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Featured Interview

An Inside Look at RedThread Foundations
with Lavinia Group Co-President Jackie Taslim

After months of searching for a phonics curriculum partner that offered a holistic, comprehensive program for students, Lavinia Group set out to create RedThread Foundations.

Weaving Together an Early Literacy Program


In the quest to redefine early literacy, Lavinia Group unveiled RedThread Foundations, a K-2 phonics program aligned with the latest research in the science of reading. One mind behind this initiative is Lavinia Group’s Co-President Jackie Taslim, whose rich background in education—from teaching middle school to holding leadership roles—fuels her dedication to unlocking every child's fullest potential.

Since 2016, Taslim's vision at Lavinia Group has been both simple and profound: to ensure that all children nationwide have access to the best learning opportunities. 

RedThread Foundations is not just another phonics curriculum; it's a leap forward, born out of the need for a structured literacy program that pairs engaging, multicultural decodable books with the latest research in teaching reading. With Taslim's insight and a passionate team of curriculum experts, RedThread offers a holistic learning experience, intertwining phonics curriculum with knowledge-building to craft strong readers and thinkers.

Join us as we unravel the fabric of RedThread Foundations and explore how this unique program came to life. 

Q: What led Lavinia Group to develop its own phonics curriculum?

A: When we first set out to find a phonics curriculum partner, we sought a program that included three essential components. Curriculum that is:

  1. Grounded in the latest science of reading research on how children learn to read
  2. Highly engaging, including multicultural, decodable books that explicitly connected to the concepts students are learning in the phonics lessons
  3. Connected to knowledge building, and doesn't teach phonics in isolation.

With these three goals in mind, we searched and researched for several months, looking for a phonics curriculum partner already doing this, and we couldn't find one. So, we set out to create RedThread.

The addition of a phonics curriculum created a holistic, comprehensive program for students. With RedThread Knowledge, and now the addition of RedThread Foundations, English Language Arts Instruction and phonics instruction are connected and working together to support students in becoming stronger readers and writers. 

RedThread Knowledge Scope and Sequence

Q: How is RedThread Foundations different from other early literacy curricula?

A: Something unique and different about our curriculum is that we provide original decodable texts called RedThread Readers

These decodable books allow students to immediately apply what they've learned in the phonics curriculum by reading engaging, multicultural, and beautifully illustrated texts. Aligned with a research-based foundational skills scope and sequence, they are 90% decodable based on what students have learned.

004_1_G1_A New Path_CVR_Front Cover (1)We've designed them to be exciting and engaging for kids. There isn't another curriculum that does it in quite the same way. Students can apply what they've learned during the phonics lesson immediately to the text, accelerating learning. 

We prioritized storytelling to captivate children's interest. Many decodable books on the market focus solely on letters and sounds, often resulting in nonsensical storylines. We aimed to provide a more engaging and meaningful experience for kids by ensuring our stories are both interesting and coherent.

With a vast library of 170 RedThread Readers across Grades K-2, children have access to two new decodable texts every week. They read the first text at the beginning of the week. Then, toward the end of the week, they read the second text and take it home with them so they can read it over and over again so they can continue to build skills and confidence while creating their own little library at home.

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Q: How does Lavinia Group support teachers in implementing the phonics curriculum?

A: We designed RedThread to be comprehensive, providing everything teachers and school leaders need for a successful structured literacy curriculum. With RedThread Foundations, connected to our RedThread Knowledge curriculum, we include:

Teacher Manuals Detailed unit overviews, lesson plans, and resources needed to teach the lessons effectively.
Student Materials Printed books for students, eliminating the need for teachers to print or compile materials. Everything students need is in one place.
Classroom Materials

Essential tools to support phonics instruction.

The creation of multi-sensory classroom materials was also a high priority for our team. Multi-sensory materials create a richer, more dynamic learning environment. This approach helps all students develop strong phonics and literacy skills leading to improved retention with hands-on learning.

Our classroom materials include everything from magnetic boards with letter tiles to whiteboards with student writing grids, and a variety of card decks. K12-found-img-20-2-1

Posters, like alphabet and vowel posters, and charts, like our letter formation chart, provide helpful visual references for writing practice while adding vibrant colors to the classroom.


RedThread Foundations Scope and Sequence

Q: How is RedThread a complete literacy program?

A: RedThread is a core curriculum with two essential components: RedThread Foundations, the phonics curriculum, and RedThread Knowledge, the knowledge-building curriculum. Together, these components form a complete literacy program, crucial for teaching students to think critically and read and write proficiently.

Q: How are RedThread Foundations and RedThread Knowledge connected?

A: The connection between RedThread Foundations and RedThread Knowledge is seamless and thematic. For example, if the RedThread Knowledge unit is themed “Everyday Problem Solvers,” students read authentic literature and write about problem-solving.

In RedThread Foundations, the decodable texts also focus on problem-solving. These stories cover themes like the first blind man who climbed Mount Everest or a boy and his dad building a cart to carry their laundry after their bag breaks.

This integration means that during their phonics lessons, kids discuss problem-solving ideas. Later in the day, in their knowledge-building block, they engage deeply with the same topic. This unique feature connects the two components, enhancing and deepening the learning experience for children.

Q: What principles guided the development of the RedThread curriculum? 

A: We focused on the principles of structured literacy and what the science of reading tells us about teaching children to read at an early age. As a result, our program was designed to be:

  • Systematic and Cumulative: Building knowledge and skills in a logical, sequential manner.
  • Diagnostic and Explicit: Clearly identifying and addressing students' needs.

Providing clear, consistent methods for teaching foundational skills like phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition means that explicit routines were also crucial in addressing all aspects of early literacy instruction.

Q: What is the goal of RedThread?

A: Our goal is for children nationwide to benefit from high-quality phonics instruction connected to authentic knowledge-building content starting in kindergarten. By learning to read and applying their skills to decodable books and high-quality, relatable literature, we aim for children to fall in love with reading and learning from an early age. We believe that when children can read well, they can teach themselves anything. That is our ultimate goal.

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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