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Kaylie Williams

EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

Curriculum Review: Journeys Curriculum Grade 1


Assignment Description: The questions below ask you to carefully
analyze a set of reading instructional materials intended for first
graders. Your task is to identify the explicit or implicit models of
reading that are operating, and the connections to Common Core State
Standards in the area of text complexity and close reading. Please
focus on the following theorists and their seminal theories:
Louise Rosenblatts transactional model of reading (focusing
primarily on comprehension and interpretation)
Allan Luke and Peter Freebodys Four Resource Model of
Reading & Lewison, Leland, & Harstes discussion of the
dimensions of Critical Literacy
Ken Goodmans transactional sociopsycholinguistic model of
reading
Marilyn Adams model of reading
David Rumelharts interactive model of reading
Jim Gees sociocultural model of literacy development
1) Overarching Question: What model of reading seems to
guide the design of this reading instructional program?
a) Looking at the Unit Overview and Day 1 lesson plans, which of
the models (Adams, Goodman, Rumelhart. Rosenblatt) is the
basis for this instructional plan? Name the model.
Though I can see all theorists literacy models throughout the
Journeys curriculum, Adamss model seems to guide the
instructional plan the most.
2) Reading Cue Systems and Reading Processes
The Adams, Goodman, and Rumelhart models identify several different
cue systems/knowledge sources used during reading. These cue
systems are identified somewhat differently in each model, but
generally deal with graphophonics, semantics, syntax etc. Using the
terminology appropriate to the reading model you selected in your
answer to #1 above, in this question I ask you to analyze how the
Journeys instruction puts into to practice the key tenets of the reading
model you identified in #1 above.
a) What cue systems/knowledge sources are targeted for explicit
instruction or teacher demonstration in the Journeys program?
Cite examples from the Journeys materials to support your

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys
points.
(See next page)

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys
Cue Systems/
Processors
Meaning

Description

Journeys Example

Contains units of
meaning
represented by
morpheme units
Not whole words
Allows us to process
new words from
context

Selectively
emphasize aspects
of a words meaning
relevant to
interpretation of the
passage as a whole
Constructs a
coherent, ongoing
interpretation of the
text

Receives
information from
print on page
Letters/words
Left right
directionality, lineby-line, word-byword
Auditory form of
words, syllables or
phonemes
Backup for
orthographic
processor when
unfamiliar words are
encountered
Increases
comprehension by
providing running
memory for text

Context

Orthographic

Phonological

Oral vocabulary
instruction on new
vocabulary words in The
Lion and the Mouse and
What is a Pal? texts.
(Unit 1 Overview pg. T14
& T22)
T20 Explain and discuss
vocabulary in student
reading materials
Context vocabulary cards
(throughout Unit 1, pg.
T7)
Re-reading of Mis
Colores and discussing
meaning of words in
context (Unit 1 Overview
pg. xxiv)
Teaching context clues to
determine word
meanings (Unit 1
Overview T13)
Sound by sound blending
activity (Overview pg.
T17-T18)
Decodable readers
(Overview pg. T19)

Identifying beginning
sounds game (Overview
pg. T13)
Identifying beginning,
middle, end sounds in
CVC words (Overview pg.
T16)
Chucks Truck rhyme find
(pg. T13)

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

b) What cue systems/knowledge sources get the most instructional


emphasis when you look at the Journeys Day 1 lesson as a
whole? How does this instructional emphasis reflect the identified
model of reading?
The orthographic and phonological cueing systems get the most
attention in this curriculum. This is evidenced in the amount of
attention given to foundational skills such as rhyming, identifying
beginning/middle/ending sounds, blending sounds to make words,
and having students practice reading with decodable readers.
This emphasis is highly characteristic of Adamss model of reading.
In her article Modeling the Connection Between Word Recognition
and Reading, she states skillful readers visually process virtually
every letter of every word as they read; this is true whether they
are reading isolated words or meaningful, connected text (Adams
2004). As this quotation demonstrates, Adams places a lot of value
on word recognition at the sound, morpheme, phoneme, and word
level, which also parallels the materials from Journeys.
3) Analyze texts from a models perspective:
In the Journeys excerpts I have provided (Day 1 lesson and
Overview), students encounter 4 texts:
1. Big Book (teacher read aloud): Note: We did not have a copy of
Chucks Truck in our curriculum lab, so Ive included the other big
book mentioned in the overview, My Colors, My World.
(Teachers Manual, xxiv)
2. Teacher Read Aloud: The Lion and the Mouse (Teachers Manual,
start page T14)
3. Decodable Reader (student text): Dan and Nan (Teachers
Manual, start page T19)
4. Anchor Text: What is a pal? (Student text) (Teachers Manual start
page, T20.)
a) Analyze the characteristics of the two texts read aloud by
teachers.
My Colors My World: This is a beautiful picture book with vivid
illustrations that somewhat support the text. It features highly
figurative language with personification and imagery. In regards
to Adams model of reading, there are not a large number of
decodable words in this text, however this should not really
matter because it is a text being read aloud, rather than a text

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

students are being asked to read independently. Many words are


multi-syllabic words that do not occur often in everyday
language. The context processors are represented when the
teacher re-reads the text and draws students attention to
vocabulary words, and discussing the meaning of the words in
context.
Adams places great value on word recognition, however she does
this within the context of meaning and comprehension. She says,
word recognition is only valuable and, in a strong sense, only
possible as it is received and guided by the larger activities of
language comprehension and thought (Adams 2004). With this
in mind, the read alouds presented in Journeys, with their focus
on language comprehension, fit nicely within Adams model of
reading.
The Lion and the Mouse: This is a classic fable that contains
storybook language. It contains great tier 2 vocabulary such as
suddenly, begged, excellent, and ruin. This text is a
longer text and does not contain picture support. Again, this is
another text that does not contain typical, phonetically spelled
and decodable words. Again, though, this is another text that will
be read aloud to students, and students will not be asked to read
it independently. The task associated with this text involves a
teacher-modeled fluency passage with vocabulary instruction
and comprehension questions.
These read aloud activities are helping to [guide] the larger
activities of language comprehension and thought discussed by
Adams (Adams 2004). Though the text is too difficult for students
to read independently, students are developing their language
comprehension by hearing this text read aloud, and stretching
their thinking by responding to comprehension questions
presented by the teacher.
b) What parts of the reading process are developed through
teacher read alouds.
Some parts of the reading process developed through teacher
read alouds include fluency, vocabulary, comprehension
(prediction, main idea, factual questions, retell, etc.), modeling
reading foundational skills such as print concepts (spacing, words
vs. letters, title, cover page, directionality, capitalization, etc.).
c) Describe the characteristics of materials to be read by students.

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

Materials being read by students are highly phonetic, follow


simple phonics patterns that have been taught, contain only
simple CVC words and low level sight words. This text allows
students to practice the skill of rapid, effortless, and
automatic reading of print (Adams 2004). Students are also
practicing left-to-right, line-by-line, word-by-word reading,
and visually process[ing] virtually every letter of every word
they read, translating print to speech as they go (Adams 2004).
All of what is being read corresponds directly to phonics patterns
being taught and vocabulary/sight words students are learning.
Pictures are somewhat supportive, however most words
necessitate blending and using phonetic knowledge from the
orthographic and phonological processers, rather than getting
support from pictures.
d) How does the design of these student texts reflect the underlying
model of reading?
Again, student texts support Adamss model of word recognition
reading. Both student texts include simple sentence structures
with simple phonetic patterns and words that are being explicitly
taught to students. Also, nearly all vowels seen in these texts
correlate to the explicitly taught short a sound. Nearly no long
vowels exist in either of these texts, because students have not
yet been introduced to this phonics pattern. Student texts do not
carry a lot of meaning, but are more supportive of developing a
students word recognition skills.
4) The Journeys Overview discusses how these materials were
designed to help students meet CCSS related to text
complexity and close reading.
a) In what way(s) is text complexity incorporated in the Day 1
lesson we are analyzing? What is your evaluation of text
complexity in these lessons?
Text complexity is highly evident in the texts being read aloud to
students. Both texts contain more advanced text structures and
take on a very individualistic style that utilizes figurative
language, personification, unique perspectives and points of
view, and varied sentence structures. Also, it is clear that more
challenging academic vocabulary has been incorporated to these
two read aloud texts that make both of these texts more
rigorous. All of these factors, according to Fisher and Frey,

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

increase the complexity of a text for students based on


quantitative and qualitative measures of text complexity (Fisher
and Frey 2014).
As for the task readers are being asked to complete, there are
some more advanced text-based comprehension questions
where students must prove answers with evidence from the text
in order to answer properly. According to Wixon and Valencia, the
reader and task factors are highly important in determining a
texts complexity. They suggest, that reader and task factors
be among the first considerations in measuring text complexity
because they are likely to be the most important factors in
determining the comprehension of complex text in a specific
instructional context. Because students are being asked high
quality, critical thinking questions, the complexity of the two read
aloud texts are increased.
In the My Colors My World text, another layer of complexity
includes the Spanish translations that correlate to the English
text. For the text The Lion and the Mouse, many students may
find the storybook language an added challenge. The fact that
there is no picture support furthers the complexity of this
passage as well.
b) In what way(s) is close reading incorporated into the lesson plans
for Day 1? What is your evaluation of close reading activities in
these lessons?
Close reading is incorporated into the lesson plans for Day 1
through multiple readings and text-dependent questions of
complex texts. A few other close reading type activities
incorporated in the Day 1 lesson include multiple paired texts
that focus on the same topic and include similar vocabulary and
student readers that also center on similar topics and include this
same vocabulary. In Day 1, we see teachers allowing students to
first listen to stories read aloud in order to enjoy them, then
attacking the same text with a specific purpose (to answer
questions, to analyze text features, etc.).
I believe at the 1st grade level, this curriculum does a wonderful
job of introducing students to these close reading activities.
These activities are being introduced on the first day, and are
highly scaffolded across lessons (as evidenced by the weekly unit
plan). I see rigorous, but highly achievable expectations of
students in comprehension questions, vocabulary and text types.
Students are being asked to cite evidence in their answers to

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

text-dependent questions. Fisher and Frey, in the article Whats


the Secret to Successful Close Reading describe these textdependent questions as imperative to an effective close reading.
They say, text dependent questions should invite students
back into the text as they look for evidence or consider
something new (Fisher and Frey 2013).
These activities will set students up for success as they journey
on into close reading at higher grades, and teachers
expectations for student responses and observations increase.
5) Analyze the Journeys lessons from a sociocultural
perspective (Gee):
Gee argues that as children engage in the Discourse of reading
instruction in school they acquire social practices that involve
specific ways with printed words. Children co-construct an
identity as a particular type of reader and acquire cultural models
about what reading is (for children of their age and experience
level).
a) If students participated in these Journeys lessons (as written in
the teachers guide) what cultural model of reading would they
form?
Students would form a cultural model of reading wherein text is a
certain type of code, and it is a childs job to unlock it by reading
accurately (blending, decoding, word calling, etc.) and answering
questions based on what they have read.
We can see examples of this in the guided practice sound-bysound blending routines on day 1 as well as the decoding CVC
words activity (Unit 1 pg. T17). This is also evident in the
decodable readers on pg. T19. In these readers, not much
attention is given to the meaning students may be coconstructing with this text based on previous experience or social
languages children may already possess, but more attention is
being paid to accurate word reading of printed text.
What would they think reading was like?
According to Gee, Language in use always comes, not in some
generic English but in some specific variety of English
customized to and for the specific context in which it is being
used (Gee 2003). Based on these lessons and the context in

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

which students are applying language, students would likely


believe reading is accurate word calling based on sound-spelling
correspondences. Again, we see this in the blending activities
and decodable readers (pg. T17 and T19).
What purposes, values, attitudes about reading are a part of this
cultural model?
Gee says, the child is always acquiring much more than the
skills or phonics, namely, specific socially situated identities,
values, attitudes, norms, ways with words, deeds, and roles
(Gee 2003). One attitude towards reading students may be
acquiring through these Journeys lessons is that reading is about
accuracy and comprehension. Value is placed on correct word
reading related to typical sound spelling correspondences.
In text being read aloud, students of a different culture (Hispanic)
may find their own culture being somewhat valued because the
main character is of Hispanic heritage, and is inviting us into her
cultural world.
What reading roles are first grade students expected to take?
Students would construct a hierarchy wherein teachers are
knowledge possessors, and students are attempting to gain the
knowledge teachers possess through instruction. This sets
students up into a subordinate role to teachers in regards to
knowledge, and somewhat demeans the sociocultural knowledge
students innately possess.
In read aloud texts, students take a less active role where they
are listeners. Proper accurate reading is being modeled, and
students are being asked to listen as a way to absorb some of
this knowledge.
What stances or actions toward text are part of these roles?
Again, I believe what I have stated previously stands to answer
this question, or passively absorb proper reading processes. The
actions students take toward text includes unlocking an originally
unknown text code.
What reading roles are not yet offered to first grade readers?
One main role that is yet to be offered to our first graders in

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EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

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these lessons involves valuing the discourses, social languages,


and cultural models that exist outside of the text. In the
decodable readers on pg. T19, no value is given to students
cultural backgrounds, what they may know about cats and how
cats may play together. Also, the decodable text does not
contain much social language.
6) Analyze the Journeys lessons from a critical literacy
perspective (Luke; Lewison, Leland, & Harste):
a) Luke and Freebody propose a Four Resources Model of Reading.
Which of the resources are targeted for instruction in this set of
materials? For each resource you name, give a brief (2-3
sentence) example or explanation that will let me understand
how the Journeys lessons support (or do not support) childrens
learning of that resource.

Kaylie Williams
EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys
Resource

Coding Practices:
Developing resources
as a code breaker

Text-Meaning
Practices: Developing
resources as a text
participant

Pragmatic Practices:
Developing resources
as text user

Critical Practices:
Developing resources
as text analyst and
critic

11

Journeys Example/Explanation
In the Unit 1 Day 1 read aloud, one way the Journeys
curriculum allows students to become code breakers
of text is by discussing the structure of the text. On
pg. XXIV, when introducing the My Colors, My World
(Mis colores, mi mundo) the teacher is modeling
breaking a code by pointing out both the English
and Spanish text in the book. Another way the teacher
models code breaking occurs when the teacher
points out some concepts of print, such as how
special letters can convey meaning like the use of
colored letters to match the color being discussed.
(Unit 1 pg. XXIV)
One idea that is consistent across the Unit 1 Day 1
lesson plan is the idea of a pal. This concept may be
unfamiliar to some students who are not used to
hearing this term in reference to a friend. Multiple
texts are used to teach students about this concept,
and the focus vocabulary all deal with this concept:
fun, pal, play, help, etc.
Developing resources as text users is one area I
believe Journeys could devote more attention to. In
the read aloud text My Colors, My World the author
structured the text with plenty of imagery and
figurative language, however little attention is given
to these text features. In the decodable readers,
though, the text is being used for what its intended
purpose is. Clearly young readers are using these
texts to practice decoding, which is exactly what the
student texts were created for.
The text My Colors, My World is critically written
particularly for students who may be native Spanish
speakers, because of its dual language features.
Students who are bilingual would take special interest
in this text. The voices of young girls of Hispanic
heritage are present in this text, whereas other
genders and ethnicities are absent. Also, students with
high oral language skills and experience with folktales
or fables will find the read aloud text The Lion and the
Mouse more familiar than students without this
experience.

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EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

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b) We read about a variety of ways that students can begin to take


a critical perspective as readers. Lewison, Leland, and Harste
propose four dimensions of critical literacy. Briefly describe an
extension activity you might add to these lessons to help your
students begin to take a critical perspective. Name the
dimension of critical literacy that you are targeting in the
extension lesson.
In Leland and Harstes article Critical Literacy: Enlarging the Space of
the Possible, the authors state that certain texts and activities can
build awareness of how systems of meaning and power affect people
and the lives they lead (Leland and Harste 2000). They also state one
way to build this awareness is to ...show how people can begin to take
action on important social issues (Leland and Harste 2000). As an
extension activity that focuses on such issues, I would have my
students discuss and respond in writing to a few critical questions after
reading The Lion and the Mouse. These questions would be open
ended, and require students to defend their answer with evidence in
writing.
The questions would be:
Who had more power in the story: the lion or the mouse? How do
you know?
Have you ever been helped by an unlikely friend? How and
when?
Who is someone you could help in your life? How can you help
him/her?
As a project, I would ask students to intentionally make a point to help
someone in an unexpected way over the next week. Once they have
done this, I would ask them to draw pictures and write about this
event.

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EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

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7) Analyze supports for English learners in the Journeys


lessons.
Gregory discussed ways of supporting young children who are
learning a new language at the same time they are learning to read.
As you prepared for class, you create your own Top 5 list for
supporting English Learners. Use your Top 5 list and course
readings to analyze the Journeys lesson and materials.
a) What kinds of appropriate supports for English learners are
provided in the Journeys lessons?
One support provided for English Language Learners within the
Journeys curriculum is the use of Spanish cognates in new vocabulary.
Though not all words are Spanish cognates, words that are Spanish
cognates are starred as a way to draw more teacher and student
attention.
Another ELL support includes the use of vocabulary in context cards that contain
visuals, gestures, sentences, peer-supported learning, idiomatic language and
definitions (pg. T7 in the Unit 1 excerpt). Gregory tells us that there is a certain

complexity involved in matching the right word to the appropriate


object as new language learners set about learning the new language.
Therefore, having these visual supports will aid a great deal in
vocabulary acquisition.
Also, additional ELL readers that parallel on-level readers, but use more
manageable language are included, as well as extra materials to
increase cooperative learning, build background knowledge and
develop language. Throughout the entire curriculum, I see multiple tips
and differentiation suggestions for teachers to utilize with their ELL
students that include direct teaching strategies, acting it out activities,
and peer-peer interactions. Even the use of a text that features a
young Hispanic girl with Spanish parallel language will pique our ELL
students interests.
b) Briefly describe one way you could extend/revise these lessons
to make them more accessible and supportive of young English
learners.
One way I would extend these lessons in an effort to make them more supportive of
young ELL students is to include more peer-peer and group discussions. Many of the
response opportunities students are offered in these lessons include a studentteacher response, or direct teacher modeling and instruction. I believe students
learning English would benefit from more opportunities to talk in an informal setting
with their peers. We know from Gregorys Learning to Read in a New Language that
students learning English need opportunities to see language modeled by their peers.
Gregory makes a great statement, followed by a question: If syntactic and semantic

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EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

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clues depend upon 'welding' language onto experiences so that phrases become
automatic, how can such experiences be provided within the confines of the
classroom? I hope to take her advice and add more opportunities for peer-peer
discussion in an effort to develop students syntactic and semantic knowledge base. I
believe students need chances to repeat language in a casual and comfortable
setting. I would plan open-ended discussion questions for student pairs or small
groups. Also, for my students who are learning English, I would provide sentence
stems and picture supports to scaffold their responses and discussions.

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EDUC 6400: Materials Analysis 1: Journeys

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Citations
Adams, M. J. (2004). Modeling the connections between word recognition and reading. In R.
B. Ruddell & N. J. Unrau (Eds.), Theoretical models and processes of reading (5th ed.,
pp. 1219-1243). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2014). Addressing CCSS anchor standard 10: Text complexity.
Language Arts, 91(4), 236-250.
Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2013). What's the secret to successful close reading? Strategic
preparation and follow up. Reading Today, 31(2), 16-17.
Gee, J. P. (2003). A sociocultural perspective on early literacy development. In S. B. Neuman
& D. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research (pp. 30-42). New York:
Guilford Press.
Leland, C. H.,& Harste, J. C . (2000). Critical literacy. Enlarging the space of the possible.
Primary Voices, K-6, 9(2), 3-7.