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New reading texts planned for District 65

Elementary school students in District 65 likely will have a new set of reading and language textbooks this fall.

The “Treasures” series from Macmillan/McGraw-Hill is “a brand new program; it is not one that has been reworked,” the district’s literacy director, Ellen Fogelberg, said.

The school board’s program policy committee Monday unanimously recommended spending nearly $700,000 on books and other materials to implement the new program in all kindergarten through fifth grade classes.

Ms. Fogelberg, who headed the faculty committee that recommended the new series to the school board, said it includes features missing from the current curriculum.

Those include the introduction of explicit phonics in kindergarten, clear comprehension instruction, fluency lessons, and regular assessment of student progress.
She said schools in Schaumburg and Cicero have already adopted the new texts.

The new program will also focus on areas in which students have shown the need for improvement. This includes the reading and comprehension of non-fiction pieces. In the new program, 60 percent of the readings will be non-fiction. It also includes tools such as retelling cards and graphic organizers to help students learn.

Ms. Fogelberg said committee members believe the clear, direct way in which the reading/language arts program is taught will help all students learn more successfully. Also included in this new program will be books in Spanish for the district’s two-way immersion program.

The weekly and unit assessments included in the program will allow teachers to more closely evaluate the progress of students as well as better prepare them for the Illinois Standards Achievement Test.

In June, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill will provide in-service training on the new materials for the district’s teachers and principals. The literacy director and literacy coaches will provide ongoing support during the school year.

“There will be considerable training along with this,” Superintendent Hardy Murphy said.

The board is scheduled to formally approve the new textbook purchase at its June 19 meeting.

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