This report is for a supplementary foundational skills program intended for use alongside a comprehensive core English Language Arts program.
The instructional materials reviewed for Puzzle Piece Phonics Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 partially meet the criteria for alignment to standards and research-based practices for foundational skills instruction. The instructional materials use a synthetic approach to phonics. Instructional materials include a systematic, explicit, and research-based scope and sequence for phonological awareness and phonics outlining the essential knowledge and skills that are taught in the program and the order in which they are presented. Materials include limited opportunities for students to learn and apply general concepts of print. Materials provide systematic, explicit instruction in phonological awareness and phonics. Materials provide limited systematic, evidence-based, explicit instruction in fluency. The materials contain fluency passages that focus on a specific phonics skill based on the word list students are reading and practicing; however, the fluency passages within the materials do not include the high-frequency words that are addressed each week. There are missed opportunities for regular and systematic assessment opportunities that measure student progress in phonological awareness (K-1) and fluency. The materials provide limited resources and tools to collect ongoing data about student progress on the standards. There are missed opportunities to provide teachers with strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners so that they demonstrate independent ability with grade-level standards within the materials. Decodable texts include fluency passages that work on a specific phonics skill based on the word list students are reading and practicing; however, fluency passages do not align to the program's scope and sequence for high-frequency words.
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.