1. Do Blackbird & Co. materials meet Common Core and/or state instructional standards?

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Of all the FAQs, this is one of the most frequent!

The answer is a complicated YES! Our scope and sequence document demonstrates BBCo’s year by year curricular alignment with common ELA standards.

It’s important to begin by remembering that academic standards are the skills necessary for success in a subject area.

How do we know if students are learning the right things at the right times? This is the question that is in the mind of educators who develop learning standards, as well as teachers, and parents. However, a more pertinent question is, how do I move an individual learner toward skill mastery? Not every child will pace at the same rate. For example, when it comes to language arts, kindergartners will be focused on learning the phonics of reading and writing, while 2nd graders will be spending much of their time putting phonics into practice. Some students might need phonics practice well into their mid elementary years. Still others will need extra one-on-one teaching to remediate their understanding of phonics. The reality is, children are unique individuals, and standardized checklists don’t always work.

With this in mind, let’s remember, standards lead to benchmarks. A common benchmark for kindergarten might be that students end the year able to read and write simple phonetic words such as lamp, splat, swish. A 3rd grade benchmark might be the ability to confidently craft a simple 5 sentence paragraph. In middle school, the benchmark might be the ability to craft a simple descriptive essay.

To accomplish any of these benchmarks, students must acquire many skills. Standards are the checklists of skills that will enable them to meet these types of benchmarks. Educational standards are grade-by-grade learning goals that will allow them to read, write, speak, listen and think well.

Individuals who use our materials will move forward year-by-year gaining individualized mastery of the sequence of ELA standards that lead to literacy. For this reason we have created ELA Benchmark Tracking checklist and worksheets.

ELA Benchmarks Checklist K–2
ELA Benchmarks Checklist 3–5
ELA Benchmarks Checklist 6–8
ELA Benchmarks Checklist 9–12
ELA Benchmarks Tracking Sheet

2. Where can I see samples?

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Blackbird & Co. Materials and Student Work Samples

Student Projects

Can’t find what you are looking for? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

3. How do I determine the best place for my child to begin?

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When evaluating skill level for placement, it is important to consider writing ability in conjunction with reading ability. Often times, (but not always) students will read above their ability to write. It is also better to slightly underestimate skill level to ensure foundational skills are solid before advancing.

Explore our general guidelines here:

Placement landing page

For detailed learning objectives, take a look here:

Scope and Sequence chart

4. Does your curriculum cover phonics, spelling and handwriting?

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Hatchling Kindergarten, and First Grade Level Collection is an all-inclusive ELA program that includes multisensory and systematic phonics instruction, an introduction to sight vocabulary, spelling, handwriting, and journaling. Hatchling Volume 1 for kindergarten introduces students to the beginning of phonics—consonants, short vowel sounds, blends and digraphs. Hatchling Volume 2 will continues introducing the second, more advanced phonics patterns—long vowel patterns, vowel partners, bossy consonants, double consonants, silent consonants, and word endings. Students in 1st grade will also be introduced to and practice the four types of sentences. At the 2nd Grade Level, students will have completed the study of phonics and will be reading at an emergent level, able to write words, phrases, and compose very simple sentences. During 2nd grade, students will be applying skills to move toward a more independent level of writing. Earlybird activities include journaling connected to the stories they are reading, describing characters with singular words, tracing the plot with model sentences, and exploring vocabulary from the story.

We also offer a free resource for spelling at this level:

The Big Word.

5. Is the moveable alphabet useful beyond the Hatchling years (K & 1st grade)?

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In kindergarten and 1st grade, the moveable alphabet is used to independently practice phonics that have been introduced. But it is a terrific multisensory tool to use with older elementary students to practice spelling.

Moveable Alphabet

6. Is there a comprehensive list of everything included in each Grade Level Collection?

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Yes! Our Unboxing Checklists and Unboxing Videos are available to introduce you to the materials included in our Grade Level Collections.

Unboxing Checklists

Unboxing Videos

7. What is meant by CORE and APPLICATION when discussing your curriculum?

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The CORE of our ELA curriculum is our Integrated Literature & Writing units. When it comes to learning English Language Arts, much of the exceptional work that your students will accomplish is subjective in nature tied to their ideas. As we value these ideas—their discoveries from reading tied to their observations and previous knowledge—and challenge them to catalog and craft these ideas over time, literacy skills soar.

Each week, our CORE offering follows a similar format with ample room for students to catalog their observations and bring shape to their ideas. Students will read and journal on character development, setting, and plot. They will explore rich vocabulary unique to the story, and will trace the plot more deeply as they answer comprehension questions with complete sentences. In 3rd grade, the weekly paragraph is introduced. Students are supported with a simple scaffolding as they craft their response to a prompt that is connected to the week’s reading. Students will learn to move from a rough draft to a final, polished work. Each section culminates with an opportunity for robust discussion.

CORE offers a consistent scaffolding that guides students on a journey through great stories over time, challenging them to not only catalog their ideas and grow their vocabulary, but also to bring shape to an idea in the form of a weekly paragraph.


APPLICATION materials offer focused opportunities along the way to develop specific writing skills—vocabulary development, sentence construction using varied parts of speech, punctuation, and rhetorical device. These materials provide opportunities to explore specific domains of writing—narrative, persuasive, descriptive, imaginative—within various forms—paragraphs, micro stories, research, essays, poems.

Our Application offerings are divided into two categories:

Application 1 (Grammar / Mechanics / Style)

  • Storymaker (2nd – 4th grade)
  • One True Sentence, Parts of Speech (3rd grade)
  • One True Sentence, Punctuation (4th grade)
  • Tools of Style 1 (5th grade)
  • Tools of Style 2, 3, and 4 (6th – 8th grade)
  • Operation Lexicon (2nd – 12th grade)

Application 2 (Research / Composition / Creative Writing)

  • Research People (3rd – 5th grade)
  • Introduction to Poetry (7th grade)
  • Small Forms Poetry (8th grade)
  • More Small Forms Poetry (9th grade)
  • Introduction to Composition: The Essay, Volume 1, 2, and 3 (7th – 8th grade)
  • Intermediate Composition Little Worlds (9th grade)
  • Intermediate Composition: The Persuasive Essay (10th grade)
  • Advanced Composition: The Long Research Paper (11th and 12th grade)

8. How do I know if my student will be instructed in the various forms of writing?

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Utilizing our complete ELA materials over time, students will be engaged in the art and rigor of writing and will write across many domains in CORE, including both fiction and non-fiction. Students will participate in research writing beginning in the 2nd grade and moving forward. Compositional writing is tackled in middle school, and continued in high school, culminating with the long research paper in 11th and 12th grade.

Writing Domains

9. How do I order?

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One-click shopping: Grade Level Collections

Our Grade Level Collections are carefully curated to give you everything you need for the school year when it comes to English Language Arts. At each level we’ve included six CORE Integrated Reading & Writing units, plus an appropriate collection of APPLICATION materials (vocabulary development, mechanics, style, non-fiction research, composition, creative writing).

Build your own collection: Shop for curriculum à la carte

Browse our à la carte section if you want to choose individual items.

Curate your own 2nd through 12th grade collection!

Follow the link to our How to Buy guide. A complete collection can be built with items from each of these categories

A) CORE: Integrated Literature & Writing (Use Hatchling products for K and 1st grade)

B) APPLICATION: Convention and Style

10. What about Answer Keys?

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Writing is an art form, and as such, much of your student’s work will be subjective in nature. This said, we have created Answer Keys for material that is objective.

Answer Keys

11. Tell me about the Teacher’s Manual?

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Our curriculum is designed with a built in “Teacher-Mentor” to support each step of the student’s journey. Both CORE and APPLICATION materials have instructions, strategies, and pacing embedded into the student guides. “How To” information in the front of each guide plus instructional prompts along the way will make the journey clear.

A “Teacher Helps” volume is tied to both Hatchling Volumes 1 and 2, plus Integrated Literature and Writing CORE Levels 1, 2, and 3. Taking time to read through this thin volume will help you understand what is being expected of your child along the way. It will also provide strategies that will enable you to support and inspire learning.

Ultimately, when it comes to language arts learning, much of the exceptional work that students accomplish will be subjective in nature—their ideas. When we value the ideas of the student—their discoveries from reading, their observations—and challenge them to write these ideas well, the outcome, over time, is that literacy skills soar.

If your student is using our Level 4 high school units, there are no specific “answer keys” per se because the work is subjective—note taking in response to the reading. At this level, students are given a bank of characters, themes, symbols, and motifs to pay attention to as they read each week’s section. After reading, students will be directed to journal their observations. What will help you support your student is to 1) Read along, 2) Take some time to read closely the “How To” pages in the front of one of the student guides (all instructional material in the front of the student guides is the same), and 3) Support your student in journaling authentic ideas. Reading + Journaling is the preparation for crafting the culminating essay. At the end of the guide there is a very specific self-directed process that will allow your student to determine whether or not the main idea of the essay is being communicated well. This is a process that you should become familiar with in order to best support your student. Scouring any single guide will help you become familiar with the process.

12. Do you offer on-line Classes?

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Yes! Our live Pages online sessions meet weekly for two to five weeks. Join us for a deep dive into great stories! Each week our exceptional instructors will lead discussion of the reading and offer insight to inspire students to think deeply about the story’s action. Conversing and thinking about books is a terrific spark for original ideas. And original ideas motivate students to write! After the gathering, your student will submit weekly writing and receive individualized written feedback from the teacher via an online portal. Please see website for schedule and cost.

Pages Online Classes

13. Do you have a grade-level correlation for each grade level pack?

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This depends on if you are looking at our Core, Literature + Writing Discovery units or, the companion Applicational pieces.

For “Core”, each button represents a grade level or a cluster of grade levels.


For “applicational”, grade level is determined in the Grade Level Collections, but also at the a la carte purchase point. For example, Storymaker, is designed for 2nd and 3rd and 4th grade. When purchasing a la carte, the order of these thematic writing units makes no difference. Operation Lexicon (our vocabulary development) ranges from grade 2 through 12 and this is delineated with numerals. One True Sentence (our grammar, mechanics, and style piece) runs from 3rd through 8th grade. Book A and B are recommended for 3rd and 4th grade, while Books 1 through 4 are 5th through 8th respectively.

Research People units are recommended for students in grades 3 through 6. Here again, when purchasing a la carte, simply choose people of choice, 2 to 4 units per year. The two science units (Taxonomy or Elemental Journal) are appropriate for student’s 5th through 8th grade.

The Introduction to Composition and Poetry units are designed for middle school writers.

We are working to add more details about purchasing a la carte, but I hope this helps in the meantime. Taking a peek at our curation of the Grade Level Collections might help you in conjunction with the above details.

14. Do you have a reference sheet of tax, shipping and handling fees I can use to calculate final cost on my order?

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Unfortunately, we do not have a reference sheet. Here is a way to estimate: Type in a typical order with a shipping address as if you were going to purchase on our website. This will give you a good estimate for shipping and tax. Our curated Grade Level Collections vary quite a bit by size and weight. Ordering items a la carte creates an even more unique size and weight situation! Basically, shipping cost is dependent on weight. We do not charge a handling fee.

MAYBE a new page? I will research more recommendations.

15. Do you recommend math, history and science curriculum to pair with Grade Level Collections?

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We recommend the following:

History – Beautiful Feet Books:


Beast Academy


Math – Teaching Textbooks


Science – Blackbird and Company

Taxonomy of Living Things: Introduction to Animals – Bundle

Taxonomy of Living Things: The Five Kingdoms – Bundle

Elemental Journal – Bundle

Science – Beautiful Feet Books



16. Are you an approved charter school vendor?

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We are approved vendors for many charter schools. If you are not sure about your particular school, please contact us or ask your school representative. If we are not already vendors for your school, we are happy to go through the application process. For more info, give us a call or use our contact form.

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