If you have spent time on Twitter in the past year, you will certainly have seen the bombardment of “reading wars” posts dominating your feed. EdReports’ recent review of Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study (2018) and Fountas & Pinnell Classroom (2020) and Emily Hanford’s new podcast “Sold A Story” have school systems rethinking their reading instruction and their K-3 reading curriculum.
Given that nearly 1 in 4 school systems uses one of these two curricula for grades K-5, there is the potential for a wave of new material adoptions over the next couple of years (Goldstein, 2022 & Schwartz, 2022). But understanding the shortcomings of your current materials covered by the media and having the knowledge to adopt a new curriculum that will truly teach students how to read is not the same.
We can’t say this loudly enough: to ensure an effective adoption process; districts should ‘phone a friend’ and find an expert partner to navigate this critical but multifaceted change. The Professional Learning Partner Guide (PLPG) features 16 vetted organizations that can provide a high-quality and unbiased selection process for school systems. Each organization featured in the PLPG has undergone a rigorous evaluation process to ensure that its professional learning services are high quality and will ultimately lead to the selection of a new curriculum with its clients.
But what does this level of support actually look like? Picture classroom walkthroughs with an instructional expert who can help education leaders see the specific gaps between literacy research and classroom practice—not just in phonics but also in other key areas. That same partner is also knowledgeable of high-quality curricula (see note below) and can advise which materials will best fit the school system’s objectives.
As former Chief Academic Officer Jared Myracle described, “I’d walk into a classroom and use the Instructional Practice Guide to compare the instruction I was seeing to the standards targeted by the teacher. In most classrooms, my heart would sink because the text being taught was grade levels below the students’. Or the instruction was geared to an earlier grade’s standard.” These collaborative walkthroughs helped Myracle’s team create a common vision for literacy instruction and led them to select high-quality materials paired with professional learning that swiftly improved reading outcomes.
Rivet Education is raising awareness of these services because we believe every school system deserves an external partner to ensure that education leaders effectively select the best curriculum for their teachers and students. We also recognize that the journey doesn’t stop once with the purchase of a curriculum; it has only just begun. Of the 16 providers approved for adoption services, 11 organizations have also been approved to provide launch professional learning services and ongoing support for teachers and leaders, offering a comprehensive set of services in multiple formats to meet your professional learning needs. If you are considering a new curriculum and don’t know where to begin searching for the right partner, please view our Steps to Selecting a Great Professional Learning Provider or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EdReports (2022). Retrieved from https://www.edreports.org/reports/overview/units-of-study-2018 and https://www.edreports.org/reports/overview/fountas-pinnell-classroom-2020.
Dana Goldstein (2022). In the Fight Over How to Teach Reading, This Guru Makes a Major Retreat. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/22/us/reading-teaching-curriculum-phonics.html.
Sarah Schwartz (2022). New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Popular Early Reading Programs. Education Week. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/new-curriculum-review-gives-failing-marks-to-popular-early-reading-programs/2021/11
Note: Rivet defines HQIM in ELA, Math, and science as those rated “Meets Expectations” on EdReports in all grade levels for their grade band. Rivet also defines HQIM in science as those that are rated “High Quality NGSS Design” or “High Quality NGSS Design if Improved” on the EQuIP rubric and have at least two units per grade band.
Written by Annie Morrison, Co-Founder, Rivet Education