Hawker Brownlow Education
 

Why use STARS® Plus?

The research-based Strategies to Achieve Reading Success (STARS) Plus series provides explicit direct instruction in the 12 core reading strategies tested in CARS Plus. Each lesson is broken into five parts, providing a gradual release of responsibility and increase in student confidence.

STARS Plus supports all student learning (including ELL/ESL/EAL-D learners) with prior knowledge activation, explicit instruction, graphic organisers and theme-based instruction. Multiple definitions and examples of each strategy within each lesson continually reinforce understanding. The easy-to-use, informative Teacher Guide makes every teacher a reading expert.

The Five-Part Lesson

STARS Plus lessons are broken into 5 carefully structured lesson parts, providing a gradual release of responsibility and increase in student confidence. The Teacher Guide includes an additional “Introduction” at the beginning, providing even more information for teachers to set up the lesson.

Read on for the specific functions and features of both the Student Books and Teacher Guides in the 5-part STARS Plus lesson

Introduction

Lesson Objectives
  • Presents two strategy-related goals for students to achieve as they complete the lesson.
Getting Started
  • Introduces the strategy to students and models how good readers use the strategy when reading.
  • Scripted text provides a model for using the strategy in a real-world scenario to tap students’ background knowledge.
  • A familiar context builds students’ confidence for interacting with the strategy.
ELL Support

Targets a language concept for which students may need reinforcement.

The language concept is briefly defined. The teacher then guides students through examples and tells them where they will encounter the concept in the upcoming lesson.

Language concepts in the series include:

  • Compound words
  • Possessives
  • Pronouns
  • Multiple-meaning words
  • Proper nouns
  • Regular and irregular plurals
  • Contractions
  • Regular and irregular past tense
  • Verbs
  • Homophones
  • Comparatives and superlatives
Genre Focus

Previews key characteristics of a specific genre. Understanding a genre can aid students’ comprehension of a reading passage.

Genres in the series include:

  • Journal entry
  • Folktale
  • Fable
  • Friendly letter
  • Short fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poem
  • Tall tale

In STARS Plus Books A and B, the term story is applied to reading passages that are both fiction and non-fiction because this is how these writing forms are often identified for emerging readers, primarily on standardised tests. If you choose, you may distinguish between these two genres with your students.

Part 1: Modelled Instruction

Student Book

Part 1 is teacher-led: After prompting students to tap into their prior knowledge, the teacher uses step-by-step examples to model how to use the strategy, with the support of a strategy-based graphic organiser.

Introduction: Describes the strategy. Open-ended questions prompt students to explore what they already know about the strategy from their daily lives.

Work with a Partner: Gives student partners the opportunity to discuss ways to use the strategy.

Reading Passage: Provides the opportunity for students to work with the strategy in the context of real-world reading.

Steps: Guides students through completing the strategy-based graphic organiser.

Graphic Organiser: Visually depicts how to apply the strategy.

Teacher Guide

At a Glance: Provides a brief overview of what students do in each lesson part.

Step by Step: Provides an explicit walk-through of the steps for guiding students through each lesson part.

Tip: Provides additional information for the teacher to assist student partners as they discuss the strategy in the Work with a Partner activity.

Tip: Provides additional information for the teacher to assist students as they apply the strategy.

Part 2: Guided Instruction

Student Book

Part 2 is initially teacher-lead and then teacher supported: The teacher guides students through using the strategy in context and identifying text evidence. The teacher then provides guidance, as needed, as students read a passage and answer questions on their own.

What to Know: Introduces and highlights key features of the strategy.

Directions: Tells students the topic of the reading passage and provides a purpose for reading.

Reading Passage: Design and typeface of each passage highlight specific genres and showcase the range of content areas.

Steps: Walks students through a guided application of the strategy

Reading Passage and Comprehension Questions: Provides students with the opportunity to try out the strategy on their own, with appropriate teacher guidance. Students apply what they have learned to answer selected-response (multiple-choice) questions.

Work with a Partner: Provides the opportunity for student partners to discuss how they arrived at their answers, before the answers are discussed as a class.

Teacher Guide

Interaction with Text: Offers a way to have students mark key information in the text to support their understanding of the strategy.

Accountable Discussion: Enhances students’ understanding of newly learned concepts through group conversation.

Tips: Provides additional information for the teacher to assist students as they use the strategy to answer the selected-response questions. The tips may give information about the questions themselves or may direct students to find key information in the passage.

Part 3 Modelled Practice

Student Book

Part 3 is teacher supported, with text-based modelling: The teacher and students review key concepts of the strategy. Then students read a passage and answer questions similar to those they might see on a test. Teacher and students discuss together how to answer the questions correctly.

Review: Provides a review of key features of the strategy for students’ reference.

Reading Passage and Comprehension Questions: Enables students to apply what they have learned so far to answer strategy-related selected-response questions.

Answer Analysis: Models how to find the correct answers to the comprehension questions. Tells why the correct answers are correct and why the other answers are not correct. (To prevent students from seeing the correct answers ahead of time, some teachers may prefer to have students cover the page with a sheet of paper before beginning this part of the lesson.)

Teacher Guide

Tip: Provides additional information about one of the comprehension questions and can be used to guide class discussion.

Teacher’s Corner: Provides the teacher with additional information about the reading strategy. These professional-development tips expand aspects of the strategy presented in the student book.

Part 4 Guided Practice

Student Book

Part 4 is independent work, with teacher support as needed: The teacher introduces additional information about the strategy. Then students independently read two passages and answer questions similar to those they might see on tests. The teacher provides guidance as needed while students support their answers with text evidence.

More to Know: Reviews key concepts and provides additional information that can help students apply the strategy when reading.

Reading Passages and Comprehension Questions: Enables students to apply what they have learned so far. The comprehension questions are similar to those that students will encounter on tests.

Teacher Guide

Tip: Elicits identification of strategy-based evidence in the passage (such as words, phrases or sentences) that students should have used to answer each of the questions.

Reteaching: Reinforces and deepens students’ learning by using a graphic organiser to visually depict and verify the correct answer to one of the strategy-based questions.

Part 5 Independent Practice

Student Book

Part 5 is independent work: Scaffolding is removed. Students independently read two passages and answer questions similar to those they might see on tests. The teacher and students discuss the answers as a class.

Test Tips: Provides test-taking strategies by alerting students to specific language and other clues in text questions that indicate which strategy students should apply to answer the questions successfully.

Reading Passages and Comprehension Questions: Enables students to independently apply what they have learned. The comprehension questions are similar to those that students will encounter on tests.

Teacher Guide

Connecting with Literature: Invites students to apply the strategy to authentic literature.

STARS Plus Student Books & Teacher Guides

STARS Plus Student Book

The STARS Plus Student Books

Using the results of the CARS Plus pretest, target instruction on the essential reading comprehension strategies with the highly-scaffolded, five-part lessons in STARS® Plus. Benefits include:

  • The program offers explicit instruction and practice in a carefully structured format that fully supports students.
  • Gradual release of responsibility and practice with a short piece of text builds students’ confidence.
  • Multiple definitions and examples of each strategy within each lesson continually reinforce understanding.

5-part lessons for each strategy

  • P and AA have 6
  • A has 8
  • B–H have 12

Strategy reviews after every 3 lessons

  • Review in levels P–A are after every 2 lessons

A multi-passage final review

STARS Plus Teacher Guide

The STARS Plus Teacher Guides

Utilise step-by-step instruction on how to guide students through lessons including: strategy bookmarks, suggested pacing chart, reproducible blank answer form and completed answer forms. Supports all students, including ELL and ESL students, with:

  • Prior knowledge activation
  • Explicit instruction
  • Graphic organisers
  • Theme-based instruction
  • Lesson object
  • Introducing the strategy
  • ELL support
  • Genre focus
  • Tips
  • Connection to Literature feature to apply strategies to authentic literature
  • Re-teaching box to reinforce student learning
  • Teacher's corner

The Research Behind STARS Plus

The STARS Plus Series is founded on research-based strategies and features that are designed to support students as they learn how to read for meaning. Many of the strategies and features are supported by the US National Reading Panel (NICHD, 2000) and are presented in a quick-reference chart that begins on page 19 of the STARS Plus Research Guide.

The STARS Plus Series focuses on students' mastery of core reading strategies so that students can connect to and understand what they are reading. Each lesson focuses on one reading strategy. Cumulative review lessons and a final review lesson test ensure retention of the new strategies. These review lessons provide important feedback to the teacher before moving students to the next instructional lesson.