Pedagogy

Lifelong Literacy Begins with a Strong Foundation

Open Court Reading gives your students the tools they need to read and succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Strong foundational skills—combined with comprehension, writing, and inquiry—ensure that students are well prepared for a lifetime of literacy and learning.

Overview of Comprehensive Curriculum and Stand Alone Skills Kits​

Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Included in the Open Court Reading core curriculum, Foundational Skills Kits equip all students with a strong foundation for lifelong literacy. The kits are also available as stand-alone. If your current program doesn't meet your need to build foundational skills, use the stand-alone kits to get the same great content and resources found in the foundational skills strand of Open Court Reading:​

Foundational Skills Kits equip all students with a strong foundation for lifelong reading, helping students understand how individual sounds work together to create spoken language. These tools strengthen phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency skills—allowing learners to master more sophisticated skills.

Word Analysis Kits take students from foundational skills to the application of these skills as they encounter new vocabulary, more complex texts, and more sophisticated writing. When students encounter new words, they have the tools to break down them into smaller units and make meaning from them.

The English Language Development Kit helps English Learners acquire vital vocabulary and language skills. Students can participate meaningfully in the classroom and everyday life with differentiated instruction at four levels of proficiency: Beginning, Early Intermediate, Intermediate, and Early Advanced.

Overview Chart

If you are using a different core program, the Foundational Skills Kits and Word Analysis Kits are available standalone. The EL Development Kit also allows for more targeted instruction for newcomers.

"The program provides structure and opportunities for all students, ​even those with special needs."

TANDY TAYLOR, DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT, CYPSD​

A Comprehensive Curriculum​

Open Court Reading is a comprehensive K–5 curriculum with rich non-fiction and fiction selections representing diverse cultures and interests.​​

  • Explicit and Systematic Instruction: Direct and engaging, the instructional model aligns with what researchers know about how all students learn humankind’s most complex skill—reading!​
  • Research-Based and Validated: Based on 50 years of research and it continues to evolve through ongoing studies.​
  • Differentiation to Ensure Success for All: Resources and strategies ensure an equal level of rigor for all students, with built in time for differentiation that supports equity in instruction.

Systematic, Explicit Instruction

What is Systematic, Explicit Instruction?

Reading is one of the most complex skills that we learn, and can be a struggle for ALL students. To make the process easier, Open Court Reading uses systematic, explicit instruction with a carefully designed instructional sequence and built-in scaffolding. It is explicit in that explanations are direct and clearly modeled, and students know exactly what they are learning.

The program is systematic in that it builds on prior learning, builds from simple to complex, and covers five components of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This instructional strategy is recognized for helping students grow into confident, independent readers who are ready to tackle any new content.

Instructional Design​

Systematic, explicit instruction is clearly linked across five major areas of reading instruction―phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Open Court Reading begins with print and book awareness, along with the alphabetic principle and systematic introduction of sounds and letters. Once students can connect sounds to letters they can begin to learn decoding strategies, such as sound-by-sound blending, whole-word blending, multisyllable blending, and sentence blending. By practicing with the Pre-Decodable and Decodable Books, students increase their accuracy and rate and make the transition from decodable texts to authentic literature.​

Screenshot of instructional planner detailing instruction for the first two days of a unit Screenshot of instructional planner detailing instruction for the first two days of a unit Screenshot of instructional planner detailing instruction for the first two days of a unit Screenshot of instructional planner detailing instruction for the first two days of a unit

Instructional Emphasis​

Systematic, explicit instruction helps build students' abilities through a logical progression of skills. The instructional emphasis chart shows what we teach and when we teach it. Within and among grade levels, skills are taught and reinforced within a spiraling curriculum. The overlapping pattern of skill-building allows teachers the opportunity to introduce new skills while simultaneously reinforcing those previously learned.

The instructional emphasis chart shows the skills that are taught at each grade level. The instructional emphasis chart shows the skills that are taught at each grade level. The instructional emphasis chart shows the skills that are taught at each grade level. The instructional emphasis chart shows the skills that are taught at each grade level.

Sound/Spelling Cards

Open Court Reading pioneered the practice of explicit instruction in sound-spelling relationships and the development of unique Sound/Spelling Cards. Each card represents a common English sound and contains the most common spelling or spellings of that sound, as well as a picture that helps students recall the sound. The consonant cards have the target sound at the beginning of the card names. Target sound for short vowels are found in the medial position. Each sound and picture is linked through an alliterative story that accompanies each card.

Six examples of sound/spelling cards Six examples of sound/spelling cards Six examples of sound/spelling cards Six examples of sound/spelling cards

"The Sound/Spelling Cards take the guesswork out of decoding, out of spelling, out of writing."

DAWN PUCKETT, INSTRUCTIONAL COACH, BRADLEY COUNTY SCHOOLS​

Research-Based and Validated

The Research Behind the Reading

Open Court Reading is effective not only because it reinforces student learning through systematic, explicit instruction―but also because it’s backed by time-tested research. Our teacher-informed, research-based strategies translate into undeniable results for every learner.

Grounded in Learning Science​

Open Court Reading was built on research as to how students learn best. As part of the McGraw-Hill family of products, the science of learning continues to drive the evolution of Open Court to meet the needs of today’s students and teachers. This eBook has been developed to share some of the current research with you and demonstrate how the science of learning connects with learning to read with Open Court.

"Open Court Reading has made me love my job again because I can see the results.​"

LEANNE DOBSON, 1ST GRADE TEACHER. MARYSVILLE DISTRICT SCHOOLS​

How Research is Reflected in Open Court Reading​

See how research supports each component of Open Court Reading, including the following:​

  • Print and Book Awareness ​
  • Phonological and Phonemic Awareness ​
  • Phonics and Decoding ​
  • Word Analysis ​
  • Fluency ​
  • Vocabulary​
  • Comprehension​
  • Writing​
  • Inquiry​
  • Technology​
  • Assessment ​

Research about Building Foundational Skills

Read about best practices for teaching primary grade students the foundational skills needed for language and literacy development. Foundational literacy skills are defined and the implications for instructional practices on student performance are discussed. Phonological and phonemic awareness, decoding and phonics, word analysis, and fluency are all reviewed, with an emphasis on what research has revealed and the best practices for teaching these critical skills.


Resources to Support, Challenge, and Inspire

To achieve equity in the classroom, some learners need extra support to reach the same goal. In addition to the embedded strategies in the Teacher’s Editions, in both digital and print formats, Open Court Reading includes a variety of additional resources to give all students access to the same level of rigor and reading development as their peers, as well as challenge those who want to go further.

Embedded Strategies​​

Lessons are divided into Foundational Skills, Reading and Responding, and Language Arts. Each part is supported by differentiated strategies for students at all levels of ability, as well as English language learners. Strategies for Differentiated Instruction and English Learner Tips are provided at point of use in the Teacher Edition, both print and digital.​

Screenshot of a page in the Teacher’s Edition that shows strategies for differentiated instruction and English Learners. click to enlarge image Screenshot of a page in the Teacher’s Edition that shows strategies for differentiated instruction and English Learners. click to enlarge image Screenshot of a page in the Teacher’s Edition that shows strategies for differentiated instruction and English Learners. click to enlarge image Screenshot of a page in the Teacher’s Edition that shows strategies for differentiated instruction and English Learners. click to enlarge image

Workshop Time​

During whole-group instruction, all students have equal access to the same level of rigor. Workshop Time is when teachers can work with small groups of students to meet individual needs. During this time, they review or reteach concepts, or extend concepts for those who need the challenge. It can also be the perfect time to use resources from the English Language Development Kit to support your English learners.​

Screenshot of differentiated instruction tips during Workshop time click to enlarge image Screenshot of differentiated instruction tips during Workshop time click to enlarge image Screenshot of differentiated instruction tips during Workshop time click to enlarge image Screenshot of differentiated instruction tips during Workshop time click to enlarge image

Assessment and Progress Monitoring​

Provide ongoing assessments, both formal and informal, to identify any gaps in student learning. Any number of resources available within the program can bridge these gaps.​

Sample page of an assessment click to enlarge image Sample page of an assessment click to enlarge image Sample page of an assessment click to enlarge image Sample page of an assessment click to enlarge image

Intervention Teacher's Guide​

Provide extra support and practice in the skills and strategies students have learned during whole-group instruction. Teachers may use it for small-group or individual instruction during Workshop Time.​

Cover of the Intervention Teacher's Guide click to enlarge image Cover of the Intervention Teacher's Guide click to enlarge image Cover of the Intervention Teacher's Guide click to enlarge image Cover of the Intervention Teacher's Guide click to enlarge image

Supplemental Reading: Challenge Novels

Offer additional reading opportunities, with unique content designed around a central theme that relates to each of the six units in grade 2–5.​

Sample page from a Challenge Novel click to enlarge image Sample page from a Challenge Novel click to enlarge image Sample page from a Challenge Novel click to enlarge image Sample page from a Challenge Novel click to enlarge image

Contact Your Sales Rep

Want to start a one-on-one dialogue, get a personal demo, or begin a free trial of Open Court Reading? Contact your local sales rep today.