You are on page 1of 11

Becky Marder

EDUC 6400
October 24, 2018
Materials Analysis 1

1) What model of reading seems to guide the design of this reading instructional

I believe that Marilyn Adam’s model of reading guides the design of this reading
instructional program.

2) Reading Cue Systems and Reading Processes

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 points.
a. Adams suggests that there are four processors that guide reading: the
phonological processor, the orthographic processor, the meaning processor,
and the context processor (Adams, 2004). These processors work together to
aid fluency and establish meaning from the text. They work together to
strengthen the associations between letters, sounds, words, and their meanings
(Adams, 2004). This Journey’s curriculum is rather comprehensive and
addresses all of Adam’s processors to some degree throughout the lesson.
b. Though Adams says that using the context processor is a sign of weak
orthographic processing (Adams, 2004), it is the first processor I observed in
Journeys. The Journeys program uses familiar sentence structures in
constructing the morning message (pg. T12). Because of their familiarity with
the structure, students can use the context of the surrounding words to fill in
the sentences: “Today is _______.” and “Outside it is ________.” While there
is no explicit instruction, students will naturally use context to finish the
morning message by accessing their knowledge of days of the weeks and
weather words to fill in the blanks. Children are also given practice using their
context processor when the teacher introduces Words to Know (pg. T20).
After an explanation of the new vocabulary, the teacher encourages students
to use the word in a sentence. This helps students to build an understanding of
the different contexts words can be seen and used in. When they see the word
again, they will be able to use their contextual knowledge to aid
understanding. Lastly, the teacher demonstrates use of context when
introducing the story, “What is a Pal?” (pg. T25). The teacher models how a
reader might activate knowledge of the context of a story before reading. S/he
thinks aloud, “I know this is a story about pals. A pal is a real person. The
photographs in this selection show friends in the real world.” This helps
students to understand that they may use contextual information to help
decode text.
c. The phonological processor uses knowledge of the individual sounds of letters
to analyze and manipulate sounds (Adams, 2004). Journeys provides ample
opportunities for direct instruction and teacher modeling on phonics. The first
instance in which phonics is addressed is with the “Daily Phonemic
Awareness” (pg. T13). In this quick activity, students practice segmenting
words to find the initial sound. During the following vocabulary instruction,
students are also asked to draw their attention to rhyming words while
listening to a story (pg. T13). This is an example of phonics instruction
because it is asking students to find similar sounds within two separate words.
The lesson continues on to practice the sound of “short a” and the consonants
“n” and “d” (pg. T16). Students are explicitly taught the sounds of these
letters and then encouraged to blend them with other sounds to create words.
This is called the “sound by sound blending routine” (pg. T16). Students
practice sound by sound blending with letter cards using the short “a” sound
and different consonants. Phonics is further practiced when reading the
decodable book, Dan and Nan (pg. T19). Almost all of the words in this book
are CVC words with simple, decodable, phonological patterns. Students can
use the previous discussion of, and practice with, short “a” to read the book.
d. Adams theorizes that the phonological processor and the orthographic
processor work together as the foundation of reading (Adams, 2004). While
the phonological processor handles the sounds of reading, the orthographic
processor manages the letters. The orthographic processor enables us to
recognize letters and words. Adams states that even the most skilled readers
process every letter of every word, even if it is subconsciously (Adams, 2004).
In this program, the first instance of explicit instruction of the orthographic
processor is with the Daily High Frequency Words (pg. T13). In this section,
students are explicitly taught the letters that combine to make sight words.
With sight words, letters do not necessarily match up to common sounds and
so the spelling patterns must be explicitly taught. Additionally, under the
Phonics/Spelling heading (pg. T18), students are asked to match sounds to
letters to spell words. First, the teacher models breaking apart a word into
sounds. Then, the teacher matches each sound to a letter to spell the word.
Students are then asked to write sentences based on dictations from the
teacher. According to Adams, the letters and words of text “constitute the
basic perceptual data of reading” (Adams, 2004, p.1226). Teaching students
the connections between letters and the sounds they make is an integral part of
learning to read.
e. The last processor Adams outlines is the meaning processor. This processor
makes meaning using information from the phonological and orthographic
processor. The meanings of words are represented as “inter-associated sets of
more primitive meaning elements” (Adams, 2004, p. 1232). The meaning
processor benefits from direct instruction of vocabulary as well as instruction
in prefixes, suffixes, and roots (Adam, 2004). Basically, it attaches meaning to
the printed word. Direct instruction and teacher modeling around the meaning
processor is integrated into the whole Week 1, Day 1 curriculum. It begins
with the Daily Vocabulary Boost (pg. T13) in which teachers directly instruct
students on specific vocabulary in the big book, “Chuck’s Truck.” Meaning is
naturally integrated into the rest of the lesson. For example, when the teacher
reads aloud the story, “The Lion and the Mouse,” she models a think-aloud
related to meaning (pg. T14). The teacher models self-monitoring for meaning
by asking him/herself whether a word makes sense or not. She then tells
students to go back and check each letter and sound to make sure the word is
read correctly. This event integrates instruction of the phonological processor,
the orthographic processor, and the meaning processor in one think aloud. The
teacher also instructs on the meaning processor by asking comprehension
questions about the text, “The Lion and the Mouse” (pg. T15). The
comprehension questions ask students to make meaning from the text. Explicit
vocabulary instruction is seen again under the heading Introduce Words to
Know (pg. T20). Students are taught the meaning of new words and how to
use them in a sentence. Lastly, teachers instruct the meaning processor using
the anchor text, “What are pals?” and the Main Idea Graphic Organizer (pg.
T24). Children are asked to make meaning of the text by finding the main idea
and supporting details. The target of this lesson is summarizing. Teachers are
prompted to tell students that we summarize text in order to understand it
better, or make meaning. The teacher sets a purpose for reading the text to
help students find information while reading.
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?
a. One unique feature of Adam’s model is that the processors work in a
sequential order (Adams, 2004). Reading begins with the orthographic and
phonological processors breaking down and deciphering letters and sounds at
the word level. Adams (2004) states, “unless the processes involved in
individual word recognition operate properly, nothing else in the system can
either” (p. 1219) so that “if a child’s word-recognition skills are sufficiently
poor, the time and effort involved in reading may well overwhelm its hoped-
for rewards” (p. 1220). Adams believes that because of this, you cannot have
good reading instruction without good phonics instruction, and direct
instruction of letters (Adams, 2004). For this reason, the Journeys curriculum
includes copious instruction in phonics. Following Adam’s hierarchy, phonics
is explicitly focused on at the beginning of the lesson, through practice with
the short “a” sound, practice blending, and practice reading decodable texts.
No other processor is allocated as much explicit instruction. Phonics
instruction and Adam’s bottom up approach is also emphasized during
authentic reading tasks in this lesson. When reading, students are encouraged
to attend to every sound and every letter of every word. Teachers model how
to self-monitor their reading (pg.T14). If a mistake occurs, students are told
that correcting oneself means going back to the words and looking at the
letters, or the basic perceptual units. Adam’s approach is strictly bottom up
and places little emphasis on context or the difference between meaning
change miscues and nonmeaning change miscues, so mistakes must be
corrected as such.
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 Chuck’s Truck in our
curriculum lab, so I’ve included the other big book mentioned in the overview, My
Colors, My World. (Teacher’s Manual, xxiv)
2. Teacher Read Aloud: The Lion and the Mouse (Teacher’s Manual, start page T14)
3. Decodable Reader (student text): Dan and Nan (Teacher’s Manual, start page T19)
4. Anchor Text: What is a pal? (student text) (Teacher’s Manual start page, T20.)

a) Analyze the characteristics of the two texts read aloud by teachers.

a. The first thing that I notice about My Colors, My World, is that the book is
bilingual. This is important to note because it allows for rich conversations
and important comparisons in a teacher read aloud. There is vivid imagery
throughout the story as well as rich language such as similes and
personification. The story uses a lot of descriptive language to help children
paint a picture of the story in their minds. The author also uses rich adjectives
that are accessible to children and can be related to the pictures they see in the
story such as such as shady, squishy, shiny, and sharp. The story is designed
so that color words are written in the correct color, so students can participate
in the reading of the story even if they cannot “read” the words.
b. The first thing I notice about The Lion and the Mouse, and in stark contrast to
My Colors, My World, is that there are no pictures. To me, this means this text
is likely less accessible to students. There is little opportunity for the students
to also engage in the reading. This story includes a lot of rich vocabulary that
may be unfamiliar to young children, such as awakened, captured, spare, and
chuckle (pg. T14-T15). These words are common and helpful to learn when
beginning to read more complicated text. This text has an obvious lesson or
moral that can be discussed with children. It also likely a rather relatable text
for small children. It is a text where the little guy is strong and useful, despite
his size. Young students may feel connected to this little mouse.
b) What parts of the reading process are developed through teacher read alouds.
a. Teacher read alouds in this program address more higher-level thinking
strategies. They are focused mainly on Adam’s context and meaning
processors rather than the phonological or orthographic processors. Journeys
includes initial explicit vocabulary instruction for teacher read alouds, thus
developing the meaning processor. Adams (2004) recommends direct
vocabulary instruction because it leads to an increase in word knowledge and
reading comprehension (p.1233). The program recommends focusing on
fluency when reading The Lion and the Mouse. Adhering to Adams theory,
teachers using Journeys encourage students to go back and make sure that
every sound is read correctly (pg. T14). The teacher serves as a model for
students about what fluency looks like and how to go back and self-monitor
and correct to make reading more fluent. Fluency is a skill that comes after a
child has developed all of their processors adequately when “skillful readers
access the spelling, sound, meaning, and contextual role of a familiar word
almost automatically and simultaneously” (Adams, 2004, p. 1225). After
reading, students must analyze and process the meanings and contexts of the
written word to answer questions.
b. The rich imagery and adjective use in My Colors, My World also facilitates
vocabulary knowledge. The words in the book are words that students can see
illustrated in the pictures, so they will develop a rich understanding of what
the words mean. The beautiful pictures in this book also help develop the
context processor. Because the pictures are so detailed, students can use the
pictures to develop context for the story and help figure out the meanings of
words to comprehend the overall story.
c) Describe the characteristics of materials to be read by students.
a. Dan and Nan is a completely decodable book focused on the short “a” sound.
The majority of the words in the book include the short “a” sound. They are
mostly CVC words that children can sound out if they know the sounds of
every letter. These are words like “Dan,” “Nan,” “cat,” “sat,” and “can.” The
other words in the story are likely sight words that the teacher has already
introduced such as “I,” “am,” “and,” and “play.” The sentences are short and
simple without much detail, and the pictures match the information in the
b. What Is a Pal? is also a mostly decodable text, but it provides a bit more
meaning and context. The lesson for What is a Pal? begins with explicit
vocabulary instruction for some words that may not be familiar to the
students, such as “fun, pal, pet, and what.” The rest of the text follows the
decodable pattern with short “a” sounds such as “Sam,” “Nat,” “can,” “Dad,”
“Tad,” and “Cam.” These are CVC words the children can tackle by sounding
out. The pictures are also realistic and highly correlated with the text so that
students can use the pictures as a strategy for aiding comprehension.
d) How does the design of these student texts reflect the underlying model of reading?
a. These texts are highly focused on the phonological and orthographic
processor. They are a tool for students to practice the short a sound that is
introduced in the first story. They are also a tool for students to practice
recognizing letters, matching the letters to their sounds, and blending the
sounds to make words. Students should be able to independently decode these
words. They are also most likely familiar with the sight words through
activation of the orthographic processor which “represents the reader’s
knowledge of the visual images of words” (Adams, 2004, p.1224).
b. In What is a Pal? there is some explicit vocabulary instruction which, as
stated above, activates the meaning processor. There is also some activation of
context processor because the pictures line up very clearly with the text.
Students can use these pictures to aid their reading.
c. The combinations of the teacher and student texts align well with Adam’s
theory. Adam proposes a hierarchal model where the phonological and
orthographic processors happen first in reading (Adams, 2004). Therefore, it
makes sense that the phonological and orthographic processors would be
targeted for student practice. The teacher texts allow for scaffolding of the
higher order meaning and context processors.
4) The Journeys Overview discusses how these materials were designed to help students
meet CCSS related to text complexity and close reading.
a. For beginning readers, we would expect the most complex texts to be read aloud
by teachers. Choose ONE of the texts read aloud by the teacher (either: My
Colors, My World OR The Lion and the Mouse) Identify features that make this
text more or less complex. Do you think this text is appropriately complex for
first grade readers?
i. The CCSS-ELA has a three part model for measuring text complexity that
includes “quantitative factors such as word length or frequency, sentence
length, and text cohesion…qualitative factors such as levels of meaning,
structure, language, and knowledge demands…and reader/task factors
such as motivation, knowledge, purpose, and the complexity of the task”
(Wixson & Valencia, 2014, p.430). Wixson and Valencia (2014)
recommend that instead of the qualitative and quantitative measures, we
should focus on the reader/task factors, specifically engagement. Fisher
and Frey (2014) recommend that teachers take in to account the number of
ideas presented, figurative language, author’s purpose, genre, structure of
the text, and text features and graphics when analyzing the complexity of a
ii. There are many features that make My Colors, My World complex. First, it
is a bilingual text. This allows for comparison between the two languages
and could lead to a rich discussion about the similarities and differences
between languages. The dual-language aspect could also lead to a rich
discussion about the child in the book’s life at home, and how it may be
similar or different to the lives of the students in the classroom. This
addresses complex themes and involves students in an important
experience with critical literacy. The ability to draw comparisons and
learn about a different lifestyle may contribute to engagement, part of the
reader/task factor of the three part model for measuring text complexity.
iii. This text is also complex because of the diverse vocabulary used, like
“sway,” “pollen,” and the different flower names. Students may be
unfamiliar with the landscape portrayed in this story, so this new
vocabulary would open their eyes to new worlds, expanding their world
iv. This text uses different literary devices and figurative language. There is a
lot of imagery in this story. Teachers can encourage students to visualize
the pictures the author is drawing for us. The author also uses similes and
personification to further paint a picture for her audience. A discussion of
these devices can be used to introduce the concept of figurative language
to first graders. My Colors My World is also a narrative text written from
the point of view of a little girl. This is a character students may relate to,
so teachers can encourage students to wonder about the purpose for
writing. What was the author trying to tell us about her world?
v. There is not a specific sentence structure that the story follows. While the
book is structured around the different colors the character sees in her
world, there is no repetitive aspect to the sentences. Each new color is
introduced in a new way.
vi. I believe that this text is appropriately complex. The content of the text is
relatable and a concept that students can grasp and will be engaged with.
But, it also challenges them with complex language and sentence
structures. This is may not be a text the students could tackle on their own,
and it may needs to be teacher facilitated. The teacher can use the rich
language and imagery to start conversations that would lead to deep
reading and analysis of the text.
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?
i. The Common Core standards state that students should be able to “readily
undertake the close, attentive reading that is at the heart of understanding
and enjoying complex works of literature” (Lapp, Moss, Johnson, &
Grant, 2013, p.2). Students need “to analyze and scaffold textually based
inferences which are at ‘the heart’ of meaning construction for learners of
all ages’” (Lapp et al., 2013, p. 2).
ii. One instance of close reading of text occurs within the teacher read aloud
of The Lion and the Mouse and the following listening comprehension
questions (pg.T14). The questions ask the children to determine character
traits, compare and contrast events for the mouse and lion, and find the
theme, or the lesson, of the story. These questions facilitate close reading
because the students are asked to dive deeply into the text to come up with
the answer. It is not asking students to answer surface questions about
events or pictures, but instead asking students to synthesize information
and make inferences about the characters and the lesson of the story.
iii. This curriculum also has a more explicit close read portion called “Think
Through the Text” (pg.T26). Students are given a question and encouraged
to use text evidence to answer it. The specific questions for this reading
are “What have you learned about pals? What words help you know?
What does the picture show that helps you know?” While students may be
able to answer the question “What have you learn about pals?” they will
need to closely read the text to support their response with specific
evidence from the text (even at the level of specific words) and pictures.
This format continues throughout the text where students are asked to
pause and consider questions that are supported by text evidence.
iv. I believe that this lesson does not do a great job of integrating close
reading into the lesson. Lapp et al. (2013) propose that close reading is
about making inferences. I found only two instances of close reading, and
even these instances do not ask children to make deep inferences about the
text or to stretch their thinking. Students are asked to synthesize
information and use context clues for support, but the questions are still
rather straightforward.
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? What would they think reading
was like? What purposes, values, attitudes about reading are part of this cultural
model? What reading roles are first grade students expected to take? What stances
or actions toward text are part of these roles? What reading roles are not yet
offered to first grade readers?
i. Gee (2003) outlines how “humans are always meaning producers, not just
meaning consumers” (p. 30). Literacy is not biological, and we therefore
learn literacy in specific contexts (Gee, 2003). Gee defines cultural models
as “everyday ‘theories’ about the world that people socialized in a given
Discourse share” (p.36).
ii. By using this curriculum, students will come to understand that reading is
about putting sounds together to make words. Then, you put the words
together to make sentences. The sentences make meaning, but not until
you have followed the rest of the steps towards understanding. Therefore,
a good reader is someone who can successfully make the sounds of words.
A fluent reader is one who can say aloud all the words correctly, and who
can go back and fix their reading if a word does not sound right.
iii. This curriculum values a bottom up approach. The purpose of reading is to
find what sounds each letter makes and properly put those sounds together
to create a word. While there is some emphasis on finding meaning, there
is no emphasis on reading as a creative process. Students are not asked to
generate their own ideas or opinions about the text. Therefore, reading is a
cut and dry process that you can either be successful for unsuccessful at.
iv. The reading roles that these first grade students are expected to take are
those of passive receivers of text. They are not asked higher order thinking
questions, but simply asked to recount text. Students are only expected to
take action on the text in so that they are able to recount some details, not
interact heavily with the text. Students are not yet offered the opportunity
to interact deeply with the text and create meaning.
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) children’s
learning of that resource.
i. Luke proposes that there are four different practices that are “requisites for
critical literacy” (Luke, 2000, p.454) They are: coding practices, text
meaning practices, pragmatic practices, and critical practices (Luke,
ii. Coding practices lead to “developing resources as a code breaker.” (Luke,
2000, p. 454). This resource is used to find patterns about how the marks
on the page interact with the sounds of reading, and it is very supported in
Journey’s lesson. This curriculum is focused very much on phonics. The
students are asked to identify sounds, match the sounds to their
corresponding letters, and blend sounds together to make words. For
example, the sound-by-sound blending routine has the teacher model
blending the word “Dan” using the sounds of the “d,” “a,” and “n” letter
iii. Text meaning practices lead students to construct meaning from the words
on the page. Students construct multiple meanings from the text and
ascertain what “cultural readings and possible readings” can be
“constructed from this text” (Luke, 2000, p. 454). This resource is
developed only slightly in this curriculum. The curriculum asks students to
summarize and comprehend the text, but only for a certain purpose. Basic
comprehension questions can assess how much of the text students
understand, but they are not asked to use any cultural resource to critically
think about the different meanings the text might encapsulate.
iv. Pragmatic practices help students become “text users” (Luke, 2000, p.
454). Students use this resource to understand how to use text functionally
and to consider how others will use the text (Luke, 2000). The Journey’s
curriculum is also light on addressing this resource. Students are asked to
use the text in only one way, to summarize and comprehend. Students are
taught that the purpose of text is to read every sound correctly and
fluently. Then, you can draw meaning from the text to answer the
questions. Students are not asked to use the text in any sort of functional
way or to consider how others may use the text.
v. Critical practices ask students to think critically about the text and ask
questions of themselves and the text. Some questions Luke (2000)
suggests are: “What kind of person with what interests and values, could
both write and read this naively and unproblematically? What is the text
trying to do to me? In whose interests?” (p. 454). None of these questions
are asked of students in the Journey’s curriculum. Students are not asked
to think critically about the text or question the author’s intentions or
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.
i. I would use the Lion and the Mouse to add to this lesson and have students
begin to take a critical perspective. I would target the Integrating Multiple
Viewpoints dimension of critical literacy. This story lends itself to a
discussion about viewpoints because there are two clear main characters.
Because this is a first-grade classroom, I would want to scaffold the
discussion of critical literacies. I would ask the students to think about the
story from the mouse’s point of view. We could make a bubble chart to
outline all the different ways the mouse must have been feeling throughout
the book. Then, we would make a bubble chart for all of the different ways
the lion must have been feeling throughout the book. We would choose
one event during the book where we felt there were strong emotions. Each
child would have the chance to make two watercolor paintings: one
depicting how the lion felt at this time, and one depicting how the mouse
felt at this time. Then, students could mount their pictures side by side on
a large piece of paper and label them to show how one story can have two
different viewpoints.

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.

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.

Lapp, D., Moss, B., Johnson, K., & Grant, M. (2013). Teaching students to closely read texts:

How and when? IRA essentials. doi:10.1598/e-ssentials.8022

Luke, A. (2000). Critical literacy in Australia: A matter of context and standpoint. Journal of

Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 43(5), 448- 461.

Wixon, K. K., & Valencia, S. W. (2014). CCSSELA: Suggestions and cautions for addressing

text complexity. Reading Teacher, 67(6), 430-434.