The instructional materials reviewed for Core Knowledge Language Arts Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 meet the criteria for alignment to standards and research-based practices for foundational skills instruction. The instructional materials use a synthetic approach to phonics. Materials include a scope and sequence that clearly delineates an intentional sequence in which phonological and phonics skills are to be taught. Instructional materials include explicit instruction in letter identification and formation and provide instruction in general concepts of print. Materials provide systematic and explicit instructions for phonological awareness and frequent student practice opportunities (K-1). Instructional materials include consistent systematic and explicit instruction in phonics skills with repeated teacher modeling across all Skills in the Teacher Guide. The materials provide frequent opportunities for students to decode phonetically spelled words using phonemes and/or syllables. The materials include explicit, systematic teacher-level instruction and modeling to demonstrate the use of phonics to encode sounds to letters and words in writing tasks through dictation work. Instructional materials include systematic and explicit instruction of high-frequency words through Tricky Word instruction. Materials include frequent and explicit instruction of word analysis strategies as well as explicit instruction for decoding familiar words. Materials include limited opportunities for explicit, systematic instruction in fluency using grade-level text in the form of decodable readers. Materials include decodable readers that align to the phonics and high-frequency word scope and sequence. Materials also regularly and systematically provide a variety of assessment opportunities over the course of the year to demonstrate student progress toward mastery of all foundational skills.
The ELA foundational skills rubric contains only two gateways: Alignment to Standards and Research-Based Practices for Foundational Skills Instruction (Gateway 1) and Implementation, Support Materials & Assessment (Gateway 2). The structural pieces that we normally review as a part of Gateway 3 (e.g. differentiation) in our comprehensive reviews are critical to the success of a program, and are, therefore, interspersed and combined with other indicators in Gateway 2.