Glorious News for Texas: School Children Will Be Taught Phonics

Jan 16, 2019 by

[NOTE FROM EDVIEWS.ORG WEBMASTER:  Because of software problems, I unfortunately have not been able to post the six attachments that go along with the following article.  These attachments verify and document Educational Research Analysts’ intense scrutiny of Texas’ new Grade 1 English Reading instructional materials.  To get this full, fast, and free documentation e-mailed to you by ERA, please contact them at:  info@textbookreviews.org; call 903/753-5993; or write to P. O. Box 7518, Longview, TX 75607-7518.]

“Glorious News for Texas: School Children Will Be Taught Phonics”

By Donna Garner

1.15.19

I could write an epic drama on the many difficulties undergone to reach this day, but Texas’ happy moment has finally come.  If informed parents and teachers act decisively now, all Texas local school district/charter school 1st Graders will receive strong and systematic phonics instruction starting this fall.

In April 2017, the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new English Language Arts and Reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (“ELAR/TEKS”) curriculum standards.  Please find them at: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter110/index.html

In the fall of 2019 the new K-8 ELAR/TEKS go into effect in all Texas classrooms, followed by the new 9-12 ELAR/TEKS in the fall of 2020.

Grade 1 English Reading programs are ABSOLUTELY the single most foundational element in all students’ academic lives.  First Graders taught to sound out phonemes to the level of automaticity — to map the sounds to letters (“cracking the code”) — are on their way to lifetime success as good readers, spellers, and writers. These skills will open the doors of opportunity in all other subjects in school and in life.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and his Texas Education Agency (TEA) team have worked hard to make sure Grade 1 English Reading teachers get programs with sound subject-matter content to teach systematic phonics.

Now comes one of the most critical stages in this process – local schools’ selection of the actual textbooks/IM’s (instructional materials).

This month publishers start marketing their new Grade 1 English Reading programs throughout Texas.  These programs are now in schools statewide for teachers’ and public inspection.   On phonics, some better align with the new ELAR/TEKS than others do.

Schools are beginning to decide which new Grade 1 English Reading program to buy.  All Texas classrooms will have to live with that choice for the next 8-10 years.  Knowledgeable citizens and activist parents can have a huge impact here, but how will they know which Grade 1 English Reading program to endorse?  

Here is truly good news:

The 36-year experienced staff of Educational Research Analysts (ERA) of Longview, Texas, has spent 500 high-quality hours scrutinizing the three major publishers’ new Grade 1 English Reading submissions.  ERA is the most-trusted and longest-serving reviewer of K-12 Texas textbooks in the entire U.S.  Texas is blessed to have them.  Publishers have been very familiar with ERA and have respected them for decades.

Unlike sales reps, ERA has no monetary interest in what schools buy.  ERA is not funded by any publisher nor has it any financial stake in any textbook company.  It is funded solely by individuals and small foundations, none of whom have any ties to any publisher as far as ERA knows.   ERA is well-known and highly-regarded by phonics experts, including those at the Texas Education Agency.

ERA has prepared a one-page, user-friendly, well-organized rating chart that ranks major publishers’ Grade 1 English Reading programs based on the quality of their 1st Grade phonics instruction. This rating is rigorously consistent with the Grade 1 English Reading TEKS.  It ranks them on their comparative decodability, comprehensiveness, intensiveness, oral vocabulary alignment, and other strengths or weaknesses of their reading selections.

As listed on the attached ERA Reading Programs Grade 1 rating chart: 

#1 — TEXAS WONDERS — McGraw-Hill (2020)

#2 – INTO READING TEXAS – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2020)

#3 – MY VIEW LITERACY – Pearson (Texas Edition, 2020)

HUGE AND IMPORTANT ACTION STEP:

Now is the time for all stake-holding Texas parents and citizens to contact their local school district/charter school and strongly urge it to adopt the Texas Wonders (Mc-Graw Hill, 2020) Grade 1 English Reading program.

ERA’s 2019 Texas Grade 1 English Reading Programs Summary Chart is attached, indicating that the Texas Wonders (Mc-Graw Hill, 2020) is the best Grade 1 English Reading program.

For full, fast, FREE documentation e-mailed from ERA, please send your request to info@textbookreviews.org; call 903/753-5993; or write to P. O. Box 7518, Longview, TX 75607-7518.

The Texas Commissioner of Education and the TEA have done their parts.  Texas’ SBOE has done its part.  Now is the time for parents and concerned citizens to do their part. Please assertively share ERA’s incredible, detail-fanatic, perfectionist work with your local teachers, school administrators, and trustees. When they digest this irrefutable information, they should want to adopt McGraw’s very best Grade 1 Reading program for their district. 

NOTE TO FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF TEXAS:  Textbook digitization has not changed publishers’ cost structure.  Claims that digitization dilutes Texas’ national influence on other states’ course content, making it financially feasible for publishers to bypass Texas and tailor curricula instead to other states’ inferior standards, are false.  Confidential discussions with publisher sales reps confirm: The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Those in other states should (1) urge their school to adopt the Texas Wonders (McGraw-Hill, 2020) Grade 1 English Reading program; or (2) confirm that a McGraw-Hill Grade 1 English Reading program, submitted there under another title, is the 2020 Texas Wonders version re-badged for their state.  No other Grade 1 English Reading program elsewhere has undergone — or will undergo — such deep critical analysis as these three in Texas.  

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1 Comment

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    Donna…..thank you so much for the work you have done for not only the children of Texas but for children all over the country. I only hope other states follow the lead that Texas has taken. We all know the foundation for learning is reading. When a child cannot read or comprehend what they read learning will be a struggle for the rest of their lives.

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