Printed from Afterschool Curriculum Choice - Literacy
Location: http://www.sedl.org/afterschool/guide/literacy/


Curriculum Details for
Afterschool KidzLit


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Afterschool KidzLit
Publication Date: 2000
Grade Level: K–8
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts
Costs: $450 to $3,600
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Developmental Studies Center
2000 Embarcadero Drive, Suite 305
Oakland, CA, 94606
510-533-0213 or 800-666-7270
www.devstu.org/afterschool-kidzlit

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Program Description

Design Summary

KidzLit is designed specifically for afterschool. Its goal is to help students to develop a love of reading while building comprehension skills and vocabulary.  In addition to helping students get excited about reading, KidzLit also strives to help students develop their capacities to think critically, express their ideas about important issues, and increase their understanding of self, peers, and others.  The curriculum is structured in a five part process, all including discussion and hands on activities: Introduction, Read-Aloud, Talk, Connection Activity, and Wrap-up.  There are several formats for the program, including Book Club (where students choose what they read), Partner Reading (students at same level), and Buddy Reading (an older child reads with a younger child.)

Curriculum materials include 120 trade books with Leader’s Guides, divided into three packages by grade.  Each package is then made up of 10-book sets of various themes.

Costs and Staff Training

The full kits cost $3,200 for K-5 and $3,600 for K-8, each including 160 and 180 books and guides, respectively.  Other kit options include: Grades K-3 kit costs $1,600, 3-5 kit costs $1,700, and 6-8 kit costs $450. Components can also be purchased separately, although the whole set is a discounted price.

In person available is available but not required, offered in either a three or six hour format, costing $1,500 plus expenses. The developers try to match programs with nearby trainers to keep costs low.  An on-site support kit with six videos and training agendas, costing $235, is available as an effective self-training tool.

Staff Qualifications

No formal teaching experience is needed to implement KidzLit. Most of the instructor’s role is clearly spelled out by the guides. Practitioner and content expert reviews agree, with the content expert also suggesting that an instructor be familiar with reading strategies and development to better individualize instruction.

Standards Alignment

  • National: National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • State: None specified, although it has been aligned to the following states: Florida, Missouri, Georgia, Maryland, and New York

Research Base

Internal and independent evaluations of KidzLit have been conducted, all in afterschool settings.  These studies showed improvements in students’ attitude toward reading, vocabulary development, reading efficacy, and social attitudes.  Full reports can be found at http://www.devstu.org/afterschool/askl/results.html

Evaluation Details

Kidzlit is based in research on effective literacy instruction for adolescents, specifically around the connection between students’ attitude toward reading and achievement scores.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Engaging literature curriculum.
  • This curriculum will likely spark a love of reading in many students.
  • Helps build character, values, and social skills as well as reading skills.
  • Large number and variety of books.
  • Manageable in terms of materials and training. There is a simple training kit to keep at the site, and sites do not need to purchase additional materials.
Challenges
  • Curriculum will not solve serious struggles with reading ability or self-esteem issues.
  • Keeping track of all the books and their guides will be a challenge.
  • On-site support handbook is small and easily lost.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has her master’s degree and has been a special educator working with elementary aged students for 20 years.  For the past three years, she has been working at an afterschool program using KidzLit.  She uses it on a daily basis, for about a half hour at a time. Students in her program are elementary school aged. Most are on free and reduced lunch, and many are English language learners.

Logistics

Training
  • There are a number of standard trainings, about three hours long.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation is minimal, and consists of a brief weekly staff meeting where instructors use and practice the games and activities they will be using for the week.
  • Guide is very clear in telling staff what they need to do. Once they are more familiar with it, they can then use a little more creativity in what they do.
  • All needed materials are provided.
  • Group size of 10-12 students is usually ideal, can break down into smaller groups for games.

Student Engagement

  • Students enjoy and relate really well to the stories.
  • Students particularly enjoy the hands-on aspect of the program. Learning is fun and engaging for them.
  • Students help each other and feel like they can make mistakes and that no one will make fun of them.
  • Age-appropriate games and materials.
  • Parent involvement is a key aspect of this curriculum, and parents like the curriculum. Games can easily be taught to parents so they can play at home with their children.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Teacher can make activities more or less challenging.
  • Adaptable to the needs of the instructor or the students.
  • There are certain skills that need to be taught, but how they are taught is up to the instructor.
General skills taught
  • Demonstrates to students that learning is fun.
  • Demonstrates to students that it is okay to try new things and make mistakes.
  • Develops friendship skills.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Books and stories are representative of different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Students of all backgrounds engage in and enjoy the curriculum.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Engaging literature curriculum.
  • Helps build character, values, and social skills as well as reading skills.
  • Large number and variety of books.
Challenges
  • This practitioner found no major challenges with the curriculum.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Katharine Adams
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.

Content

  • 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.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • 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.
Study Skills
  • May use some organizational tools to help groups construct ideas or consolidate understanding, but children are not taught to do this on their own.
Non-Academic Skills
  • 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.

Assessment

  • 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.

Structure

  • 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

Adaptability
  • 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.
Developmental level
  • 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.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • 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.
Multiculturalism
  • The authors have chosen books that represent diverse interests and people.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • 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.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • 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.

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