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Tips for Reviewing Early Literacy Materials

Early literacy development is critical to students’ success in the later grades and arguably, in life. Because students come to school with varying degrees of literacy, the quality of instruction and the quality of materials used in the classroom are primary determinants of the level of content and skill mastery young students achieve in literacy. What criteria do you look for when evaluating materials for early literacy?

Like most educators, at Learning List we believe that the instructional quality of any material is based on its alignment to state standards and other quality indicators. Thus, our Alignment Report verifies publisher claims of alignment, and our Editorial Review assesses the instructional quality of the material. Here’s what we look for in each type of review.

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Trends in Pre-Kindergarten Materials

Learning List recently completed reviews of all materials submitted for state adoption under Proclamation 2021 for Prekindergarten. We reviewed materials from fourteen publishers, ten of which provided both an English and a Spanish version for consideration.

As you prepare to start reviewing these programs, below are six trends Learning List’s reviewers noted across the Pre-K materials:

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New Product: Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K

New Product: Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K

Are your Prekindergarten teachers ready to adopt new materials during Texas Proclamation 2021? Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K.

Savvas Learning Company’s Three Cheers for Pre-K is a comprehensive program for Prekindergarten. The program provides skills-based learning experiences designed around purposeful play and children’s literature. Three Cheers for Pre-K is designed to support instruction in the ten domains of the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, balancing social and emotional, physical, and academic development. 

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Important Considerations When Selecting Materials to Support Continuous Learning

Important Considerations When Selecting Materials to Support Continuous Learning

Last August, we published a blog post titled, “5 Things to Look for If Selecting Online Materials.”  If your district is, or will be, selecting online materials to support continuous instruction next fall, here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind: 

(1) Similarity of content. If you will be purchasing a product in print and digital formats, check the degree to which the core instruction is consistent in both editions. The online version will likely contain videos and tools to enhance students’ learning experiences beyond the capabilities of the print edition, but the core instruction in both editions must be substantially similar to provide an equitable learning experience for students who are not able to access the material online.

(2) Delivery of core instruction. If you are considering a material that relies on digital content or is only available in digital format, consider whether the core instruction (e.g., lessons, practice and quizzes) is printable or accessible offline. Criteria 2 on the second page of our Spec Sheet reveals whether the core instruction of the product is accessible online only or whether it is also printable, downloadable, and/or accessible offline. In order to ensure that the material will support all students, including those that do not have reliable internet service or device access at home, the core instruction must be downloadable or printable. 

(3) Ease of Use. Online materials often contain many components. Before purchasing an online material or a material with online components, check to see whether your teachers and students will be able to use it. Have a few tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy teachers (1) login to the material, (2) teach a lesson with the product, and (3) access progress monitoring reports. If possible, have a few students login to the product and access an assigned lesson. Note the issues each group encounters. Finally, check to see what type of online training and support the material includes for teachers, students and even for parents. Allow teachers time to complete that training with support before the school year begins.

Student using computer

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New Product: Get More Math for TEKS

New Product: Get More Math for TEKS

Would your teachers like to have more math practice problems for their students? Take a look at Learning List’s review of Get More Math.

Get More Math is a supplemental online math program for grades 4-8, Algebra I and Geometry. This adaptive program provides sets of practice problems based on assignments made by the teacher, along with a cumulative review that provides spiraled practice of skills previously taught. It is designed to work as part of the instructional cycle, generally as part of guided or independent practice. Instruction, remediation, and assessment are not part of the program.

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7 Trends in Materials’ Supports for English Learners

Districts increasingly are contacting us for assistance finding high quality materials to support ELs. Whether, and if so, how materials support ELs is part of Learning List’s quality review rubric. Having reviewed thousands of materials, we have observed seven trends in how instructional materials address the needs of ELs:

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