NRRF - Analyses of Grade 1 Reading Programs Texas

Analyses of Grade 1 Reading Programs

We have just received notice of a fine evaluation of Grade 1 Reading programs recently completed by Educational Research Analysts from Longview, Texas. It analyzes the programs named for the state of Texas' 2000 adoption and includes all improvements ordered by the Texas State Board of Education. Their introduction and analyses follow:

As you consider Grades K-3 Reading series submitted for 2000 local Texas adoption, you might be interested in the results of our eight-month, in-depth analyses of their Grade 1 programs. The comparison chart on the next page covers the decodability issue addressed by Texas' State Board of Education last November, plus other important elements in mastering reading skills.

No publisher funded these reviews in any way. We have no financial stake in any textbook company. Unlike publishers' sales reps, we have no monetary interest in any textbook adoption outcome. Our support comes from concerned individuals and a few small foundations, none of whom to our knowledge have any connection with the public school textbook industry.

Emphasis on mastery of reading skills
in Grade 1 Reading programs as approved for 2000 local Texas adoption
(including all improvements ordered by Texas’ State Board of Education)


(SRA/McGraw, 2000)
(McGraw, 2001)
(Harcourt, 2000)
(Addison, 2000)
(Scholastic, 2000)
(International Learning, 1998)
(Saxon, 1996)
(SRA/McGraw, 2000)
decodability1 97% 89% 85% 81% 84% 99% 99% 100%
comprehensiveness2 100%
plus 29 additional sound-spellings
plus 9 additional sound-spellings
plus 6 additional sound-spellings
plus 7 additional sound-spellings
plus 5 additional sound-spellings
plus 22 additional sound-spellings
plus 24 additional sound-spellings
plus 5 additional sound-spellings
intensiveness3 100% 43% 37% 44% 56% 67% 36% 26%
consistency4 A- B B- C D A A A
total overall ranking Best Better Better Fair Fair Excellent Good Fair
  Conforming Non-conforming

1 DECODABILITY: For each series we added phonetically regular words, all of whose sounds have been taught, plus phonetically irregular words that have been taught, and divided by the total number of words, in 20-30 randomly selected stories in Grade 1.

2 COMPREHENSIVENESS: We identified 70 basic sound-spellings often taught in Grade 1, and counted how many of these each program covers. Our documentation of these percentages also lists any additional sound-spellings each series teaches in Grade 1.

3 INTENSIVENESS: We counted how often students practice (i.e., see, hear, say, and write) three sample sound-spellings in their introductory lessons, and also compared randomly selected blending lessons. This number compares each series with Open Court.

4 CONSISTENCY: We checked the decodability of word-attack practice strategies/activities, i.e., their use only of those sound-spellings that have been taught and no others. In this category, "A" is best and "D" is worst, and refers to each Grade 1 program as a whole.

"Conforming" and "nonconforming" are Texas' terms for whether these series meet all state standards, many of which have nothing to do with how good phonics programs they are.

Exhaustive documentation available at no charge.

Memo from Mel Gabler, President, Educational Research Analysts,
Clarifying Summary Comparison Chart of Grade 1 Reading Programs
as Approved for 2000 Texas Adoptions, 02/00

For a quick personal reply or further discussion, contact us at:

Educational Research Analysts
P.O. Box 7518
Longview, Texas 75607-7518

phone (903)753-5993
fax (903)753-7788


© 2000 Educational Research Analysts

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