Curriculum Details for
Content Expert Reviewer
Katharine Adams is currently a doctoral student in Applied Child Development at Tufts University. She has taught at the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts for over a decade. She has worked on the development and design of literacy curricula including RAVE-O and the Benchmark Word Detectives Program. She has also developed and implemented an afterschool and summer program for at-risk readers. In addition, Katharine has taught in elementary schools and holds a Masters in teaching with an emphasis in special needs.
- The content covered in this curriculum includes how to read a story for joy, for learning, and for sharing.
- Students are encouraged to read compelling stories and share their thoughts and ideas, and are engaged with their peers and adults in discussing and working with these stories.
- The stories and activities are compelling and interesting to hold students’ attention, but the curriculum also begins to provide children with tools for how to work with texts on their own and in other settings.
- Literacy goals include increased enjoyment of literature and the desire to read, enhanced vocabulary, and greater ability to express ideas.
- Character and relationship goals include: stronger relationships with peers and adults with a resulting caring community, greater understanding of self and others, stronger commitment to shared values.
- KidzLit teaches an active approach to reading comprehension strategies. These include: Introduce, read, talk about, connect to, and wrap up the story.
- However, students are not taught how to transfer these strategies to other texts.
- May use some organizational tools to help groups construct ideas or consolidate understanding, but children are not taught to do this on their own.
- Listen to and respect one another
- Exploration of ideas to help naturally develop and deepen core values.
- Group work and collaboration.
Alignment to Standards
Curriculum is aligned with 8 of the 12 NCTE standards for the English Language.
- There is no formal assessment of comprehension and critical thinking skills.
- However, the students have journals that they write in regularly, and these can be used to track progress.
- Curriculum is fairly structured. Each tradebook comes with an on-site training guide, which gives detailed teacher guides for the lesson.
- These include the sequence of the lesson, questions to ask, and detailed descriptions of activities to do with the students.
- The five-step process of reading comprehension is well defined, and the activities and choices are well prescribed for each of the strategies for each book.
- The program provides appropriate books for reading, discussing, and doing activities.
- Although the children are actively engaged, the lessons are teacher-directed. The activities themselves are student-directed, and students can decide what they write, how they paint, or what they discuss. Teachers support the children while they work and manage the entire lesson.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- The curriculum can be tailored to the needs of most groups. There are plenty of activity choices and many ways to accomplish goals.
- It is active and engaging, which will prevent many behavioral issues.
- The curriculum depends on children understanding the stories, but how the stories are read is left to the leader.
- Other skills have multiple entry points as well.
Learning Styles Addressed
- KidzLit offers three different curricula by age level (K-3, 3-5, and 6-8). The activities and discussions are developmentally appropriate.
- Activities are challenging but can be mastered.
- Story guides note for whom the stories are most appropriate.
- Movement/spatial learning: Dramatic play and games with movement are regular features of the activity choices. The curriculum has two “stand-up-and-move” games that can be used with any book.
- Interpersonal learning: Curriculum includes a whole set of curriculum goals around character building and relationships. Most of the activities involve students working in partners, small groups, or whole groups to discuss or create a project. They must learn together and from each other.
- Artistic learning: Art projects and music are suggested as activities to help students explore ideas presented in the story.
- The authors have chosen books that represent diverse interests and people.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- A wide variety of well written, wonderful, engaging books.
- This curriculum will likely spark a love of reading in many students.
- Manageable in terms of materials and training. There is a simple training kit to keep at the site, and sites will not have to purchase additional materials.
- Will not solve serious struggles with reading ability or self-esteem issues.
- On-site support handbook is small and easily lost.
- Keeping track of all the books and their guides will be a challenge.