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225 Friend Street, Suite 704
Boston, MA 02114

617-725-0000

ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Identifying a high-quality literacy resource

Criteria to look for to ensure literacy resources are worth your—and your students'—time.

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We’ve all been there: Maybe it’s Sunday night; maybe you have a few precious minutes of planning time. You’re scrambling to prepare a lesson and you think, why reinvent the wheel? Let’s check the interwebs! You google your topic and…28,000,000 results pop up. How on Earth do you decide what might be worth using with your students?

We compiled the following set of criteria to look for to ensure that literacy resources are high-quality and worth your timeand your students' time.  

  • Texts are authentic and complex, and include reading, writing, and discussion questions that are based on the text and scaffold toward the key understanding(s) of the text.

  • Materials include scaffolded, text-dependent questions and writing tasks that are aligned to grade-level standards, not anchor-level standards.

  • Texts and questions push students to build world knowledge and don’t focus solely on discrete literacy skills in isolation from the text.

  • Materials provide multiple opportunities for students to express their thinking through a variety of question types and tasks.

  • Learning activities place the majority of “heavy lifting” on students, rather than teachers.

Once you’ve found a high-quality resource, you’ll want to think about your plan for internalizing the instructional materials. Read more about how to leverage planning meetings to deepen your understanding of the unit or lesson, including guidance around how to strategically adapt resources to fill gaps in curricula or support individual student needs.

And because we want to point you in the right direction, here are links to some of the highest-quality, CCSS-aligned literacy resources available to educators, free of cost:

Curriculum from Expeditionary Learning

Curriculum from Expeditionary Learning

Curriculum from Odell Education

Curriculum from Odell Education

Lessons and text sets from Achieve the Core

Lessons and text sets from Achieve the Core

Curriculum from EngageNY

Curriculum from EngageNY

Fluency guides from UnboundEd

Fluency guides from UnboundEd

Basal Alignment Project from Achieve the Core

Basal Alignment Project from Achieve the Core

Projects and resources from Vermont Writing Collaborative

Projects and resources from Vermont Writing Collaborative