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


Curriculum Details for
Project Read


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Project Read
Publication Date: 1973
Grade Level: K–12
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts
Costs: $250 - $1,084
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Language Circle Enterprises, Inc.
PO Box 20631
Bloomington, MN, 55420
(800) 450-0343
www.projectread.com

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Program Description

Design Summary

Project Read honors diverse student learning profiles by providing curricula with lessons build on direct concept teacher, multi-sensory processing, systematic instruction, and higher level thinking skills. Project Read is a school-based program that can be easily adapted for after school.  It is a language arts program that involves immediate integration of expressive language, spoken language, and text.  Struggling readers and writers are given time to practice their skills at their own pace.  There are opportunities for extending activities, guided practice, and integrating knowledge before students work independently.

The guiding philosophy of Project Read is encouraging student success and excitement about their achievements. The curriculum allows students multiple points of entry into learning through body language and kinesthetic learning, classifying and recording thinking, and independent creative language expression.

Project Read is grouped into several levels by grade, each including special education components: early education (Pre-K and kindergarten), primary (grades 1-3), intermediate (grades 4-6), secondary (grade 7 through adult).  There are several components to both the reading comprehension and writing parts of the program, including Story Boards, paragraph writing, sentence structure, etc. The curriculum guides are accompanied by a DVD that can be used in the classroom or as a staff development tool.

Costs and Staff Training

Costs vary for the different classroom instructional kits: Early Education is $454, Primary is $1,084, Linguistics is $595. Reading Comprehension Report Form Kit is $250, the Story Form Literature Connection ranges from $155 – 205.  There are discounts available for bulk orders of student practice books.

Training is required for those without a background in literacy and reading instruction. There are several training options, including on-site and DVD-based training. Costs for trainings vary.

Staff Qualifications

No teaching experience is required to successfully implement Project Read. The developers note that others, including home-school teachers, parents, and private tutors, have delivered the curriculum effectively. Practitioner and content expert reviews agree with this, although the content expert review suggests that a basic awareness of phonics and literacy would be useful.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified.
  • State: Aligned with CA, LA, MS, and KY standards.

Research Base

1976, Enfield, Mary Lee: An Alternate Classroom Approach to Meeting Special Learning Needs of Children with Reading Problems

Evaluation Details

Several large-scale and independent evaluations have been conducted, with positive results.  Data from these evaluations can be found at the developer’s website: www.projectread.com.  Find out more about Project Read in Florida Center for Reading Research’s report: http://www.fcrr.org/FCRRReports/PDF/ProjectReadFINAL.pdf

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Deliberate effort to directly address visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile learning in each lesson.
  • Program can impact students’ grades and attendance.
  • Builds self-esteem and enthusiasm for reading.
  • Students transfer reading skills and confidence with reading to other classes.
  • Curriculum is self-explanatory and direct. Easy to order all needed materials.
  • A solid phonics and reading curriculum, well-structured and organized.
Challenges
  • Covers a great deal of material using similar approaches, techniques and activities.
  • Content is less appropriate for older students who are reading at lower levels.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has a degree in elementary education and has been teaching kindergarten through the third grade for 20 years.  She started using Project Read four years ago.  It started as a pull-out program, where she used the curriculum with eight first-grade students for two hours per day. Later, she used Project Read with an entire classroom of non-readers.  All of these students were struggling readers who had repeated or just barely passed first grade, from mostly African American and low-income backgrounds. A few years ago she also became trained as a Project Read Facilitator, and now trains other teachers using the curriculum.

Logistics

Training
  • Attended a week-long training.  Trainers demonstrated some of the lessons with students from her school.
  • Was able to implement the curriculum effectively after attending the training.
  • Excellent customer service, especially pleased with the company representatives who have assisted her.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation time may be longer for some aspects of the curriculum than others.
  • For example, the phonics lessons are highly prescribed and require less time. Comprehension and written expression take longer to prepare; for example, the instructor has to obtain the stories and books him or herself. 
  • Six students is an ideal group size.

Student Engagement

  • Students always enthusiastic to use Project Read
  • Use of kinesthetic activities seemed to help students feel like they were playing all day, instead of learning.
  • Students always seem attentive and focused while using the curriculum.
  • Story Form and Report Form were two of students’ favorites.
  • Parents reported that their children, once in Project Read, started requesting to go to the library to pick out books.
  • Saw improvement in academic outcomes for students who had struggled with reading.
  • Content feels less appropriate for older students who are reading at low levels.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Structure is helpful.
  • Adaptable to the needs of the students. Can group students according to ability level and use the curriculum accordingly.
  • Teacher can easily add own games and activities to the curriculum.
General skills taught
  • Choice of stories could be used to teach morals, values, etc.
  • Teacher could potentially incorporate more non-academic skills into his or her lesson plans, but none are explicitly outlined in the curriculum.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Has found it to be engaging and effective for students of all backgrounds.
  • The comprehension component touches many different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Reaches auditory and kinesthetic learners effectively. For example, uses symbols to help students learn and identify predicates.
  • Content is less appropriate for older students who are reading at lower levels.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Has seen progress in students’ grades and attendance following implementation of Project Read.
  • Builds self-esteem and enthusiasm for reading.
  • Students start to volunteer to read aloud in other classes.
  • Curriculum is self-explanatory and direct. Easy to order all needed materials.
Challenges
  • Content is less appropriate for older students who are reading at lower levels.

Content Expert Review

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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