Our mission is to help students grow as readers, writers, and thinkers while they develop the social and emotional skills necessary to thrive. Collaborative Classroom has evolved into a partner for schools and districts that is dedicated to transforming the school experience, developing students, and empowering teachers as they engage students.
We believe that how we teach matters as much as what we teach. Our work has been implemented in more than 200,000 classrooms across the country, raising student grades and test scores, reducing problem behaviors, and bolstering student and teacher engagement. District partners and independent researchers have documented and assessed the changes our work has produced through quantitative analysis and anecdotes.
Our programs and carefully selected trade books help children appreciate the ideas and opinions of others, learn to agree and disagree respectfully, think critically about big ideas, and become responsible citizens of the world. Our unique pedagogy is the foundation for our programs:
- We build on the fact that children are naturally curious, and need ample opportunities to be active, collaborative, and reflective in their learning process.
- The social and emotional and academic curricula are equivalent, essential, and interdependent.
- We use an approach that starts with the student experience and is focused on letting students do the thinking.
- The teacher is a facilitator.
Our core beliefs are:
- Relationships are fundamental. A child’s sense of community is essential to healthy development and academic growth.
- Students come to school intrinsically motivated to learn. Motivation is essential for engagement.
- Literacy and a sense of connectedness are two foundational elements upon which all other learning builds.
- The quality of teaching matters.
Being a Reader™ provides comprehensive reading instruction, systematically developing both foundational skills and comprehension. This research-based program integrates rich literacy experiences with explicit social skills instruction and activities that foster students’ growth as responsible, caring, and collaborative people.
Through an engaging combination of whole-class, small-group, and individualized instruction—including daily independent reading with teacher conferring—the Being a Reader program not only develops students’ reading proficiency, but also their love for reading and talking about books.
Being a Reader can be implemented as powerful, stand-alone Tier 1 instruction for grades K–2 or serve as a seamlessly integrated program within our comprehensive K–5 English Language Arts curriculum, Collaborative Literacy.
How It Works:
Being a Reader follows a continuum of reading development to meet each student at their instructional point of need and guide them to their next level of literacy through an engaging combination of whole-class, small-group, and individualized approaches.
Each grade level includes either seven or eight instructional units organized around two instructional strands: Reading and Word Study.
The strands work together to develop comprehension, fluency, decoding strategies, word analysis, spelling, vocabulary, and independent reading. Progress monitoring and other assessment tools help teachers make informed, targeted instructional decisions to ensure reading success for every child.
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Comprehensive Writing Instruction
Create a classroom culture of writing and collaboration.
Whether implemented as a standalone program or seamlessly integrated as a module in our comprehensive ELA curriculum, Collaborative Literacy, Being a Writer is a proven, research-based writing curriculum for grades K–5.
Combining a writing process approach with guided instruction, Being a Writer is student-centered, rigorous writing instruction for students in grades K–5. The program’s dual goals – fostering students’ growth as capable, skilled writers and caring, respectful members of their classroom community – make Being a Writer unique among writing curricula.
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Collaborative Classroom Book Clubs for Grades 3-6.
Support Student Literacy, Strengthen Independent Reading, and Empower Small Group Learning.
When students love books, they can’t put them down and can’t resist talking about them. Inspire a love of literacy and explore a whole new way for readers to learn together through Collaborative Classroom Book Clubs.
Utilizing research-based best practices for small-group reading, Collaborative Classroom Book Clubs provide the foundational lessons for setting up independent, student-led book clubs and a variety of mini-lessons that can be used to support and deepen book discussions.
Great for use as either a companion to Collaborative Literacy or as a stand-alone program, Collaborative Classroom Book Clubs for grades 3-6 combines great books, differentiated small-group and individualized reading, and social skills development.
- A Teacher’s Manual containing lessons for Small-group Reading and Book Clubs
- Sets of carefully selected, grade-appropriate fiction and nonfiction texts used during the lessons
- Digital resources including articles, assessment forms, and images
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Collaborative Literacy, aligned with TEKS and ELPS, is a rigorous, yearlong curriculum that addresses the core reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills that students need to thrive academically and socially. By integrating literacy instruction with social and emotional learning (SEL), Collaborative Literacy enables students’ development as readers and writers who think critically, while simultaneously fostering their growth as caring, collaborative, and principled people.
Collaborative Literacy transforms classrooms by:
- Combining quality curriculum with diverse literature that enriches the educational experience for all students
- Fully integrating academic content with social skills development in every lesson
- Using formative and summative assessments to track student progress over time and make instructional decisions
- Helping teachers create safe, supportive classrooms that are rigorous and culturally responsive
Embedded Professional Learning
Collaborative Literacy was designed to support teachers in their own learning as they engage in daily lessons. Professional learning is integrated seamlessly into Collaborative Literacy so that teachers hone their instructional techniques and implement cooperative structures and routines that build a strong sense of community in their classrooms.
Collaborative Literacy Modules:
When taught together, the modules of Collaborative Literacy-Being a Reader, Making Meaning, and Being a Writer-form a comprehensive, research-based ELA curriculum.
BEING A READER, GRADES K-2
Being a Reader is designed to help all students master the foundational skills and strategies required for reading success, through whole-class shared reading and differentiated decoding instruction. It was developed to help teachers meet their students where they are developmentally and to create an environment in which all students can grow as readers, independent learners, and caring members of the classroom community.
MAKING MEANING, GRADES K-5
Making Meaning focuses on building students’ awareness and orchestration of comprehension strategies. Lessons are designed to deepen teachers' understanding of effective reading comprehension instruction as they facilitate student thinking about literature, supporting the development of critical thinking and a life-long love of reading. Carefully selected nonfiction and fiction read-aloud trade books provide a diverse, rich, and rewarding experience as students encounter increasingly complex texts and build their vocabulary.
BEING A WRITER, GRADES K-5
Being a Writer offers student-centric writing instruction that fosters students' growth as skilled writers and caring members of the community. This module integrates close reading of exemplar texts, critical thinking about texts, and authentic writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.
GUIDED SPELLING, GRADES 3-5
Guided Spelling provides systematic word-study instruction, by engaging students in thinking about how the English language works through the study of spelling patterns, inflectional endings, base words and affixes, and syllabication strategies. Students develop their ability to read grade-level vocabulary and to apply their growing spelling knowledge to their own writing.
Whole-Class Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary:
Making Meaning provides a full year of research-based, whole-class reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction, using increasingly complex texts across a wide range of genres for grades 3–5.
The program offers complete support for daily independent reading, integrated development of social skills, regular student-teacher conferences, and optional integrated book clubs.
Making Meaning can be implemented as powerful, stand-alone instruction for grades 3–5 or serve as a seamlessly integrated program within our comprehensive K–5 English Language Arts curriculum, Collaborative Literacy.
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SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is a research-based decoding intervention program proven to help new and struggling readers in grades K-12 build skills and confidence for fluent, independent reading.
The SIPPS program provides a structured literacy approach to foundational skills instruction through explicit instructional routines focused on phonological awareness, spelling-sounds, and sight words.
The systematic scope and sequence supports students who struggle with decoding, including students identified with dyslexia, in an accelerative approach. Each SIPPS level corresponds to a specific stage of reading development: simple alphabetic, spelling pattern, and polysyllabic/morphemic. Daily SIPPS lessons and reading practice in appropriate texts help readers achieve automaticity and accuracy, which in turn allow them to focus on comprehension.
Whether used as a stand-alone intervention or integrated to support foundational skills in Collaborative Literacy programs, the SIPPS program allows students to:
- Respond orally during the foundational skills routines and receive immediate, strategic feedback.
- Demonstrate mastery of learning at regular intervals through criterion-referenced tests.
- Read controlled-vocabulary text to practice the words and concepts taught.
- Engage with books at appropriate levels to build fluency and increase confidence.