Introducing SuccessMaker Reading

Overview

SuccessMaker Reading is designed to meet the needs of students in demographic grades K–12 by providing instruction, practice, and assessment with a focus on the most essential reading skills for course-level grades K–8. SuccessMaker Reading offers:

  • Content that integrates social studies, science, and interdisciplinary themes.
  • Initial Placement (IP), which uses diagnostic sessions to determine the student’s starting level.
  • Adaptive Motion that focuses instruction time on content students have yet to master with:
    • Guided practice that provides students with scaffolded instruction based on instructional reading level until they’re ready to advance to the next level of complexity.
    • On-demand intervention including scaffolded feedback and prerequisite instruction triggered when a learner encounters challenges.
    • Additional remediation activities to support the student in content areas identified as not yet mastered.
  • Effective, research-based instructional strategies that increase the amount and quality of learning time and accelerate achievement.
  • Independent reading practice that allows the student to hone the skills they have been building without instructional supports, such as the “cognitive coach” and “read to me” audio.
  • Increased student exposure to nonfiction texts with a range of digital reading selections.
  • A completely customized learning path built around the program's ongoing, real-time analysis of each learner's actual performance.
  • Print Partners, which provides additional targeted practice to keep the student learning after the school day ends.
  • Powerful data management tools to monitor student progress, customize lessons, and forecast achievement.
  • Age-appropriate themes, characters, cognitive coaches, and tools based on the student’s demographic grade level.

General Pedagogy

An extensive analysis of state standards throughout the country helped create the list of essential skills for each grade level as well as each reading strand. Further direction comes from the National Institute for Literacy. The Institute funded Armbruster, Lehr, and Osborn's piece, Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read, which provides detailed definitions and guidance for instruction for each strand.

A sampling of the sources used for additional guidance includes Bringing Words to Life: Building a Robust Vocabulary by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan; Classroom Strategies That Work by Robert Marzano; Mosaic of Thought by E. O. Keene and S. Zimmerman; Phonics They Use by Patricia Cunningham; Word Matters by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell; and Words Their Way by D. Bear, M. Invernizzi, S. Templeton, and F. Johnston.

Although the volume of reading research is overwhelming, the SuccessMaker Reading course is guided by agreements and conclusions supported by well-respected names in the field.

Initial Placement

Initial Placement (IP) is designed to adjust a student’s course level to one that more accurately reflects the student’s ability. For students in demographic grades K–2, key skills from the actual course content are presented to determine the student’s appropriate course level. For students in demographic grades 3–12, IP presents a series of lessons at a particular Lexile® level followed by a number of assessments to determine the student’s reading comprehension level and corresponding course level. See Initial Placement Ranges for the IP ranges for each starting grade level. IP is an inherent setting for the Reading default course and an option for custom by settings courses.

Grades K–2:

  • IP is adaptive and places the student at the course level most commensurate with the student’s ability in key skills.
  • Students are assessed on key skill groups at quarter-grade intervals.
  • At each interval, a series of questions (minimum of four) for each skill group is presented and the student is given a status of Mastered or Not Mastered for that skill group. Mastered status is 65% accuracy.
  • Once the skill groups have been completed, motion determines if the skill mastery rate (65% accuracy) is high enough to move the student up a quarter grade or down a quarter grade.
  • For each level, once a point of inevitable judgment has been reached, meaning the student will pass or fail the level regardless of further results; Motion will exit the level and move to the next. This allows a student performing very well or very poorly to see fewer exercises, move up or down sooner, and complete IP in a shorter period.

Grades 3–12:

  • IP is adaptive, and students in demographic grades 3-12 are placed at their instructional reading level, which is the Lexile level at which the student can comprehend with 75% accuracy.
  • Two types of activities are used to assess students:
    • A short section of text (250–500 words) followed by five questions, or
    • A series of five short text slices (125–175 words) with one question each.
  • Three types of questions are presented:
    • Literal
    • Interpretive
    • Applied
  • Decisions are made after every five questions:
    • 81–100% = Current text Lexile level + 100 Lexile points
    • 61–80% = Current text Lexile level + 50 Lexile points
    • 41–60% = Current text Lexile level (no change)
    • 21–40% = Current text Lexile level -50 Lexile points
    • 0–20% = Current text Lexile level -100 Lexile points
  • Placement generally occurs between 30 and 50 questions and requires between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the student’s reading rate.
  • Interrupted sessions are bookmarked at the interruption point, and student progress is saved.
  • If IP is turned off, the student is directly launched into the course at the demographic grade level unless the teacher changes it prior to the student starting the course. Custom courses do not contain an option for IP.
Initial Placement Ranges

Starting Course Level

Lowest Course Level in Course Range

Highest Course Level in Course Range

K–2

0.0

4.5

3

0.0

4.5

4

0.0

5.5

5

0.0

6.0

6

4.5

7.0

7

5.0

7.5

8

5.5

8.25

Adaptive Motion Learning Model

SuccessMaker Reading’s Adaptive Motion directs each student’s path through the content. As a student moves through the SuccessMaker Reading default course or custom by settings course, the choice of strands and subsequent learning objectives is not random. Learning objectives within and across strands have been organized into a coherent sequence. Therefore, movement is personalized by the student's responses to and interaction with the course learning objectives. The decision to move forward, extend the time on a learning objective, or review prerequisite skills depends on the student's mastery performance. For students in demographic grades K–12, Adaptive Motion will provide the appropriate K–8 reading content based on the assigned level and the student’s performance. High school students can be enrolled in their current demographic grade levels 9–12 and SuccessMaker will correctly adapt to the students based on their abilities and needs.

Adaptive Motion is able to differentiate instruction for each student through constant analysis of individual progress relative to the course content and level. Prerequisite reinforcement, delayed presentation, and retention are all part of SuccessMaker Adaptive Motion for Reading default courses.

Once the student has mastered a learning objective, this objective is presented later as a part of maintenance. If the student has not maintained mastery of the objective, the student receives review presentations as determined by the sequencing logic. The necessity and intensity of the review presentations are mediated by each individual student's performance on individual learning objectives and bundles of related learning objectives.

Adaptive Motion Instructional Model

Remediation and Delayed Presentation

If the student is struggling with the content of a Reading default lesson, Adaptive Motion makes the following decisions about a student’s progress through the course:

  • To provide additional remediation activities in an effort to support the student in this content area. If the decision is made to present remediation, it occurs at the end of the lesson.
  • To place an activity in delayed presentation, whereby the student takes a break from the content that is too challenging. The content is presented again later after the student has had the opportunity to receive instruction elsewhere or acquire the skill through maturation while the delayed activity is on hold. Once delayed presentation occurs, the student is moved on to the next objective in the sequence.

The decision for Review or Delayed Presentation is based on the student’s performance. If the student’s performance in a lesson is less than 65%, then SuccessMaker Reading marks items for Remediation and Delayed Presentation.

Retention

For default and custom by settings courses, if a student passes the objective within the lesson, the lesson is marked for retention by the adaptive agent. Retention activities are presented to students at the end of each lesson cycle, beginning with the sixth cycle.

Custom by skills and custom by standards, and courses aligned to a Pearson core program in Reading do not utilize the Remediation, Delayed Presentation, and Retention features. Reading Adaptive Motion is sequential. When creating a custom by skills or custom by standards course, the teacher selects the specific skills or standards the student needs, eliminating the need for Remediation, Delayed Presentation, and Retention features. See Strategic Course Selection for more information about custom courses.

Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Reading

In addition to fundamental reading skills and print concepts, SuccessMaker Reading incorporates a variety of activities and assessments that are specifically designed to address all levels of critical thinking. A summary of how the course accomplishes this endeavor follows:

  • Students encounter text and activities that require practice and application of both skills and strategies. The activities are usually varied and call for different levels of student response; for example, students are asked to select the synonym of a given word or identify the main character in the text.
  • Students are presented with focused instruction pieces that model metacognitive thinking and reading strategies/processes, which the students then practice within the lessons that follow.
  • Students encounter formative and summative assessment questions that are specifically written to address a variety Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels (e.g., recall, skills/concepts, and strategic thinking).
  • Students practice writing activities in the Print Partners that capture higher-level, generative critical thinking skills (e.g., summarizing).
  • Students receive specific, detailed correct-answer and wrong-answer feedback that models, explains, and scaffolds student thinking about an objective (e.g., “ask yourself how these two items are the same?”).
  • Students interact with content in a variety of interactive activities. Each activity requires a different type of cognition (e.g., matching versus fill in the blank).

Mastery

A mastery status is tracked for every skill that a student attempts and is determined by the most recent 15 attempts for the skill. Once assessed, the Reading mastery status for a skill or standard will be Not Mastered, At Risk, or Mastered.

This performance data is stored for each student and displayed in the Performance tab of the Students module, in the Mastery module, and in the reports. For details, see “Managing the Student Performance Details” and “Getting Started with Reports” in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance.

Course Content and Organization

SuccessMaker Reading is organized around the strands recommended by the National Reading Panel and recognized as contributing to the development of foundational and life-long reading skills.

If a student exits prior to completing a full lesson, the progress at the activity level is bookmarked. This allows the student to start the next session at the same point where the student’s last session ended.

Instructional Strands

The scope and sequence of SuccessMaker Reading incorporates the six strands of reading instruction for course-level grades K–1, six strands for course-level grades 2–5, and three strands for course-level grades 6–8:

  • Concepts of Print (course-level grade K)
  • Phonological Awareness (course-level grades K–1)
  • Phonics (course-level grades K–5)
  • Fluency (course-level grades K–5)
  • Vocabulary (course-level grades K–8)
  • Comprehension (course-level grades K–8)
  • Grammar (course-level grades 2-8)
  • Spelling (course-level grades 2–8)

Scope and Sequence

Although SuccessMaker Reading is designed as a self-contained curriculum, you can also customize the content of courses to provide intervention or complement your existing curriculum. You can preview the skill objectives by signing in to the LMS. See “Managing Courses” in the SuccessMaker Online Assistance for details.

Supplemental scope and sequence guides are also available on the SuccessMaker 9 Announcements and Resources site to help you customize course content.

Concepts of Print (Course-Level Grades K–1)

The Concepts of Print content is embedded within the instruction for course-level grades K–1 and guides students through the fundamental strategies of print.

Phonological Awareness

The Phonological Awareness strand helps students distinguish sound structures of language and parts of speech, such as syllables and phonemes. The objectives in this strand focus on the student's ability to blend and segment phonemes, which is critical to the development of decoding and spelling skills.

Phonics

The Phonics strand helps students with the basic principles of phonics, including how to connect sounds with letters or groups of letters.

Fluency

The Fluency strand provides instruction that is both intensive and direct. The fluency component of SuccessMaker Reading is designed to supplement classroom instruction through purposeful, uninterrupted reinforcement of key strategies and skills. SuccessMaker Reading provides practice in the top three priorities in teaching fluency: letter/word/phrase recognition, pacing, and prosody.

This approach has shown to significantly increase reading comprehension—which is the ultimate goal of fluency instruction. The SuccessMaker Fluency strand includes speed drills of high-frequency and phonetic words and phrases, a retelling component, and a timed reading of familiar text. Specific learning concepts focus on fluency objectives and provide focused instruction in retelling, reading with expression, and reading for speed and accuracy.

The Fluency strand can be included or disabled based on the availability of a required microphone. Microphone specifications are provided in the SuccessMaker System Requirements.

Vocabulary

The Vocabulary strand provides instruction, practice, and assessment to improve reading comprehension in recognition of the direct correlation between vocabulary development and improved comprehension.

SuccessMaker Reading distinguishes between exposure to and mastery of vocabulary words. The model used in this course also distinguishes between high-frequency words and content-area words.

Each grade level has a grade-level-appropriate database consisting of appropriate words a child may and should be exposed to. In addition, each grade level has an identified list of words that should be mastered. The goal is for each child to identify the mastery words automatically.

The mastery words for each grade level are a cross-reference of high-frequency words from both the Fry list and the Dolch list.

Comprehension

The Comprehension strand provides lessons and activities designed to provide instruction and practice of reading strategies as well as assess understanding of the text.

Grammar (Course-Level Grades 2-8)

The Grammar strand provides instruction and activities designed to reinforce student understanding of parts of speech, sentence structure, subject and verb agreement, and punctuation.

Spelling (Course-Level Grades 2–8)

The Spelling strand provides instruction and activities designed to reinforce student understanding of spelling applications that involve vowel combinations, consonant and syllable patterns, common endings, and unusual spellings.

Standard Adaptive Motion and Lesson Structure

Course-Level Grades K–2:

Based on performance, students at course-level grades K–2 are navigated through a carefully articulated sequence of steps. Movements within these steps are personalized to each student and prerequisite skill mapping improves opportunities for remediation when using the default Reading course.

  • Adaptive Initial Placement: The default Reading course, and optionally for custom by settings courses, places the student at the course level that is most appropriate for the student’s ability in key skills.
  • Guided Practice: The core of the Reading program where the student receives instruction based on the student’s instructional reading level and the appropriate strand level. The grades K–2 sequence is comprised of four lessons in the Lexile levels range 80–410. Additional Text Readers are Lexiled at a higher level to ensure students are exposed to a wider range of vocabulary and to build listening comprehension.
    • Instruction: Focused Instruction introduces the lesson objective.
    • Practice: Interactive Practice and Print Partners provide practice activities.
    • Application: Text Readers provide passages.
  • Remediation: Follows each Guided Practice lesson in the default Reading course when the student is assessed at less than 65% accuracy on responses to phonics, comprehension, or vocabulary items. Remediation activities that are not passed are reintroduced in Delayed Presentation.
  • Fluency Assessment: Enables students to practice their fluency by recording and assessing their performance. Students can practice letters, words, phrases, or familiar texts. Recorded fluency files are stored for teachers to access. Each of the four fluency assessment types is associated with a specific scorecard: Elapsed Time, Retelling, Speed Drill, and Fluency. SuccessMaker provides opportunities for the following two types of fluency instruction:
    • Word Fluency: The ability to read a word correctly on sight. It includes high-frequency words, phonetic words, and phrases.
    • Reading Fluency: The ability to read text with accuracy, speed, and inflection. The practice is comprised of both fiction and non-fiction text, and may include retelling.
  • Delayed Presentation: Presents any items not passed in Remediation. Remediation activities that are not passed in Delayed Presentation are delivered again in Delayed Presentation 2, which follows Independent Practice in the next Guided Practice cycle.
  • Retention: Provides a mixed presentation of retention items or those items that the student passed before moving to the next lesson set.

Course-Level Grades 3–5:

  • Adaptive Initial Placement: The default Reading course, and optionally for custom by settings courses, places the student at the course level most appropriate for the student’s ability in key skills.
  • Guided Practice: The core of the Reading program where the student receives instruction based on the student’s instructional reading level and the appropriate strand level. The grades 3–5 Guided Practice sequence is comprised of four lessons in the Lexile levels range 450–1010. Some Text Readers are Lexiled at a higher level to ensure students are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary and to build listening comprehension.
    • Instruction: Focused Instruction introduces the lesson objective.
    • Practice: Interactive Practice and Print Partners provide practice activities.
    • Application: Interactive Text Readers provide passages.
  • Remediation: Follows each Guided Practice lesson in the default Reading course when the student is assessed at less than 65% accuracy on responses to phonics, comprehension, or vocabulary. Remediation activities that are not passed are reintroduced in Delayed Presentation.
  • Fluency Assessment: Enables students to practice their fluency by recording and assessing their performance. Students can practice letters, words, phrases, or familiar texts. Recorded fluency files are stored for teachers to access. Each of the four fluency assessment types is associated with a specific scorecard: Elapsed Time, Retelling, Speed Drill, and Fluency. SuccessMaker provides opportunities for the following two types of fluency instruction:
    • Word Fluency: The ability to read a word correctly on sight. It includes high-frequency words, phonetic words, and phrases.
    • Reading Fluency: The ability to read text with accuracy, speed, and inflection. The practice is comprised of both fiction and non-fiction text, and may include retelling.
  • Independent Practice: Beginning at grade level 2.5, Independent Practice lessons provide the student with texts and assessments that can be read at an independent reading level. The student will read texts at a lower Lexile level than what is presented in Guided Practice, the student’s instructional reading level, or the level at which motion determines the student can comprehend with 90% accuracy. There is no read-to-me audio support in Independent Practice because students are working at their independent reading level.
  • Delayed Presentation: Presents any items not passed in Remediation. Remediation activities that are not passed in Delayed Presentation are delivered again in Delayed Presentation 2, which follows Independent Practice in the next Guided Practice cycle.
  • Retention: Provides a mixed presentation of retention items or those items that the student passed before moving to the next lesson set.

Course-Level Grades 6–8:

  • Adaptive Initial Placement: The default Reading course, and optionally for custom by settings courses, places the student at the course level that is most appropriate for the student’s ability in key skills.
  • Guided Practice: The core of the Reading program where the student receives instruction based on the student’s instructional reading level and the appropriate strand level. Strategies include the key skills in which readers at the middle grades must be proficient: summarizing, questioning, predicting, previewing, and understanding organizational patterns of text. The grades 6–8 Guided Practice sequence is comprised of three lessons in the Lexile levels range 840–1100 (approximately the end of grade 3 to grade 9).
    • Instruction: Focused Instruction introduces the lesson objective.
    • Practice: Interactive Practice and Print Partners provide practice activities.
    • Application: Interactive Text Readers provide passages.
  • Remediation: Follows each Guided Practice lesson in the default Reading course when the student is assessed at less than 65% accuracy on responses to phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, or spelling items. Remediation activities that are not passed are reintroduced in Delayed Presentation.
  • Independent Practice: Beginning at grade level 2.5, Independent Practice lessons provide the student with texts and assessments that can be read at an independent reading level. The student will read texts at a lower Lexile level than what is presented in Guided Practice, or the level at which motion determines the student can comprehend with 90% accuracy. There is no audio support in Independent Practice because students are working at their independent reading level. Students who successfully complete the top level of the standard Reading course will be able to continue in adaptively-presented Independent Practice lessons of challenging Lexile levels.
    • Mini Vocabulary Passage: Text that consists of 1–2 paragraphs using five targeted vocabulary words in context.
    • Practice: An activity using the five words from the mini passage.
    • Application: A 500–750 word passage of text in the Lexile range of 200–1300 followed by five general comprehension (multiple-choice) questions.
    • Vocabulary Review: The final activity using the five words from the mini passage.
  • Delayed Presentation: Presents any items not passed in Remediation. Remediation activities that are not passed in Delayed Presentation are delivered again in Delayed Presentation 2, which follows Independent Practice in the next Guided Practice cycle.
  • Retention: Provides a mixed presentation of retention items or those items that the student passed before moving to the next lesson set.

Lesson Components

  • Focused Instruction: Introduces the primary objective of each Reading lesson through an animation or a 2 to 3-minute instructional video facilitated by an age-appropriate host. Focused Instruction reinforces a specific skill objective associated with a single strategy.
  • Interactive Practice: Allows the student to experience applied practice in the concept or skill that was presented. These independent activities are driven by skills and objectives, and are designed to address all Reading strands. Supportive feedback provides assistance when students have difficulty with items. Interactive Practice presents 4 to 15 questions or tasks, based on the student’s performance.
  • Interactive Text Readers: Permit students to practice key skills and objectives in context. Text Readers are Lexiled passages followed by a comprehension activity. Each passage text contains art and photos, as well as rollover audio for hyperlinked glossary words. Each Text Reader has assessments that measure comprehension and application of key skills and strategies. The main types of Text Reader assessment activities are multiple-choice questions and highlighting activities in grades K–8. Graphic organizer activities are also used in grades 6–8.
  • Print Partners: Provide for further skill practice after SuccessMaker sessions or as homework, include opportunities for open-ended response, and provide writing practice. Print Partners are PDF files that are printed and completed offline.

Readability and Lexile Metrics of Text Readers

The text in the Text Readers was crafted specifically to address instructional objectives, topics, themes, key vocabulary, and the designated Lexile range for each grade level.

Lexile Metrics

Grade Level

Controlled Texts

Read-Alouds

Lexile-Level Range

Number of Words

Lexile-Level Range

Number of Words

K-1

BR*–850

50–120

200–900

200–500

2-3

420–820

100–400

N/A

N/A

4-5

740–1010

350–500

N/A

N/A

6-8

920–1190

500–650

N/A

N/A

A select number of passages within each grade may fall outside the designated range due to content-specific vocabulary; however, course features such as roll-over audio, corrective feedback, glossary links, and images compensate for the higher readability score.

The Lexile range for grades K–2 is expanded to enable exposure to a variety of texts and topics. Many of the texts in grades K–2 are read-alouds, which means audio support is initially enabled and the texts are read to the students. Students are not expected to read these texts on their own.

These texts are similar to picture books that are read aloud to students in the classroom. The read-alouds provide an opportunity for emergent and early readers to listen to rich text while viewing vivid illustrations, which are essential in developing advanced vocabulary and listening comprehension skills.

In addition to read-alouds, another type of text students can experience is controlled text. Controlled text passages were crafted to address specific phonics objectives, high-frequency vocabulary objectives, and content area objectives. The words students encounter in these texts are words within the program for which they have received focused instruction.

Students have the option of selecting a read-to-me function in a controlled text; therefore, even though the words and phrases in a controlled text passage have been previously introduced to students, they can still request additional support via the audio functionality. The audio support in the controlled text passages is available at the word level in grades K–2. The student is able to select individual words to hear them pronounced correctly.

Suppress Audio Feature for Text Reader and Reading Portal

When creating a custom course or editing an assignment, Teachers can turn off passage text audio for Text Reader and Reading Portal Learning Objects, preventing students from hearing the passage text read aloud.

  • In the Settings tab of the EDIT COURSE or EDIT ASSIGNMENT panel, select On for the new Suppress Audio setting.
  • Audio can be suppressed at the Student, Teacher, or Group assignment level for any new or in-progress assignment.
  • Teachers can also choose to suppress audio when creating a new Custom by Settings, Custom by Skills, or Custom by Standards course.

 

When the student runs a course with Suppress Audio set to On:

  • Passage text audio is disabled for Text Reader and Reading Portal Learning Objects and the Read to Me button is disabled, preventing the student from hearing the passage text read aloud.
  • Auto play, hover text, and click-to-play audio for the passage text WILL NOT play.
  • Instruction audio, activity questions, answer options, Glossary entries, and Coach prompts WILL play.

The default setting when creating a new course is Off. When set to Off, all audio in the course is enabled.

For more information on using the Suppress Audio feature, see "Course Settings for Custom by Settings Reading" in SuccessMaker Online Assistance.

Genre

The texts in SuccessMaker Reading are approximately 40% fiction and 60% nonfiction.

Fiction Genre Includes:
  • Cultural  Fiction
  • Mysteries
  • Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Humorous Fiction
  • Legends
  • Fairy Tales
  • Narratives
  • Pattern and Picture Books
  • Tall Tales
  • Fables
  • Myths
  • Folk Tales
  • Realistic Fiction

NonFiction Genre Includes:

  • Cultural  Fiction
  • Biographies
  • Editorials
  • Pattern and Picture Books
  • Historical Fiction
  • Textbooks
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Magazine and Newspaper Articles
  • Expository Articles
  • Technical Manuals and Instructional Texts
  • Interviews
  • Journals
  • Cultural Nonfiction
  • Encyclopedias
  • Speeches
  • How-To Articles
  • Resources: Dictionaries, Glossaries, and Thesauruses
  • Business and Friendly Letters
Types of Poetry Include:
  • Cinquain
  • Blank Verse
  • Ryme
  • Haiku
  • Free Verse

     

Extension Activities

Offline Print Partners are available for extending practice beyond the student’s computer sessions. Print Partners provide offline reinforcement of key skills, concepts, and strategies, as well as practice with writing in response to open-ended questions or prompts. See Using the Course in Your Classroom.

 

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