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What if, as a teacher, you were free to explore great stories right along with your students? Blackbird & Company Integrated Literature and Writing Discovery Guides have been designed with this goal in mind. Over time, the curriculum will enable your students to work independently, freeing you to mentor them in the art of reading and writing.

Our Discovery Method™ helps students develop an integrated tradition of reading and writing. As they engage in the consistency of paced exercises, students will confidently respond to textual structures and practice the mechanical tasks that enable them to read for purpose and write for real. When the program is utilized longitudinally, students will develop habits that permit them to discover the rich and diverse potential of story while engaging in increasingly challenging content.

Beginning at the beginning is a very great place to start. Our entry level Earlybird units offer an opportunity for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students, who are ready to write, to explore great stories and practice emergent decoding and encoding skills. Students in Levels 1 through 4 will read closely and respond in depth to six books over the course of the school year. Because our program is an integrated approach to literary analysis and writing, the majority of literacy standards are met and surpassed as you empower your students to be mentored by great stories.

Each guide is completed over the course of five to six weeks. While our program is designed to be used longitudinally, we’ve allowed room for you to choose the four titles for Earlybirds or the six titles for Levels 1 through 4 that will enhance your individual goals and be most inspiring to readers.

Our Earlybird through Level 3 Discovery Guides provide a scaffolding to pace students through the weekly reading assignment, moving them seamlessly into journaling activities:

Journal (note taking) Taking notes is a foundational skill that will accompany students through their entire educational journey and is practiced each week at all levels. Students will take note of character development, trace the setting, and watch the plot thicken.

Acquire (vocabulary) Students will explore the wonder of vocabulary as they learn definitions and use words from the weekly reading in a new way.

Recollect (comprehension & writing) Sentences are the building blocks of strong writing, and so students are given ample opportunity to practice so that the skill becomes automatic. This accomplished, the young writer will be equipped to do the important work of communicating an original idea. Earlybird guides begin to model complex sentences and provide opportunities for little ones to participate in collaborative sentence writing with word bank and complete-the-thought exercises. By the end of each year, students will have crafted more than 250 sentences.

Explore (writing & discussion) Students will respond to a writing prompt inspired by some aspect of the week’s reading. Earlybird students will have twenty opportunities to journal creatively in response to the book read. After completing six guides over the course of a year, students in Levels 1 through 3 will have crafted twenty-four expanded paragraph responses. Having the opportunity to regularly work through the process of crafting original, authentic writing, student competency soars. Additionally, at the end of each weeks section, our Discover Guides provide discussion questions as a starting point to reflect upon the story and strengthen critical thinking.

Glean (creative project) During the fifth week, the student is encouraged to celebrate the book by crafting a culminating project.

At Level 4, high school students will create a weekly reading journal, considering themes, symbols, and motifs. Each week they will participate in the crafting of constrained writing (writing limited in scope). Practicing to communicate a synopsis in exactly 150 words, and a personal reflection in exactly 300 words will not only help students synthesize and apply the reading, but help them recognize that every word counts. At the end of the reading, during week five, students are guided through the process of crafting an original essay inspired by the book.

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