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RedThread Foundations

A Holistic Approach to Early Literacy Education

Despite the plethora of phonics programs available, Lavinia Group pioneered its own curriculum, driven by a vision for a more integrated approach to early literacy education.

RedThread Foundations: A Holistic Approach to Early Literacy Education
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The consensus among educators is clear: phonics instruction is a cornerstone of effective reading education. However, the journey to a comprehensive education extends beyond the ability to read.

Young learners are not just beginning readers; they are inquisitive and eager to understand the world around them. Jackie Taslim, Co-President of the Lavinia Group, champions the idea that early literacy education should not only teach children how to read but also serve as a gateway to a rich, knowledge-building curriculum. This approach captivates their curious minds and lays the groundwork for their ongoing development, steering them toward a life marked by practical knowledge and thoughtful reflection.

 

Crafting a Comprehensive Approach to Early Literacy

Despite the plethora of phonics programs available, Lavinia Group decided to pioneer its own curriculum, driven by a vision for a more integrated approach to literacy education.

“We didn't want phonics taught in isolation. We wanted a holistic, comprehensive program for students so that what they're learning in all parts of their day with literacy is connected to supporting them in becoming stronger readers and writers,” says Taslim. 

Lavinia Group's early literacy program is built on three foundational pillars:

A Research-Backed Phonics Curriculum: Anchored in the latest scientific insights on reading instruction and acquisition, this curriculum lays a solid foundation in reading fundamentals for students.
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Diverse and Engaging Decodable Texts: These texts not only reinforce phonics principles but also offer rich, meaningful practice in reading, keeping students engaged and advancing their literacy skills.

An Integrated Knowledge-Building Curriculum: Tightly linked to the texts students encounter, this curriculum fosters critical thinking and enables students to leverage their literacy skills for deeper insights across various subjects.

Lavinia Group's commitment isn’t just teaching children how to read but nurturing thoughtful, knowledgeable individuals prepared for the world's complexities. 

“After months of exploration and research for a potential partner who shared our vision, we realized the solution we sought didn't exist. So, we set out to create our own. The program we created is systematic, cumulative, and diagnostic, emphasizing explicit routines in phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition, all seamlessly woven into the curriculum.”

Inside RedThread Foundations: A Comprehensive K-2 Literacy Toolkit

Lavinia Group’s RedThread Knowledge curriculum represents an evolution of its earlier Insight Humanities and Insight Middle Courses programs, offering a holistic approach to literacy that seamlessly blends reading, knowledge acquisition, and learning strategies for grades K-8. 

RedThread Foundations, Lavinia Group’s K-2 phonics curriculum aligns with all aspects of the science of reading and equips schools with all the necessary tools for implementing a top-tier curriculum:

Comprehensive Teacher Guides: These detailed manuals provide everything from unit overviews to lesson plans, resources, and supporting materials, enabling teachers to deliver each lesson effectively.
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Student-Focused Materials: Workbooks are provided for each student, containing all necessary materials for every lesson, eliminating the need for teachers to print and compile individual student packets.

RedThread Readers: Aligned with grade-specific phonics concepts taught in the K-2 curriculum, these texts are about 90% decodable, allowing students to immediately practice phonics lessons learned.

Classroom Resources: A full suite of materials, including alphabet and vowel posters, letter formation charts, sight word and image cards, magnetic boards with letter tiles, and whiteboards with student writing grids, support a robust phonics program.

Taslim highlights the Foundations curriculum's comprehensive nature, advising against isolating phonics instruction. "RedThread Knowledge builds upon the foundation RedThread Foundations provides. Together, they form a complete literacy program, crucial for teaching students to read from kindergarten through second grade."

RedThread Foundations’ Unconventional Approach

The curriculum design philosophy behind RedThread Foundations emphasizes two fundamental aspects that differentiate it from conventional early literacy programs:

Rich, Engaging Texts:
RedThread Readers stand out by directly linking the phonics concepts learned in class to the reading material. Each book is not only richly illustrated and culturally diverse but also centers on themes that resonate with young readers. Students are provided with two such texts weekly—one to explore in class and another to take home, fostering a love for reading and allowing them to build a personal library that boosts their reading skills and confidence.

Taslim notes the unique appeal of these texts, “Many decodable books lack engaging narratives—they focus solely on letters and sounds. Our aim was to enrich children's reading experiences with stories that captivate their imagination and curiosity.”

Literacy Meets Knowledge Building:
RedThread Foundations Scope & SequenceThe curriculum excels in weaving literacy with meaningful knowledge-building. By introducing students to authentic literature that tackles problem-solving, RedThread makes learning relatable and engaging. Taslim shares compelling examples from the curriculum, including the story of the first blind man to climb Mount Everest and a tale of a boy ingeniously solving how to transport laundry to the laundromat. These stories not only enhance phonics learning but also set the stage for deeper exploration during the knowledge-building sessions, creating a seamless educational experience that enriches students' understanding and retention.

According to Taslim, this approach significantly deepens the learning experience, allowing students to draw connections between literacy and real-world problem-solving, thereby enriching their educational journey.

Lavinia Group has set out to transform early literacy education by creating its newest curriculum, RedThread Foundations.  With children embracing high-quality phonics instruction from kindergarten through engaging with decodable texts that capture their interest, it aims to kindle a lifelong passion for reading among young learners. 

Explore RedThread Foundations 
Empower students with the confidence and skills to become lifelong learners capable of exploring and mastering new knowledge independently.

Featured Contributor

Jackie Taslim

Jackie Taslim is an accomplished education leader with a track record of leading and managing teams to ambitious goals and designing innovative solutions and products for schools in the areas of curriculum, summer school programming, and professional development. Before joining K12 Coalition, Jackie was a Managing Director at Success Academies, one of the country's highest-performing and highest-growth charter networks. Jackie was the principal of a National Blue Ribbon elementary school and received the Blackboard Principal of the Year Award in 2012. A Teach for America alum, Jackie began her educational career teaching middle school English and history in the Bronx. Jackie resides in the greater Boston area with her husband and two children.

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