Educators may feel an initial sense of panic when they read reviews (see review results from Louisiana here) rating their reading basal or anthology as unaligned. Many teachers don’t have a choice about what texts they use, or even if they do, they may be unsure about whether a lesson (and text) they’ve taught in past years will help their students meet the Common Core State Standards.
In order to address those concerns, the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) and Student Achievement Partners (SAP) devised The Read-Aloud Project (K-2), Basal Alignment Project (3-5), and Anthology Alignment Project (6-10). While these organizations had the idea for the project, hundreds of educators around the country are responsible for developing, editing, and reviewing the revised close reading lessons. These teachers, curriculum coaches, and administrators volunteered their time in a commitment to ensuring that the materials for their students, and students around the country, were carefully aligned to the Common Core.
Prior to designing these lessons, educators attended a two-day training sponsored by CGCS and SAP, during which they learned about the essential elements of a close reading lesson and put their learning into practice by creating or adapting a lesson of their own. Through their work they addressed a number of key issues, ensuring that all lessons included:
- Text-dependent questions that lead to a central understanding of the text
- Text-based writing assignments
- Attention to tier two vocabulary and difficult syntax
- Fluency practice
- An appropriate amount of instructional time based on the complexity of the text
- A list of Common Core State Standards addressed by the lesson
Teachers worked in small groups to create their lesson. After this, the lesson went through a rigorous review process, where the team was partnered with a CCSS-expert to provide feedback and reflections geared toward making the lesson stronger. Once lessons went through the review process, they were added to a free collection of lessons on Edmodo.com. To access these collections:
- Go to edmodo.com and create a free teacher account.
- Click “Join a Group” on the left-hand side of the homepage.
- Enter the code for the group.
- Read-Aloud Project (K-2) – pkx52i
- Basal Alignment Project (3-5) – f4q6nm
- Anthology Alignment Project (6-10) – pkx4sp
Working together, educators have produced nearly 800 lessons. The popularity of the materials has grown and there are now nearly 40,000 members of the Basal Alignment Project, more than 9,000 members of the Anthology Alignment Project, and more than 4,000 members of the Read-Aloud Project.