Hawker Brownlow Education
 

How Jacob's Ladder Works

Jacob’s Ladder is a reading comprehension program for gifted students. Students progress through an inquiry process based on targeted reading passages from varied sources and different places around the world that emphasise the progressive, ongoing development of higher-order thinking skills that are relevant across the curriculum. This field-tested method of moving from basic understanding to critical analysis of text was developed by the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary.

Early Primary Years

Research conducted by the Center for Gifted Education with students demonstrate that the Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program delivers results:

  • Increased Reading Comprehension
  • Increased Critical Thinking
  • Increased Interest in Reading

Tasks are organised into skill ladders with each ladder focused on a different skill. Students “climb” each ladder by answering lower-level questions before moving to higher-level questions (or rungs) at the top of each ladder. Each ladder stands alone and focuses on a separate critical thinking component in reading.

Tasks at the Early Primary level are organised into six skill ladders: Implications and Consequences (A), Generalisations (B), Themes (C), Creative Synthesis (D), Emotional Development (E) and Word Study (F)

The Short Stories sections in the Jacob’s Ladder, Early Primary books mainly refer to award-winning, readily-available picture books (not included). Poetry includes selections from well-known poets such as A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, William Blake and Edward Lear.

Primary Years

Tasks at the Primary level are organised into four skill ladders: Implications and Consequences (A), Generalisations (B), Themes (C) and Creative Synthesis (D).

“I find that Jacob’s Ladder is easy to use and thoroughly enjoy how it helps light a spark in my children. They truly do not consider working on Jacob’s Ladder to be school work; for them, this is a treat ... It engages higher order thinking and takes the children far beyond the texts they are reading ... This is the first comprehension program that I’ve seen that I can wholeheartedly recommend. While it’s targeted at gifted children, I think that all children will enjoy this program as you can guide the answers as deeply or as shallowly as you wish. If you have children who, like mine, love to engage in philosophizing, this is definitely a program they would enjoy.”

Teacher Book
These books provide teachers with an explanation of the nature and substance of supplementary tasks in reading comprehension that will help prepare students for their NAPLAN tests. At the same time, these tasks will move students from basic reading comprehension to more critical reading behaviours. Also included are an overview of the goals and objectives of Jacob’s Ladder tasks and suggestions for implementation, giving every teacher of gifted learners the tools needed to create a successful reading classroom.

Student Workbook
The student workbooks are designed to complement the Jacob’s Ladder: Primary Years teacher books by providing a matching, all-in-one resource for students to record their answers to each exercise. This allows the teacher to keep all of the student’s work in the program in one place for ease of collection, reading and marking. Corresponding to the activities, students read high-interest passages, then complete skill ladders connected to the readings. All of the books, geared to increasing year levels, include high-interest readings, ladders to increase reading skill development, and easy-to-implement instructions.

Secondary Years

Tasks at the Secondary level are organised into six skill ladders: Implications and Consequences (A), Generalisations (B), Themes (C), Creative Synthesis (D), Emotional Development (E) and Metacognition (F).

Secondary Years 7–8
The Short Stories section in Jacob's Ladder, Secondary (Years 7-8) includes works by famous authors, many classics, among them stories by Anton Chekhov, Mark Twain and O. Henry. Poetry is drawn from selections by well-known poets, including Shakespeare, Yeats, William Blake and Emily Dickinson. The four works in the Biographies section give details of the lives of Erwin Schrödinger, Margaret Bourke-White, Itzhak Perlman and Amartya Sen.

Secondary Years 8–9
The Short Stories section in Jacob's Ladder, Secondary (Years 8-9) includes works by famous authors, many classics, among them stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf. Poetry is drawn from selections by well-known poets, including Yeats, Wordsworth, Tennyson and Shelley. The four works in the Biographies section give details of the lives of Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, Emily Dickinson and Margaret Mead.

Nonfiction

The three books in the new Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program: Nonfiction series cover Years 3, 4 and 5

Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program Years

Each of the three books in the Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program: Nonfiction as with the main series, comprehensively engages with the Language, Literature and Literacy strands of the Australian Curriculum: English, and features sections comprising selected reading passages on Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Mathematics and Science instruction.

Students completing the Nonfiction series will be able to comprehend and analyse any nonfiction reading passage after completing the activities in this book. Using skill ladders connected to individual readings related to essays, articles, comparison documents, infographics and other nonfiction texts, students move from lower-order, concrete thinking skills to higher-order, critical thinking skills.

All of the books, geared to increasing year levels, include high-interest and accelerated readings, ladders to increase reading skill development and easy-to-implement instructions.

The ladders include multiple skills necessary for academic success, covering typical English skills such as sequencing, cause and effect, classification, making generalisations, inference, understanding emotion, using and thinking about words, and recognising themes and concepts.