Kindergarten Reading Programs–NOT all created equal

The Question:
My school is looking to adopt a new reading curriculum. We use Open Court right now. Any opinions on what the best overall curriculum is for reading?
The Answers:
Jenn Boudreau
Scott Foresman Reading Street is a decent program.
Kristy Reece
Stay away from Imagine It!
Kelly Durnan Egan
Colleen Harvey Martini
Kimberly Parrish
I used Treasures with my k-kiddos and we loved it
Regina Barrett
Open Court is great but we use Scott Foresman and it is good too.
Nadine Inglis Berger
 I agree…I’ve been stuck with Imagine It!/Open Court for years.
Danielle Savage
I like Treasures for whole group, but the little readers are too easy for my class. Our district did not buy the above level little readers for Kinder. Maybe if we had those, i’d like Treasures better…
Erin Martinez
 We’re doing Success For All right now and their kinder curriculum ROCKS!
Megan Curry
 Fountas & Pinnell phonics program is FABULOUS!!! my district pairs it with Interactive Read Alouds (Hoyt)… Love love love, and very research based
Mandie Warmuth
 Scott Foresman Reading Street is okay. Wish we had something better but it serves its purpose.
Ann Filippone
We use Read Write and Listen.. McMillan or McGraw?? Very good program as is uses whole language with phonics and the students do very well with it.
MaryAlice DeWitt
 I can’t tell you how wonderful Treasures by McMillan McGraw Hill has been for my students!
Elizabeth Bladt
 We are a Reading Mastery school for K-4…’s intense and takes lots of time, but it’s amazing to see what good readers they’ve become already!
Courtney Cagle Davis
Storytown is a very balanced program. The writing component is not my fav, but the leveled readers are very good.
Brenda Smith Browning
We do guided reading with leveled books. No added expense, for curriculum, other than purchasing new guided reading selections and often these are purchased through grant monies.
Hellena Clemons
Fountas & Pinnell guided reading and phonics program also American Reading Company 100 book challenge program
Rachel Nestor Savage
 For Hellena-we do ARC 100 book challenge. Where are you located and how is it working out for your district?
Melissa Rosenberg Pavonarius
Do NOT use Imagine It! This is my first year using it and I am very disappointed in it 😦
Latisia Craig
NOT LBD (literacy by design) it is super repetitive and the kids get bored!!!
Jennifer Gilbert
I’m with Brenda– we do guided reading using leveled books. We do also use some of the Fountas & Pinnell phonics material. I have a hard time with purchased basal series when there are so many amazing free resources out there!
Elizabeth Grum
Superkids by the Rowland reading foundation.….awesome prek – 2 program. The kids love it & it is highly engaging. Phonics based but covers it all. Teachers Love it & so do parents. It is amazing to see what my kids are reading & writing right now bc of this program
Sharon Bohn
Not Journeys! This is our second year with the program and my team does not like many of the aspects of the program
Dawn Ohl
Texas Treasures is a great program. Comes with a lot of good resources.
Jessica Abrams
 I use the SuperKids reading series as is the first year with the program but the teachers, kids, and parents love it. I am amazed at how well they are doing!
Lorena Molina Verdial
We are in loooove with Journeys! Besides the Language Arts Curriculum it has, we also do guided reading with Fountas and Pinell leveled reading books. What don’t you like about Journeys Sharon Bohn? Please share.
Catherine Cason Rutkoski
We use Harcourt Trophies…do not like it at all!
Stephanie Lee Jaros
Don’t get Harcourt Trophies! Can’t WAIT until we get rid of it.
Amanda Houck
 We love SUPERKIDS!! The kids get so pumped about our SK lessons- they talk about it even when it’s not “reading” time… they’re excited ,we’re excited and they’re reading!!!
Kylee Jackson Miller
stay away from ReadWell. It seems to be doing the job, but I don’t like it, I think it’s boring for the kids and parents are annoyed with the program too. 😦
Kimberley Bayly Du
Harcourt Trophies is TERRIBLE!!! Do NOT get that!
Kendre Von Stetten
Storytown is great!!
LeaAnna Whitfield
We’ve always done Shared Book and guided reading w/literacy centers – a very balanced approach. It was great when everyone was trained. I have NEVER been a fan of basal programs. As time went on we had a large staff turnover and we desperately needed something that new teachers could use and be successful with. We just adopted Treasures and it seems to be very balanced and comprehensive. My district purchased most of the components and the things they didn’t are available online. It’s definitely worth checking into.
Angie Babcock Geiger
After teaching for kdg for 18 years, I have come to believe that no PROGRAM is best. I am fortunate to teach at a school where Balanced Literacy is our philosophy – we use what works to meet each child where they are (we’re using Daily 5/CAFE, Words Their Way, The Secret Stories, and Reader’s/ Writer’s Workshops with conferring). I’ve never been happier… I’ve always found programs to be too stifling, prescriptive, and uncreative. I know they are beneficial to brand new teachers, but with a strong, collaborative environment, experienced teachers can guide and mentor new teachers and be effective with a balanced philosophy. My students are absolutely excelling!
Jennifer Holbert-Herman
Keep Open Court! My district made the switch to H.M. and I find myself having to supplement all the time.
 Lisa Bourquin Bell 
Do NOT adopt LBD (Literacy by Design) for Kindergarten. We despise it for our kinders. You read the same book for 2 weeks! The phonics lessons are terrible as well. It is especially awful for EL students.
Latisia Craig
I agree with Angie, there is no one program that is going to fit every student, you should weigh the options and get loads of grade level books, use the books to collaboratively plan to use those.
Sarah Hudson
I like Houghton Mifflin. It has 10 themes, many wonderful stories, a nice big rhyme book, fun Alphafriends. Of course you have to supplement, rearrange, etc. but overall it’s been great for our students.
Rachel Honley
We started ECAR (Every child a reader) and we have seen amazing results. And I teach at a school of 97% poverty and we are on year 8 of school improvement.. Last year (first year of the program) we met standards. I have seen amazing growth in all my students! And the training for the program was the best literacy training I’ve had.
Chaya Phillips 
We have Treasures National. It’s pretty good if you get all the pieces. We had the Florida edition and I didn’t like it so much, but now that we have access to the National edition and the great supplemental resources on line, I like it.
Carol Hulen Milhollin
 Leveled Literacy Intervention by Fountas and Pinnell- good for small guided reading groups
Jessica Keim 
Can’t believe the votes for Storytown. I am definitely not impressed with it – after 5 years of it – YUCK!
Pamela Pine Martin 
We use Houghton Mifflin but are switching to Fountas and Pinell. So far we have the test kits, but no leveled readers. We are not using the testing materials until we have some support materials. We really liked the HM curriculum.
Trisha Mac Donald Cox 
A core/program does not teach a child. Whatever “program” selected should have many texts, a variety of non- fiction and fiction and be supplemented with real world reading. It is the professional in the classroom that much have the knowledge! It boils down to time in text. I would suggest aligning the samples up against the Common Core.
Marcy Marker
 Completely agree with Trisha MacDonald Cox! Also, what works for other grade levels most generally does not work well with Kindergarten. I have taught for 23 years all in Kindergarten and have seen many reading programs come and go and it all comes down to providing those experiences in MANY different ways but get them submursed in text and writing.
Maggie Beattie
 Too many publishers taking over as”curriculum” YES-it is the professional in the classroom. Something to be said for back to the basics: PHONICS. Agreed, should provide a multitude of experiences, use of technology, ways of adapting, and especially FUN! And back to adding more input from the experienced kindergarten teachers to what goes into the final curriculum product. (please excuse my grammar/lack of sentence structure: too much use of modern technology.
Jenna Lee 
Our school uses Journeys from k-5. I teach kindergarten and I love all the components except the centers they offer. They are unrealistic for the age. The program was built around RTI… Assessments are great. I love working with the program and the kids have responded well to it! 🙂
Rachel Taylor 
I love our Reading Street curriculum for my Kindergarteners! It has great components, center activities, and books that are age appropriate.
Jill Shearburn-persinos
 Montessori. It’s individualized and developmentally appropriate. Also, it is whole brain. Not a curriculum per se, but a process.
Cecilia Doyle
A few of you hit it on the head…we teach children, not programs. The “program” is just one tool that we use (have to ) to see that all children are learning the skills needed to be successful. I think we all have to supplement, modify, adapt, and create whatever we as professionals know is best for the students in our class each year. No “1 program” will ever meet the needs of every child .Trusts yourselves to do what you know your students need. ….Our district uses HM but I supplement with Fundations and many other things.
Nancy Carr Dunnagan
 LetterLand phonics! Lots of fun to teach!
Sarah Hudson 
I love following the themes and pacing of Houghton Mifflin, but of course pick and choose which lesson, forget the dumb phonics books and workbooks, and supplement, supplement, supplement.
Jennifer Reinhart
 I like the leveled readers in the h.m. LA materials. I 100% agree with the others who have addressed the importance of using your curriculum materials as tools only, and skip and supplement as needed for your learners. Hands on, follow their interests, and lots of time in books reading!
Andrea Fink 
I use Scott Foresman Reading Street, it’s okay, the phonics piece is terrible so I supplement with Starfall and Sadlier phonics. Looked into other options like super kids, but it’s not research based. I practice balance literacy in my classroom so I use different programs like fundations, the daily 5 etc.
Marilyn Little Huff 
Sopris West Read Well, whole and small group! It can not be beat! LOVE it!

6 thoughts on “Kindergarten Reading Programs–NOT all created equal

  1. Do you have an updated list? Perhaps you can ask the twitter world too? Currently trying to find something.

  2. I am a reading specialist and do not recommend the Superkids Reading Program. It was selected by our superintendent without input from teachers. It is a Phonics laden, repetitious, skill and drill program. The program claims to be a “one size fits all” program that addresses all aspects of the reading process, but the program fails miserably to address higher level comprehension. Readers need many tools in their toolbox to assist them when reading, not simply blending sounds and phonics, especially when the text becomes more complex. Less than 50% of words can be sounded out! My Kindergarten readers and average to above average 1st-2nd grade readers are bored out of their mind and losing the love of reading due to this program. The cute cartoon characters and catchy songs become much less interesting to 1st and 2nd graders. An integrated guided reading approach is much more effective. A one size fits all scripted program like Superkids is not the answer. This program could be used for non-readers but only initially or for remedial students struggling with fluency, but the rest of the population is not served well. The homework is non challenging and no better than the old phonics workbooks we use to see years ago. Also, the novels they list are all grade level and not surprisingly contain American girl doll titles. What about high achieving, advanced readers who are several grade levels beyond these novels? They need to read at their instructional reading level for growth to occur. You need guided reading to individualize and differentiate. Phonics can be integrated nicely within meaningful literature. We need to allow our teachers to be the professionals and not expect a one size fits all program like Superkids to be the magic bullet!

  3. Well said Angie. We teach a Balanced Literacy program and our district has embraced this best practice for reading and writing instruction. We use Fountas & Pinnell for phonics and their leveled readers along with Rigbys. We teach reading and writing through Readers Workshop (Daily Five) and Guided Reading and Writers Workshop. Other components we incorparete are Shared Reading and writing, independent reading (DEAR) and Making Words. I don’t have a problem with some of the basals, it does deliver a nice package BUT if you follow the basal to the “T” and don’t have an abundant of leveled readers for them to read and introduce only 1 book week, THAT is where I have a problem. They can handle more than one book a week! Love my school, and parental support is amazing!

  4. I dislike Treasures. We are fortunate to have amazing resources in my county for comprehension strategy instruction and an amazing leveled book room at my school. I’ve never had a “series” I’d like. We just adopted Treasures…what a waste of 6 million!!!!!!!!

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