Welcome to the Consumers Guide to Afterschool Literacy Resources!
-- a message from the Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resiliency at Harvard University
"One of the main challenges staff face in developing a successful educational enrichment component is simply the range and variety of curricular options that are available."
-Noam, Biancarosa & Dechausay, 2003, Afterschool Education
The Consumers Guide to Afterschool Literacy Resources is an initiative of the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency at Harvard University and the SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool. This database was conceived, compiled and coordinated by a team at PEAR in collaboration with SEDL. PEAR's team consisted of Gil Noam, Sarah Schwartz, Kristin Sinclair, Erin Cooney, Larina Mehta, and Sara Hoots. SEDL's team consisted of Cathy Jordan, Deborah Donnelly, and
Brian Litke. The guide is designed to help programs locate and make informed choices about high-quality literacy resources that match their individual needs.
Research shows that effective afterschool programs are "intentional learning environments" (McLaughlin, 2000). Intentional learning means having clear learning goals and activities specifically designed to meet those goals. The key to intentional learning is creating a precise match between curricula and learning goals, while taking into account program resources and restrictions.
The Consumers Guide Afterschool Literacy Resources was created to aid programs in choosing high-quality literacy curricula that would support the creation of intentional learning environments in afterschool programs. The guide includes in-depth reviews from literacy experts as well as from practitioners who have experience using the specific curriculum.
Click here for a description of the review process used to select and evaluate the curricula.
How to Use this Guide
To explore the guide, you may either browse all curricula sorted by
grade range, or
cost, or use the
to locate curricula that match your specific needs by using key words, or defining specific criteria for a range of variables including cost, grade level, links to other subject areas, staffing considerations, research base etc. Each review includes three pages. The first tab consists of general information describing the curriculum. Use this page to decide if the curriculum meets your needs on a general level. The second tab has a detailed review from an expert in literacy instruction, critically examining the content and the instruction outlined in the curricula. The third tab summarizes information from extensive interviews with practitioners who have actually used the specific curricula, giving you an inside account of their experiences with the curricula.
About the Curricula
The selection of the curricula was very inclusive, based on self-nominations, nominations from the field, in-depth searches, and contacts with experts and publishers. The guide includes curricula that range from highly structured, scripted curricula, to general guides with ideas and activities. They vary in cost, level of expertise and/or training required, intended audience, research base, as well as many other variables. We hope you find this resource useful. Please contact us to give us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McLaughlin, M. (2000). Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development. Washington, DC: Public Education Fund Network.
Noam, G., Biancarosa, G., & Dechausay, N. (2003). Afterschool Education: Approaches to an Emerging Field. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.