New Product: NoRedInk

Is your district looking for materials to support writing skills? Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of the free version of NoRedInk.

NoRedInk is a supplemental, fully digital English language arts program for students in grades 4-12. The program provides a free version and a subscription-based version. Learning List recently reviewed the free version of the program.

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New Product: Stenhouse’s Patterns of Power

Eduspark SLAR

Is your district looking for a material that provides integrated grammar and conventions instruction? Take a look at Learning List’s review of Patterns of Power.

Stenhouse’s Patterns of Power Inviting Young Writer into the Conventions of Language and Patterns of Power Plus are supplemental ELA programs for grades 1-5. The material is print-based. Patterns of Power Inviting Young Writer into the Conventions of Language is the teacher resource book for grades 1-5. Patterns of Power Plus consists of grade-specific kits that include a teacher’s guide with lessons, a Lesson Display Flip chart, Student Notebooks, Focus Phrase Cards, and access to the Companion Website.

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New Product Review: Heinemann Units of Study for Teaching Reading

Heinemann Units of Study

Learning List has reviewed Heinemann’s Units of Study for Teaching Reading, which is a supplemental reading product for students in grades K-5. The program is primarily a curriculum framework for teachers and is made up of a set of print and online teaching resources. Reading instruction is provided using a workshop model that focuses on creating avid readers who are able to access and understand increasingly complex texts. Teaching Reading dovetails with Heinemann’s Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing for grades K-5. Learning List has reviewed the Units of Study writing program.

Based on the work of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, Units of Study incorporates a workshop approach to teaching reading skills. At each grade level, content is organized in four units that last between four and five weeks. Grades K-2 include a foundational unit as well as three units that address reading fictional and informational texts. Instruction at grades 3-5 is organized in two reading fiction units and two reading informational texts units.

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New Product Review: Corwin Press Puzzle Piece Phonics

Corwin Press

Learning List has reviewed Corwin Press’ Puzzle Piece Phonics (PPP), which is a supplemental product that supports word study in grades K-2. Content is available in print format. Across grades, the program provides systematic and explicit instruction in spelling and phonics patterns. Instruction incorporates puzzle piece manipulatives that help students recognize sound and spelling patterns and their connections to word structure.

PPP’s core content is organized in units, or “Concepts.” Each Concept is broken into instructional weeks that include a weekly focus. Content follows a logical sequence that builds on similarities in concepts and patterns. The pacing of instruction is deliberately measured to ensure that students have adequate time to master patterns before moving on to the next concept. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections Texas

Zaner Bloser Spelling Connections

Learning List recently reviewed Zaner-Bloser Spelling Connections 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), including the spelling TEKS. Spelling Connections Texas is a comprehensive spelling product for students in grades 1-6. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction focuses on grade-appropriate word lists that incorporate the words students encounter most when reading, writing, and speaking, as well as frequently misspelled words. Lessons focus on recognizing spelling patterns and applying patterns to increasingly challenging words.

At each grade level, Spelling Connections is organized in weekly units that are made up of daily lessons that are designed to be implemented in 15-minute periods. Across grades, instruction incorporates sorting activities that help students recognize and understand the similarities and differences in how words are spelled. Word sorts may be completed using Zaner-Bloser’s spelling cards or using online resources. Sorting may be implemented in a variety of formats, including teacher-led activities, partners, or individual student work. Lessons connect spelling to phonics (grades 1-3) or vocabulary (grades 4-6), reading, and writing. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: EduSpark Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura

Eduspark SLAR

EduSpark’s Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura is a Spanish language arts and reading (SLAR) program developed specifically for Texas students in grades K-5. Content is organized in print and online materials. Instruction supports the development of Spanish-language skills in dual language programs. Resources are designed to provide age-appropriate instruction in Spanish for students whose first language is not Spanish. Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura incorporates authentic reading selections from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries, as well as works written specifically for the program by Texans of Latino ancestry.

At each grade level, Lengua, Ritmo y Cultura is organized in kits that include print student materials (i.e., textbooks and workbooks), digital lesson resources, and a Teacher Guide. Student textbooks at each grade level are made up of 36 lessons. At grade K-2, textbooks are organized in 12 units made up of three lessons each and textbooks at grades 3-5 are comprised of 9 units made up of four lessons each. Across grades, the first lesson in each unit addresses foundational language skills (e.g., pronunciation). Lesson 2 covers phonological awareness (grades K-2), phonics, spelling, and vocabulary (grades 3-5). Lesson 3 focuses on reading comprehension skills using multiple genres of authentic Spanish texts, and Lesson 4 for grades 3-5 addresses writing skills. [Read more…]

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New Product Review: Universal Publishing Universal Handwriting

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

Benson Handwriting

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

InterEthnic Spelling

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: Savvas Words Their Way: Word Study In Action Developmental Model

Words Their Way

Savvas’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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