Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reading Workshop vs. Anthology Textbook

As winter break comes to an end (boo), I am letting my brain slowly start thinking about school related things again. I began thinking about my upcoming meeting about a reading textbook adoption. Which brings some worry and concern. I have been doing Reading Workshop with a mix of Guided Reading for about three or four years now. I LOVE how I teach reading, using small groups, LOTS of picture books, reading centers (using pieces of Daily Five). I can use different texts and really dig into nonfiction. It does tend to be a little more work.

When I  was asked to be in the reading textbook adoption committee I had mixed emotions. I know that because of Common Core the district is wanting to find a reading "program" to replace the old textbook, and they are pretty firm about having a textbook. I figure it's better to be on the committee and be able to voice my opinion then just be handed a textbook, but I'm also not willing to give up my Reading Workshop.

So here are the textbooks that my district is looking into adopting. Have you heard of or used any of them?? I would love to get some thoughts and opinions!

Reach For Reading
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys

Benchmark Education Company Whole and Small Group 


McGraw Hill Reading Wonders


Scott Foresman Reading Street


12 comments:

Mrs. Anderson said...

It's a good idea to be on the committee when adopting a new textbook series. The series is only a guide, not the teacher. You know your kids better than anyone else, so continue to do what is best for your kids.
Connie Anderson:)
Welcome To First Grade Room 5

Mixmaster Mulch said...

Do you know for a fact that your district will require you to use it all year? Maybe your perspective is one way your opinion will be different, and you'd want to choose a textbook that most easily allows flexibility. I teach 4th, and I'd be wondering about how grammar, spelling lists, and writing would be required to tie into the text, as well as the quality of the text-dependent questions that will be in your TE for you to ask students. You don't want a series too complicated to use/understand, especially in the first year. We have had no new adoptions, so I am not familiar with any of those programs.

Jen said...

We are in our 2nd year with the Benchmark Education Company program. As a whole, our district (using K-5) loves it! We also use the phonics/word study program as well as our spelling program. It is fantastic! The whole group reading component and small group reading programs are great. The program focuses on 10 comprehension strategies through the year in whole group lessons that then carry over to the small group lessons. The Reader's Theater presentations are great and the students absolutely love performing them.

Dandelions and Dragonflies said...

I get that as a teacher we are the ones who control the classroom, but I am a little worried because the word "fidelity" is constantly used when referring to the previous anthology...they were TOLD they had to use it and follow it EXACTLY. I'm hoping with Common Core they are a little more open to other ways of doing things. I've used Scott Foresman before, just not that particular series. THANK you all for the great feedback!!!

kdrex said...

About three years ago, our committee chose Journeys. We had also reviewed Scott Foresman and McGraw Hill. I wish we had looked at the Benchmark Education Company because it looks interesting. My district actually encourages teachers to use the series as a "resource" for a reader's workshop model. I like Journeys for third grade. The literature is good and I supplement with other picture books for whole group lessons. I don't use the Day by Day plans but do refer to the Comprehensive Literacy and Language Guide written by Fountas and Pinnell for more of a Readers' Workshop approach. They also wrote the leveled texts and they are very good. I like the way they tie into the main selection. I know the fifth grade teachers struggle using it because the selections are too long for short mini lessons. I follow the strategies and skills that go along with each selection but I rarely use the suggested activities. The edition of Journeys that we have seems to have been pieced together last minute for Common Core. Finding everything you need requires going on a bit of scavenger hunt through all the ancillary materials as well as the Teacher's Manual. There are TONS of ancillary materials, including the resources on ThinkCentral-their website. It's good you are on the committee. It can seem overwhelming to get to know all the choices but take the time to compare and ask a lot of questions of the representatives. You might want to get clear direction as to your district's vision for teaching reading before you start the process.

Wade Holmes said...

Journey's lays out a format for teaching comprehension skills quite well, but the stories in the anthology itself are not very complex. We refer to the skills of Journey's as our road map and use lots of trade books, lit. circles, etc. to enhance text complexity and relevance. Good luck with the adoption process!

Erika said...

We've used Reading Street for a number of years (so it's an older version). It's not great in my opinion which makes me glad we are looking at a new series next year. I can't wait to see what your school chooses and what you think before we begin evaluating.

Jenny Howe said...

My district adopted National Geographic Reach for Reading. The stories and leveled readers that come with the series are fenomenal, naturally- after all it's National Geographic. What I don't like about it so much is that common core is supposed to go deeper into concepts and I feel this series skims a lot. The activities given don't provide a lot of practice or examples for that matter. My district also told us we were to teach the series with fidelity since this is our first year jumping into common core in all subject areas. As with any new series it takes a lot of adjustment. It does need quite a bit of supplemental material but I feel like the interesting stories more than make up for that. The kids really love them so far. I am a fourth grade teacher btw.

William Cooney said...

Learning is essential for every human being on earth. I am volunteering my services at a school which is running for poor kids. i feel so satisfied teaching and helping kids read and write.HOP is the best problem which Help kids read and nourish their reading skills.

Jennifer said...

I would be grateful for any materials! We are expected to teach the Common Core standards w/o any new materials. My team has been able to find a lot of material for mini-lessons but very little our children can read independently. We are teaching Math in Focus fidelity. I think that my be the most overused word for 2014. ;)

Dana Hall Krause said...

For anyone who may be interested, I have put together a Pinterest board dedicated exclusively to McGraw Hill Reading Wonders resources. Perhaps reviewing some of the materials there will help your committee make a decision? Also, for anyone already using Reading Wonders, please follow and you will be invited to pin your own resources! http://www.pinterest.com/danahkrause/reading-wonders-resources/

Anonymous said...

Highly recommend looking into Core Knowledge. From working at a school who began using the series as far back as Pre-K/K, it's amazing the content and skills the kids come away with by middle school. Our school combined literacy with history and it was robust. The key problem with anthologies is they are sporadic knowledge that do not build from year to year... thought I'd put forth my two cents.