The Open Court Reading Program is a core English Language arts/ comprehensive reading and writing program series used in a large number of elementary schools classrooms in the US and in some schools in Japan. It is known for its systematic instruction in phonological and phonemic awareness and phonics. It is also noted to be strong in the instruction of comprehension and writing. The comprehension instruction is based on Ann Brown’s work with Anne Marie Palinscar to develop reciprocal teaching and Michael Pressley’s work on transactional strategy instruction both of which are constructivistic in nature. Both Brown and Pressley were authors on the program. Writing instruction focuses on teaching writing process, forms and traits.
Inquiry is at the heart of Open Court Reading. The inquiry strand within the program reflects the research on knowledge building communities done by Bereiter and Scardamalia, again both authors on the program. Through inquiry students learn to use reading and writing as tools for learning, to work collaboratively, and to build and share knowledge.
Results from both US state and national high stakes tests have shown Open Court Reading to be an effective language arts program. It was one of two reading programs adopted for use in California schools when textbooks were last chosen in 2002. The other was Houghton-Mifflin Reading. For the 2008 Edition, Open Court Reading’s name was changed to Imagine It!. The series is published by SRA-McGraw-Hill.
There is both praise and criticism of the program among educators. Proponents of Open Court Reading believe that its focus on phonics and reading comprehension strategy use, both taught with very explicit instruction, benefit children. Some critics dislike the explicit nature of instruction, suggesting that it leaves little room for child exploration or teacher creativity, as constructivist models of reading instruction such as whole language. Success for All, a whole-school reform model that includes reading has been studied extensively, but Open Court has been tested experimentally far less. Source: Wipedia
Open Court Reading Pre-K is a research-based curriculum designed for use with preschoolers. The Open Court Reading Pre-K includes eight units that each provides 20 lessons. This curriculum is specifically focused on literacy and uses fingerplays, rhymes, songs, and poems to promote reading readiness. Open Court Reading Pre-K was designed to teach children to decode and comprehend in an efficient manner so that they can read a variety of quality literature. It provides very systematic approaches to listening, comprehension and assessment, so teachers and parents can track a child’s progress through each unit. (Published by SRA, a division of McGraw Hill Publishing, (www.sraonline.com) Below are research documents and links to Open Court resources. Source: Plan4Preschool website.
Open Court resources – free pre-K-6 resources created by teachers for teachers
Open Court resources created by Kelly’s Kindergarten – Games, letter worksheets, pre-decodable worksheets
Open Court resources by Garfield Elementary School – Your one-stop reading resource for Open Court Reading program
Open Court resources – Various resources to support Fontana teachers’ implementation of the Open Court reading curriculum
Open Court 4th grade suggested resources – provides free sight word teaching systems aligned with the decodable books for kindergarten and first grade .See also their Dolch and other Sight Word lists.
Resources for a thematic unit on Water
Easier – Water is a liquid that falls from the sky as rain and fills rivers, lakes, and oceans. Plants, animals, and people all need water to live. More than two-thirds of the human body is water. We must drink water every day to remain healthy.
Harder – Water is a compound of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Each water molecule contains two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms. Water can be liquid, solid, or gas. It can evaporate into vapor or freeze into ice. Most of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. The water cycle is the constant movement of this water. The water from rivers, lakes, and oceans evaporates into vapor. The vapor rises and forms clouds. The water then falls as rain, hail, or snow and the cycle begins again.
Each child studies the topic at his level. This saves over half of your teaching and preparing time. All children can go on field trips together, many projects can be done together, writing assignments vocabulary words will be about the same topic, just on different levels. For example while studying animals a younger child may be able to classify birds, mammals and insects. While an older child would classify animals in much more detail such as: Arachnids, crustaceans, etc. The older learns and helps to teach the younger while the younger learns from the older child.
The “unit” or “theme” part refers to the idea of studying a topic as a whole instead of several “subjects.” Thousands of years ago, the Greeks decided to break whole topics into subjects. For example: most people think of water as a science subject.
One way to look at water is as H2O–a chemistry subject but, it is also art–a beautiful waterfall “Analyzing Perspective in Artwork” (Time needed: 1 day) – Make transparencies of different illusions in art. Some notable ones: Escher’s The Waterfall Put the picture on the overhead and ask the students to write three to four sentences on the following questions: What is the artist telling the viewer? What do you think the artist was thinking when he/she was drawing the picture? What is so unusual about the picture? Where are the illusions taking place? Waterfall, Milde, and Sarah Grusin.
Waterfall reading for younger kids: (good also for desert unit)
Water pollution has become a serious problem. For example, acid rain causes the death of plants and animals. It can impact our water supply. Water conservation is becoming an increasingly important issue.
Open court 4th grade