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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Literacy Resources
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Curriculum Details for
Project Read

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Content Expert Reviewer

Erin Schilling
Erin Schilling brings her wealth of experience of teaching and studying English to her reviews of literacy curriculum. She taught English at a charter school in Boston, Massachusetts, for four years, and during that time served a Lead Teacher, overseeing the development of English Language Arts Curriculum for the school. She also monitored the allocation of school resources for English Language Learners, and researched and implemented a Sustained Silent Reading Program. She has a bachelor of science in English from Northwestern University, a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning as well as a Master of Education in Risk and Prevention, both from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently the Site Supervisor at Options Academy - The Arts in Hamilton, Ohio.

Content

  • The Project Read curriculum is divided into different tiers based on the target age group population.
  • Early Education (Pre-K/K) focuses on phonics and alphabet recognition.
  • Primary Phonics (grades 1-3) continues with phonics and moves into word recognition, handwriting, spelling, and early storytelling.
  • Linguistics (grades 4-adult) covers vocabulary, spelling rules, cursive handwriting, prefixes and suffixes, and early reading comprehension.
  • Reading Comprehension is divided into: Report Form (grades 2-adult), which covers the structure of expository writing; Story Form Literature Connection (grades K-5) and Intermediate (grade 6-adult), introducing literary genres, teaching active reading, and reading skills necessary to understand narrative materials; and Written Expression: Framing Your Thoughts (grade 1-adult) focuses on both sentence and paragraph structure.
  • Content builds intentionally from one unit to the next.
  • Multisensory processing is stressed throughout the tiers, including kinesthetic and tactile approaches.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Tools for decoding, such as recognizing sounds and symbols
  • Syllabicating and looking for sentence clues.
  • Print and cursive handwriting
  • Attacking writing using spelling rules
  • Structuring and diagramming sentences and paragraphs
  • See others listed in “content”
Study Skills
  • Discusses reading comprehension in the context of test-taking and studying.
Non-Academic Skills
  • Non-academic skills are not explicitly addressed by this curriculum.

Alignment to Standards

Alignment to any national/state standards is not explicitly stated within the materials. However, the content covered in this curriculum is in line with most states’ requirements for reading comprehension.

Assessment

  • Each lesson plan within the curricular unit includes objectives and checking for understanding which measures student progress toward those objectives. 
  • Sets of mastery tests are available for each curriculum, including end of unit and end of year assessments.

Structure

  • Curriculum is fairly structured.  Lessons include a basic concept explanation, a list of goals and teaching objectives, an anticipatory set, a brief review, and a few input activities that appeal to various learning styles. 
  • All handouts and exercises are included within the curriculum guide, with extras such as display materials, storybooks, extra kinesthetic and tactile activities, word cards, spell tabs, and storyboards available for order.
  • Content of the program is defined, with lessons clearly outlined.
  • Choice is not built into the structure of the curriculum, although teachers could supplement it with their own activities and materials.
  • The lessons and activities are teacher-directed. Students work independently to complete activity sheets.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • Can be adapted to the needs of individual students.
  • Many activities involve individual work.
  • Suggestions for modifications are not included in the curriculum guide.
Developmental level
  • The curriculum is tiered to meet the needs of different age groups.
  • The phonics materials include brightly colored cartoon-like illustrations, and the stories included in the literature-based tiers are high-interest and varied in topic.
  • Higher level materials are simple and have fewer graphics, but would be appropriate for older students.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Movement/spatial learning: These are addressed throughout the curriculum. For example, within the phonics unit, students are asked to use finger spelling/blending and to do sky writing.
  • Artistic learning: Students are asked to illustrate sentences and word clusters at different times throughout the curriculum.
Multiculturalism
  • Stories included in the literature curriculum are pulled from a number of different cultural traditions and address a wide variety of topics.
  • Otherwise, there is no specific acknowledgement of student difference or any clear effort to make the instruction of the curriculum culturally inclusive.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • All necessary materials for implementing the curriculum are provided.
  • Deliberate effort to directly address visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile learning in each lesson.
  • Solid phonics and reading curriculum, well-structured and organized.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Covers a great deal of material using similar approaches, techniques and activities. While effective with younger students, could be less engaging with older ones.


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