of meaning, structure, language conventionality and clarity, and knowledge demands of the reader. Each of the four dimensions has a score and notes justifying the score. The scores for each of the four dimensions are added together to determine an overall qualitative score and a corresponding rubric is used to determine if it is Low Complexity, Moderate Complexity, Substantial Complexity, or Highest Complexity.

Anchor texts and series of texts connected to them are accompanied by a text complexity analysis, including rationale for educational purpose and placement in the grade level. The analysis includes correct information. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Grow Pumpkin, Grow”, has a Lexile of 590 according to the publisher. The total qualitative measure is moderately complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states the text “contains labeled photographs to match each sequential step in the pumpkin growing process.” Also, the language is “colloquial” but there are some domain-specific vocabulary terms in the text.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, the first Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Tortoise and the Hare”, has a Lexile of 480. The total qualitative rating is moderately complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states: “The story has a simple plot, but comprehending the moral— slow and steady wins the race—requires the reader to make an inference. The story includes a few complex and compound sentences.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, the Extended Read, “What Are Some Rules at School?”, has a Lexile of 480. The total qualitative rating is moderately complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states: “Text has a simple purpose: to tell about rules at school and why we have them. The text is structured in sequential chapters, each dealing with a different aspect of rules at school. Readers encounter some sidebars and questions to provoke thought and discussion. Language usage is common with few complex or compound sentences. Nontechnical vocabulary words (i.e. citizen, community, rules) are defined in context through direct definitions. The familiar nature of the topic and setting means no prior knowledge is needed for understanding.”
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, the read-aloud is “Technology Use at Home and School: Past and Present” which has a Lexile of 600. The total qualitative rating is substantially complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states, “The text is organized in separate sections, each building connections to establish an understanding of how technology has evolved over time. The text includes many complex and compound sentences. Vocabulary words (electricity, whiteboard) are defined in context, and through direct definitions and descriptions.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, the Extended Read ,“The Boy Who Fed His People”, has a Lexile of 530. The total qualitative rating is substantially complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states: “The story’s message is simple and explicitly revealed and readers must integrate information from illustrations. Events may be difficult to predict and occur across time. The narrative uses simple and compound constructions and the text includes some academic vocabulary with contextual support (game, melted, snares). Readers must be aware of some common conventions of the genre. Events are based on less common experiences and situations.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, the first Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Mother of Thanksgiving”, has a Lexile of 640. The total qualitative rating is moderately complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states: “Text has a simple purpose: to explain Sarah Josepha Hale’s role in making Thanksgiving a national holiday. The text structure is chronological order, with a logical sequence of events building to a clear conclusion. The text includes a few complex sentences and some unfamiliar words (determined, valued). Some familiarity with the history of Thanksgiving in the United States would benefit understanding.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, the Extended Read, “Two Wool Gloves”, has a Lexile of 580 according to the publisher. The total qualitative rating is moderately complex. The Guide to Text Complexity states: “the story’s message must be inferred from the plot and character’s actions. The story unfolds in chronological order, but connections between events and ideas are implicit or subtle. The story contains simple, compound, and complex sentences. Vocabulary is mostly comprised of common words with some words that may be unfamiliar. The story assumes some prior knowledge of animals and weather.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, the second extended read is a realistic fiction text, Jaylen’s Juice Box, which has a Lexile of 500. It is appropriate for a read aloud to kindergarten students. The Guide to Text Complexity states, “Readers must follow dialogue among multiple characters. Readers must make some inferences to understand the story’s message. Language is literal, with mostly familiar vocabulary and a few context-dependent words (e.g., refuse).”
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, the Extended Read, Motion, has a Lexile of 560. The total qualitative rating is substantially complex. The Guide to Text Complexity includes states that although the purpose is simple, it contains a range of detailed information. The Guide to Text Complexity also notes “the organization of the text into chapters, the content-heavy language, and the text’s range of scientific concepts.”

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1f.

Instructional materials clearly identify opportunities and supports for students to engage in reading (and read aloud) a variety and volume of texts to become independent readers at the Kindergarten grade level. Shared reading, small-group reading, decodable texts, and independent reading are included in every unit. There are a variety of text types throughout the curriculum and a significant amount of time is spent on both reading instruction and reading practice daily. In a typical week, the materials suggest spending 10 minutes on a Read Aloud book of choice; 10 minutes on Shared Reading; 12–15 minutes on the Extended Read; and 30–60 minutes on Small-Group Reading, Independent Reading, and Conferring. Students access a variety of texts each day and the program provides teacher guidance on suggested trade books to augment student exposure to the unit topic with related texts. Students grow towards independence throughout the year.

The curriculum has two shared readings per week (six per unit) and one Poetry Out loud each week (three per unit). These lessons take 10–15 minutes each. Phonics lessons, which are 20 minutes each, include short decodable reads from the My Reading and Writing book (one a week/three per unit) and a separate decodable book (one a week/three per unit). There are two Mentor Read Alouds to build reading and vocabulary skills in the first week of the Unit. There are also two Extended Reads (one per week) for the other two weeks of the unit. These lessons are 15 minutes each. Small-group reading includes nine book titles per unit. However, students may not always read these due to flexibility in the lessons; as a result, students read one to four of these a week. There is one Reader’s Theater for each unit. small-group reading including Reader’s Theater is 15-20 minutes per group.

There is a Guide to Independent Reading which instructs teachers to use the 3-finger method for beginning readers to determine their “just right” level for independent reading. The teacher’s guide states that the goal is for “students to be able to read about 30 minutes at a time.” The teacher is advised to provide a range of informational and literary texts for independent reading, including previously read books and books related to the unit topic. The teacher’s guide includes “e-books, trade books, and magazines” as ideas for topic-related texts.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the topic is “Plants and Animals Have Needs” and the Essential Question is “Why do living things have different needs?”. During the unit, students listen to six brief Shared Readings, two short Mentor Read-Alouds, and two longer Extended Reads that are about plants and animals. The students also revisit the poem, “Tommy” by Gwendolyn Brooks, three times over the course of the unit during Shared Reading time. Options for Interactive Read-Aloud texts include informational texts and a poem, all of which are about plants and animals. Students also have opportunities to read three decodable readers during phonics mini-lessons.
  • In Unit 2, the topic is “Every Story has a Character” and the Essential Question is “How are characters different?”. This unit has a variety of text types but all are literary and include fables, animal fantasy, and realistic fiction.
  • In Unit 3, the topic is “Rules at Home and School” and the Essential Question is “Why do we have rules?”. The unit contains read-aloud texts of the following types: informational text, fiction, and social studies. The unit also contains two short Mentor Read-Alouds and two full-length big books. There are three texts in the “Decodable Texts” section that focus on specific skills: short i, Ff, and Pp.
  • In Unit 4, the topic is “Writers Tell Many Stories” and the Essential Question is “Why do people tell stories?”. Within the unit, students listen to six brief Shared Readings, two short Mentor Read-Alouds, and two longer Extended Reads, which are literary texts. During Shared Reading time, students also revisit the poem, “Catch a Little Rhyme” by Eve Merriam, three times over the course of the unit. Options for Interactive Read-Aloud texts include two realistic fiction texts, a fable, and a poem. Students also have opportunities to read three decodable readers during phonics mini-lessons.
  • In Unit 5, the topic is “Technology at Home and School” and the Essential Question is “Why do we use Technology?”. This unit has a variety of literary and informational text types including realistic fiction, opinion, journals, and fantasy.
  • In Unit 7, the topic is “Holidays and Celebrations” and the Essential Question is “Why do we celebrate people and events?”. The unit contains read-aloud texts of the following types: informational text, social studies, and opinion. There are two short Mentor Read-Alouds and two full-length big books. There are three texts in the “Decodable Texts” section. These texts focus on specific skills: Ww, Ll, and Jj.
  • In Unit 8, the topic is “Weather and Seasons” and the Essential Question is “How do our lives change with the seasons?”. This unit has a variety of text types for whole-group and small-group instruction, including informational, realistic fiction, journals, fiction, and fantasy. During Shared Reading time, students also revisit the poem, “Snow City” by Lee Bennett Hopkins, three times over the course of the unit. Options for Interactive Read-Aloud texts include one poem and three informational texts about weather and the seasons.
  • Teachers provide small-group reading daily for 30–60 minutes, depending on how many groups are done a day. The materials provide instructional level groups with leveled texts appropriate for each instructional level. Students needing more intensive instruction also spend more time practicing the weekly decodable texts and therefore may not have the opportunity to read as many small-group texts. More advanced readers reread previous stories independently.

Criterion 1g - 1n

Materials provide opportunities for rich and rigorous evidence-based discussions and writing about texts to build strong literacy skills.
15/16
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Criterion Rating Details

The program’s text-based questions, tasks, and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Culminating tasks provide opportunities for students to write and present information about what they have learned throughout the unit. Protocols for speaking and listening are present throughout all units and provide students opportunities to learn to engage in cooperative discussions with peers and teachers. Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers.

Materials include an even mix of short and longer writing tasks, including Inquiry and Research projects which accompany all units. Opportunities to engage in multiple text types of writing are present in the materials, including opportunities to write using text evidence.

Materials include explicit instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level, but contain limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. Opportunities for students to apply skills to their writing is limited.

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
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1g.

Text-based questions, tasks, and assignments support students’ literacy growth over the course of the school year. Questions are text-based for mentor read alouds. Teacher materials provide support for planning and implementation of text-dependent writing, speaking, and activities. Questions include both explicit questions and inferences. Text-based questions support daily practice for writing, speaking, and activities. Where activities are text-based, teachers are given support for planning and implementation of the activities. The “Integrated ELD” section for the teacher provides two to five tasks/questions/sentence frames to give light, moderate, or substantial support to students who are struggling with the task. The Teacher Edition provides text-based questions to ask students. The questions correspond with specific pages in the text. The Teacher Edition also provides examples for the teacher on how to think aloud when modeling how to answer the questions, as well as sample responses for questions that students answer during Guided Practice. Culminating Research and Inquiry projects also include using the unit texts and text evidence.

Examples of text-based questions, tasks, and assignments include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 4, students engage in a shared reading of Plant Parts and are asked to use text clues to describe the parts of a plant and its functions. Questions to support this task include “What parts do all plants need to survive? What are their parts, and what does each part do?”
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher and students use text evidence to describe store characters in the Extended Read, Dog Days of School. Students answer text-based questions, including “Why does Charlie wake up on the floor? Find evidence in the story to support your answer. What is Charlie trying to do? Why? Find evidence in the story to support your answer?” Students work in pairs to discuss their answer to the second question and look for text-based evidence to support their answers.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 2, students engage in an extended reading of Wolf Cub’s Song and answer text-evident questions during guided practice to “consider what they learn about the characters from their actions in the story.” Questions to support this task include “Who needs Wolf Cub’s help? How is Wolf Cub going to help the other wolves? Why does Wolf Cub ask if she can really help the other wolves on page 12?”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 2, the Mentor Read Aloud is “The Mother of Thanksgiving”. There are three text-based questions: “Why did Sarah J. Hale write to President Lincoln? Why do some people call Sarah J. Hale the 'Mother of Thanksgiving'? What effect do Sarah J. Hale’s actions have on us today?”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 5, students engage in a mentor reading of The Great Blizzard where the students identify and describe the characters, setting, and major events in a story. Questions to support this task are “How would you describe the setting where the story takes place? Why is the setting important to the story?”
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 2, students explore how photographs and illustrations support texts in the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Firefighters at Work.” Students answer text-based questions such as “What information about these firefighters do we get from reading the text?Does the gear in the picture on page 35 look like it is in good working order? Use information from the text to tell how you know.”

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1h.

Culminating tasks are rich and of quality, provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in speaking and writing, and are varied and evident across a year’s worth of material. Text-dependent questions and smaller daily tasks lead up to the culminating tasks. Inquiry and Research projects are only slightly varied every unit, but offer choices for presentations. Both the Inquiry and Research projects as well as the weekly and unit assessments provide opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding of unit content. During the Inquiry and Research project and Unit Reflection, teachers use a Constructive Conversation approach that is centered around the Essential Question and Unit Topic. Process writing tasks are ample in the curriculum as culminating writing tasks. Each week contains texts, writing tasks, and discussions leading to the culminating tasks for the unit. Assessments contain related texts that are “cold reads” for the students, but use unit vocabulary and assess skills taught throughout the unit. It should be noted that although students have choice in the product they create for a culminating task, the structure and routines of each culminating task are not varied, including the three questions that frame each culminating task.

Culminating tasks are supported with coherent sequences of text-based questions and tasks. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students complete a Demonstrate Knowledge through Drawing and Writing culminating task at the end of Week 3. Students share what they have learned throughout the unit by answering the following text-dependent questions: “What do the living things you read about need to survive?” (Essential Question) and “How do the living things you read about get the things they need to survive?” (Enduring Understanding).
  • In Unit 2, the Essential Question is “How are characters different?”. In Week 1, Day 1, students watch and discuss the unit opener video, “Every Story has Characters.” The students help the teacher make a list of questions that they can ask to find out how the characters they read about are different from one another. In Week 1, Day 2, students identify and describe the characters in the Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” In Week 2, Day 2, students identify and describe the characters in the Extended Read, Horrible Bear. In Week 2, Day 3, students “Identify and Describe Characters and Major Story Events.” In Week 2, Day 5, students “Compare and Contrast the Adventures of Characters in Stories.” In Week 3, Day 5, Reflect on Unit Concepts, students watch the video from the first day of the unit and discuss how the video fits with the unit and the Essential Question. In small groups, students discuss their answers to the Essential Question. Students share and the teacher records their ideas on the anchor chart created at the beginning of the unit. Then, students use drawings and writing to respond to the following questions: “How are the characters you read about different? Why were the actions of the characters important in their stories?”
  • In Unit 3, the Essential Question is “Why do we have rules?” In Week 1, students read “Let’s Play by the Rules” and write about a rule from the text and why the rule is important. In Week 2, students read “What are Some Rules at School?” and discuss how the text and pictures explain safety rules at school. The culminating task in Week 3 is a Constructive Conversation in peer groups about the Essential Question. Students use what they have learned from different unit texts to answer the Essential Question and add to their peers’ answers.
  • In Unit 5, the Essential Question is “Why do we use technology?”. In Week 1, Day 1, students watch and discuss the unit opener video, “Technology at Home and School.” The students help the teacher make an anchor chart, listing their questions about technology. In Day 1, the students also learn and practice listening for key details and making inferences about the ways people may travel in the future in the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Up, Up, and Away!” In Week 2, Day 5, students identify similarities between two texts about technology. The texts are the Extended Read, Technology at Home & School, and the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Up, Up, and Away!” In Week 3, Day 5, Reflect on Unit Concepts, students watch the video from the first day of the unit and discuss how the video fits with the unit and the Essential Question. In small groups, students discuss their answers to the Essential Question. Students share and the teacher records their ideas on the anchor chart created at the beginning of the unit. Next, students work in groups to choose one type of technology they learned about in the unit. The teacher helps students make a short video to share facts they learned about the technology and how it is used at home or at school. Then, students use drawings and writing to respond to the following questions: “How did the texts you read show how technology has changed from the past to the present? How does the technology in the texts you read make people’s lives easier and better?”
  • In Unit 6, the Essential Question is “How do we know what is right?” and the Unit Topic is Stories have Messages. In Week 1, students read “Goldilocks Learns a Lesson” and “All Together Now!” discuss what lessons the characters learned in the stories. In Week 2, students read “Horrible Bear” and discuss the lesson of the story as a model for writing opinion papers. The culminating task in Week 3 is a Constructive Conversation in peer groups about the Essential Question. Students use what they have learned from different unit texts to answer the Essential Question and add to their peers’ answers.
  • In Unit 7, students complete a two-week narrative process writing task about a celebration or holiday that they have been reading about in this unit. This is launched in Week 2, Day 1, where the teacher uses the book, People We Celebrate. Each day during Weeks 2 and 3 of this unit, teachers walk students through the process of writing a narrative that uses information that they have learned in this unit.
  • In Unit 8, students engage in a research and inquiry project to deepen their understanding of the unit topic, Weather and the Seasons. Presentations are structured to answer these guiding questions:In what season does the weather you studied occur? What are some ways that animals, plants, and humans change what they do during this weather?” (Essential Question) and “What new information from your research helped you better understand the weather you read about in the unit text(s)?” (text evidence, cross-text analysis).
  • In Unit 10, students reflect on the theme of the unit and reference materials used in the unit as teachers walk them through the process of writing sensory and acrostic poems during two one-week poetry writing tasks. The acrostic poem has an anchor text called “Swings,” and the sensory poem has an anchor text called “Down the Snowy Slope.”

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1i.

Teacher materials support the implementation of speaking and listening and vocabulary standards to grow students’ skills. The Foundations and Routines book and the Instructional Routines and Strategies for Vocabulary include Turn and Talk, Constructive Conversations, and Being a Good Listener routines. The materials provide opportunities for teacher modeling and review of discussion protocols. Most lessons include opportunities for students to engage in text-based discussions with the class or partners. Writing lessons include an Oral Rehearsal, which gives students opportunities to practice saying the sentences that they will write before writing them. In some lessons, the students participate in Constructive Conversation protocols. Many lessons provide the teacher with sentence frames in order to support student discussion. Lessons provide opportunities for students to discuss texts in response to text-based questions and Close Reading prompts. Academic vocabulary is used in both questions and teacher modeling and sentence stems for discussions. Students also have opportunities to practice speaking and listening during the presentation phase of the Unit Inquiry projects. The Teacher Resource System has additional resources for Instructional Routines and Strategies as well as Constructive Conversation. The Instructional Routines resource briefly outlines routines for daily read-alouds, activities to extend read-alouds, and routines for modeling and teaching skills, such as retelling, phonological awareness, and blending. The Constructive Conversation resource has information that the teacher can use to support students’ conversations.

Materials provide multiple opportunities and protocols for evidence-based discussions across the whole year’s scope of instructional materials. Some examples include:

  • As described in the Foundations and Routines lessons Day 1, there is an anchor chart for what a listener does: “A listener pays attention. A listener looks at the person who is talking. A listener waits for the speaker to finish talking. A listener sits still.” On Day 4, there is a sample anchor chart for Our Jobs during Reading Workshop that states, “Be a partner, Be a speaker, Be a listener, Be a reader.” On Day 6, there is more explanation to “look at the speaker and think about what the speaker is saying...sitting quietly, hands in lap, eyes on the speaker.”
  • As described in the Foundations and Routines lessons Day 2, the teacher introduces Constructive Conversations. “When we talk about what we’ve read, we take turns. We can’t hear everyone at once, so one person talks at a time. Everyone listens to that person. Then another person can talk.”
  • As described in the Instructional Routines and Strategies under Additional Resources for each unit, there is guidance for “Read Aloud Extending Activities” including student-generated questions and active listening with partners. There is also a “Routine for Daily Read Alouds” that tells teachers to preview the text by asking open-ended questions, then while reading, pause to allow a brief turn and talk with text-based discussion questions. Then teachers should encourage discussion after reading with more questions. The materials provide examples of each type of question.
  • As described in the Instructional Routines and Strategies under Additional Resources for each unit, there is guidance for the “Vocabulary Routine: Define/Example/Ask”. Define means provide a student-friendly definition of the vocabulary word. Example means give an example sentence using the word. Ask means ask a question using the vocabulary word and have students answer with a sentence stem using the vocabulary word.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 1, students practice the Turn, Talk, and Listen routine using the Shared Reading text, “I Can.” Students work in partner groups to identify the two words that give them a clue to the big idea of the poem and explain why they chose those two words. The teacher then calls on one or two students to paraphrase what their partners told them.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 3, the Shared Reading text is “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” During the shared reading, the teacher uses the Define/Example/Ask Vocabulary Routine.

Support for evidence-based discussions encourages modeling and a focus on academic vocabulary and syntax. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • As described in the Foundations and Routines lessons Day 4, the teacher uses a sentence frame to model the Turn and Talk strategy. “Let’s practice Turn and Talk. When you talk with your partner today, please start your conversation like this: ‘I was nervous the first day of school because ____’”. The teacher models using the sentence frame, then students practice using the same sentence frame while sitting “knee to knee and eye to eye” with their partners.
  • As described in the Instructional Routines and Strategies document, the Vocabulary Routine: Define/Example/Ask (page AR10) was “Developed by Isabel Beck and is ideal for introducing new words to students. It provides a student-friendly definition, connecting the word to students’ experiences, and asks students to use the word in speaking to check understanding.”
  • As described in the Instructional Routines and Strategies document, the Vocabulary Routine: Academic Vocabulary section (page AR12) states: “This routine, developed by Kate Kinsella, is an alternate routine for working with new words. It is especially strong for English learners and can be used to extend vocabulary work after the initial Define/Example/Ask introduction.” The teacher tips box gives grade-level appropriate activities for this: “[H]ave students create nonlinguistic representations of the word (e.g., pictures).”
  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, the class watches a video about living things. The teacher models discussing what she saw in the video and poses the question “Why do living things have different needs?” Students participate in a Turn and Talk with partners about what they wondered when they watched the video and then share their questions with the class. The teacher creates an anchor chart of all the questions.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, students participate in a Constructive Conversation during the unit introduction. The teacher models how to think about what they saw in the Unit 6 Video and generate questions about how people know what is right and wrong. The Teacher Edition includes this guidance: “I heard the narrator say, ‘Many stories can have a message or a lesson.’ A message or lesson is something that teaches us what is right. When I looked at the pictures, I saw a family building a doghouse together. I also saw a boy helping his father rake leaves. I asked myself, ‘How do these pictures teach me what is right?’ I wonder if I will learn about what is right as I read the stories in this unit? I will write down my questions.” Next, the students work in partners to tell each other an idea or question they had as they watched the video. The teacher selects volunteers to share with the whole group. The teacher writes the students’ questions on a Questions and Ideas Chart.
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Day 5, during Writing, the teacher models reading her shared report and telling one thing she likes about her work. Then students practice reading their reports with partners and giving compliments to partners using sentence frames such as “I like that your report is ____. I think ____ is interesting.” Some students then share the compliments they received and how it made them feel with the class.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1j.

Speaking and listening instruction is applied frequently over the course of the school year and includes facilitation, monitoring, and instructional supports for teachers. The teacher’s guide also includes directions to monitor Constructive Conversations. Materials include practice of speaking and listening skills that support students’ increase in ability over the course of the school year. Speaking and listening is included daily in lessons. There are Research and Inquiry projects for each unit which provide opportunities for students to present on a topic familiar to that unit and answer the Essential Question. Speaking and listening work requires students to gather evidence from texts and sources. Constructive Conversations involve text-based questions and discussions. Students use texts to do unit Research and Inquiry projects but there is no specific guidance for speaking and listening for the projects except for the presentation component.

Students have multiple opportunities over the school year to demonstrate what they are reading (or read aloud) and researching through varied speaking and listening opportunities. Some examples include:

  • In Unit 3, the unit Inquiry Project focuses on the theme of Rules at Home and School. Students complete a research project in which they answer questions including, “How do the rules you studied help keep you safe? How did the information you found in your research help you better understand why we need to follow the rules that you picked from the unit texts?” After students present their research projects, the teacher calls on other students to discuss which rule they think is the most important. Students also engage in a discussion about how the project helps them understand the Essential Question. Students take turns asking the speaker questions, using question stems from the Think-Speak-Listen Bookmarks.
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 3, the Shared Reading text is “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The Turn, Talk, and Listen section of the lesson (2-3 minutes) has the following task: “Ask partners to draw inferences by answering questions such as: ‘Why does the littlest Billy Goat Gruff tell the troll to wait for his brother?’ ...Remind students to use evidence from the story to answer the questions. Call on one or two students to paraphrase what their partners told them.”
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 2, students draft an opinion writing piece while referencing the Mentor Read Aloud text, All Together Now! (author not cited). During Oral Rehearsal for an independent writing session, students engage in the following task: “Write an opinion about your favorite character. It can be the same character that we talked about or it can be a different character. Turn to a partner. Tell him or her what sentences you will write. Remember to clearly state your opinion and then give a reason for your opinion. Practice saying the sentences aloud. Listen as your partner tells you his or her sentences.” Additionally, in Share and Reflect, the teacher asks students to read or talk about why it is important to include a reason when stating an opinion and invites a few students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  • In Unit 8, the Inquiry Research Project involves writing about ”a type of weather that is described in one or more of our Unit texts.” The teacher models the project’s guiding questions and students work with partners or in small groups to complete the project. However, there is no specific guidance on speaking and listening associated with the weekly tasks for the project. Students present their projects and other students write questions to ask the presenters. Then students discuss how the projects help deepen their understanding of the topic.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1k.

Materials include an even mix of short and longer writing tasks. Every unit also has an Inquiry and Research project which lasts three weeks. Writing tasks and projects are aligned to the grade-level standards. Kindergarten students draw, dictate for shared writing, and write developmentally appropriate sentences. Students learn and practice both on-demand and process writing throughout the school year. In Writing lessons, students learn and practice process writing. Units include opportunities for students to revise and edit their work under teacher guidance. Units include skill introduction, modeling, guided practice with Shared Writing, and independent practice. Each daily writing lesson includes a mini-lesson in which the teacher models and guides students in practicing their writing skills.

On-demand writing examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 5, the class discusses what they have learned from the book, What do Animals Need? By Margaret McNamara. The teacher models drawing a picture of a clownfish then refers to the three-step writing anchor chart (I think, I draw, I write and talk). The teacher refers to pages 10–11 of the book and reviews what the pages say about the clownfish. The teacher models how to write a sentence then expands on the idea by adding more sentences. With partners, students discuss another animal from the book they want to write and draw about and why they chose that animal. Students write or draw during small group reading time or Writing Workshop time.
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 1, students complete a narrative writing task based on the text, Dog Days of School, during which they “draw and write a letter from Charlie to Norman.” The teacher “use[s] prewriting strokes to draw a picture.” There is an anchor chart included in the lesson titled Three-step Writing Strategy. This anchor chart includes the steps, I think, I draw, and I write and talk.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, the teacher reviews “Let’s Play by the Rules.” The teacher and students engage in a shared/interactive writing about the rules for fair game play from the text. Then students write a sentence about how to be a good sport with the sentence stem, “A good sport _____.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 3, the teacher models writing an opinion of the story, Wolf Cub’s Song by Joseph Bruchac. The teacher refers to the three-step writing anchor chart, I think, I draw, I write and talk. The teacher models how to write an opinion sentence including why. With partners, students discuss what they will write and draw from the book. Students write or draw during small group reading time or Writing Workshop time.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 3, students read “Dan’s Dog” then respond in their My Reading and Writing book. Students “draw and write about things dogs do that are good and things dogs do that can be bad.”
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 3, students reread the text, “Summer Fun”, during the phonics mini-lesson. Students write a response to the text by drawing and writing about a fun summer experience they have had.

Examples of process writing include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, students begin writing an informative/explanatory piece based on the text, “Up, Up, and Away.” The teacher displays the Writing Process anchor chart which includes the following steps: “Brainstorm and plan; Draft; Revise and Edit; Publish and Share.”
  • In Unit 7, students learn about and practice the narrative writing process by writing two different stories. In Week 1, students learn about the steps of the narrative writing process. The teacher reviews the importance of story elements using a chart during the planning. The teacher also refers to The Legend of the Coqui, an Extended Text from a previous unit, to review story elements. The teacher and students discuss how stories the class has read have characters, setting, and plot. Students brainstorm and plan ideas for the elements of their stories by discussing, drawing, and writing their thoughts. The students draft their stories by drawing and/or writing. The students also revise their stories by adding details to describe the setting. On Day 5, students present their stories to partners. They also practice giving feedback after listening to students share their stories, using sentence frames such as, “I like that you ____, My favorite part is ____.”
  • In Unit 8, the teacher and students participate in shared research writing about one of the seasons for three weeks. The teacher uses the Mentor Text, “Winter Activities”, to explain the parts of a report. Students conduct research with a partner using Weather and Seasons and other books about seasons provided by the teacher. During Week 1, students brainstorm ideas and plan their writing. In Week 2, students draft and revise. In Week 3, students edit, publish, and share.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, students start an opinion writing task about their favorite food. Over the course of the week, the pacing for the task is as follows: one day to brainstorm, one day to plan, one day to list reasons, two days to draft.
  • In Unit 10, students learn about and practice writing poetry. Students write poetry related to the unit topic, physical science. On Day 1, the teacher and students analyze the poem, “Down the Snowy Slope” (author not cited), to learn about how authors can use sensory details. On Day 2, students learn about the features and purpose of a sensory poem. Students brainstorm ideas for their own poems by discussing their ideas with a partner and writing and/or drawing their ideas on an Idea Web. On Day 3, the students learn how to draft their poems. Students practice drafting their poems by discussing and writing and/or drawing. On Day 4, the teacher models how to revise a sensory poem by replacing verbs with stronger verbs and adding adjectives or phrases that give more vivid descriptions. The students practice revising their sensory poem drafts by strengthening their sensory descriptions. On Day 5, students publish and share their sensory poems. The students present their poems to partners. Partners practice giving positive feedback to presenters and asking questions about the poems.

Opportunities for students to revise and/or edit include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 1, students complete a Narrative Writing task referring to Dog Days of School. The Sample Conferring Prompts for the teacher include the following guidance to support students with editing: “Encourage the student to add one additional detail to his or her drawing.” Students continue to work on this writing project throughout the week, adding events and details each day.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, students complete an informative/explanatory writing task based on the text, “Up, Up, and Away.” Pacing suggestions in the Week 1 Comprehensive Literacy Planner allocate one day to draw and write, two days to draft, and two days to revise.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 5, students revise their stories again by adding more details to make the story clearer and more interesting. For example, the teacher models how to add transition words, such as then, last, and, finally, as well as an exclamation to show a strong feeling.
  • In Unit 8, the teacher and students participate in a three-week shared research writing project about one of the seasons. During Week 2, students draft and revise. In Week 3, students edit, publish, and share.
  • In Unit 9, students complete an opinion writing task over the course of three weeks. During Week 2, students revise and expand their writing within a three-day span. During Week 3, students spend two days editing their writing.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 4, students revise drafts of their acrostic poems. The teacher models replacing an adjective with a stronger or more vivid adjective, using strong verbs, and adding nouns to clarify ideas. During Oral Rehearsal for Independent Writing time, students work with partners to reread drafts and determine areas that could be improved. During Independent Writing time, students revise their drafts by adding or changing words or phrases to make their poem stronger.

Examples of the use of digital tools include, but are not limited to:

  • Inquiry and Research projects for each unit include general guidance for teachers as students explore digital tools during the project. During the Unit 8 Inquiry and Research project, teachers arrange online access so students can do online research, allow students to reread e-books as they conduct research, and create a content shelf on Benchmark Universe.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, students watch the Unit Opener video, “Technology at Home and School,” to engage in the unit topic, activate background knowledge, and introduce vocabulary. Students discuss questions about the content of the video. The teacher observes students’ conversations to gauge their knowledge about unit content and to build interest.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Day 4, students publish their writing after creating a final, clean copy of their stories. The Teacher Edition gives teachers the option of modeling how to publish and print the story on a computer, provided that technology is available.
  • In Unit 10, Day 5, students publish and present clean copies of their acrostic poems. The Teacher Edition includes the option of having students create their final copy using a digital resource, provided that technology is available.

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 materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1l.

Materials provide opportunities for students/teachers to monitor progress in writing skills. Lessons contain sample Conferring Prompts for teachers to use when giving students feedback to support them with improving their writing. The materials provide writing exemplars along with explanations and rubrics for each type of writing. The materials also include rubrics for the Inquiry and Research projects. Where appropriate, writing opportunities are connected to texts and/or text sets (either as prompts, models, anchors, or supports). Short and longer writing tasks use the texts from the unit. The Teacher Edition includes sample models for teachers to use when modeling and guiding each part of the writing process. Writing lessons also use previously read Extended Reads as model texts to introduce and review skills needed in the writing process. Materials include sufficient writing opportunities for a whole year’s use.

Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing that reflect the distribution required by the standards. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Students have opportunities to engage in opinion writing.
    • In Unit 4, Week 3, the teacher models writing an opinion of the story, Wolf Cub’s Song by Joseph Bruchac. The teacher refers to the three-step writing anchor chart (I think, I draw, I write and talk). The teacher models how to write an opinion sentence including why. With partners, students discuss what they will write and draw from the book. Students write or draw during small group reading time or Writing Workshop time. Sample Conferring Prompts are provided for teacher monitoring. The Writing Exemplar for Kindergarten Opinion writing contains a rubric.
    • In Unit 6, students write opinion pieces during shared writing with the teacher about the book Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman. Throughout the unit, students learn about how to write and revise an opinion piece. The teacher models throughout the unit. For example, in Week 2, Day 3, the teacher talks through how to add linking words. Students read their work aloud and then add linking words to their draft. Later, in pairs, students share their revisions with their partner, each sharing a revision they made and why they made it.
    • In Unit 9, students write an opinion piece based on the unit video, readings, and personal perspectives. The topic of the opinion task is “My Favorite Food.” Throughout Weeks 2 and 3, students work to revise and strengthen their writing. For example, on Week 2, Day 5, the students select sentences from their work to revise, applying what they have learned about linking words to expand the sentences (e.g., “The second reason I give for liking apples is that 'I like to eat apples prepared in different ways.' Then I give two examples. 'I like apples baked with cinnamon and honey' and 'I eat sliced apples with peanut butter as a snack.' I can join these sentences together with the linking word and. I can write, 'I like apples baked with cinnamon and honey, and I eat sliced apples with peanut butter as a snack.'”)
  • Students have opportunities to engage in informative/explanatory writing. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 4, the class reviews What do Animals Need? by Margaret McNamara. The teacher models drawing a picture of breathing in oxygen then refers to the three-step writing anchor chart (I think, I draw, I write and talk). The teacher models how to write a sentence then expand on the idea by adding more sentences. With partners, students discuss what they will write and draw from the book. Students write or draw during small group reading time or Writing Workshop time. Sample Conferring Prompts are provided for teacher monitoring. The Writing Exemplar for Kindergarten Informative writing contains a rubric.
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 2, the teacher reviews “Let’s Play by the Rules.” The teacher and students complete a shared/interactive writing about the rules for fair game play from the text. Then students write a sentence about how to be a good sport using the sentence stem, “A good sport _____”.
    • In Unit 8, the teacher and students participate in a three-week shared research writing project about one of the seasons. The teacher uses the Mentor text, “Winter Activities”, to explain the parts of a report. Students conduct research with a partner using Weather and Seasons and other books about seasons provided by the teacher. In Week 1, students brainstorm ideas and plan their writing. In Week 2, students draft and revise. In Week 3, students edit, publish, and share.
  • Students have opportunities to engage in narrative writing. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • In Unit 2, students draw and write about an event from the Mentor Read Aloud, "The Tortoise and the Hare", during shared writing. Since most students are not yet able to write their stories in words, they engage in pre-writing strokes, drawings that represent characters and events from the stories. The teacher helps guide them through basic drawings of the characters. Students orally state what sentences they want to accompany the drawings. The teacher writes the sentences as the students dictate.
    • In Unit 7, students engage in writing a narrative piece that includes characters, setting, and events after reading The Legend of the Coqui by Georgina Lazaro. During Week 1, students learn about the steps of the narrative writing process and practice by writing their own stories. The teacher reviews the importance of story elements using a chart during the planning. The teacher also refers to The Legend of the Coqui, an Extended Text from a previous unit, to review story elements. The teacher and students discuss how stories the class has read have characters, setting, and plot. Throughout the week, the teacher models each part of the writing process. Students brainstorm and plan ideas for the elements of their stories by discussing, drawing, and writing their thoughts. Students draft their stories by drawing and/or writing and revise their stories by adding details to describe the setting. On Day 5, students present their stories to partners. They also practice giving feedback after listening to peers share their stories, using sentence frames such as “I like that you ____. My favorite part is ____.”

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 instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 1m.

Materials provide frequent opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply writing using evidence. Throughout the various writing tasks, both in the writing lessons and in other mini-lessons, students have many opportunities to write in response to the text. Students write daily about texts they are reading, by either drawing a picture, completing a sentence frame, dictating a response, or writing an answer. Materials provide opportunities that build students’ writing skills over the course of the school year. Beginning of the year writing consists of more daily writing and end of the year writing is more multi-week, process writing. In the beginning of the year, students learn how to use pre-writing strokes to draw and write about shared readings. Their text-based responses include ideas they had while listening to texts, as well as specific facts and details in the text. In the middle of the year, students practice drawing and writing in response to text using pictures and words. At the end of the year, students learn and practice writing and illustrating reports using evidence from text sources. Students complete writing activities as basic as filling in the blank, to as complex as a two-week writing task where students are guided through each step in the process of writing.

Writing opportunities are focused on students’ recall of information to develop opinions from reading closely and working with evidence from texts and sources. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, the Writing lesson is connected to the text, “What are some Rules at School?”. The task states: “Now it’s your turn to draw and write a rule that helps us to show respect. Think of another way that you can show respect at school. Turn and tell your partner what rule you will draw and write about showing respect. Listen as your partner tells you his or her rule." Students then have independent and small-group writing and conferring time to complete the task, followed by a Share and Reflect time where they share their drawing and rule with the class.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 2, students practice drawing and writing their opinion of the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Who Did It?”. The teacher guides students in using the Three-Step Writing Strategy to draw a picture to represent an opinion about the text. The teacher guides the students in orally rehearsing ideas before modeling how to write them. The students draw and write their own opinions about the text during Independent Writing time. The teacher instructs students to also include a reason that supports their opinion.
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 1, the class makes a shared brainstorming web about the technology used in school. The teacher tells students they can use information from the previously read text, Technology at Home and School: Past and Present, or their own ideas.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1 the Writing lesson uses the text, “All Together Now”. Students brainstorm a favorite character from the texts read during the year in preparation to write an opinion text regarding why that is their favorite character. During the Guided Practice part of the lesson, students share their favorite character and provide reasons why that is their favorite character.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 3, students learn how to gather information from sources in order to write a shared research report about seasons. The teacher models how to look for facts about summer in the text, Weather and the Seasons. The teacher also models how to take notes and identify the source of each fact. During Guided Practice, the students find one more fact about summer activities from their choice of teacher-selected sources about the topic. Students share their facts with partners, and the teacher records the facts that the students gathered. During Independent Writing, students work with partners to record facts and details from text sources.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 5, students reflect on the topic’s Essential Question and further their understanding by answering questions about the unit through drawing and writing: “Why did the characters you read about in this unit have to make choices? How did these characters make choices between needs and wants?”

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 materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the criteria for materials including 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.

All Kindergarten units contain grammar lessons that follow the same format and provide teachers with explicit instruction, including modeling and guided practice. Shared reading lessons provide students with opportunities to apply and practice grammar and convention concepts in context. Students apply skills in grammar workbook pages; however, opportunities to apply skills to student writing is limited.

Materials include explicit instruction of all grammar and conventions standards for the grade level. For example:

Students have opportunities to print many upper- and lowercase letters.

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3, students respond to reading through writing on page 12 of “My Reading and Writing.” Students draw something funny they can do with a pet, then write words or a sentence about it. Students practice writing the letter O in successive “Letter Sound Fast Track” activity using letter tracing resources. Students are prompted to say the letter sound while writing.

Students have opportunities to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, the teacher introduces regular nouns by explaining “many of the words we use every day are called nouns. Nouns name people, animals, places, things, or ideas.The teacher provides examples of common nouns using a sentence frame, then uses picture cards to guide students to practice naming nouns and saying why it is a noun.

Students have opportunities to form regular plural nouns orally by adding -s or -es (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).

  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 2, the teacher reminds students that plural nouns name more than one person, animal, place, or thing and models using -es for nouns ending in s,x, z, ch, sh with the word box as an example. The teacher uses guided practice by writing nouns on the board, and students practice writing sentences using the plural nouns.

Students have opportunities to understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher models asking and answering who and what questions in response to the text, “Horrible Bear.”

Students have opportunities to use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).

  • In Unit 7, Week ,1 Day 1, students learn that prepositions are words that help to answer questions When? What? Where? Or How? Examples of common prepositions include the following: to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, and with. The teacher writes example sentences and then circles the prepositions within the sentences. The teacher asks volunteers to use the preposition in a new sentence. After the whole group instruction, students practice with partners. Using the text, “The Legend of Coqui”, students use prepositions to describe the locations of the characters in the illustrations. Students continue working on prepositions on Day 2, 3, 4, and 5 during the Writing lessons for the remainder of the week.

Students have opportunities to produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.

  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 1, the teacher reminds students that a sentence is a complete thought that starts with a capital letter and ends with punctuation. The teacher explains that you can expand sentences by adding more information. The teacher writes four sentences on the board, with each sentence expanding on the one before. After reading each sentence aloud, students answer the question, “What information did we add?” Students work with partners and take turns reading the second sentence to one another. Students replace the word big with another descriptive word and practice saying their new sentences. Students continue working on producing and expanding complete sentences on Day 2, 3, 4, and 5 during the Writing lessons for the remainder of the week.

Students have opportunities to capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, the teacher explains that when you put words together to tell about something, a sentence is created. A sentence tells one complete thought. Every sentence begins with a capital letter. The teacher displays “Let’s Play by the Rules,” on page 21 to provide examples of complete sentences. The teacher points to the sentence in the text, points at the capital in the first word, and explains to students that the first word in a sentence is capitalized. The teacher repeats with other sentences on page 5. Students work with partners during guided practice to find the capital letters of first words in other sentences in a text. Students point to and identify the capital letter at the beginning of a sentence. The teacher reads the sentences aloud and tracks the sentence while students follow along. Students continue working on capitalizing the first word in a sentence on Day 2, 3, 4, and 5 during the Writing lessons for the remainder of the week.

Students have opportunities to recognize and name end punctuation.

  • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1, teacher modeling is provided for the Grammar: Sentences with End Punctuation. The teacher tells students that at the end of every sentence a punctuation mark is found, which tells the sentence has ended. The teacher is to model saying and writing simple sentences with periods, question marks, and exclamation points. Sentences are provided: “I like that one too! The mark after too is called an exclamation mark.” In guided practice the teacher has students identify end punctuation in the text, Knuffle Bunny. Students are to discuss the differences between sentences ending with periods and exclamation marks.

Students have opportunities to write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 1, the teacher displays the Picture Word Card for astronaut. Modeling and scripting is provided for teachers to say the word, tell students the word begins with /a/, and that /a/ is spelled with a. For practice, the students are to listen for /a/ at the beginning of words provided and write a on a paper or workmat.

Students have opportunities to spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, teacher modeling is provided to sound out and spell the word, sock. The teacher guides students to complete page 7 in their My Reading and Writing books. The teacher tells students to say sock and asks what's the first sound they hear. The teacher states, “What letter do we write for that sound? Write the letter s on the line.” The teacher uses Elkonin boxes, and as students say each phoneme, the teacher moves a marker. The teacher continues this routine until they finish spelling sock. Students practice writing the word am with the teacher guiding them through the process of orally segmenting the word and writing the letter for every sound they hear in the boxes provided.

Materials include limited opportunities for students to demonstrate application of skills both in- and out-of-context. Opportunities for students to apply skills to their writing is limited.

  • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 4, students work in partners to say and write example sentences and discuss the type of sentence each one is based on the end punctuation. In Unit 7, Week 2, Day 5, students identify the periods that end the lines in the poem, “November is Upon Us”.
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 2, the teacher guides students to write the initial letters for the words, key and jar, and then kit in their My Reading and Writing books. Students practice writing kid as the teacher orally segments the word.

Criterion 1o - 1t

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for 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, phonological awareness, and phonics that demonstrate a transparent and research-based progression for application both in and out of context. Materials include a clear scope and sequence and use a synthetic approach to phonics instruction. The materials include one decodable text each week to address securing phonics and high-frequency words. The decodable texts contain grade-level phonics skills and high-frequency words that are aligned to the weekly phonics and targeted high-frequency words focus and the program’s scope and sequence for phonics instruction. Materials provide systematic and explicit instruction of high-frequency words primarily through high-frequency words lessons, which provide teacher modeling and directions for the Say, Spell, Read and Write routine, which applying high-frequency word knowledge to tasks. Students are provided with frequent opportunities to learn, practice, and apply word analysis strategies over the course of the year. Materials include ongoing and frequent assessments 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. Materials also include a year-long assessment plan.

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 materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for 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 for application both in and out of context.

Materials provide systematic, explicit modeling for instruction in phonological awareness and phonics. In the Phonics and Word Study section, daily instruction is dedicated to modeling and practicing phonological awareness skills. In all 10 Units, there are a variety of student opportunities to practice phonological awareness skills including opportunities for a variety of multimodal and multisensory activities. Materials have an explanation of phonological awareness instruction, explaining when phonological awareness skills are taught within the instructional day. A grade-level phonological awareness scope and sequence shows an implicit hierarchy for teaching phonological awareness skills. In the Phonics and Word Study and Shared Reading, there is a cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness skills based on the hierarchy. Within the Phonics and Word Study program support document, materials clearly delineate a phonics scope and sequence for the year. Within the Teacher’s Resource System for each unit, a document called Strategies and Skills outlines the scope and sequence for each unit of instruction. The phonics patterns taught throughout the year are based on high utility patterns, mainly focusing on letter sounds, short vowel word families, and long vowel word families. Materials include a scope and sequence and a clear research-based explanation for the order of the phonics sequence.

Students have frequent and adequate opportunities to learn and understand phonemes (e.g. produce rhyming words, segment syllables, blend onsets and rimes, pronounce vowels in CVC words, and substitute sounds to make new words). For example:

  • Students have opportunities to recognize and produce rhyming words.
    • In Foundations and Routines, Day 2, students work on recognizing rhyme. The teacher models identifying words that rhyme with sets of picture cards. A student chooses two picture cards from a bag and shows the cards to the class. The class identifies the names of the objects on the cards and gives a thumbs up or thumbs down based on if they think the two words rhyme.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher is to say the rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle, repeating the first two lines with emphasis on the last words. The teacher asks the students to listen to the words diddle and fiddle and explain that they rhyme because they both have the same ending sound of iddle. The teacher continues to model with moon and spoon. The teacher emphasizes the rhyming part of the pairs identified during student practice.
    • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 5, Shared Reading, the teacher tells the students to notice the poet used rhyme in the poem and tells the students to pay attention to which words sound the same using the words down and frown. After the students work in pairs to identify rhyming words, the teacher provides a line from the poem ending with hush, and students produce the rhyming word found in the poem.
  • Students have opportunities to count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words.
    • In Foundations and Routines, Day 12, students work on segmenting words by syllables. The teacher models how to listen carefully to words to hear smaller parts, or syllables. The teacher models how to listen to words, clap once for each syllable and count how many claps to identify the number of syllables in the word. Then, students practice counting syllables in other spoken words by clapping as they say the words out loud.
    • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models by saying pond twice and clapping one time for the one syllable word. The teacher then says pillow twice and clap two times, explaining that pillow has two word parts or syllables. The teacher repeats the words and has the students clap with them.
    • In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models counting syllables with the word, rock. The teacher has students say rock and clap once, then say robot and clap twice for /ro/bot. The teacher then says remember and claps three times.
  • Students have opportunities to blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 5, the teacher models blending onset and rime using a list of words: “Say the word get and segment into onset and rime /g/ /et/.”
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 5, students work on blending onset and rime. The teacher models blending onset and rime using /w/ /et/. The teacher models changing the initial sound to make a new word, /g/ /et/ The teacher repeats with a few new words. The students practice blending onset and rime and substituting the initial sound to create new words.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 5, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models segmenting yet into onset and rime as /y/ /et/, and students blend the sounds and say the word.
    • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models saying the word line and segments and blends the onset and rime /l/ /in/ and has the students repeat the process. The teacher repeats segmenting and blending onset for pine, fine, and vine.
  • Students have opportunities to isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words.1 (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)
    • In Foundations and Routines, Day 14, students work on isolating the initial sound in words. The teacher models isolating the beginning sounds as the teacher points to objects around the room.
    • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, students practice isolating middle sounds in a list of CVC words read by the teacher.
    • In Unit 4, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models the beginning sound h by saying, “Listen for the sound at the beginning of house. Say the sound with me /h/. House has /h/ at the beginning. Listen carefully as I say three words: hot, hat, happy. Tell me the sound you hear at the beginning of the three words.”
    • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher displays the Frieze Card for Ee and models by telling students to listen to the sound at the beginning of egg. “Egg has /ĕ/ at the beginning.” The teacher asks students to listen carefully as they say elf, end, and ever and asks students what the sound is at the beginning of all three words. The teacher provides the words red, men, and net and asks students what they hear in the middle of all three words.
    • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models phoneme blending with the words, web and wet. The teacher tells the students they are going to say the sounds in a word and models with /w/ /e/ /b/. The teacher asks the students to blend the sound together with them. The same modeling is provided for the word wet.
  • Students have opportunities to add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words.
    • In Unit 2, Week 5, Phonics and Word Study, the focus is phoneme addition. The teacher models phoneme addition by asking students to blend sounds to make the word ‘am.’ Then, the teacher adds the /s/ sound to the beginning to make a new word: /s/ /am/, /sssssaaaammm/. Finally, students practice adding phonemes to the words it and at to make new words.
    • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 5, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models phoneme addition by having students listen as they say at, then telling students they are going to add /b/ to /at/ to make a new word bat. The teacher is to repeat the process with an/tan, and up/pup.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models phoneme substitution by changing bag to beg. The teacher asks students what word they would make if they change the /a/ in bag to /e/. The teacher modeling is provided for phoneme substitution of words beg to bug.

Lessons and activities provide students adequate opportunities to learn grade-level phonics skills while decoding words (e.g. one-to-one correspondences, long and short sounds with common spellings, and distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying sounds of the letters). For example:

  • Students have opportunities to demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study the teacher displays a picture of a carton of milk, then says, “This is a picture of milk. The first sound in the word milk is /m/. /m/ is spelled with the letter m. Say the sound with me /mmm/. This is the sound at the beginning of the word milk. What is this letter? What sound does it make?” The teacher displays the Sound-Spelling card for m. The students practice listening for the /m/ sound in a list of words provided and write m on a paper or workmat.
    • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the focus is letter Ff /f/. The teacher introduces the letter and sound displaying the Picture Word card for fox, the Sound Spelling card, and the Ff Frieze card. A script is provided which includes, “This is a picture of a fox. The first sound in the word fox is /f/. /f/ is spelled with the letter f.” Teacher modeling is provided such as, “Display the Sound Spelling Card for Ff. Read the action rhyme and invite students to chime in.”
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher displays a picture of a cap, then says, “This is a picture of a cap. The first sound in the word cap is /k/. /k/ is spelled with the letter c. Say the sound of a cap. The first sound in the word cap is /k/. /k/ is spelled with the letter c. Say the sound with me /k/. This is the sound at the beginning of the word cap. What is this letter? What sound does it make?” The teacher displays the Sound-Spelling card for c. The students practice listening for the /k/ sound in a list of words provided and write c on a paper or workmat.
    • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the focus is letter Dd /d/. The teacher introduces the letter and sound displaying the Picture Word card for doll, the Sound Spelling card, and the Dd Frieze card. A script is provided which includes, “This is a picture of a doll. The first sound in the word doll is /d/. The /d/ sound is spelled with the letter d.” Modeling is provided such as, “Display the Sound Spelling Card for Dd. Read aloud the action rhyme and invite students to chime in.”
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher displays elkonin boxes and models saying the sounds in yap. As the teacher says each phoneme, students move a marker into the box. The teacher then demonstrates writing the corresponding letter to build the word, “I know the letter y stands for /y/. I’ll write y etc."
  • Students have opportunities to associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
    • In Unit 7, Week 2, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models building and blending words using ePocket chart. Students practice building and blending words with short /a/, /e/, /i/, and /o/.
    • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models using ePocket chart. Students build and blend words with short /a/ and /e/.
    • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, students engage in a sound-spelling correspondence activity. The teacher displays a picture card of a cave to teach students that another sound that the letter a can make is a long /a/ sound. The teacher clarifies that the a and e represent the long /a/ sound in the word cave. The teacher uses a spelling-sound card and a frieze card to show examples for the long a spelling patterns and another word with the a_e spelling pattern (gate).The teacher helps students practice with additional words that have the /ā/ a_e spelling pattern.
    • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models building and blending words using ePocket chart. Students practice building and blending words with long /u/.
  • Students have opportunities to distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.
    • In Unit 4, Week 2, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher models building words using c, a, p, t. The teacher displays letter cards for the word can and says, “Let’s blend the sounds together then read the word /k//aaaann/.” The teacher changes n for p and practices blending the new word. Students practice building the words with cards.
    • In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher uses the ePocket chart with the words ran, run, rub. Teacher directions state: “Let’s blend the sounds together and read the word /rrraaannn/, ran. Let’s blend all the sounds together and read the new word: /rrruuunnn/, run.” The teacher is provided with modeling instructions to change the letter and repeat the process with the new word.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher uses the ePocket chart with the words: job, jog, jug. Teacher directions state: “Let’s blend the sounds together and read the word: /jooob/, job. Let’s blend all the sounds together and read the new word:/juuug/, jug.” The teacher is provided modeling instructions to change the letter and repeat the process with the new word.

Materials have a cohesive sequence of phonemic awareness instruction to build toward application. For example:

  • K-6 Phonics Word Study provides a Phonics Scope and Sequence which includes the Kindergarten scope and sequence of phonological awareness lessons. Lessons are to be built upon a progression from simple to complex with review and repetition to ensure mastery of skills over time. The sequence of phonological awareness skills taught per unit is as follows:
    • Unit 1: recognize and produce rhyme, syllable blending, phoneme isolation
    • Unit 2: phoneme isolation, categorization; blend onset and rhyme
    • Unit 3: phoneme isolation, substitution; syllables in spoken words
    • Unit 4: phoneme isolation, blending; blend onset and rime
    • Unit 5: phoneme isolation, addition; distinguish syllables in spoken words
    • Unit 6: phoneme isolation, blending, substitution; blend onset and rime
    • Unit 7: phoneme isolation, blending, substitution, addition; distinguish syllables
    • Unit 8: phoneme isolation, addition, substitution, blending; blend onset and rime
    • Unit 9: phoneme isolation, blending, addition, substitution
    • Unit 10: phoneme isolation, addition, substitution, blending

Materials have a cohesive sequence of phonics instruction to build toward application. For example:

  • In K-6 Phonics Word Study, the Kindergarten Phonics Scope and Sequence includes Primary Skill, Spiral Skills and Preview Skills and Word Families. The Primary Skills Scope and Sequence is listed as follows:
    • Unit 1- alphabet review; m (initial, final); short /ă/ (initial, final)
    • Unit 2- s (initial); t (initial, final); n (initial, final)
    • Unit 3- short /ǐ (initial, medial); f (initial); p (initial, final)
    • Unit 4- short /ŏ/ (initial, medial); c (initial); h (initial)
    • Unit 5- b (initial, final); short /ŭ/ (initial, medial); r (initial)
    • Unit 6- short /ĕ/ (initial, medial); g (initial, final); d (initial, final)
    • Unit 7- w (initial); l (initial); j (initial)
    • Unit 8- k (initial); y (initial); v (initial), qu (initial)
    • Unit 9- x (final) z (initial); long /ā/ (a_e); long /ō/ (o_e)
    • Unit 10- long /ī/ (i_e); long /ū/ (u_e); long /ē/ (e_e)

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

In the Kindergarten materials, students engage in systematic and explicit instruction of letter identification of all 26 alphabet letters through activities provided during the Phonics and Word Study lessons, as well as in mini lessons for Foundations and Routines. The teacher models the uppercase and lowercase letters through writing/movement, identification of letters on alphabet charts, frieze cards, or through songs while matching the sound of the letter to the printed letter. The sequence for letter instruction can be completed in a reasonable time frame. Materials include sufficient and explicit instruction for all students about print concepts, with frequent and adequate tasks found within the Teacher’s Resource System in most daily lessons. Materials include opportunities to engage in authentic shared reading text, including poems and digital big books. Spiral review affords students the opportunity to practice previously learned grade level print concepts.

Materials include frequent and adequate lessons and multimodal activities for students to learn how to identify and produce letters. For example:

  • In Foundations and Routines, students engage with Frieze Cards that present individual letters. The teacher shows the Frieze Card, explains the name of the upper and lowercase letter, describes the movements needed to form the letter and tells students to start at the top when drawing the letter. Afterward, students work to locate the day’s letter in a big book.
  • In Unit 1, Day 2, Focus on Foundational Skills, the students discuss letter recognition and the teacher reminds them that “all words are made of letters and are separated by spaces.” The teacher points to words within the shared reading text and asks students to identify the letter that each word starts with. For example, the teacher points to the word bananas and asks the students to name the letter b. Students repeat this activity with other letters.
  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 2, the teacher guides students to circle words that begin with t.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher tells students that sentences begin with uppercase letters, then has students point to words that begin sentences.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Reading, the teacher rereads a stanza of a poem and guides students to find and circle words in the poem that begin or end with the letter p.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, students practice locating words that begin with b in the story, “The Fox and the Crow.”
  • In Unit 8, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher introduces the kitten picture word card and asks the students what kitten starts with. The teacher tells the students /k/ is spelled with the letter k. The teacher asks the students, “What is the name of this letter?”

Materials include frequent and adequate tasks and questions about the organization of print concepts (e.g. follow words left to right, spoken words correlate sequences of letters, letter spacing, upper- and lowercase letters). For example:

  • Students have opportunities to follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, the teacher demonstrates reading left to right using the Big Book of Shared Reading and Poetry, Vol 1, page 4-5, “What Animals Need”, and says, “As I read, notice the direction I am reading in. Words on a page go left to right. So as I read, I move my eyes from left to right.”
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Reading, the teacher discusses directionality in print. The teacher rereads the rhyme and has the students watch the pointer as it moves from word to word. The teacher tells the student that when reading, start at the left and move right.
    • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, Shared Reading, the teacher reinforces print concepts by telling the students to follow their pointer as they finish one line and begin another while rereading a portion of rhyme. The students are asked to move their fingers the same way as the teacher’s pointer. The teacher asks the students how their fingers are moving. “When we read, we start at the top and work our way down.”
  • Students have opportunities to recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 1, Reinforce Print Concepts, the teacher discusses the relationship between spoken and written words. The teacher says, “All the words we say can be written down. We use letters to write the words, and we separate words with spaces.” Students count the number of words in the first line as the teacher points. The teacher reinforces that you can tell how many words there are before we read them. “When we read, we say one word for each written word.”
    • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, Shared Reading, the teacher informs students that we use letters to form words. The teacher points to words in the poem read and counts the letters in the words at and wave. The teacher uses a pointer and asks the students to name each letter in the word, friend.
  • Students have opportunities to understand that words are separated by spaces in print.
    • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 1, Reinforce Print Concepts, the teacher discusses that words are made up of letters and separated by spaces. The teacher focuses student attention on the Shared Reading “Soil, water, air, and light” and identifies that readers can see how many words are in each line if they look for the space between each word. The teacher says, “We leave a space between each word we write so that we can see where it begins and ends. If we left out the spaces, we would see a long line of letters, making it difficult to find each word.”
  • Students have opportunities to recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.
    • The Comprehensive Literacy Planner details how the mini-lessons fit into each day’s instructional plan. Within this planner, letter instruction is identified.
    • In Unit 1, Week 1, five letters are identified within daily plans from Tuesday through Friday. Letters introduced include f, g, h, i, and j. Students learn 20 letters in the first week of instruction. After Week 1, letters are either introduced within the focus skill at the rate of one per week or previewed in advance.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for 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.

The Kindergarten materials provide multiple opportunities over the course of the year for students to read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding during activities with text in the Big Book of Shared Reading and Poetry, the My Reading and Writing Books, the Small Group texts, the Reader’s Theater Handbook texts, the Fluency Intervention materials, and the Decodable Readers. Materials provide systematic and explicit instruction of high-frequency words primarily through High-Frequency Words lessons, which provide teacher modeling and directions. Explicit routines for teaching high-frequency words include a four-step process used within high-frequency word instruction. The high-frequency routine includes reading, spelling, and writing high-frequency words, followed by applying high-frequency word knowledge to tasks. The Kindergarten Phonics Scope and Sequence include 38 high-frequency words and 20 challenge high-frequency words for the school year. Most units introduce four new high-frequency words in weeks one and two of each unit. There are 58 high-frequency words included in the Kindergarten materials, and they are reviewed every third week of each unit throughout the 10 units. Materials include instruction and practice in fluency by focusing on accuracy and automaticity when using the Fluency Routines found within the Teacher’s Resource System. The teacher models fluency work within Shared Reading fluency routines. Students develop fluency skills by practicing within the “I Read” routines in the Phonics and Word Study portion of the weekly lessons.

Multiple opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to purposefully read emergent-reader texts. For example:

  • Students have opportunities to read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
    • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 4, Phonics and Word Study, students look at the cover illustrations of the decodable, “Sam Likes the Farm”, and ask the questions, “Where is Sam? What animals do you see?” Students are to point out specific examples in the title and illustration to support their answers. After students read the text, the teacher asks comprehension questions, and the students answer with partners with the follow up question, “How do you know?”.
    • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, students use their faces to express the feelings they hear as the teacher reads aloud the poem, “A Little Piggy Named Bob”, demonstrating comprehension of characterization and feelings.
    • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher guides students to make text-to-text connections when reading aloud the poem, “Live Happily Ever After.” Students identify which fairy tale the poem is talking about at the end of each stanza.
    • In Unit 7, Week 3, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, students reread “I am Happy!”. Students are told they will find the words jump and said in the text, and they should be able to read them fluently. The teacher reminds students to use what they know about the sound /t/ to read words with letter t.

Materials support students’ development of automaticity and accuracy of grade-level decodable words over the course of the year. For example:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, students reread “Go!” to build automaticity and accuracy. The teacher is provided with modeling to remind students they know high-frequency words, go, see. “Students should be able to read these words fluently.” The teacher reminds students to use what they know about the sound /t/ to read words with letter t. Students are invited to whisper read as the teacher provides corrective feedback.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 2, the teacher models rate, speed, pacing using “I Wiggle”. “When I read, I pay attention to how quickly or slowly I say the words. If I say them too fast or too slow, they become hard to understand. Sometimes I match the mood or feeling of what I’m reading. Listen to my speed as I read the poem again. Be prepared to tell me what you notice.”
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 3, Phonics and Word Study, students reread “The Boy”. The teacher is provided with modeling to remind students they know high-frequency words, he, has. “Students should be able to read these words fluently.” The teacher reminds students to use what they know about the short /o/ to read words with letter o. Students are invited to whisper read as the teacher provides corrective feedback.
  • Additional fluency practice is found within the Grade K Fluency Intervention lessons. Within each set of lessons, students practice a selected text over three days. The first day, the focus is to “Read with Understanding, Intonation, and Expression.” The second day, the focus is to “Read with Accuracy, Appropriate Rate, and Expression.” The third day, the focus is to “Read to Confirm Word Recognition and Understanding.” Within each daily lesson, students read the selected text three times while focusing on the daily goal.

Students have opportunities to read and practice high-frequency words. For example:

  • In Unit 1, Additional Resources: Instructional Routines and Strategies, a routine is provided that includes four steps:
    • Step 1: Read - Display the high-frequency word card. Point to the word and read it aloud. Ask students to repeat after you.
    • Step 2: Spell - Spell each letter in the word as you point to it. Then ask students to chorally read and spell aloud the word.
    • Step 3: Write - Write the word as you spell it aloud. Then have students write the word several times as they say each letter.
    • Step 4: Apply - Have students use the word in an oral sentence.
  • In Unit 1, Week 2, Day 1, the teacher uses the “Say, Spell, Read, Write” routine to introduce the sight word I. The teacher displays the word, points to the word, says the word, then has students repeat the word. The teacher spells the word as the teacher points to it. Students read and spell the word. Students write the word as they say it out loud. Student partners practice using the word in a sentence.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, the teacher uses the “Say, Spell, Read, Write” routine to introduce sight words can and she.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher guides students in reading Pam the Cat which contains the high-frequency words is, a, can, she, and go. Students whisper read the text as the teacher circulates to listen and provides support as needed.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 5, Shared Reading, students identify and read high-frequency words you, like, to, go, a, the, I, can, and, look and words they can decode in a poem.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing systematic and explicit instruction in and practice of word recognition and analysis skills in a research-based progression in connected text and tasks.

The Kindergarten materials include one decodable text each week to address securing phonics and high-frequency words. The decodable texts contain grade-level phonics skills and high-frequency words that are aligned to the weekly phonics and targeted high-frequency words focus and the program’s scope and sequence for phonics instruction. There are frequent opportunities to read grade-level high-frequency words within sentences during the “I Read” routine. Students use their My Reading and Writing books to read high-frequency words in context. Lessons provide frequent opportunities to write grade level high-frequency words in tasks within the explicit Say, Spell, Read, and Write high-frequency word routine. Word cards and letter cards are used as student-friendly reference materials to teach high-frequency words. Materials contain opportunities provided over the course of the year for students to learn, practice, and apply word analysis strategies.

Materials support students’ development to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills (e.g. one-to-one correspondences, syllable segmentation, rime and onset recognition, long and short sounds with common spellings and distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying sounds of the letters) in connected text and tasks. For example:

  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 3, the teacher uses a Big Book to read the poem, “Good Morning.” The teacher invites students to read words in the text they have previously learned or can decode.
  • In Unit 5, Additional Resources: Strategies and Routines, the “Blending Routine” contains explicit instruction of word analysis strategies. The blending routine has three steps:
    • Step 1: Model - select a word with the target phonics skill and display letter cards for the word you want to model blending. Point to each letter card as you say the sound. Then blend the sounds together to make the word.
    • Step 2: Practice - distribute letter cards to students to have them place the letter card set for the day’s blending on their desks. The teacher makes a word using the letter cards but does not say the word, then students repeat. Students then blend the sound to read the word. They will repeat with other words.
    • Step 3: Apply - the teacher guides the students through a reading of the Decodable Text focusing on the lesson’s target phonics skill. Students chorally read the story the first time through. The teacher stops to model sounding out words students misread. Then, students read the text a second time with partners or small groups.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 1, students engage in a sound-spelling correspondence activity within the Phonics and Word Study portion of the lesson. The teacher displays a picture card of a cave to teach students that another sound that the letter a can make is the long /a/. The teacher clarifies that the a and e represent the long /a/ in the word, cave. The teacher uses a spelling-sound card and a frieze card to show examples for the long a spelling patterns and another word with the a_e spelling pattern (gate). The teacher helps students practice with additional words that have the long a a_e spelling pattern.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 2, students learn the long /a/ (final -e) phoneme pattern. After hearing, blending, and writing words with long /a/ (final -e), students use their My Reading and Writing book to read decodable words either by reading the word in its entirety or blend the word to confirm pronunciation.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 1, students practice locating and reading words with the /ou/.

Materials provide frequent opportunities to read high-frequency words in connected text and tasks.

  • Students read grade-level high-frequency words within sentences during the “I Read” routine within the Phonics and Word Study portion of the Grade Lessons. In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, students apply and review high-frequency word knowledge by reading the story “I Like” in their My Reading and Writing book. This text has students reviewing and applying knowledge for the high-frequency words I and like. Students whisper read, choral read, and independently read the text.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, the teacher guides students in reading Pam the Cat, which contains the high-frequency words is, a, can, she, and go. Students whisper read the text as the teacher circulates to listen and provides support as needed.
  • In Phonics and High-Frequency Word Activity Book, Unit 5, Week 3, students complete sentences using the appropriate high-frequency words and, has, little, play, you. One High-Frequency Word practice sheet is provided for each week.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 5, Shared Reading, students identify and read high-frequency words you, like, to, go, a, the, I, can, and look in a poem.

Lessons and activities provide students many opportunities to learn grade-level word recognition and analysis skills while encoding (writing) in context and decoding words (reading) in connected text and tasks.

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, the phonics focus skill of the week is the letter s /s/. Therefore, during Day 4 of instruction, the decodable reader “Same Likes the Farm” works with the initial /s/. Students have the opportunity to reread this text in Small-Group on Day 4 with the teacher and with partners. On Day 5, students reread the text again.
  • In Unit 3, Skills and Strategies contains information that in Week 1, the phonics skill taught is short /i/. In Week 1, Day 5, in Phonics and Word Study, students can read two texts. The text My Friend Sam in the My Reading and Writing books and/or the decodable lap book, In School. Both books contain short /i/ words.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 4, the teacher and students do shared writing of sentences using short /o/ like “Bob got on a bus.”
  • In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics and Words Study, students say, spell, read, and write the words and, big, has, he, little, play and with. Students repeat the same activity with practice words and use the words in a sentence.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 2, Shared Reading, the teacher reads the first sentence emphasizing the word day and asks students what letter makes the /d/. The teacher confirms d makes the /d/ and that day begins with /d/. The teacher has the students find other words that begin with d (den, did, don’t decision) in the shared reading and has student volunteers read the decodable words.
  • In Unit 6, Week 3, Day 4, the teacher and students do shared writing of sentences using short vowels in “Dan can sit on Ed.”
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Phonics and Word Study, students read My Two Boxes in their My Reading and Writing books on Day 2, Day 3, and Day 5. The book contains the high-frequency words my, what, is, in, I, see, a, why, do, and want. On Day 2, in the “I Read” lesson, the teacher guides the students as they read the text, then students whisper read as the teacher models how to read high-frequency words as needed.
  • In Unit 10, Skills and Strategies contains information that in Week 1 the phonics skill taught is long /i/ words. In Week 1, Day 5, in Phonics and Word Study, students can read two texts, Do You Want? in their My Reading and Writing books and/or the deocable lap book, It’s Time to Tug . Both books contain long /i/ final -e words.

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 materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials supporting 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.

Materials include assessments for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery of print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency within Weekly, Unit, and Interim Assessments. Materials provide resources and tools to collect ongoing data about students’ progress toward mastery in phonics. The materials offer a systematic approach for assessing students’ skills using the Cumulative Word Fluency assessment with five to six students per week with each student being assessed at least one time per month. The materials contain information about students’ current skill level of understanding of phonics. Materials include next steps to aid the teacher in making instructional adjustments. Materials also include a Year-Long Assessment plan.

Assessment opportunities are provided over the course of the year in core materials for students to demonstrate progress toward mastery and independence of foundational skills.

  • In Unit 1, Weekly Assessment, students name random letters on a page while the teacher circles each letter named correctly. Additionally, students point to letters dictated by the teacher.
  • In Week 1, Weekly Assessment, the teacher shows the student three rows of words. On the first two rows, the student must pinpoint the words that start and end with the /m/, which is the phonics skill of the week. Additionally, the Unit Assessments contain some out-of-context phonics indicators. In Week 1, Unit Assessment, the students see three words in a row, map, tap, and sap, and the item directions ask the student to identify the word that starts with the /m/.
  • In Unit 3, Weekly Assessment, students read /ĭ/ and the high-frequency words is, it, in, sit, tin, she, can. Students read initial f and the high-frequency words fit, fan, fat, she, is, a.
  • In Unit 5, Additional Resources, Cumulative Word Fluency student cards and teacher recording sheets are provided for assessing students ability to read CVC words.
  • In Units 2-10, Additional Resources, Phonics Cumulative Assessments are provided for and referenced in each unit. In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 5, teachers are to assess five students on the accuracy and fluency of phonics skills.
  • In Interim Assessments, the Overview states that each assessment includes 15 questions that test foundational skills. In the Interim Assessment 1, three questions ask about letter identification. Students identify letters b, g, and w. The exam contains nine questions to identify the correct spelling of words spoken.
  • In Interim Assessment 1, Pre- and Post-Test, Questions 16-18, students locate and circle letters dictated by the teacher.
  • In Informal Assessments, page 11, there is a Concepts of Print Assessment which includes directionality, one-to-one correspondence, punctuation, and capitalization.
  • Within the Intervention: Teacher Guides, materials contain 15 Phonological Awareness Quick Checks. The Phonological Awareness Quick Check states skills may be assessed at any time and in any sequence based on what is happening in classroom instruction and there is no need to follow the sequence of the skills as they are ordered in the book.
  • In K-6 Foundational Skills Screeners, page v, provides information about the contents of the Foundational Skills Screeners. There are three levels of exams. In the Level A exam, there are five of each type of item in the screener: letter recognition, phonological awareness, letter sounds, word recognition, and print concepts. In the Level A exam, phonological question 4, the teacher gives students the word of the pictures provided bat, dog, rug two times and asks the student which picture rhymes with rug. The assessment may be administered one skill at a time and any level of screener can be chosen to be given.

Assessment materials provide teachers and students with some information of students’ current skills/level of understanding.

  • In Units 2-10, Additional Resources, Phonics Cumulative Assessments provide recording sheets which lists the number of words provided to create percentages and contains a section for comments.
  • In Weekly and Unit Assessments, Overview, page vii, the following information is provided for using the information from Weekly Assessments: Week 1 and 2 Assessments are observational assessments and are scored as ‘always’, ‘sometimes’ and ‘not yet’.
  • In Informal Assessments, Section 4 Small Group Reading Observation Records by Level, the teacher is able to observe student knowledge of print concepts in a small group setting. If the reading behavior is observed during a lesson, the teacher marks a check under the specific concept for each student that demonstrates this knowledge. Print concepts assessed include one-to-one matching, directionality, and return sweep.
  • In K-6 Foundational Skills Screeners, page vii, provides information on how to use Foundational Skills Screeners for instruction. There is a chart that provides overall percentages, proficiency descriptions, and recommended action: 100-81% is on, or above grade level and advises that no intervention is necessary; 85-65% is meeting grade level expectations and advises that more focused instruction may be needed in specific areas; 64% and below is at below grade level expectations and advises that extra instruction and interventions are needed.

Materials support teachers with some instructional adjustments to help students make progress toward mastery in foundational skills.

  • In Informal Assessments, Introduction, guidance is provided for assessment-based steps to help students progress toward mastery in print concepts. On Page 4, the guide states that teachers should “use the information you gain to differentiate instruction by developmental reading behaviors and characteristics, metacognitive and comprehension strategy needs, instructional reading levels, fluency, and vocabulary understandings.” On Page 4, the Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Cycle is introduced which shows the following steps: 1) Use pre- and post-assessments to inform instruction; 2) Plan for instruction; 3) Model the targeted strategy; 4) Practice the targeted strategy; 5) Transfer and extend the strategy; 6) Monitor student progress using ongoing assessment; 7) Provide additional support for the strategy; 8) Provide intervention, if necessary.
  • Within the Intervention: Teacher Guides, materials contained 15 Phonological Awareness Quick Checks. These materials guide teachers to assess phonological awareness skills and make a decision on further instruction within intervention groups. A rubric helps guide decision-making based on the quick check results, encouraging the student to move forward, considering administering future quick checks to monitor student growth, or providing the student with opportunities to remediate skills.
  • In the Grade K Assessment tab in the Weekly & Unit Assessment document, page 9 titled “Using the Unit Assessment Results” supports teachers with instructional suggestions for assessment-based steps to help students to progress toward mastery in word recognition and word analysis. This document encourages the teacher to use the weekly assessment to identify which items the student answered incorrectly to help determine whether more focused instruction on particular standards or skills is needed. Instruction for areas of need can take place in the upcoming weeks. The materials suggest reviewing a student's assessment with the student to provide an opportunity for the student to see which questions they answered incorrectly and why their answers are incorrect. Although this information can help guide the teacher to think about student assessment results, there is no systematic guidance for the teacher to use formative information in future instruction.
  • In Units 1-10, Additional Resources, Phonics Cumulative Assessments has assessment analysis to determine which spellings to practice. Recommendations are made to analyze errors for patterns to inform small groups or spiral reviews.
  • In Weekly and Unit Assessments, Overview, Weekly Assessments documents state that students should show progress from week one to week two. If the student is not showing progress it may indicate the need for further observation and individualized assistance. The Weekly Assessments can be used to plan for instruction the following week or during the next unit.
  • In the Grade K Intervention tab, the Teacher Guide Phonics and Word Recognition Quick Check document includes an introduction resource that explains the five Quick Checks are designed to evaluate student command in key skill and knowledge areas. The teacher can use students’ performance on Quick Checks to inform their decision of when to implement intervention. The teacher should use the Resource Map in the beginning of every Quick Check book to pinpoint the intervention lesson(s) that focus on the skill(s) assessed in each Quick Check test.

Indicator 1t

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

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the criteria for materials, questions, and tasks providing high-quality lessons and activities that allow for differentiation of foundational skills, so all students achieve mastery of foundational skills.

The Kindergarten materials provide opportunities for small group reteaching during the daily Phonics and Word Study portion of the lessons, as well as during any additional intervention lessons. In the Additional Resources Access and Equity document, there is guidance to the teacher for scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support students reading, writing, speaking, or listening below grade level. Some lessons provide Check to See text boxes, which advise the teacher that if students have difficulty with lessons, use strategies found in the small-group lessons to provide additional support. Support for ELL students is found in general guidance in the Access and Equity document, comparative analysis of languages in the Contrastive Analysis of English and Nine World Language document, and specific lesson supports labeled Integrated ELD supports within each lesson. Lessons in the Teacher Resource System contain activities that have an iELD indicator reflecting they provide an opportunity for focusing on ELD support. Language transfer support is provided in Small Group lessons, which provides information on the transferability of phonemes and graphemes from other languages.

Materials provide high-quality learning lessons and activities for every student to reach mastery of foundational skills.

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 5, Phonics and Word Study, students practice recognizing and producing rhyming words with the rhyme Wee Willie Winkie. The teacher reads the rhyme emphasizing the last words of the first two lines town and nightgown. The students listen for the words that rhyme in the third and fourth lines. Students practice identifying rhyming words from word pairs provided.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 2, Phonics and Word Study, students clap if they hear /o/ at the beginning of the word and stomp their feet if they hear /o/ in the middle of the word in the modeling portion of the lesson. In the practice portion of the lesson, the teacher is to seat students in two groups and have one group stand if they hear /o/ at the beginning of a word and the other group stand if they hear /o/ at the end of the word.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 4, students decode short /o/ words by reading the decodable reader, “It Can Pop.” The teacher models for students who need support.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, students practice long /e/ as the teacher displays the words and reads them aloud. Students listen for the long /e/ in the words eve and Zeke. Students listen for the long /e/ in each word then draw a line under the e in both words. Students read the words again and write them on a workmat.

Materials provide guidance to teachers for scaffolding and adapting lessons and activities to support each student’s needs.

  • The Access and Equity document says that Benchmark Advanced is designed to support teachers in meeting the needs of all learners through systematic, evidence-based methods that offer opportunities to individualize and/or customize learning through ongoing assessment and progress monitoring, flexible grouping, and scaffolding. The document says the teacher should do four things to plan, deliver, and assess instruction for the students with disabilities:
    • 1. Get to know your students with disabilities as individuals.
    • 2. Utilize the Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan.
    • 3. Build collaboration between the general education and special education teachers.
    • 4. See Accommodating Students with Special Needs Throughout the Literacy Block to learn more about how to differentiate instruction using the specially designed features in Benchmark Advance.
  • The Accommodating Students with Special Needs Throughout the Literacy Block resource is found within the same Access and Equity document. This document outlines the literacy block component, lesson activities to support through accommodations, disabilities that affect oral language, disabilities that affect decoding, disabilities that affect reading comprehension, disabilities that affect written expression, and accommodations for advanced learners. One example on how to support students below grade level during the Interactive Read-Aloud is to “have students express ideas by developing drawings or selecting from premade photos or visuals.”
  • In Unit 1, Additional Resources tab, a document called Access and Equity outlines how teachers can scaffold and adapt lessons and activities to support students below grade level .
  • In Unit 2, Week 3, Day 4, there is a box titled “Integrated ELD” that lists support strategies for students needing light, moderate, and substantial support. The teacher reviews the meaning of words and provides sentence frames for supporting students’ oral response.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, Phonics and Word Study, in Small Group and Independent Practice, support is provided for checking the transferability of phonemes and graphemes with /i/ from other languages.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 2, in Phonics and Word Study, in a read of “Pam the Cat”, the teacher is to circulate as students whisper-read and provide modeling for how to blend decodable words and read high-frequency words students are struggling with. The teacher prompts the students to read the sentence from the beginning.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 1, in Phonics and Word Study, in the Blend Words lesson, there is a Check to See notation, which advises teachers if students have difficulties blending words to use the strategies provided in small-group instruction. The Small-Group lesson includes a Blend Words activity which provides additional practice blending words with long /a/.

Students have multiple practice opportunities with each grade level foundational skill component in order to reach mastery.

  • During Kindergarten, students have the opportunity for small group reteaching during the Phonics and Word Study portion of the lesson and within the Intervention materials.
  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, the Small-Group and Independent Practice time allows opportunities for small group reteaching. For this lesson, two options are given for small group reteaching:
    • 1. Reread the Text: Decode - You may wish to conduct another reading of “My ABCs,” having partners read to each other while you circulate and monitor the reading.
    • 2. Letter Recognition - Display Letter Cards for Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj. Guide students to match the uppercase and lowercase Ff. Then, repeat for other letters.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, during reread text time, the teacher is suggested to meet in small groups of students to practice reading aloud for additional practice.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 4, Phonics and Word Study, the Small Group and Independent Practice contains an activity where students do a speed sort. Students work in pairs to sort words with -in and -an. Students mix up the cards and challenge themselves to sort them faster a second time. Students practice -in words on Days 2 and 3.

Gateway Two

Building Knowledge with Texts, Vocabulary, and Tasks

Partially Meets Expectations

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Gateway Two Details

The Benchmark Advance 2021 program is organized by topics and themes with a strong focus on skills. The texts and their related questions and tasks do not consistently form a cohesive whole designed to grow students’ knowledge and vocabulary in service of comprehension of texts. Opportunities to analyze topics and ideas within and across texts are found in all units. Most culminating tasks provide students the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. Materials lack a formal vocabulary plan for the year. The program provides a full course of writing instruction. Research skills are taught across the course of the year. Independent reading supports are included in the materials.

Criterion 2a - 2h

Materials build knowledge through integrated reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language.
26/32
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Criterion Rating Details

The Benchmark Advance 2021 program is organized by topics and themes across its ten units. However, the texts within a unit do not always form a cohesive set designed to grow students’ knowledge and vocabulary in service of comprehension of texts. While the questions and tasks in the units examine the language, key ideas, craft, and structure of texts, the overwhelming focus is on individual skills rather than serving to support comprehension. Opportunities to analyze topics and ideas within and across texts are found in all units. Most culminating tasks provide students the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. The materials lack a formal vocabulary plan for the year.

The program provides a full course of writing instruction with detailed lessons and opportunities for practice for students to grow their skills over the course of the year.

Research skills are taught across the course of the year to grow student skills through the Inquiry and Research projects.

The materials include a plan and support for independent reading throughout the year.

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

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2a.

Each unit contains a new topic or theme for each of the 10 units, with each unit lasting three weeks for a total of 15 days. Across all grades, there is vertical alignment, meaning each grade has a similar topic or theme that appears at each grade level. Publisher documentation indicates the general topics are science, social studies, technology, literature, social-emotional learning, and culture. However, there is not always consistent vocabulary or content that repeats across texts within a unit, therefore reducing the impact of exploring a single topic for three weeks. Additionally, the focus of most questions and tasks is on building comprehension skills and understanding the parts and structures of texts with little emphasis on the content contained therein.

Examples of texts that are connected by a grade-level appropriate topic (rather than a theme) include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, the unit topic is “Plants and Animals Have Needs” and the Essential Question is “Why do living things have different needs?”. Week 2 includes the Shared Reading Text, “Soil, Water, Air, and Light.” The Reading and Vocabulary Mini-Lesson Extended Read uses the text "What Do Plants Need?”. The Small Group Reading text is called "Where Do They Live?”. The topic, the needs of living things, ties the texts together to support building knowledge.
  • In Unit 3, the unit topic is “Rules at Home and at School” and the Essential Question is “Why do we have rules?”. In Week 1, Day 2, the students and teacher read the poem, “Let’s Be Friends,” and the Mentor Read-Aloud, Let’s Play by the Rules!. In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher reads the Extended Read, What are Some Rules at School?. In Unit 3, Week 3, Day 5, the teacher reads the poem, “Table Manners,” by Gelett Burgess. The texts tie together to help students understand the types of rules that surround them and why they are important.
  • In Unit 5, the unit topic is “Technology at Home and School” and the Essential Question is “Why do we use technology?”. In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 1, the Shared Reading text is “A Little Piggie Named Bob” and the Mentor Read text is “Up, Up, and Away.” In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 4, the Shared Reading is “Getting to School” and the Extended Read is “Technology at Home & School” by Barbara Andrews and Cindy Peattie. In Unit 5, Week 3, Day 3, the Shared Reading is “My Noisy House” and the Extended Read is “The No-Tech Day of Play” by Brenda Pakes and Jeffrey B. Feurst. The texts help students explore different facets of the technology that surrounds them and why it is sometimes important to disconnect from that technology.
  • In Unit 7, the unit topic is “Holidays and Celebrations and the Essential Question is “Why do we celebrate people and events?”. Students explore traditions around the world. In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 1, students look at pictures of celebrations and view the Unit 7 multimedia video, then discuss the topic and Essential Question. On Week 1, Day 2, the teacher reads the Mentor Text, “The Mother of Thanksgiving.” On Week 3, Days 1–2, the teacher and students read the Shared Reading, “Happy Birthday, USA!”. While all texts fall into the category of holidays and celebrations, there are no strong connections made between the texts to create a cohesive unit of learning.
  • In Unit 8, the unit topic is “Weather and Seasons” and the Essential Question is “How do our lives change with the seasons?”. In Unit 8, Week 1, the Shared Reading Text is “The Weather Song.” During Small Group Reading one of the books is “Let’s Check the Weather.” During Week 2, a text used for the Phonics Mini Lesson is “Fun in the Fall.” This unit provides a general understanding of the topic and helps students to consider how the weather impacts their lives.
  • In Unit 10, the unit topic is “Forces and Motion” and the Essential Question is “What makes things move?”. In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 4, students and teachers read the Shared Reading, “Stretching Fun,” and the Decodable Reader, It is Time to Tug by Paula LaRosa. In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 3, the teacher reads the Extended Read, Forces by Joy Brewster. In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 5, the teacher reads the poem, “The Swing,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The texts provide examples of various forces and motion.

Examples of texts that are connected by a theme rather than a topic, include but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, the unit theme is “Every Story has Characters” and the Essential Question is “How characters are different?”. The Shared Reading and My Reading and Writing consumable is “Little Miss Muffett” and the Mentor Read text is “The Tortoise and the Hare.” In Week 2, Day 4, students learn how characters are different. The Shared Reading is “Greggory Giggs” and the Extended Read is “Horrible Bear” by Ann Dyckman. The texts highlight different characters in mostly well-known texts.
  • In Unit 6, the theme is “Stories Have a Message” and the Essential Question is “How do we know what is right?”. In Week 1, Day 1, the teacher and students read the poem, “Goldilocks Learns a Lesson.” In Week 2, Day 2, the teacher and students read Good Pig, Bad Pig. In Week 3, Day 4, the teacher and students read the poem, “Do What’s Right!”, and the teacher reads the Extended Read, The Boy Who Fed His People.

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.
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten partially meet the expectations of Indicator 2b.

Most tasks associated with Mentor and Read-Aloud texts are completed during independent reading time later in the day. Tasks are often repetitive and lack complexity. Teacher modeling frequently is allotted more time than student practice or independent work. Writer’s craft is discussed during writing activities but is not a focus in the reading lessons. As most writing lessons are disconnected from the unit texts, there is a missed opportunity to discuss craft in connection to the texts. Word choice and language are not discussed during other daily read-alouds. Analyzing words/phrases occurs in some but not most texts. By the end of the year, components, such as language, word choice, key ideas, details, structure, craft, are embedded in students’ work rather than taught directly.

Examples of questions and tasks that lead students to examine words/phrases and/or word choice include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, Day 3, students engage in an extended reading of What Do Animals Need? by Margaret McNamara and use many strategies to help them understand unknown words in a text. Students “read pages 10–11 aloud and have partners identify real-life connections between the word shelter and its use. What does the word shelter mean in this text? (a safe place for an animal to live). What types of shelters do animals live in?”
  • In Unit 8, Week 3, Day 3, students engage in the Extended Read Two Wool Gloves by Be Jin, as they discern differences in action words to help understand the meaning of a text. Teacher instructions state: “Invite the class to demonstrate look versus peek with a partner. Reread the sentence on page 5 and ask students why peek is a better word to use than look.”

Examples of questions and tasks that lead students to examine key ideas and details, structure, and craft include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 4, students learn how to retell familiar stories using key details in the Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Little Helper.” The teacher models how to identify key details throughout the text, pausing to think aloud and explain important details. The teacher also constructs an anchor chart explaining how to identify key details about events at the beginning, middle, and end of the text. During Guided Practice, students work with partners to identify key details at the end of the text. The teacher provides support by pointing to illustrations and prompting students’ discussions with guiding questions. At the end of the lesson, students recall one example of a key detail from the story and explain why it is important.
  • In Unit 4, Week 1, Day 5, students engage in the Mentor Read-Aloud of The Spider and the Deer and make the connection between the text and a specific illustration and answer the question: “Look at the illustration on page 36. What details do you learn from the illustration that give you more information about what the text says?”
  • In Unit 7, Week 2, Day 4, the Extended Read is People We Celebrate. The teacher models finding reasons an author gives to support their opinion. Then, students practice listening to find supporting reasons for the author’s opinion as the teacher reads aloud. The teacher asks two prompting questions, if students are having trouble. Students put sticky notes in their independent reading texts to mark supporting statements during independent reading time.
  • In Unit 9, Week 2, Day 5, students practice identifying the main topic and retelling key details in the Extended Read text, Needs and Wants. In this lesson, students work with partners to identify the main topic of specific pages in the text and identify key details that explain the topic. The teacher provides some review and modeling before releasing partners to complete the task. During independent reading time, students identify the main topic and key details in a previously read leveled text. Students use sticky notes to tag two to three specific details that give information about the main topic, and then share during small-group or conferring time.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 2, the Mentor Read-Aloud is “The True Story of Balto, the Sled Dog.” Students respond to three text-based questions about the relationships between illustrations and text. During small-group time, students place sticky notes “beside a photograph or illustration they find especially helpful.” There is no other information provided to the teacher about the task.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 2c.

Some designated questions and tasks support students’ analysis of knowledge and ideas across a text(s). By the end of the year, integrating knowledge and ideas is embedded in students’ work (via tasks and/or culminating tasks).

Sets of questions and tasks that provide opportunities to analyze within single texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 2, students learn to identify and describe characters using the Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The teacher models how to use text evidence to list words that describe the Hare. Next, the teacher guides the students in describing Tortoise using details in the text and illustrations. Together, the students and teacher brainstorm a list of words to describe the character. The teacher also supports students by asking a series of text-based questions that increase in complexity. At the end of the lesson, students take turns role-playing the two characters of the story in order to show the character traits previously identified in the text.
  • In Unit 7, the topic is “different holidays and celebrations around the world.” In Week 1, Day 2, during the Mentor Read 1 mini-lesson, students find the main topic and retell key details using “The Mother of Thanksgiving.” The questions help students identify key ideas and details: “Why did Sarah J. Hale write to President Lincoln? Why do some people call Sarah J. Hale the ‘mother of Thanksgiving?’”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 2, the students use text evidence to describe the problem and solution in the Extended Read, Jaylen’s Juice Box. The teacher asks text-based questions about the setting, problem, and solutions on specific pages of the text. Students also work with partners to complete a Story Elements Chart to represent the problem and solution.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, students analyze Forces by Joy Brewster during multiple lessons across multiple days. On Day 2, students describe the relationship between the illustrations and the text. On Day 3, students identify supporting reasons for an opinion in a text by answering text-based questions: “What reasons or points does the author give to support the statement that ‘Friction is a force, too’?”


Examples of sets of questions and tasks that provide opportunities to analyze across multiple texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 3, students read the texts, What Do Animals Need? and What Do Plants Need?, and identify similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic. Questions to support this task include, “In What Do Plants Need?, we learned that plants need water, air, light, and space. How is that the same as what we learned animals need in What Do Animals Need? How is it different?”
  • In Unit 5, Week 2, Day 5, students practice identifying similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic. The students work with the teacher to compare and contrast the Extended Read, Technology at Home & School: Past and Present, and the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Up, Up, and Away!” The teacher models the skill by thinking aloud and creating a three-column Compare and Contrast chart. During Guided Practice, students work with partners to identify at least one more similarity and difference. The Teacher Edition provides text-based questions to prompt students’ thinking as needed. During independent reading time, the students identify a similarity and a difference in two previous texts on the same topic. Students use sticky notes to mark their findings.
  • In Unit 7, Week 3, Day 4, students identify the similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic. The Extended Read texts used are People we Celebrate by Margaret McNamara and In My Opinion...These Are the Best Ways to Celebrate Holidays by Erica Chen. Students work with partners to find the text features that are the same in each book. They also look for which holidays are featured in both books. Then the class creates a compare and contrast chart for the books.
  • In Unit 10, Week 1, Day 5, students identify the similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic. The Mentor Read Aloud texts are “The True Story of Balto, the Sled Dog” and “Up in the Air.” Students work with partners to answer the questions: “Do these two texts discuss the same topic? How do you know? How are these two texts similar? How are these two texts different?”

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).
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 2d.

Each culminating task or extended writing project incorporates texts from throughout the unit while allowing students to use outside sources as appropriate. Most culminating tasks provide students the opportunity to demonstrate comprehension and knowledge of a topic or topics. Every unit has an Inquiry and Research project and a Unit Reflection with Constructive Conversation that are centered around the Essential Question and unit topic. Students use texts and knowledge gained from the unit in all tasks including writing tasks. Each week contains texts, writing tasks, and discussions leading to the culminating tasks for the unit. Additionally, a pacing chart for the project assigns student goals with teacher support (along with project rubrics) to assess students’ work on the project. Culminating tasks are provided and they are multifaceted, requiring students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) at the appropriate grade level.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students complete a Culminating Research and Inquiry project to deepen their understanding of the unit topic, Needs of Living Things. Students choose a plant or an animal from one of the Mentor Read-Alouds, Extended Reads, and Shared Reading unit texts read throughout the three-week unit (Lessons from Mama Bear, Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!, What Do Plants Need?, and What Do Animals Need?) . Using guiding questions which address the Essential Question, Cross-Text Analysis, and Enduring Understanding, students then research more information about their plant or animal in other books, magazines, or websites. Afterwards, they create a presentation to share what they learned.
  • In Unit 2, during Day 5 of Weeks 1 and 2, students practice comparing and contrasting characters from different texts. In these lessons, students demonstrate their reading, speaking, and listening skills. On Week 3, Day 5, students discuss, draw, and write their answers to the Essential Question, “How are characters different?”. In the culminating task, students demonstrated their reading, speaking, writing, and listening skills.
  • In Unit 3, Week 3, the culminating task is a Constructive Conversation about the Essential Question, “Why do we have rules?”. Students rewatch and discuss the unit video. Then, students discuss the Essential Question in peer groups. Next, groups share their ideas and the class discusses how each idea answers a question the class had listed on the Sample Questions and Ideas Anchor Chart from the beginning of the unit. Groups then role-play a situation about their rule. Students then draw and write in response to two questions summarizing their learning of the unit topic and Essential Question.
  • In Unit 4, students spend three weeks drafting opinion essays using the following unit texts as guides: Mentor Read Alouds “Who Did It?”, “The Spider and the Deer”, and Extended Reads Knuffle Bunny, “Wolf’s Cub Song”. At the end of Week 3, students complete a Demonstrate Knowledge through Drawing and Writing culminating task to share what they have learned throughout the unit by answering the following text-dependent questions: “How were the stories you read about similar?” (Essential Question) and “How did the author and illustrator tell about the characters you read about?” (Enduring Understanding).
  • In Unit 7, the Culminating Research and Inquiry Project requires students to demonstrate mastery of several different standards while researching and presenting about the unit topic, Celebrating Holidays. Students use texts from the unit, as well as research online and/or in texts beyond the unit. Students create a symbol or ornament to use in their presentation. Their presentation should answer the following questions:
    • “When did people begin celebrating the holiday that you studied, and what was their purpose for celebrating it?” (Essential Question)
    • “What new information did you find in your research that helped you better understand the holiday described in the unit text(s)?”
    • “When people celebrate the holiday you studied, how does it help them think about important people and events in their lives?”
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 5, the students practice listening, writing, and speaking in the culminating task. They also practice recalling information from texts that have already read in previous lessons. In the lesson, Reflect on Unit Concepts, students recall and retell information from the informational texts and stories they have read and listened to in the unit. The students watch the video from the first day of the unit and discuss how the video fits with the unit and the Essential Question. In small groups, students discuss their answers to the Essential Question. Students share, and the teacher records their ideas on the anchor chart created at the beginning of the unit. Next, students work in groups to create a short presentation, using digital media, that shows examples of needs and wants. Students may draw or locate pictures or use classroom objects to represent needs and wants. Then, students use drawings and writing to respond to the following questions: “Why did the characters you read about in this unit have to make choices? How did these characters make choices between needs and wants?”
  • In Unit 10, students complete two one-week writing tasks. One is a sensory poem and the other is an acrostic poem. Teachers guide students through the process of writing the poems over five days, including a time to read an anchor text, write their own text, revise their own, and share their own with classmates. Each writing task incorporates speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

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 Indicator 2e.

There is no evidence of a formal vocabulary plan for the year. Few of the academic words are included in the questions or activities. Attention is directed to vocabulary essential to understanding the text and to high-value academic words. Although vocabulary for Tier 2 and Tier 3 words are listed by the curriculum, they are often not introduced or are only discussed once, limiting the opportunities for students to integrate them into their own vocabulary. Vocabulary instruction is designed to include three to five words from each selection. The words identified as central to the entire unit are not consistently introduced or assessed and are inconsistently distributed throughout the unit. Often, synonyms are used instead of the unit words. Although there are vocabulary routines for teachers to use, there are no specific examples for the words for each unit or text. Sidebars within teacher resource guides give more information for vocabulary but are meant to be used as interventions, not for whole-group instruction. The My Reading and Writing workbooks contain vocabulary but it is not vocabulary from the weekly reading. Weekly Assessments contain an informal observation rubric for vocabulary usage on a three-point scale.

In Additional Resources, there are two vocabulary routines for teachers. The Define/Example/Ask routine is used to introduce new words to students. “It provides a student-friendly definition, connects the word to students’ experiences, and asks students to use the word in speaking to check understanding.” The Ask section contains a sentence frame for students to complete to check for understanding. The Academic Vocabulary Routine is cited by the materials as being “especially strong for English learners and can be used to extend vocabulary after the initial Define/Example/Ask introduction.” It involves three steps: 1. Introduction of the word, 2. Verbal Practice, and 3. Written Practice. Students give the definition of words in their own words and create pictures to go with the words.

Examples of vocabulary repeated in contexts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 2, Day 1, the teacher uses the Define/Example/Ask routine to introduce the vocabulary words in the Extended Read, Horrible Bear. The words are barge, ruckus, stomped, indignant, peeked, patched, and moment. In Week 2, the teacher and students read the text which features several vocabulary words that are repeated throughout, including the words practiced, barging, ruckus, stomped, and horrible.
  • In Unit 3, Week 2, Day 1, the teacher reads the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Rules at Home and School”, and introduces vocabulary using the Define/Example/Ask Routine. Throughout the week, students discuss school, rules, respect, and being a good citizen. Tier 2 vocabulary words include learn, best, safe, clean. Tier 3 vocabulary words include rules, citizen, community, school, respect.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 3, the Vocabulary Development document lists multiple Tier 2 and Tier 3 words found in the text, "The Mother of Thanksgiving." The teacher chooses three to five words to introduce to students, using a vocabulary routine from Additional Resources prior to reading the text. The vocabulary is then read aloud and referred to while the text is read.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 1, the teacher uses the Define/Example/Ask routine to introduce the vocabulary in the Extended Read, Jaylen’s Juice Box. Vocabulary words include customer, business, orders, change, buy, and paid. In Week 3, the teacher and students read the text which features some vocabulary words that are repeated throughout, including the words customers and business.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 3, the text used is Forces. The Vocabulary Development document lists multiple Tier 2 and Tier 3 words found in the text. The teacher chooses three to five words to introduce to students, using a vocabulary routine from Additional Resources prior to reading the text. The vocabulary is then read aloud and referred to while the text is read.

Examples of vocabulary repeated across multiple texts include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 3, the unit topic is “Rules at Home and School.” Suggested speaking and listening words for the overall unit are rules, respect, safety, helpful, citizens, community. The Teacher's Resource System does specify these unit words may not be in the texts. In Week 1, Day 1, the teacher defines rules as “guides that tell people what they should and shouldn’t do”. The only word consistently used in Week 1 is rules. During Week 2, students discuss the words rules, respect, citizens.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, Day 3, the teacher uses the Define/Example/Ask routine to introduce new vocabulary in the Shared Reading text, “Technology at School.” Vocabulary words include: computer, keyboard, mouse, cursor, click, drag, and screen. Some of these vocabulary words are repeated in the Writing lesson in Week 2, Day 1. The teacher models how to brainstorm an informative/explanatory text about the technology used at school. The teacher uses a word map to brainstorm; the word map includes the words computer, tablet, thermometer, microwave oven, phone, and projector. In Week 3, Day 3, students encounter some of the same words again when learning how to sort words into categories. After listening to the Extended Read, No Tech Day of Play, the teacher models how to sort the words computer, phone, and TV into the category of “Technology.”
  • In Unit 10 the following Tier 2 or Tier 3 words are used across multiple texts in the Shared Reading, Mentor Read Alouds, and Extended Reads: motion, pull, force. No Tier 2 or 3 vocabulary words were used in guided-reading books.

Examples of how vocabulary is integrated into reading, speaking, and writing tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Day 3, the students learn how to distinguish shades of meaning among verbs using the Mentor Read-Aloud, “The Little Helper.” The teacher models the difference between the words crawled and raced. During Guided Practice, the students discuss and role-play the meaning of the words roared, cried, and laughed.
  • In Unit 6, the unit topic is “Stories Have a Message.” The Speaking and Listening Unit vocabulary for Unit 6 is message, folktale, culture, moral, past, present. In Week 1, Day 1, the class discusses what a message is and makes an Anchor chart “Stories have a message”. Day 3 Shared Reading discusses the vocabulary words fable and lesson, not folktales or messages. Day 3 also has a Build Vocabulary lesson which compares opposites: big/small and indoors/outdoors. This lesson uses the text “A House for Max” but the vocabulary words for the text are not the words used for this lesson. During this unit, students write an opinion piece about Horrible Bear but do not discuss or use the vocabulary. None of the individual texts in Unit 6 have overlapping vocabulary. Message was the only unit vocabulary word consistently used. Moral is one of the vocabulary words but the word lesson was actually used in the daily lessons. Daily lessons for Unit 6 had speaking, reading, and writing but the majority used little to no vocabulary from the unit or from the identified vocabulary for the text list.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 3, students read the text “The Mother of Thanksgiving.” There is a vocabulary mini-lesson that uses the strategy of opposites to determine meaning. The strategy is introduced, modeled, and practiced collaboratively before students use the strategy independently. Students listen, speak, and write about vocabulary in this lesson.
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 3, students read Forces during a vocabulary mini-lesson. The strategy is to use real-life connections between words and their uses. The strategy is introduced, modeled, and practiced collaboratively before students use the strategy independently. Students listen, speak, and write about vocabulary in this lesson.

Indicator 2f

Materials include a cohesive, year-long plan to support students' increasing writing skills over the course of the school year, building students' writing ability to demonstrate proficiency at grade level at the end of the school year.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 2f.

Materials include a year’s worth of writing instruction aligned to the standards for the grade level that provide both depth and breadth of writing instruction and practice. The materials include well-designed lesson plans covering a variety of genres, both process and on-demand writing, and teacher and student protocols. Students receive explicit instruction that guides them through the writing process in Writing Workshops lessons. Lessons also include mentor texts, shared readings, poetry, and short reads that provide students with opportunities to examine the text features of a specific genre and the styles and techniques of authors. The materials include a writing development guide for the grade level as well as writing rubrics. The materials also include many graphic organizers—Venn diagram, T-Chart, compare/contrast—and rubrics that address content, presentation, and effort and collaboration during Inquiry and Research Projects.

In the beginning of the year, students learn and practice identifying letters and using pre-writing strokes to draw and write about texts. The lessons support students with modeling, guided shared writing, and independent practice. Lessons also include specific protocols for writing, such as the “Three-Step Writing Strategy.” In the middle of the year, students practice responding to texts through drawing and writing words. Lessons continue to use modeling, guided shared writing, and independent practice, as well as other supports, such as sentence frames. At the end of the year, students work with partners to write and illustrate research reports using facts from multiple sources. Writing lessons use the Gradual Release Model, as well as Shared Writing opportunities, to give students practice with the research report writing process. Students have opportunities to practice brainstorming, taking notes, planning, drafting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing. Writing instruction supports students’ growth in writing skills over the course of the school year.

Beginning of the year examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 3, students practice writing letters they know during the “I Write” portion of their phonics mini-lesson. First, students practice identifying the letters K, L, M, N, and O using Frieze Cards and labels around the room. Students use letters in their name or letters they see on classroom labels.
  • In Unit 2, Week 1, Shared Narrative Writing, the expectation for writing each day is that students draw an illustration and one sentence to retell one event from the story. There is extensive teacher modeling. Although students use the same story for writing over several days, the writing tasks for Week 1 are separate tasks.
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, during the Oral Rehearsal for Independent Writing portion of the Writing lesson, the teacher uses a sentence frame to support student thinking/speaking/writing. “When you play a sport, you should ________ because _______.”

Middle of the year examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 4, Week 4, Day 2, students practice drawing and writing their opinions of the Extended Read, Knuffle Bunny. During Guided Writing, the teacher models how to state an opinion and give a reason to support it with one reason. The teacher uses the shared writing process to write a model sentence with the students. Students say the sentence aloud with the teacher and dictate what words to write. The teacher asks students for help, repeating the sentence as needed. The teacher models how to use knowledge of high-frequency words in order to write the words. Students also call out the letters of the text’s title in order to help the teacher write. During Independent Writing time, students draw and write their own opinions and reasons about the text.
  • In Unit 5, Week 1, instruction emphasizes informative/explanatory writing over the entire week, as students work to produce one piece of writing. Students learn process writing by Unit 5, including how to revise the order of sentences and add titles.
  • In Unit 7, students engage in process writing of narrative stories, using the unit video, unit readings—The Legend of the Coqui by Georgina Lazaro, People We Celebrate by Margaret McNamara—and personal experiences. Students plan, draft, revise, edit, and share their stories throughout the three-week unit.

End of the year examples include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 8, Week 2, Day 2, students learn how to add a title and a conclusion to their shared research reports. During Guided Shared Writing, the teacher models how to add a title to tell what the report is about. Next, the teacher and students reread the draft together. The teacher models how to write a conclusion that summarizes the key ideas of the report. Then, students work with partners to practice thinking of titles and conclusions for their shared reports. Partners practice saying the title and conclusions aloud. During Independent Writing, students work with their partners to add the title and conclusion to their reports.
  • In Unit 9, the focus is process opinion writing, spanning three weeks and resulting in one finished piece. Although there is still teacher modeling, there is an increase in expectations. The expectation is for students to produce at least four organized sentences stating an opinion and reasons.
  • In Unit 9, Week 1, Day 1, during the Model section of the Writing lesson, the teacher models using a Brainstorming Chart. Students use the brainstorming chart during independent/collaborative time to gather ideas regarding their favorite food.
  • In Unit 10, Week 3, Day 1, students review their completed narrative writing from the year and evaluate their own writing with a rubric. They pick the narrative piece they think is the best and write reflections on their writing.

Instructional materials include well-designed lesson plans, models, and protocols for teachers to implement and monitor students’ writing development. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Kindergarten writing exemplars for the three types of writing—opinion, narrative, informative/explanatory—are available in the Benchmark Online Platform.
  • Each lesson has an accompanying Anchor chart and/or Sample Shared writing as well as a picture of the text to which the writing refers.
  • Writing lessons always have these components: Engage Thinking, Guide Shared/Interactive Writing, Oral Rehearsal for Independent Writing, Independent and Small Group Writing and Conferring, and Share and Reflect.
  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Day 2, students learn how to use pre-writing strokes to draw a picture representing a message. The Teacher Edition provides guidance on modeling three specific pre-writing strokes. The lesson also provides examples for how to think aloud when using these strokes to create a picture that shows an idea from the Mentor Read-Aloud, “Lessons from Mama Bear.” The Teacher Edition includes a sample Anchor Chart that shows the five pre-writing strokes taught during Week 1 of this unit. These pre-writing strokes include: “up and around,” “touch, pull down,” “touch, push over,” “slant right,” and “slant left.”
  • In Unit 3, Week 1, Day 1, the writing lesson is based on “Let’s Play by the Rules.” The teacher models how to choose a topic, talks through how they will draw their picture to represent their idea, and rehearses their writing with the students. “Use gear that will keep you safe.” Then the teacher models writing the sentence while discussing sounds of letters and spelling strokes. Next the teacher rereads the text with the students, before releasing the students to talk together and complete their own writing from the text.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 1, the Writing lesson is based on “All Together Now.” The teacher models how to create a Brainstorming List, but is not guided to specify how to make strokes of letters, how to draw a picture, or to use a sentence frame for the whole-group lesson.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 2g.

Research projects are sequenced across a school year to include a progression of research skills. Inquiry and research projects tasks are similar throughout the year, but the texts used for research increase in complexity. Materials support teachers in employing projects that develop students’ knowledge on a topic via provided resources. The Teacher Edition contains a resource that outlines the information for the Research and Inquiry Projects. It describes the project’s parameters, guiding questions, student expectations, recommendations for modeling research skills, and a detailed pacing guide. The materials also contain separate student and teacher rubrics to guide the projects. Teachers guide students through various writing tasks and culminating tasks that are heavily based on unit materials, with opportunities for students to bring in outside sources and experiences as appropriate. Students complete Inquiry and Research projects for every unit. Students use graphic organizers and find key details from unit texts. Materials provide many opportunities for students to apply Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language skills to synthesize and analyze per their grade-level readings. All Inquiry and Research projects and writing research tasks contain reading or listening to a text, discussing texts, a writing component, and speaking through discussions and presentations. It should be noted that while there are various graphic organizers used from project to project, there is not a clear progression of increased expectations of research skills throughout the year.

Examples of student opportunities to engage in short (1–2 days) projects across grades and grade bands include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, Week 1, Days 4–5, students engage with the Mentor Read-Aloud “Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!” Over the course of two days, students use drawings to help readers communicate ideas about the texts. During the Writer's Workshop, students use their pre-writing strokes and sentence frames to draw another idea they had while listening to “Grow, Pumpkin, Grow!” (e.g., “I __. I learned that pumpkins ___. I drew a picture of ___ to show that when we plant ____, they ___.”) Students then present their drawings and share their messages with a partner during Share and Reflect time.
  • In Unit 6, Week 1, Day 5, students compare and contrast the experiences of the characters in “All Together Now!” and “A House for Max” using a Venn Diagram.
  • In Unit 7, Week 1, Day 1, for the Writing lesson, teachers guide students through the brainstorming step for writing a narrative text. The teacher guides students through coming up with ideas from The Legend of the Coqui or outside of the text to use in their narrative writing. This is part of a one-week writing project.
  • In Unit 9, Week 3, Day 5, the Teacher Edition includes an additional shared research project detailed in the sidebar titled “Community Connection.” Directions for the task state: “Create a T-chart and have students mention several things they need. Record students’ ideas on the left side of the chart under the heading ‘Needs.’ After students share, have them discuss how they need air, food, water, shelter, and clothing. They also have wants. Add a list of students’ wants on the right side of the chart under the heading ‘Wants.’ Talk about how all people need air, food, water, and shelter. For some people, education, electricity, and running water are considered necessities. Do research with students about communities around the world and what their needs might be, and then compare and contrast with the student T-chart.”

Examples of student opportunities to engage in long (3 + days) projects across grades and grade bands include, but are not limited to:

  • In Unit 1, students complete a Culminating Research and Inquiry project to deepen their understanding of the unit topic, Needs of Living Things. Students choose a plant or an animal from one of the unit texts and use guiding questions to research more information about their plant or animal in other books, magazines, or websites. Afterward, they create a presentation to share what they learned.
  • In Unit 2, students engage in a three-week Research and Inquiry Project to deepen their understanding of the unit topic, “Every Story has Characters” and the Essential Question, “How are characters different?” The research task is as follows: “For your research project, you will pick one of the characters from a story in this unit. Then you will do some research to find a character in another story that is similar in some way or that has a similar problem. You will study how these characters are the same and how they are different. Then you will create a presentation to share what you have learned, using details from the unit text we read together and details from the other story you found to describe the characters.” The Teacher Edition offers suggestions and a pacing guide that outlines how to support students.
  • In Unit 3, the Inquiry and Research Project is three weeks long. Students create a comic strip about rules using the unit texts and other sources. In Week 1, the teacher reads unit texts about rules. Students select rules for the research project and look for information from unit texts about their rules. With teacher guidance, students also find additional sources. In Week 2, students research and take notes using their sources. Students also begin planning their comic strip and presentation. In Week 3, students complete their comic strip and present it to the class.
  • In Unit 6, the Inquiry and Research Project is three weeks long. Students compare and contrast messages of folktales using the unit texts and other sources. In Week 1, the teacher reads unit folktales. Students work with partners or in small groups to select folktales for the research project and look for the lesson of their folktales. In Week 2, students find additional folktales with the same lesson. Students also plan their presentation display to compare and contrast 2 folktales with the same message. In Week 3, students complete their display and present it to the class.
  • In Unit 7, Weeks 2–3, students work on a two-week narrative writing task. During Day 1 of the project, students brainstorm using a different brainstorming chart with less scaffolding than Week 1 when they did a narrative writing task. They gather topics on the chart instead of characters and character actions. Students can use ideas from the unit texts, their own experiences, or other sources. There is an “Integrated ELD’”section in the margin of the TRS on Day 1 of both Weeks 1 and 2 that provides light, moderate, and heavy support for the teacher to use with students as needed, including brainstorming support, visuals, and sentence frames.
  • In Unit 8, students complete a Culminating Research and Inquiry project to deepen their understanding of the unit topic, Weather and the Seasons. Students choose a type of weather that is described in one or more of the unit texts and use guiding questions to research to find out more about how this weather affects people, animals, and plants. Afterward, they create a poster and deliver a presentation that shows what they have learned to the class.
  • In Unit 10, the Research and Inquiry Project is a three-week project about the unit theme, Investigating Motion. During Week 1, students read and discuss information from unit texts, identify outside sources, and begin researching and recording information. During Week, 2 students continue to gather information, start planning their presentation, and start creating their craft or symbol for their presentation. During Week 3, students finish their project and symbol and present their research to the class. Teachers provide “a variety of digital tools” to assist in the research, planning, and presentation of the project. These are the same procedures, guidance, and support that are provided in the Pacing Chart in Unit 7.

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.
4/4
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Indicator Rating Details

The instructional materials reviewed for Kindergarten meet the expectations of Indicator 2h.

Most texts are organized with built-in supports and scaffolds to foster independence. Kindergarten spends a lot of time on phonics with students reading the same text multiple times. Materials provide support for struggling readers through E-books and partner grouping. Materials often repeat skills practice during independent reading time after the skills have been modeled by the teacher. There is sufficient teacher guidance to foster independence for all readers.

The Foundations and Routines book gives guidance for independent reading during Reading Workshop. The "Managing Your Independent Reading Program” document contains substantial support for teachers to set up and run an effective independent reading program. There is a proposed schedule for independent reading. The “Comprehensive Literacy Planner” document gives 30–60 minutes per day for “Small Group, Independent Reading, and Conferring.” There is a tracking system to track independent reading. Student reading logs can be found in the “Managing your Independent Reading Program” document, along with Leveled Reading Response forms for students to use after independent reading. Student reading materials span a wide volume of texts at grade levels. The read alouds, shared reading, small group reading, and reader’s theater texts provide a great volume of reading to students around various topics and themes, both literary and informational. There is an appropriate balance of reading in and outside of class. Guidance within the “Managing Your Independent Reading Program” document requires students to read at home for 20 minutes daily. This is in addition to the wide variety of texts that students read throughout the day and week in class.

Examples of materials that provide a design and accountability for how students will regularly engage in independent reading include, but are not limited to:

  • The Teacher Edition includes an independent reading support material titled “Managing Your Independent Reading Program.” The materials indicate that students have time for independent reading during their Language Arts block at school as well as at home. The materials state that, at school, “Students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups of students to conduct differentiated small-group instruction, model fluency, skills through reader’s theater, or reteach skills and strategies.”
  • The Managing an Independent Reading Program document contains the following information:
    • Additional Resources states: “Within Benchmark Advance, students may participate in daily independent reading during the Independent and Collaborative Activity block, while the teacher meets with small groups…In addition, a list of recommended, award-winning trade books is provided for every unit in Benchmark Advance (at the end of this section), with titles that expand on the unit concepts and essential questions.” However, these books are not part of the core curriculum purchase.
    • Program Support states, “Students should also be encouraged to develop a routine of reading daily at home for a minimum of 20 minutes, either independently or with a parent. During independent reading, students keep reading logs and reading response journals. The teacher is required to review these logs and journals and to conference regularly with individual students to monitor their progress.” The document also states “the teacher should conduct reading conference with each student as often as possible.”
    • Resources contain the following documents to support Independent Reading: Conference Form, Reading Log, Reading Response forms (three different level responses), and Individual Reading Program Checklist.
  • Benchmark Advance offers a list of 23 ideas for mini-lesson topics for the teacher to use in order to establish independent reading routines. Examples include, “Selecting Books and Enjoying Independent Reading,” “Seeking Help During Independent Reading Time,” “Making Good Book Choices,” and “Abandoning Books.”
  • The independent reading support materials offer guidance on how teachers can help students choose books on their independent reading levels. For example, one suggestion is a scaffolded protocol, the Three-Finger Method for emergent and early readers and the Five-Finger Method for fluent readers. The protocols direct students to count the number of words they either can’t pronounce or don’t understand. The protocol indicates that books are too difficult for early and emergent readers when they make three mistakes on a given page and are too difficult for fluent readers when they make five mistakes on a given page.
  • In Unit 6, Week 2, Day 1, Independent Reading/Small Group Reading/Conferring time is spent fully engaged with a small group book, applying the learning target, and showing evidence of comprehension with sticky notes in the text.
    • “Apply Understanding: Tell students that during independent reading time, you would like them to look for connections in a previously read leveled text. Ask students to place a self-stick note beside the text or illustration where they make a connection to their own lives. Students should be ready to share their connections during small-group or conferring time.”
  • In Unit 10, Week 2, Day 1, Independent Reading/Small Group Reading/Conferring time is spent fully engaged with a small group book, applying the learning target, and showing evidence of comprehension with sticky notes in the text.
    • “Tell students that during independent reading time, you would like them to apply at least two reading strategies as they reread a leveled text. Ask students to place a self-stick note on each page where they apply a strategy and be prepared to share their strategies during a small-group or conferring time.”

Gateway Three

Usability

Not Rated

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Gateway Three Details
This material was not reviewed for Gateway Three because it did not meet expectations for Gateways One and Two

Criterion 3a - 3e

Materials are well designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.

Indicator 3a

Materials are well-designed and take into account effective lesson structure and pacing.
N/A

Indicator 3b

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

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.).
N/A

Indicator 3d

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

Indicator 3e

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

Criterion 3f - 3j

Materials support teacher learning and understanding of the Standards.

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.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3i

Materials contain explanations of the instructional approaches of the program and identification of the research-based strategies.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

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.
N/A

Criterion 3k - 3n

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

Indicator 3k

Materials regularly and systematically offer assessment opportunities that genuinely measure student progress.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

Indicator 3l

The purpose/use of each assessment is clear:
N/A

Indicator 3l.i

Assessments clearly denote which standards are being emphasized.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

Indicator 3l.ii

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

Indicator 3m

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

Indicator 3n

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

Criterion 3o - 3r

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

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.
N/A

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.
N/A

Indicator 3q

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

Indicator 3r

Materials provide opportunities for teachers to use a variety of grouping strategies.
N/A

Criterion 3s - 3v

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

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.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

Indicator 3t

Materials support effective use of technology to enhance student learning, drawing attention to evidence and texts as appropriate.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

Indicator 3u

Materials can be easily customized for individual learners.
N/A

Indicator 3u.i

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

Indicator 3u.ii

Materials can be easily customized for local use.
N/A
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Indicator Rating Details

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.).
N/A
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Additional Publication Details

Report Published Date: 10/29/2020

Report Edition: 2021

Title ISBN Edition Publisher Year
Benchmark Advance 2021 Gr. K 1-Year Subscription Package 978-1-0786-3845-6 Teacher Benchmark Education Company 2021

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.

The publisher has not submitted a response.

Please note: Reports published after 2021 will be using version 2 of our review tools. Learn more.

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.

Rubric Design

The EdReports.org’s rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of standards alignment to the fundamental design elements of the materials and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum as recommended by educators.

Advancing Through Gateways

  • Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators to move along the process. Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?
  • Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Key Terms Used throughout Review Rubric and Reports

  • Indicator Specific item that reviewers look for in materials.
  • Criterion Combination of all of the individual indicators for a single focus area.
  • Gateway Organizing feature of the evaluation rubric that combines criteria and prioritizes order for sequential review.
  • Alignment Rating Degree to which materials meet expectations for alignment, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.
  • Usability Degree to which materials are consistent with effective practices for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

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.

The EdReports rubric supports a sequential review process through three gateways. These gateways reflect the importance of alignment to college and career ready standards and considers other attributes of high-quality curriculum, such as usability and design, as recommended by educators.

Materials must meet or partially meet expectations for the first set of indicators (gateway 1) to move to the other gateways. 

Gateways 1 and 2 focus on questions of alignment to the standards. Are the instructional materials aligned to the standards? Are all standards present and treated with appropriate depth and quality required to support student learning?

Gateway 3 focuses on the question of usability. Are the instructional materials user-friendly for students and educators? Materials must be well designed to facilitate student learning and enhance a teacher’s ability to differentiate and build knowledge within the classroom. 

In order to be reviewed and attain a rating for usability (Gateway 3), the instructional materials must first meet expectations for alignment (Gateways 1 and 2).

Alignment and usability ratings are assigned based on how materials score on a series of criteria and indicators with reviewers providing supporting evidence to determine and substantiate each point awarded.

For ELA and math, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to college- and career-ready standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For science, alignment ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, including that all standards are present and treated with the appropriate depth to support students in learning the skills and knowledge that they need to be ready for college and career.

For all content areas, usability ratings represent the degree to which materials meet expectations, partially meet expectations, or do not meet expectations for effective practices (as outlined in the evaluation tool) for use and design, teacher planning and learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, and effective technology use.

Math K-8

Math High School

ELA K-2

ELA 3-5

ELA 6-8


ELA High School

Science Middle School

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