The Grade 4 Units of Study materials do not meet the expectations for text quality and complexity and alignment to the expectations of the standards. Materials include anchor texts of publishable quality but do not maintain a 50/50 balance between literary and informational text as called for in the standards. Most anchor texts are not appropriately complex for the grade level and their relationship to associated tasks and scaffolds may not build, change, and grow appropriately and adequately over the course of the year in order to support students in meeting grade level expectations. While students may be engaged in daily, independent reading, the volume of variance of choice in the program may not support all readers in achieving grade-level expectations and/or a full year’s growth in reading.
Materials lack a variety of regular, standards-aligned, text-based listening and speaking opportunities. Materials provide multiple opportunities across the school year for students to learn, practice, and apply different genres/modes/types of writing and process writing. However, the genres are not evenly distributed across the year and there is a lack of on-demand writing. Materials lack explicit instruction and student practice opportunities in all grammar and conventions standards. Materials also do not include a cohesive plan for vocabulary development. Students rarely have opportunities to learn and study core academic vocabulary related to the text which may impede students’ core understanding of the text being studied.
Unit materials are devoid of a consistent, systematic, and explicit plan for instruction in and practice of grade level foundational skills. While some practice of foundational skills may occur naturally in the context of the Reading Workshop format, the materials do not include explicit practice of specific skills; instead, the materials rely on small group instruction and individual conferring to address any issues that arise concerning students’ phonics, word analysis, and word recognition skills. Further, the onus of implementing these skills falls to the student as they read texts from the classroom library.