We're ADOPTING....a new reading program!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by charliecathywar, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. charliecathywar

    charliecathywar New Member

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    Mar 4, 2008

    Our K-4 school is adopting a new reading program for next year. We have narrowed our search down to two choices: Treasures/Triumphs (MMcMillian) and Houghton Mifflin. Is anybody using these? What do you think? Do the kids like the stories? Workbooks? What about the struggling readers and the intervention piece? Comment on the writing practice providing. All your HONEST opinions will be most appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Mar 4, 2008

    I had to reply to this because our district is adopting a new program next year and has narrowed it down to those two programs as well. We are almost done with a ten week pilot (5weeks per program) of both programs so I have had the opportunity to use both.

    Stories:
    Both programs are good with very interesting stories. The stories in MMH are highly integrated with science and social studies and have a good mix between non-fiction and fiction. HM uses more authentic stories and authors like Patricia Polacco and has more emphasis on fiction. The students have really enjoyed both programs' stories including the decodable readers and the leveled readers.

    Workbooks:
    The MMH program has five workbooks for the entire year. One spelling, one grammar and three leveled practice books that focus on vocab and comprehension. The leveled workbooks were really nice to help with differentiation. HM has two workbooks that cover the first half and second half of the year. These workbooks cover spelling, grammar, vocab, writing and comprehension. HM covers a lot of higher level thinking skills (for 2nd grade) like generalizations and requiring students to find information from the story and making inferences.

    Writing:
    I was honestly not a fan of either writing pieces and really didn't use them that much. That said, I would rate the HM writing higher because it was a bit more relevant and more interesting for the students. (This is my opinion and I wanted to say that some of my teammates disagreed and liked the MMH writing better). I know I'm not much help on this part.:eek:

    Struggling Readers:
    I never saw that intervention pieces for the programs so I can't help there. In terms of struggling readers I have to say that MMH differentiates a little better, although their leveled readers were harder than HM. HM had a lot of tests and "if struggling, then..." work for students who were struggling. So here I would say they equal themselves out except in kindergarten where MMH has leveled readers and HM does not.

    I found that I like the MMH Treasures better from the time I had. I loved the spelling and grammar portions of the program and saw increased spelling and phonics skills in my students. The spelling made the student understand what each word meant increasing their vocabulary as well. MMH had so much stuff ready for you to use with tons of overheads (a bit overwhelming at first!) and teacher's handbooks. MMH had great end of the week tests that were not too long, yet covered all the skills. HM end of week tests are so huge that we have not really been able to use them. I still like the stories better in the HM and feel that there is a little more support with the leveled readers. But, HM is lacking in phonics, phonemic awareness, and grammar.

    I hope that this helps you. Right now it seems like the schools doing the pilot are really split on their opinions of both programs with one school almost fanatically for HM. So my best advice would be to research each program and try to form your own opinion. If you have any more questions feel free to ask!
     
  4. charliecathywar

    charliecathywar New Member

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    Mar 5, 2008

    Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. We will not have the opportunity to pilot either program (What a great idea!). We've just poured over all the materials and are trying to imagine what teaching it would be like....After 5 years of Open Court we are ready for a change!
    Did you feel that Treasures was "direct instruction-like"?
     
  5. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Mar 5, 2008

    I haven't tried either of them, but my school has narrowed the choices down to those two books also. Treasures has a 6 + 1 writing trait portion, which will be a big help since we are integrating that into the curriculum now.
     
  6. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    My district just decided to adopt the Houghton Mifflin program. Personally I liked it the best. I can't remember the other one we were thinking of. I think it was the McMillan. I didn't like McMillan because the weekly tests didn't cover the weekly stories. We would have to create our own tests for the stories. The weekly stories were more standardized test prep. which annoyed me. I just felt that the whole program was standardized test prep. Like cheery said, I did like the 6+1 feature of Treasures. I like the online features you can use with Houghton Mifflin. The stories seem to be good, with good variation between non-fiction, fiction, biographies, etc.
     
  7. Elcsmith

    Elcsmith Companion

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    Mar 5, 2008

    We use HM and I love it. There are tons of great leveled resources and it's perfect for everyone. We are a reading first school and we've seen a ton of growth with HM.
     
  8. purplecrazy21

    purplecrazy21 Comrade

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    Mar 5, 2008

    I use HM and I don't like it. I teach kindergarten and the workbook is too easy for my high kids and way too challenging for the low kids.
    The leveled readers are okay, but the pictures don't match the words. One day we were reading a book about animals. The words were Puppies play. However, the picture showed a group of puppies who were getting ready for a nap.
    That makes it a little hard to teach kids to use picture clues.
    I also notice an imbalance in the material covered each day. Some days, there is far too much material to cover in one reading block. Other days, there isn't enough.
    I don't know about the other series, but I wouldn't choose this series if I had the choice.
    This is just my opinion. :)
     
  9. charliecathywar

    charliecathywar New Member

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    Mar 6, 2008

    Thanks for the feedback. What year did your school adopt HM?
     
  10. heatherdc1980

    heatherdc1980 Rookie

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    Mar 6, 2008

    HM is great, but not in a "standards-based" system

    HM is great, but it is not a menu, it is a *program.* You start with Theme 1 and go through until you finish the program. I think HM does a great job of teaching (and integrating) all elements of literacy.

    That said, do NOT adopt it if you work in a "standards-based" system. HM does not work that way. My district wants teachers to teach one standard at a time and use HM as a "resource." It just doesn't work that way. For HM to be effective, you must follow the program, supplementing as necesssary to hit the standards.

    (I must reveal my bias that I think "standards-based" is a lot of hooey.) :p
     
  11. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Mar 6, 2008

    I wrote state reviews for basal reading programs in 4th-8th grades and had a chance to review both programs as well as a dozen others. I rated these among the top 3. Our system adopted for this school year and went with MMH. We liked the fresh reads for test prep as well as the leveled readers which do integrate a lot of science and social studies.
     
  12. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    MMH is very much direct instruction and there is a lot to the program. It takes a while to get a system down so you are not spending 2+ hours teaching reading (not including leveled groups). There is a lot to it, but I think it gives you so many more options.

    I agree with the poster who said that HM has a lot on some days and very little on others. It can be kind of hard to come up with stuff for the days where there is not a lot of material. I found that I am supplementing a lot more than you should have to.

    But again, it is really what you want and need and it is obvious that there are a lot of mixed feelings on both programs.
     
  13. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Companion

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    Mar 7, 2008

    I'm curious what tests you use with the HM. We have not been able to find a test with HM that is not 10+ pages long and all multiple choice, or tests that are two pages long with really obscure questions. If you can give some insight I would appreciate it because we are at a loss.

    I do agree that the MMH tests do not cover the reading, but they use a story that is almost identical so it didn't really bother me.
     
  14. ashley57

    ashley57 Comrade

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    Mar 8, 2008

    I like that as well. Currently, we have Harcourt and I don't feel like I have testing resources that tell me what a kid CAN do. I expect them to do well on a shared reading story (we've read and discussed ALL WEEK). I like to see what they can do with the skills taught on a cold read.

    I didn't get to check out HM, but we just adopted MMH over Harcourt for next year.
     
  15. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Mar 10, 2008

    When I taught fourth grade, we used HM. I loved the stories in the basal. Now that I am teaching fifth, we have a SteckVaughn that I dislike. I have gone away from the basal when needed , and brought in my own books to use during guided reading. So far, it has worked.
     
  16. little317

    little317 Groupie

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    Mar 10, 2008

    We are adopting Treasures for next year. The thought of having leveled readers in kdg is going to be such a great bonus! The stories in Treasures truly go along with the themes, something that is going to be such an improvement from our current Harcourt Reading. Oh and there are also going to be those new flipcharts for the different centers....even science and social studies! This will mean a lot less planning.

    Someone had mentioned that Treasures is primarily direction instruction. I agreee! However, the students will benefit from it and the program reviews old concepts quite frequently.

    I am not familiar with the new HM program. The last time I set eyes on it was back in 2005. I'm sure that there are great benefits to that program as well.

    With any program you will have to pick and choose what you use and what you can really cover. You are also going to have to supplement as well.
     

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