Monday, May 23, 2011

Pearson: Scott Foresman Reading Street


Scott Foresman has been publishing books for quite some time and we have enjoyed collecting some of their earliest titles. Scott Foresman Reading Street is the current line of readers for grades K-6. Pearson Publishing now owns Scott Foresman and boasts products including curriculum, assessments, information management, educator learning and family learning. You can learn more about each of those areas at Pearson's website.

The K-12 Scope and Sequence details concepts covered in each grade level for reading through sixth grade (Reading Street) followed by Literature studies from 6-12th grade. We had the opportunity to review the books for second grade. Here is Book 2.1 in the Reading Street series:


The first book (480 pages) included three units based on the following themes:
  • Exploration
  • Working Together
  • Creative Ideas
Grammar concepts covered in Book 2.1 include:
  • Sentences
  • Subjects
  • Predicates
  • Statements and questions
  • Commands and exclamations
  • Nouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Singular/plural nouns
  • Irregular plural nouns
  • Possessive nouns
  • Verbs
  • Verb/noun agreement
  • Past, present, future verbs
  • State of being verbs
Book 2.2 (shown below) included units on these themes:

  • Our Changing World
  • Responsibility
  • Traditions
Book 2.2 includes the following grammar concepts:
  • Adjectives and our senses
  • Adjectives for number, size, and shape
  • Adjectives that compare
  • Adverbs that tell when and where
  • Adverbs that tell how
  • Pronouns
  • Singular/plural pronouns
  • Using I and me
  • Different kinds of pronouns
  • Contractions
  • Using capital letters
  • Quotation marks
  • Using commas
  • Commas in compound sentences
  • The Paragraph
Book 2.2 also introduces some writing skills including:
  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Fact and Opinion
  • Theme and Plot
  • Main Idea
  • Sequence
  • Author's Purpose
  • Realism and Fantasy
  • Draw Conclusions
  • Cause and Effect
  • Character, Setting, Plot
Within any given unit, the reading selections included a variety of genres. Realistic fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays were some of the selections for students. These selections were cross-curricular bringing in science, social studies, history, and writing into the reading curriculum.

Units included vocabulary to review, discussion questions, writing exercises, and grammar review. Some units also incorporated tips on finding out more information through internet searches (the specific links shown in the book are included in the endnotes).

Each reading selection is written by a particular author and illustrator (this is not an editorial board of authors and illustrators). Sort of a bind-up of many grade level books with lots of extras mixed in. At the end of each selection, a short bio is included about the authors/illustrators. There were several authors I already knew and liked: Cynthia Rylant, Andrew Clements, Eve Bunting, Aliki, and Tedd Arnold to name a few. Plus many new authors we enjoyed meeting. Each selection was a whole book, not just a chapter of a larger work but a book in its entirety with the original illustrations.

I was especially pleased with the variety of non-fiction pieces included. It was wonderful having age-appropriate selections for my son to read related to science or social studies. These selections were filled with full color photography of the topics.

Our Experience
My 2nd grade son thoroughly enjoyed using Reading Street. His normal reading curriculum has only black and white pictures on every few pages. Reading Street was a visual feast in comparison--full color pages with engaging illustrations and headings. Each text was like a mini-library with representative samples of many kinds of books. We'll definitely be looking for more books to read by some of the authors from the text.

I admit to being very particular about what my kids read and I found nothing objectionable in the selections in either book 2.1 or 2.2. All were just wholesome stories that were really delightful reading. For our review, I would have my son read the stories out loud to me and then we would discuss the questions at the end and learn more about the author. I would then read the grammar review and we would discuss it orally. He thoroughly enjoyed all the selections. I liked having the balance of fiction and non-fiction with some poetry reading and supplemental writing exercises included as well.

We only received the student books so I cannot speak to the clarity and quality of the teacher books. There were a few times when the teacher guide would have been helpful but we managed with just the student text pretty well. To be honest, the additional cost for the teacher guide is much too prohibitive for us to ever consider (over $460). The student books themselves are really quite expensive and I'm not sure that it would realistically fit into our home educating budget for each grade. I admit that this product really stands out as the Cadillac of reading programs but unfortunately has the price tag to match.

  • Overflowing with full color illustrations and photography
  • High quality books with sturdy binding
  • Great selection of fiction and non-fiction
  • Introduces grammar and writing concepts (although not a complete grammar program)
  • Information on authors and illustrators

Suggested Improvements:
  • Provide links through the publisher to explore the computer exercises demonstrated
  • Have more affordable option for home educators
  • More user-friendly website; allow samples to be viewed without registering
  • Provide a way for home educators to view Teacher Guide sample
  • Consider a paid subscription with access to an online Teacher Guide for more affordable option than the printed set
  • Work with Homeschool Buyer's Co-op to offer group pricing for home educators
Product Information
Reading Street Grade 2.1 or 2. 2 $43.47 each
Set of both Reading Street texts $86.97
DVD-ROM Version of the texts $86.97
Weekly Tests Student edition $ 7.97
Weekly Test Teacher Manual $41.47
Unit Teacher Manual $38.47 each (12 volumes in set)

For complete pricing on Reading Street Grade 2 (including the Teacher Manual that we did not review), click here. For other grades, go here and select the grade level in which you are interested.

Our Verdict
While I really think Pearson has a quality product, I'm afraid it is priced much too high for the home school market. However, if you were comparing this cost to the tuition at a private school, then the price tag may not seem so high.

We did not review the weekly tests but the student edition price seems surprisingly inexpensive. On the other hand, the Weekly Test Teacher Guide, seems very expensive. I'm sure it's a quality book but all I really need as a teacher is a student book with the answers filled in which shouldn't cost much more to print than the student edition.

Even if I could justify the cost of the student books (they truly are beautiful and very nicely laid out), I would probably not buy a curriculum for which I could not afford the Teacher Manual or supporting materials. If Pearson created a more affordable option for home educators (like an online manual online leveled readers for a subscription fee), then I think it could attract more homeschool buyers.

You can read what several other families thought of Pearson products in reading, math and social studies at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

Contact Information
Phone: 1-800-848-9500
Fax: 1-877-260-2530
Address: Pearson, P.O. Box 2500, Lebanon, IN 46052

Disclaimer: We received a copy of Reading Street Books 2.1 and 2.2 for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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