News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler
Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High
Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager | 708-226-7628
For Immediate Release:
May 3, 2016
Homer 33C teachers excited about new textbooks
It’s not every day that a committee of teachers agree upon the same textbook series when reviewing learning materials for the classroom.
But that’s exactly what happened in Homer School District 33C when teachers previewed and piloted three textbook series in the area of English and the Language Arts.
“Every teacher picked the McGraw-Hill Wonders Series,” said Kathleen Robinson, the district’s assistant superintendent for instruction. “That’s the first time that has ever happened.”
For two months, 25 K-6 teachers worked with the learning materials and evaluation rubric from three textbook publishers.
They unanimously agreed that the McGraw-Hill Wonders Series was the best, offering the most balanced literature approach, including a reading/writing workshop model, a rigorous vocabulary and a blend of informational and literature text.
“It’s rich in literature and informational text,” said Robinson, “something the district’s current series is lacking.”
The district’s current English Language Arts series is nine years old and aligned to the old Illinois State Standards.
As a result, teachers were always searching for supplemental learning materials to bolster their lesson plans, leading to inconsistencies throughout the district.
The new series from McGraw-Hill is aligned to the current Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy.
In addition, it’s based on scientific evidence and research related to elements that have been identified as essential to literacy instruction, said Robinson, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and language, text comprehension and writing.
One feature teachers are most excited about is the fact that the Wonders series offers leveled readers, meaning each child can work from books at their current skill level — whether it’s “Approaching” understanding, “On” level or “Beyond” level. There’s even a leveled reader for English Language Learners.
The only difference between each book is the complexity of text and inclusion of text features, said Robinson.
The leveled readers tie in with the district’s differentiated instruction initiative, which strives to tailor lessons to meet individual student needs.
Knowing some students learn best when they are working with technology, the Wonders series gives teachers and students the option to download material onto their Chromebooks.
“The series is very versatile and addresses many of components that are lacking or missing in our current ELA series,” said Robinson.
It also complements the district’s strategic plan to:

  • Provide an effective and engaging instructional program that supports academic success for all students
  • Provide a standards-based curriculum that ensures each child will have the same essential learning opportunities
  • Commit to setting high expectations for learners and continually collect, monitor and act upon evidence of their achievement progress
  • Commit to providing differentiated instruction, timely interventions and appropriate enrichments to help every student learn

The series was formally adopted by the Board of Education on April 26. It will be integrated into the classroom this fall and carry through the 2021-22 school year.