Educational Research Analysts  November 2009 Newsletter  
PDFof this page  
Comparison of 1st grade Phonics instruction in new Reading programs approved for 2010 local Texas adoption
SRA Texas
SRA / McGraw  ©2010
Macmillan  ©2011
Scott Foresman Texas
Pearson  ©2011
Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt  ©2011
overall ranking ⇒ BEST BETTER BETTER FAIR
decodability1 97% 93% 93% 93%
% of student reading selections
that are at least 80% decodable
(310 of 316 selections)
(229 of 245 selections)
(435 of 469 selections)
(366 of 407 selections)
% of student reading selections
that are at least 90% decodable
(294 of 316 selections)
(196 of 245 selections)
(359 of 469 selections)
(324 of 407 selections)
# of phonetically-IRREGULAR
words taught as sight words
55 82 96 82
# of phonetically-REGULAR words taught
as sight words before they are decodable
24 66 92 113
("LSCs"=letter-sound correspondences)
of 70 LSCs
+30 more
of 70 LSCs
+37 more
of 70 LSCs
+19 more
of 70 LSCs
+20 more
strengths &
weaknesses of
Unique 14-week review
after teaching 100 LSCs.

Extra LSCs include schwa,
long u spelled -ue, -ew;
long oo spelled -ue, u, u_e;
/aw/ spelled augh, ough;
/er/ spelled ear;
long e spelled -ey.
Teaches schwa. Teaches
many of the extra LSCs only
briefly. More-thoroughly
taught extra LSCs include
/or/ spelled oar, ore;
long oo spelled u_e, u, -ue,
ou; /Ôr/ spelled ear, are, air;
/aw/ spelled augh.
Two of the more-
thoroughly taught
extra LSCs are
/or/ spelled -ore
and long oo
spelled -ue or ui.
Extra LSCs include
silent g, silent w,
silent b after m; long oo
spelled ou, u-e, u, -ue.
Only program to
omit a as in all
intensiveness3 1,115
practice opportunities
practice opportunities
practice opportunities
practice opportunities
oral vocabulary alignment4 yes yes yes yes

1 DECODABILITY:  For each 1st grade reading selection, we added the phonetically-regular words, all of whose sounds have been taught, plus the phonetically-irregular words that have been taught, and divided by the total number of words. The figure shown here averages all those quotients.
2 COMPREHENSIVENESS:  We identified 70 letter-sound correspondences (LSCs) often taught in Grade 1, and found how many of these each program covers. We also list all additional LSCs each program teaches in Grade 1.
3 INTENSIVENESS:  We counted how often each program has 1st graders practice (i.e., see, hear, say, and write) three LSCs in their introductory lessons, and also compared four randomly selected blending lessons. The figure shown here is the total for all seven exercises.
4 ALIGNMENT:  We checked whether each program avoids asking 1st graders to recognize or "read" phonetically-regular "Oral Vocabulary" words before learning all their LSCs. (None of these programs' Reading and Writing components fully align with their Phonics strands.)
Request our thorough documentation on these programs featuring the percentage of decodable words in each reading selection, a list of the letter-sound correspondences taught by each program, and noted instances of misalignment.
Publishers tout teaching aids. We stress phonics content. Publishers hype their strengths. We include their weaknesses. No textbook publisher funds us in any way. Unlike publisher sales reps, we have no monetary interest in any adoption. We have no financial stake in the textbook industry. Our support comes from individuals and a few small foundations, which to our knowledge have no ties to any textbook company.
next page
For full, fast, FREE documentation, send us an email !