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Curriculum Q & A Blog, Question 49

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    EL Education

Do you have questions about teaching the EL Education K–5 Language Arts Curriculum? We've got answers!

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How Do I Make the Most of EL Education’s Remote Learning Resources? (Advice for Parents and Caregivers)

If you are a parent or caregiver whose child is in a school that uses the EL Education K–8 Language Arts Curriculum, you may be wondering how you can best support their literacy learning during this period of disrupted schooling due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. EL Education has adapted curricular materials to provide you with everything you need to keep students engaged in rich, content-based literacy learning from the safety of your home. The Remote Learning Resources are simplified and easy to use. 

This post will walk you through a few tips on how to use the Remote Learning Resources at the Grades K–2 level first, followed by tips for using the Grades 3–8 Remote Learning Resources. 

Grades K–2

The Remote Learning Resources are provided in weekly bundles. Here’s an example of the Grade 1, Week 1 Remote Learning Activities. Here’s a link to the Google folder where all of the K–2 resources can be found. We will upload materials to that folder as they are available.

Grades K–2 General Hints:

  • Everything you need is provided in our Google Docs, with occasional links to free materials on third-party websites.
  • The timing we suggest is an estimate. Students’ attention spans, stamina, and processing time will vary, and that’s okay. Feel free to make modifications based on your student’s needs (for example, you might want to break up the activities into ten-minute increments interspersed with movement or snack breaks in-between).
  • Primary students crave ritual and routine, so we have designed these activities to offer predictable routines and structures (and they should feel familiar to students already using the EL Education curriculum).
  • Oral language development is essential for young learners, so we encourage lots of conversations. As the words of the week are presented, children love to make connections, so invite them to use words in sentences to make their learning real! Or, engage in discussions about the science topics they are learning about (for example, trees, birds, pollinators) 
  • Our youngest students learn best through play, singing, and movement—embrace a  playful spirit for greatest engagement and learning!

Grades K–2 Specific Hints for the Remote Learning Activities

The Remote Learning Activities include two sessions of instruction for each day of the week (approximately 40-60 minutes total per day). In Part A: Learn to Read, students build literacy skills as they learn to read and write. In Part B: Read to Learn, students read, write/draw, and talk about an engaging topic or spend time reading independently or listening to a text read aloud. 

What follows are a few hints to help you get acquainted with the instructions in both parts of the Remote Learning Activities.

Part A: Learn to Read (phonics)

  • Write out words for the week and high frequency words for your student (these lists are clearly labeled and provided in the materials for Wednesday–Friday). By writing the words out and keeping a running list, students will be able to practice skills from the past while learning new skills. 
  • Repetition builds mastery, especially for our young learners. The repetition of reading the decodable books helps build students’ confidence in their ability to read while simultaneously developing their ability to read with fluency and accuracy.  
  • While we are teaching students how to read, speak, and hear patterns and sounds, we also want them to transfer their speaking to writing. Some students are just learning to write letters and words, and some can write extended volumes of writing. Let your student’s level of comfort guide you. You can start by having students copy words, and eventually let them lead their own learning by writing on their own.

Part B: Read to Learn (content-based literacy)

  • Skim the activities and materials for the week: If you aren’t able to print materials, no problem! Most of the writing resources are easy to replicate on blank paper. 
  • Many of the texts are offered within the materials, but others are offered via Epic or through video-taped read-alouds. More tradebook guidance is offered on the EL Education website.
  • Every Tuesday and Thursday is designed for read-aloud or independent reading time; however, you can also extend the previous day’s session into that time and carve out another time of day for choice reading. 
  • We have offered suggestions for optional extensions. Some of them require common household materials; however, feel free to modify activities or materials to meet your needs. You can find additional extensions and activities here!

Grade 3–8

The Remote Learning Resources for Grades 3–8 are organized around the texts that students read in Modules 3 and 4 at every grade level. No matter your student’s grade level or region of the country, they were most likely engaged with texts in Module 3 or 4 when schools were closed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, we have created Reading Guides for all of the texts at every grade level for these modules. These Reading Guides will provide your student with structure to read, respond to questions, and make meaning from the texts. We have also created a generic Reading Guide that can be used with any text to support your student with independent reading. 

All of the Reading Guides can be found here. We also provide guidance for accessing the module texts on our website.

Grades 3–8 General Hints

  • Every day, students are asked to Read, Think, Talk, and Write. We believe these four components are the essential elements of ‘reading to learn.’ Therefore, we ask that parents, guardians, and caretakers engage in conversation around the text and tasks students complete. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer or haven’t read the text! When in doubt, bring students back to what they read to justify their answer. Some helpful questions include:
    • What makes you say that?
    • Show me what you read in the text that made you say that?
    • Why might that be the case? 
    • What evidence do you have for that?
  • Repetition builds mastery. Therefore, we have attempted to build a predictable pattern for reading. Generally students will read a chapter and complete a general task to summarize their reading on a day’s worth of material. On the second day, students will work with text dependent questions or other more traditional ELA tasks. This will help students engage with the texts multiple times to support their understanding.
  • If your student struggles to read, we encourage you to read the text aloud while the student follows along. Doing read-alouds are most effective if students can see and hear the text at the same time. 
  • We have offered some tasks that allow students to synthesize their learning creatively through drawings, creative writing, or video. It is fine if your student chooses a different creative outlet, or if you do not have the materials. The true goal is that students have an outlet to think beyond traditional questions.

For more general information about our curriculum, check out our website or our books Your Curriculum Companion: The Essential Guide to Teaching the EL Education K–5 Language Arts Curriculum and Your Curriculum Companion: The Essential Guide to Teaching the EL Education 6–8 Curriculum. If you have questions related to this blog, please email us at: