Curriculum Details for
VersaTiles Reading/Language Arts
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.
- Extensive coverage of reading and language arts skills, broken down by levels corresponding to grade in school for grades 1-6.
- Covers four reading/language arts strands (Phonics, word attack, and vocabulary; Spelling; Comprehension and study skills; Grammar, usage, and mechanics) are color-coded throughout each grade level to match IRA/NCTE standards.
- Skills within reading and comprehension are broken down.
- Workbook pages are thoughtfully constructed.
- Materials seem to be engaging and fun to play with, tiles make it feel like a game.
- Phonics, word attack, and vocabulary
- Comprehension and study skills
- Grammar, usage, and mechanics
- Targets isolated sub skills within these categories.
- Students learn to work independently.
- Study skills are a focus of the curriculum
- Working at own pace, self-confidence
- Spatial skills
Alignment to Standards
- Correlated with NCTE/IRA (National Council of Teachers of English/International Reading Association) Standards.
- Scope and sequence is elaborate, and the teacher’s guide is useful and specific.
- Assessment is interesting and impressive, there is a focus on “authentic assessment.”
- Informal assessments include journaling, portfolios, and discussing how students solved answers.
- Offers specific questions to follow while observing and interviewing students.
- Pre- and post-test measures of basic benchmark activities.
- Curriculum is structured. It addresses specific objectives, but there is flexibility in how they are reached.
- Teacher’s role is to set students up and make sure they know what they are doing, observe students working independently and work one-on-one with students who need extra attention.
- Content is highly structured and defined.
- Activities are largely teacher-directed, with students setting their own pace.
Addressing Diverse Student Needs
- Students can work at their own pace and skill level.
- Students may struggle to stay focused
- Students can individualize upon existing activities.
Learning Styles Addressed
- This curriculum is particularly well-suited to the developmental level of the age group it targets.
- Materials and tiles are engaging: For example, uses crossword puzzles, activities can be completed in a short period of time.
- Interpersonal learning: Students of different strengths could work together.
- The creators try to represent diversity in the stories with different names.
- Mascots for each book are cartoon characters and do not have any racial characteristics.
- Stories themselves are non-fiction, and include a range of different cultures.
Strengths and Challenges
Challenges and Drawbacks
- An instructor can use this in an afterschool program with little training ahead of time.
- Targets specific skill sets, and breaks down different parts of comprehension.
- Tied to the skills needed to become an expert reader.
- Easy to move and transport.
- Serve as a great tool for supplementing regular curriculum.
- Could be challenging with students who have behavior issues.