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New Product Review: Universal Publishing Universal Handwriting

New Product Review: Universal Publishing Universal Handwriting

Universal Publishing’s Universal Handwriting provides comprehensive handwriting products for grades K-5. Content is available in print format and includes interactive whiteboard tools (i.e., animations). This review is of print materials only. Instruction emphasizes correct letter formation and the importance of legibility. Teacher resources include corrective strategies to address handwriting problems.

Across grades, lessons use a three-stop process that includes: Model and Discuss, Practice, and Self-Evaluate. In Model, teachers model letter formation or use AlphamationPlus whiteboard animations of letter formations. Discussions center on the strokes used to form letters (e.g., undercurves) and students trace letters in the air or on their paper. During Practice, students complete related activities in their workbooks. Students identify their best work in Self-Evaluate and discuss what they did correctly and where they could improve. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Texas

New Product Review: Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Texas

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Texas is a comprehensive handwriting product for students in grades K-5. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction emphasizes legibility and the real-world applications of handwriting. Lessons integrate content from other subject areas, including language arts and social studies. A Spanish-language version of the full K-5 product—La escritura—is also available from Zaner-Bloser. Learning List has reviewed La escritura.

At each grade level, Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Texas begins with a “Getting Started” unit that introduces handwriting concepts (e.g., stroke, spacing, posture) and program resources (e.g., QR Codes/tutorials). Getting Started includes a pretest and, where appropriate, a review of previously learned skills. The second and third units at each grade level address the formation of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and the use of letters and numbers in the writing of words, sentences, and compositions. The fourth and final unit at each grade is titled “Using What You Have Learned” and focuses on the real-world applications of handwriting. Cursive is introduced in grade 2. [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: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Reading Texas

New Product Review: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Reading Texas

Learning List recently reviewed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Reading Texas, which was submitted for state adoption in Texas in response 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). Into Reading is a comprehensive product that supports ELAR instruction in grades K-6. Content is available in print and digital formats. Learning List reviewed online resources for grades K-5. Instruction develops students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills using authentic texts from a variety of genres.

Across grades, Into Reading is organized in multi-week modules that provide access to a variety of authentic texts at varying levels of complexity. Modules are thematic and include cross-curricular topics, such as a “Global Guardians” module at grade 4 that integrates content from conservation science. Modules are organized around an essential question (e.g., “What does it take to meet a challenge?”). Reading selections include a variety of authentic, age-appropriate literary and informational texts related to the essential question. Selections include a variety of genres (e.g., historical fiction, narrative non-fiction) and representations of diverse cultures and characters. Each text has vivid illustrations that support comprehension and engage student interest. [Read more…]

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