Benchmark Advance - 2021 Overview

PH-06408 As a company focused solely on literacy, Benchmark Education is proud to present a new set of literacy resources, Benchmark Advance 2021. At the heart of Benchmark Advance is its structure, designed with a K-6 vertical alignment of knowledge building topics. In this chart you see numbers representing units. There are ten units per grade level. The second column shows the topics which are the focus of the learning for each unit. Notice that each unit focuses on one topic across grade levels. Each unit is three weeks in length, providing time for both students and teachers. Time to build concepts, vocabulary and build content knowledge. This builds equity and access as well as comprehension. Students build knowledge in science and social studies topics as well as literary topics across the entire program. You'll find fifty percent literary reading, fifty percent informational reading.

Another thing you'll find with the program is that it provides ample opportunities for gathering formative and summative assessment data. It includes observational assessments as well as weekly and unit assessments and interim assessments, which are aligned to standards. However, it's important to note that all of these assessments reflect all four levels of DOK questions. So students are getting consistent practice with answering the types of questions they will encounter on state assessments. And item rationales are provided to provide you information about correct and incorrect answer choices and the rationale behind each. This can be useful when providing students constructive feedback.

Assessments are available to be taken online, which mirrors high stakes assessments and includes tech enhanced items types.

We also provide powerful reports to monitor the entire class and also drill down to an individual student with the ability to share information with parents.

In this brief overview video, there are three areas I want to talk about as these are the areas that set us apart from other resources. The texts, the instructional framework and the tools we provide to allow teachers to be responsive.

Let's focus first on the text.

Now, as a company focused only on literacy, we feel very strongly that texts in students' hands should be worth reading. And in Benchmark Advance, we provide texts worth reading in three sets.

We start the literacy block off with text sets slightly above students reading ability through read-aloud. We have available longer read-alouds, meant to be read over a period of time.

But we also listened to teachers and provide short read-alouds, which can be read in one sitting or over a day or two. The texts selected for read-aloud are to help model the love of reading as well as higher level thinking.

These texts were also chosen to develop social and emotional learning.

The next set is our grade level texts. At grades K and one, we have texts in large Lap Book and Big Book formats. So we can continue to read aloud rich literature to our students as they build knowledge. But we know at grades K and one, students are also learning how to read. So we provide student write-in texts called My Reading and Writing, where students actually write in the texts to develop foundational skills.

At grades two and above, the development of comprehension and foundational learning is all in one write-in text. Students will receive ten of these student books, one for each of the units throughout the year. The best part is that students will get to take these home at the end of the three week unit. Students can read, reread these texts with parents and really share the thinking and learning they've recorded in these texts. These are also a great fit for distance learning environments, where students can work from the print book at home!

Authentic literature is included. And author information at the bottom tells you a little more about each piece.

Everything students do in print, they can do online, including highlighting, underlining, and circling. They're also able to have these books read to them if needed.

Our digital platform is called Benchmark Universe. It is a fantastic tool for distance learning as well as in classroom use. It provides 24/7 access to all materials in the program, plus additional digital-only components. It's single sign on for students and teachers as well as caregivers and is accessible by any device. We even have an app that students can use if needed.

Texts were selected to build social and emotional learning, but they were also selected to support diversity. As a literacy company, we've come to understand that it's important for students to see themselves not just in the storylines, but also in the authorship, in our illustrators.

To support teachers' understanding of how to build social and emotional and cultural perspective, we provide information in our Teacher's Guide to help extend the text.

I've talked a great deal about literary and informational text, but what about poetry? We've moved away from poetry as a unit and instead have poetry in every unit. Poetry is meant to be read out loud. And who better to read aloud our poems and deliver them with inflection and interpretation than actors and celebrities?

The third text set we provide is designed for small group and independent time to continue to provide text worth reading in our small group sets. We reached out to trade authors that we work with and asked that they write some of these texts; bringing their rich storytelling into these books.

For grades three through five, we provide a novel study accessible online.

In Benchmark Advance, you can see we provide text sets worth reading. These texts are above students reading level, on their reading level, as well as a text set supporting small group and independent time, all chosen to build social, emotional and cultural perspectives.

Our instructional framework uses these texts to build on research. We know the Science of Reading research calls for a balance, building foundational skill competencies alongside knowledge based competencies.

The literacy block mirrors a gradual release, starting first with a read aloud of those texts at slightly above students' reading level to model higher level skills.

Then the bulk of the time is working on the standards in the form of mini-lessons. Reading, writing, phonics and word study. These are going to be the text sets on grade level.

Then there is a time in the day to work in small group and independent time.

In addition, we have intervention and reteaching lessons built into the program.

To build foundational reading skill competencies based on the research by the Science of Reading; these happen during our phonics and word study mini-lessons.

For grades K, one and two, the phonics mirrors the Science of Reading research and provides explicit, systematic daily lessons.

Each day, students engage in an explicit, systematic framework. First, we start with sounds, moving into letters, then taking these and playing with these letters to blend, build and spell, and teaching kids a handful of high frequency words each week. This framework builds automaticity. Moving kids to being fluent with that skill, bridging to comprehension.

All engaging tools are included in print. But we also have gathered them online in a digital application we call the ePocket chart. Picture cards, letter cards, word cards. They can all be manipulated. Your ePocket charts can be customized, saved and assigned to students!

The Science of Reading research talks a great deal about how phonics should be engaging through multi-sensory multi modalities, which are also included within each lesson. We have alternative learning paths for dyslexia, language transfer support for our English learners, as well as small group time allowing to continue reteaching.

The Science of Reading research also talks about the fact that we have to connect to meaning. And that's exactly what we do in Benchmark Advance. In grades K and one through the write-in text, which we refer to as My Reading and Writing, we allow students to engage in meaningful ways through a gradual release of responsibility.

At the beginning of the week, students practice with the teacher, which we call, We Read and We Write.

Then midweek, the skill is released more to the students through what we refer to as an I Read and I Write. Students are now trying some more on their own, but they are scaffolded by the teacher so that by the end of the week the students are taking it all on by themselves in a decodable text.

Grade two, it is the same, but you'll notice more words, fewer pictures.

This all builds to grades three through five as we shift to more of a word study. We're still focused on phonics, teaching kids how to decode those longer words. But we're also teaching kids the meanings of words using prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin root words.

Independent practice is included online as well as in paper-and-pencil format.

The Science of Reading research focuses on the balance of building knowledge-based competencies alongside the foundational skills learning.

This is done during the reading and writing mini-lessons in Benchmark Advance.

In grades K and one, we read aloud rich literature to students to work on the standards. We then invite them to talk about this learning as we record their thinking. When doing so, we provide support needed for our English Language Learners.

This support is provided through light, moderate, as well as substantial support.

In grades two through five, students are now reading and recording all their thinking on their own.

At the beginning, we asked they set personal learning goals, reflect on these goals, as well as remind them about annotation.

As we move into the lessons, we use a method called Read About It, Talk about it, Write About It as students take on new learning. Here you can see we first ask kids in this lesson to read about it, compare and contrast characters.

Then we give students time to read. And as they're reading, they're annotating. Writing their thinking down about the task. And then they're asked to bring this thinking, these annotations back as we pull them together to have conversations.

Our focus is on constructive conversations using different depths of knowledge levels.

Finally, we ask students to write about it.

Writing in Benchmark Advance is provided in two ways. Often, we'll ask kids to write in response, which is a necessity. Something they often do in science and social studies. But as a literacy company, we know how important it is to develop writers. We call it Process Writing. Kids write longer pieces, focus on the writer's craft, and growing as writers.

Finally, how do we support teachers in being responsive?

We do a lot through allowing kids to practice these skills in small group and independent time.

This could be through intervention, reteaching practices.

We may pull some small groups to work on a whole group strategies through strategy groups.

But we give that third text set so that you can actually differentiate for students during small group time.

These small group texts come with six copies for each title. There is a teacher lesson plan folder as well as a text evidence card. In addition, we provide a set of prompting cards. These cards are designed to stretch students, to move students, through demonstrations, as well as validating what they're doing well.

To support fluency, we provide Reader's Theater. Our Reader's Theater is unique. It is multi-leveled, meaning that each character in the book is written at a different reading level. So all the children can participate in this one book. You just assign them to a character that is closest to the level that they can read.

These work great as in-class performances, but they also work really well as a virtual performances!

All of these books, Reader's Theater, whole group texts, and small group texts are available online. This allows students to read at school as well as from home, supporting literacy instruction in any environment!

Professional development is included, and we will provide the support you need on how to use these materials.

We offer Virtual Professional Development, which incorporates a multi-modular approach to training, including a combination of self-guided modules with videos and note-taking materials.

As well as live guided webinar training sessions with members of Benchmark Educations Professional Development Team.

As a literacy company, our goal is to make sure you have text worth reading that meets social and emotional learning as well as cultural perspectives.

An instructional framework that builds critical thinking through opportunities to Read about it, Talk about it, Write about it. And is aligned to the Science of Reading research.

And provides the right tools to be responsive, including formative and summative assessments and time to practice in small group, independent opportunities, as well as the flexibility to use resources in distance learning if needed.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Benchmark Advance copyright 2021. To learn more, please visit or contact your local sales representative.