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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Literacy Resources
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Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
Publication Date: 2008
Grade Level: 1–6
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts
Costs: $200 per theme
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Global Learning, Inc
1001 SE Water Avenue, Suite 310
Portland, OR, 97214

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Design Summary

LitART LEARN is an integrated thematic literacy curriculum designed specifically for after school.  The goals of the program are to build oral language, fluency, thinking skills, reading comprehension, creativity, phonics knowledge, vocabulary, grammar, knowledge of literacy elements, goal setting skills, and support students’ social and emotional development. LitART is a hands-on, activity-based curriculum that engages and motivates students in reading, writing, mathematics, and recreation.  The daily schedule includes many short, energizing activities, including interactive games, word games, and riddles.  Once a student has read a book, they engage in a creative response activity, one of the many activities related to each picture book or novel.  This activity can be drama, pantomime, improvisation, art, games, or writing, and is designed to support and extend their experience with the book.

Each year of LitART LEARN is divided into eight cross-curricular themes (one per month), such as “Myths, Legend, and Folktales,” “Friends and Self Concept,” “Magic and Mystery,” and “Math, Music, and Science.” Curriculum materials are available as series correlating with grade level. Each series consists of 8 thematic literacy notebooks, step-by-step activity plans for over 200 activities, 16 picture books, and three novels.

Costs and Staff Training

LitART LEARN costs $200.00 per theme. Each theme includes two integrated thematic 230-page notebooks.  (The first notebook features activities for 16 picture books. The second notebook includes activities for three novels.)  If programs do not have funds available, would like to serve more students, or add an enrichment component, the developers provide links to potential grant funded programs to help in the purchasing of LitART LEARN, as well as assisting with the grant writing.  Proposals are constructed based on programs needs, number of students, staff, number of sites, and available resources.

Training is available, although not required. The training starts with an engaging, hands on LitART Literacy Training Institute, introducing staff to the LitART learning strategies, components, and classroom management strategies. Training costs are based on the number of participants, number of training days, and number of onsite support days, and typically range from $750 to $1,000 per event.  Follow-up trainings, focusing on specific themes, are also available. Onsite support visits featuring demonstrations and observations and are also available to LitART users.

Staff Qualifications

LitART LEARN was designed to be used by paraprofessionals and has been successfully delivered by college students and professional educators.  Formal teaching experience is not required to implement LitART LEARN.   Content expert reviews suggest that instructors need to be organized, able to plan well, and have solid time management skills. Practitioner expert reviews support this, and has seen college students and paraprofessionals implement it successfully.

Standards Alignment

  • National: International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • State: All states (state standards alignment matrix for each state available by request).

Research Base

Kispal, A. (2008). Au, K.H. (1993). Sainsbury, M. (2003). Gardner, H. (2003). Calkins, L.M., & Harwayne, S. (1991). Cullinan, B.E. (1992). Morrow, L.M. (1992). Tierney, R.J., & Shanahan, T. (1991). Adams, M.J. (1990). Alvermann, D.E., & Moore, D.W. (1991). Graves, M.F. (1987).

Evaluation Details

LitART has been formally evaluated.  Results showed significant gains over the course of a school year in reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, oral language, and enjoyment of reading for students using LitART as contrast to those who did not use LitART. More details can be found on their website:

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

  • Many different components appeal to a variety of ages and learning styles.
  • Activities are created to increase reading and writing skills, as well as love of and engagement with reading.
  • Presented in a game-like environment, so students do not usually realize that they are learning so many key skills.
  • Curriculum is easy to follow and clearly laid out.
  • Training component is helpful; staff are able to build skills and improve at delivering LitART.
  • Activities and format, while structured, are still creative and allow for a lot of student imagination and voice.
  • Complete and well-suited to the specific needs of afterschool programs.
  • Many components to juggle, instructor would need to determine actual length of activities and make sure not to overload students.
  • Eleven discrete activities in one afternoon might be too much for some students.

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