New Reviews/Reports

New Product Review: Perfection Learning’s Benson Handwriting with Reading and Language Arts

New Product Review: Perfection Learning’s Benson Handwriting with Reading and Language Arts

Perfection Learning’s Benson Handwriting with Reading and Language Arts is a comprehensive handwriting product for students in grades K-5. Core content is available in print format and includes software-based and online resources. This review is of print materials only. Handwriting instruction emphasizes fluency and legibility. Students learn to print in grades K and 1, and to use cursive in grades 2 and 3. At grades 4 and 5, students apply handwriting skills in tasks related to English language arts and reading (ELAR). Learning List also reviewed Benson Escritura, the Spanish-language version of Benson Handwriting.

Benson Handwriting organizes content in grades K-3 in units that group letters based on the strokes used to form the letters. For example, in grades K and 1, the printed letters L, I, T, and F are grouped in a unit because they begin with same pencil stroke. Students transition from print to cursive in grade 2. Workbooks at grades 4 and 5 revisit handwriting basics (e.g., letter and number formation), but most instruction is delivered in lessons that address ELAR/SLAR content such as root words, subject/verb agreement, and approaches to text structure (e.g., compare/contrast). [Read more…]

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New Product Review: InterEthnic Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series

New Product Review: InterEthnic Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series

InterEthnic’s Alphabet Harbor/Harbor Friends Series is a comprehensive handwriting product for grades K-5. Content is available in print format. Grades K and 1 address printing. Grades 2-5 develop cursive writing skills. Instruction emphasizes the connection between written letters and their sounds. Letters are personified as “Harbor Friends” or “Harbor Pals” using clipart images of children and animals (e.g., Zany Z).

At each grade level, the Harbor Friends handwriting series presents content in a consumable “Student Workbook.” At grades K and 1, instruction is organized in terms of the alphabet. At grades 2-5, lessons are organized in terms of letters with the same shape in their initial strokes. For example, lower-case letters that begin with a “short swoop up” (r, s, j, and p) are taught in the same section. Across grades each letter is represented by a “Harbor Friend” or “Harbor Pal” (i.e., a clipart image of a boy, girl, or animal) and a poem that describes the letter’s formation. Where appropriate, letter sounds and letter identification are integrated with handwriting instruction. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Pearson Words Their Way: Word Study In Action Developmental Model

New Product Review: Pearson Words Their Way: Word Study In Action Developmental Model

Pearson’s Words Their Way (WTW): Word Study In Action Developmental Model is a supplemental product that supports reading and language arts instruction in grades K-5. Content is available in print and digital formats. Learning List recently reviewed WTW’s print and CD-ROM/DVD resources. The program uses the word study instructional model to teach phonics, spelling, word recognition, and vocabulary skills.

WTW organizes content in terms of five spelling stages: (1) Emergent-Early Letter Name, (2) Letter Name, (3) Within Word Patterns, (4) Syllables and Affixes, and (5) Derivational Relations.  Across stages, instruction is centered on sorting words. That is, students learn to group words according to a set of categories that facilitate comparing and contrasting. For example, students learn to sort words or pictures by concept (e.g., fruit not a fruit), sounds (e.g., beginning sounds), letter recognition, word families (e.g., mixed vowels), and roots (e.g., Greek vs. Latin). [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Learning Without Tears Handwriting Without Tears (English and Spanish)

New Product Review: Learning Without Tears Handwriting Without Tears (English and Spanish)

Learning Without Tears’ Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is a comprehensive handwriting product for grades K-5. Core content is available in print format. Digital teaching resources also are available. This review is of print resources only. Instruction focuses on printing skills in grades K-1 and cursive writing in grades 2-5. HWT is available in English and Spanish and includes developmentally appropriate visual, tactile, auditory, and kinesthetic activities that build handwriting skills.

Instruction is provided in 15-minute periods that fit easily into classroom routines. Content is cross-curricular and contains connections to other subject areas, particularly reading and writing. Teacher’s guides provide comprehensive guidance in teaching handwriting instruction and include detailed lesson plans. HWT’s Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tool (HITT) is available separately from the publisher and contains a variety of digital tools. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Edmentum’s Plato Courseware High School English

New Product Review: Edmentum’s Plato Courseware High School English

Edmentum’s Plato Courseware™ is an online program that supports instruction in self-paced, remediation, and credit recovery programs. Plato provides comprehensive instruction in each of the core subjects, as well as in other content areas (e.g., world languages). Learning List recently reviewed Plato’s sequence of high school English courses. Instruction is provided online and includes printable materials. 

At each grade level, content is presented in two semester-long courses, and each semester is made up of three units. Each unit begins with a pre-test that assesses students’ mastery of learning objectives. Based on pre-test results, teachers may exempt students from some or all of the unit’s lessons or use results to provide targeted remediation. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Pearson Texas myView Literacy

New Product Review: Pearson Texas myView Literacy

Learning List recently reviewed Pearson’s Texas myView Literacy, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response to the Texas Education Agency’s Proclamation 2019 call for K-8 English language arts and reading (ELAR) products aligned to the new ELAR Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Texas myView Literacy is a comprehensive English language arts and reading product for grades K-5. Content is available in print and digital formats. This review is of online materials only. Instruction is organized using sets of mini-lessons that facilitate flexible instructional planning and a variety of instructional models.

Across grades, myView Literacy is organized in five 6-week units. Each unit addresses a cross-curricular theme focused on an essential question, such as a grade 4 unit titled “Diversity” that integrates social studies topics and asks: “How can we reach new understandings through exploring diversity?” Each unit features a “Spotlight” genre that is the focus of instruction (e.g., informational texts) and includes works from additional genres. Across units, instruction provides a balance of authentic literary and informational texts. Students learn to read different types of content, such as maps, infographics, and timelines. [Read more…]

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