Oh, the doors you will open in StoryTown…
Welcome to StoryTown, a place where everyone loves to read. Harcourt StoryTown is a complete reading resource built around a wonderful collection of non-fiction and fiction literature, including news articles, biographies, research, narratives, poems, plays and fantasy. A place as special as StoryTown doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and research. Harcourt School Publishers brought together the very best authors and consultants to work on StoryTown reading resources. With surprises around every corner and adventure just down the street, you’ll find StoryTown is a great place to read. Follow us through StoryTown!
It is easy to navigate through StoryTown because every lesson is supported with leveled materials and practice that scaffolds the core instruction. Leveled readers for below level, on-level and advanced readers are available for every selection. Leveled practice is offered through kits and copying masters. Additional resources and assessment help monitor progress. Extra instructional support at point of use in the lesson helps meets students’ individual needs.
Our focus on skill and strategy will make sure your hard work pays off through a rock solid foundation and the key elements of reading including phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and text comprehension.
StoryTown’s phonemic awareness instruction in every lesson in kindergarten and first grade provides concrete activities for children to manipulate the sounds they hear in language. For example, students notice and hear the sounds in spoken words using a phoneme phone and the Sounds of Letters CD, providing auditory models of letter sounds.
From kindergarten through 2nd grade, Harcourt StoryTown offers research based phonics instruction that builds on phonological and phonemic awareness. StoryTown’s explicit, systematic phonics instruction begins with the following lesson outline:
- Connecting letters to sounds
- Word blending
- Word building
- Using letter sound correspondences to spell words
- Applying with decodable text
Grades 1-6 of the StoryTown Student Editions are the talk of the town. These award-winning books are filled with engaging selections, interesting photographs, beautiful illustrations, opportunities for cross-curricular investigations, and just the right amount of skills to motivate students to become active learners. There’s never been a better place to read.
StoryTown’s leveled readers give teachers the right books for the right students. Leveled readers provide new text to practice fluency and decoding.
StoryTown residents can find 120 different titles for each grade level with 30 for below level, 30 for on-level, 30 for advanced readers, and 30 for English Language Learners. Each reader aligns to weekly skills that reinforce phonics, high-frequency words, vocabulary and comprehension. StoryTown’s Leveled Reader System for grades K-6 includes the following components (available for purchase separately):
- 90 leveled readers for each grade plus another 30 titles for English Language Learners
- An 8 page guided reading lesson plan for each title, which includes a quick glance column with level information and a book summary
- Audio Text CDs
- Assessment Book
- Response Activities
A deluxe version of the Leveled Reader System is also available. The deluxe kit includes all of the same components as the regular kit but with a 5-pack of each leveled reader rather than just one copy.
One of the secrets to StoryTown’s success is its’ strategy of ‘2 + 2, Then Review’. Breaking it down, this includes two weeks of instruction focusing on one key skill and one key strategy, illustrating the application and use of the skill and the strategy. In grades 1 and 2, this also includes phonics instruction. The next two weeks of instruction focus on another key skill and another key strategy, providing a consistent path that enables students to know where they are, where they are going, and what objectives need to be met. In the 5th week of instruction, students review the two theme comprehension skills, then engage in a motivating Readers’ Theater, which reinforces the theme’s vocabulary, fluency and language skills. StoryTown’s Readers’ Theater provides Fluency Tips and Leveled Roles. Students will also learn how to transfer the two-theme comprehension strategies across genres, bridging to content area reading.
When it comes to lesson organization, Harcourt StoryTown features a consistent lesson design, giving your students a solid foundation from which to build upon, offering a whole new world of opportunity. Lesson resources include:
- Focus Skills such as character, setting and plot events
- Robust Vocabulary focusing on student friendly explanations
- Core Literature with genre study
- Companion Story
- Think Critically selections engaging in question, answer, response and
- Opportunities for connections including text to text, text to self, and text to world
StoryTown authors Dr. Isabel L. Beck and Dr. Margaret G. McKeown hand selected robust vocabulary from each literature selection and guided every vocabulary activity to insure fidelity to their research. Each lesson includes an instructional vocabulary routine, which includes the following steps:
- Put the word in the selection context.
- Display transparency and read the word and the student-friendly explanation.
- Have the children say the word with you.
- Use the word in other contexts, and have children interact with the word’s meaning.
- Remove the transparency. Say the student-friendly explanation again, and ask children to name the word that goes with it.
Student-friendly explanations allow students the opportunity to reinforce word meanings by demonstrating their knowledge of word meanings, to extend meanings of words in context and for vocabulary review, students use word relationships to determine meaning.
Research shows the robust vocabulary instruction in the StoryTown program dramatically increased students vocabulary knowledge and understanding. These findings come from an experimental efficacy study of robust vocabulary instruction with control groups using StoryTown 2008.
Each lesson targets fluency instruction through specific attention to accuracy, phrasing, rate, pace, intonation and expression. To help them achieve fluency, students participate in the following activities:
- Choral Reading
- Echo Reading
- Repeated Reading
- Partner Reading
- Reader’s Theater
- Tape-Assisted Reading
Audiotext CD’s provide repeated and modeled oral readings. Instructional routine cards provide instructions for routines in fluency. Fluency Builder Cards offer abundant independent practice. Leveled readers supply appropriate text for fluency practice. Reader’s Theaters scripts and transparencies for stage backdrops and the kindergarten puppet theater helped build early fluency skills.
Oral reading fluency assessments include weekly, theme, benchmark, leveled readers with running records, strategic intervention and intervention station fresh reads.
StoryTown’s rigorous, engaging comprehension instruction is designed to help students understand, remember and communicate with others about what they read. In addition to the strategy of 2 + 2, Then Review, every lesson begins with a focus skill. Students are introduced to the skill through a gradual release model.
Challenge Resource Kit:
The Challenge Resource Kit is available for each grade level from K-6. It offers all the tools teachers need to support critical thinking, literacy exploration and cross-curricular extensions. The Challenge Resource Kit provides a springboard to advanced reading, writing and thinking using trade books. Book Packs include classic and contemporary trade books for each theme that relate to the literary and content elements of that theme. Challenge Student Activities include multiple activity cards for each trade book. 15 trade books in the Challenge Resource Kit support literacy and comprehension by theme.
The Strategic Intervention Resource Kit for grades K-6 supplies the scaffolding, extra support and extra reading practice for below level readers to succeed. It includes 30 minute daily lessons to pre-teach and re-teach core skills. Strategic Interaction interactive readers for grades K-6 are consumable work-texts that keep students interacting with the text. These readers provide the following benefits:
- Helps struggling readers to read on grade level by the end of the school year
- Closely parallels core reading selections in content, genre and skills
- Provides built-in support before, during, and after reading to help improve critical reading skills
Harcourt StoryTown Intervention Station is an intensive intervention program that keeps students on track and moving in the right direction. This program provides instruction matching tier-3 requirements for key technical skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Intervention Station offers separate kits for primary and intermediate while providing a well-organized scope and sequence. It targets critical skills at the student’s level and includes ongoing assessment to help with pacing and movement of instruction.
English Language Learners:
Harcourt StoryTown English Language Learners (ELL) Extra Support Kit for grades K-6 delivers 30 minutes of additional daily instruction. It includes special resources to help reinforce difficult sounds and structures of English. It also helps develop students’ academic language. This kit includes the following components:
- An English Language Learners Teacher Guide for each grade level, K-6
- A full color thematic ELL Big Book for Kindergarten
- ELL Copying Masters for each grade level, K-6
- Picture Card Bank Book and CD ROM for grades K-6, which includes pictures of people, places and objects that support language acquisition success.
- ELL Student Handbook for grades 1-6
- Proficiency Assessment
Writing exercises in StoryTown take place everyday through multiple writing opportunities. Reading-Writing Connection in the Student Edition provides mentor text for the writing form, instruction in the writing process and highlights writing traits used in the text to improve sentence fluency and to adhere to grammar conventions.
A student writing model is also provided for further examination of writing traits. Writers are supported with step-by-step direct instruction of the writing process. During weekly writing instruction, students focus on one writing trait per week while transparencies aid direct instruction.
With every lesson, StoryTown resources include a 5-day instructional plan for spelling and grammar. You can count on StoryTown to help make the reading-writing connection everyday.
The Writers Companion:
The Writers Companion is a student work-text to reinforce writers’ craft and the writing process. Along with the Writers Companion, a six-point rubric analyzes writing proficiency and daily writing prompts are also supplied.