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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Literacy Resources
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Curriculum Details for
MCP Plaid Phonics

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed regarding their experience using MCP Plaid Phonics. One practitioner has worked at a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten age learning center for eight years.  She has used Plaid Phonics for the past year on a daily basis in a full-day kindergarten classroom.  She has gotten feedback that her students, who used Plaid Phonics in her class, have been very successful with their reading skills in the first grade.  Her classroom was very diverse in terms of economic and cultural backgrounds, as well as learning styles.

The other practitioner has been working at a similar learning center for 16 years, and is currently the director. She taught Plaid Phonics to a Kindergarten classroom for six years, about four days a week.  She found this to be more successful than the whole-language program that the center had used previously.

Logistics

Training
  • Neither attended a formal training
  • Both felt prepared to start using the program using the self-explanatory, detailed teacher’s manual after observing others teach the program.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation is fairly easy, since many materials are provided by the curriculum.
  • Planning ahead and being organized will greatly reduce a teacher’s preparation time.
  • Used Plaid Phonics with the whole group, and in smaller groups of five depending student level.

Student Engagement

  • Students enjoy the curriculum, have fun, and appear to feel successful when using it.
  • They particularly like the different activities.
  • Students get their own books.
  • Parents are pleased with their students’ success. Students appear better prepared for first grade as a result.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Gives a lot of guidance about how to go about teaching the curriculum.
  • Curriculum becomes challenging it progresses.
  • Flexibility of adjusting to students who might be struggling with particular skills. Gives suggestions about other ways to teach a skill.
  • Students can work at their own pace. 
  • Pre- and post-assessments are particularly effective at helping teachers understand where students are at in terms of skills.
General skills taught
  • Letter sounds, handwriting, sight words, rhyming words.
  • Assessments help build test-taking skills.
  • Learn to take turns and share.
  • Curriculum encourages socialization through the different activities.
Addressing diverse student needs
  •  Curriculum addresses different learning styles.
  • Content is very age appropriate.
  • Characters in the books are diverse, and content appeals to students from range of backgrounds. 
  • The curriculum focus is on phonics.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Variations of lessons.
  • Consistency of skills being taught.
  • Very thorough curriculum, teaches students effectively.
  • Allows students to work at their own pace and master each concept before they move on to the next.
  • Both age appropriate and challenging.
  • Children enjoy it and have fun.
  • Suggestions for how to reach different types of learners are particularly useful.
  • Teacher’s manual is easy to read and straightforward.
Challenges
  • Neither practitioner found any major challenges with Plaid Phonics.


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