Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Calling All Scott Foreman Reading Street Experts!

I have a job interview tomorrow (vying for a spot in a K, 1st, or 3rd grade classroom in a new district), and I'm trying to be as informed as I can be going into it.  I've done a little research, and I know that they use Reading Street for their core program in Language Arts.  I'd love to hear your thoughts if you use it in your classroom. I have been teaching without a core program for five years, and aside from field work in college, I've never used a basal, except to give my students access to the same book whenever I want them to read something like Owl Moon.  I've always done a Reader's Workshop format, and I've always created book bundles myself to teach skills/strategies.  This has been extremely time-consuming since I always create units from scratch, and it can be difficult to ensure that I'm always hitting vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, fluency, etc.  I love the idea of having a core curriculum to guide my planning and assessing, but I've never really had that!   So...I'm interested in hearing how you have blended Reader's Workshop and basals in your classroom.  Have you used the Daily 5 with basals with success?  Any tips? Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)


  1. Hi,

    I am a Kindergarten teacher and we are going on our third year of using Reading Street in our district. Prior to Reading Street we had a very disjointed reading block and the students were not guaranteed a high-quality curriculum. We have found that for our team (K-1), Reading Street delivers what we were looking for. That being said, as we get more comfortable with the program, we are also more comfortable tweaking it to make it a more of a balanced literacy approach.
    Here's what I like...
    1. Leveled readers for small reading group instruction allow me to differentiate and have enough materials for all of my students.
    2. High-interest themes that have a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction.
    3. Amazing words introduce high-level vocabulary.
    4. The data we get from running records has 100% of kinders at our school reading at a Fountas & Pinnell Level B exiting Kindergarten. (This is our district benchmark that will change to a Level C next year. If we use a Level C, then we had 95% of the students read at that level.)
    There is a lot of grade specific information that you may find helpful here http://www.mypearsontraining.com/products/readingstreet/2011/tutorials.asp
    Good luck!

  2. I have a used a basal but not Scott Foreman (Houghton Mifflin). In my opinion, they all work the same though. You are right it is a good core that guides your direction and planning. It should not be everything though. You will want to assess your children's needs and plan according to that. The basal can really help you with stay on track with planning for the year though and help you build your mini-lessons. I have used both literacy centers/guided reading and Daily 5 while using a basal. You can definitely make it work. I'm not sure how your county works but in my county you don't have to follow the basal exactly. You can pick and choose what you like/what your children need and teach that. I usually do 15 minutes of whole group instruction and then a hour of literacy centers/Daily 5. Centers is where you are going to be able to be more creative and tailor your instructions to your students needs. Also basal have a lot of resources that come with them that can be really helpful if you take the time to look into them. I hope this is helpful! If you have any additional questions just e-mail me! Good luck on your interview!

  3. Amanda,
    In our district we use Trophies as our core reading program from grades 1-5. I am a big fan of the keys to comprehension reading strategies so I try to mesh the two. Many basal programs have sort of "ripped off" the 7 keys to comprehension research by just changing the names of the strategies. Reading Street has probably done that, check to see if it has a strategy or skill of the week. I believe you need many tools in your toolbox to teach reading comprehension: a basal, picture books, class sets of paperbacks and so on. Basals are very necessary for new teachers without resources. It takes years and lots of research to develop materials and gather books.You have already done much of this. I think you are a gem that any district would be lucky to hire! Christine

  4. I will definitely be following this post. I am also switching schools and moving from a reading workshop model to using Reading Street. I've been reading about D5 and CAFE and wanting to incorporate it into my class next year. But how? There are lots of posts online but the best source of ideas I've found so far is... http://www.ecboe.org/2120206515401937/blank/browse.asp?a=383&BMDRN=2000&BCOB=0&c=60799

    I can't wait to hear others' ideas!

  5. Hi Amanda,
    I use Rigby as my basal and I have been able to blend it with my Daily 5 and my reader's workshop. I loved the vocabulary and scope and sequence as well as the word work that Rigby offered me but I didn't love the stories all the time. I used my own read alouds as the basis for my reading workshop and then ended up picking and choosing which stories to use for shared reading with my students for practice. My reading groups were separate from the program as well as my spelling program (Excel is the spelling program used in my district). Rigby offered some great word work activities that I include as a must do prior to starting Daily 5. The program offered so many printables, etc. that I find unnecessary. With a program (unless it is standards based) typically you use it as a supplement to what you normally do. In my district, most grade levels do just that. We have found that the Rigby program is much stronger in third grade than in other grades. I'm sure your new grade level/team will be able to offer you tons of support as well. Good luck!

    Mrs. Randall’s Learning Library

  6. We use Reading Street in our school, and at least at the second grade level we aren't very happy with it. The spelling lists don't actually teach the kids how to spell or go through a proper development phonetically. The spiral part of the curriculum is nice, but the stories don't necessary pull out the skills that the basal wants you to teach. The grammar skills, again at least in 2nd grade, don't go in a very good order.
    I would ask, if it comes up, if they follow the basal straight to the point (it is split up into 5 days for each story, but there is too much in each day to actually get through) or if you're able to pick and choose or perhaps do stories out of order.
    Our school district finally agreed that it may not be the strongest curriculum and that we can adjust as necessary as long as the skills are taught and the stories are used. It is no longer considered our curriculum, but instead a resource.
    Good luck! I'm sure you'll be able to add a lot to the Reading Street curriculum to make it so effective for your students!

  7. Hi Amanda! What grade are you interviewing for? I teach Kindergarten and we have used Reading Street for 4 years now. I think the first post was right on! The questions that you asked would be great to ask in the interview!! Instead of typing a page long comment, you can email me if you would like and I can give you program specifics! My email is livelovelaughkindergarten@gmail.com
    Live Love Laugh Everyday In Kindergarten

  8. I have used Reading Street in 4th grade for 4 years and 1 year in 2nd. Personally, when we were given the option, it's the one I chose to adopt.
    Things you gotta check out: Freida Lewis' website for Reading St.
    I agree there are way too many components in the lower grades, but the 3rd grade won't be the same. With any program, you have to adapt to your teaching style. Some will go by the book, do all that's included, etc.
    I have found it to be great for practicing strategies AND skills. The literature is great and everything is online.

  9. I teach first grade and have used Scott Foresman Reading Street for three years now. They give you SO MUCH material. It is IMPOSSIBLE to follow their lessons exactly. There just isn't enough time in the day. I recently wrote a blog post about how I use Scott Foresman: http://www.firstgradebrain.com/2011/06/how-i-use-scott-foresman-reading-street.html It's a pretty brief example so if you had any questions I'd be happy to answer. Basically, I'm doing Daily 5 next year and only using my reading textbook one on one with students. I am NOT making the whole class read the same story all week long. B-O-R-I-N-G! I started teaching this way this past school year and loved it! Doing one-on-one conferences and having the students progress through the reading stories at their own pace allowed me to pull in wonderful books and activities that otherwise I would not have been able to do. I do follow SF's spelling/phonics sequence but I make many of my own activities to go with the skills. Also, there are SO MANY wonderful SF websites out there with teacher created materials. SF gives you worksheets out the wazoo! Hope I'm making sense! I feel like I am rambling!

    Good luck with your interview! I"m sure you'll be amazing! :)


  10. I have taught Reading Street for the past three years. For a basal, it uses some good stories and I do like that the skills spiral. It is easy to follow once you get the hang of it. I think it will be easy to blend in the readers' workhshop format with this series and use some of the daily 5 centers. I use a lot of trade books with these series to build background and practice skills so you can still use some of your lit bundles. Good luck with your interview.

  11. good luck amanda with your interview!

  12. I have taught Reading Street the past few years and I blend it into Guided Reading and Literacy Stations. We do a "story of the week" from the basal. This gives me the comprehension skill and strategy for the week and then I use literacy station ideas from the basal plus the ones I find on blogs, other sites, and create.
    Here is a website with tons of resources correlated with Reading Street:
    Someone mentioned the Frieda Lewis site above. Google it because both would give you a good idea of the program.

  13. My district uses Reading Street and I love it! I received my Master's in Reading and Literacy and based on RTI and tiered learning models, this is the best curriculum that I researched. Yes, there is more information than you could ever use; however, Reading Street has "target skills" - so noted with a bulls eye- that helps to guide your planning. Everything from planning to assessment is there for you and you do not have to "reinvent the wheel"!!
    Also, here are some sites that may help. A reading specialist has made the instruction easier with her site: http://classroom.jc-schools.net/waltkek/ and the Carl's Corner/ Scott Foresman site: http://www.littlebooklane.com/SF1.htm
    Good Luck!!

  14. I teach second grade and we use Reading Street. Smart Exchange has many SMART board lessons if you would like to see how it works. It is under K. Kirby I believe. The adoption comes with vocabulary cards, leveled readers, poetry posters, song posters and so much more. I like Reading Street better than some of the other adoptions we have had. Here is a good website http://www.scottsboro.org/~flewis/SF%20Reading%20Street/Reading%20Street%20Teacher%20Resources.htm . Lots of teachers leave resources here that they have already made. I hope evrything goes good! I was in your place last year.