Durham, NC — April 18, 2017 — EdReports.org, a nonprofit that provides free online reviews of instructional materials, announced the results of its first round of English Language Arts (ELA) reviews for grades K-2. Their findings revealed that two of the six instructional materials series reviewed fully met alignment criteria for all grades reviewed.

“These new reports will meet the demand from the field for information about which materials set a strong foundation for students’ literacy skills,” said EdReports.org’s Executive Director Eric Hirsch.

Content Review Teams, comprised of expert educators from across the country, analyzed programs to see how well they incorporate foundational literacy skills and are aligned to College and Career Ready standards. Over the course of several months, teams spent hundreds of hours identifying evidence and scores for characteristics such as text quality and complexity and building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks. Materials that met criteria for alignment were then further evaluated on usability criteria which include supports for educators, multiple strategies for meeting the needs of a range of learners, strong student assessment practices and effective use of technology.

Across six grades K-2 series, review teams found that: 

  • All grades for Core Knowledge Language Arts (Amplify) and ReadyGen (Pearson) met criteria for alignment and usability.
  • All grades for Bookworms (Comprehensive Reading Solutions) and Reading Wonders (McGraw-Hill) partially met criteria for alignment. Both series met the criteria for text quality and complexity and alignment to standards with tasks and questions grounded in evidence. They partially met criteria for building knowledge with texts, vocabulary, and tasks.
  • All grades for Reading Street (Pearson) and Journeys 2017 (HMH) did not meet the criteria for alignment.

Literacy expert David Liben celebrated the release. “These new reports empower educators across the country to make great decisions about the materials that they will use with students in the earliest grades,” Liben said.  “Strong instruction in foundational literacy skills in students’ early years is indispensable to their future growth as readers. Materials must build these skills intentionally and strategically, based on valid research. High-quality materials, including rich, engaging texts that support the building of knowledge and vocabulary acquisition, are essential to building literacy and a love of reading and writing in our youngest learners. EdReports.org’s reviews show which materials meet this mark and which do not.”

Hirsch adds, “We’ve heard from states, districts, and schools how much our reviews help them reflect on the materials they are currently using and may consider in the future. We expect the extensive evidence documented will help educators ensure that students get a strong start toward college and career readiness.”

EdReports.org will continue to review additional K-12 print and digital instructional materials in ELA and math and will release the results on a rolling basis.