• Students and teachers will not have access to Wonders until Monday, 8/21 as we prepare for the 2017-2018 school year.

    Reading Wonders: elementary literacy curriculum

    Parents/guardians: Get more information about Reading Wonders via district/school websites. Use the shortcut links below:

    Reading Wonders 
    is here!

    Anoka-Hennepin’s elementary school students are learning reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary and other literacy skills this school year with Reading Wonders.

    Students reading books

    In March 2017, the district concluded a years-long effort to revamp its English language arts (ELA) curriculum for elementary school-aged students when the School Board approved the purchase and implementation of Reading Wonders an innovative and modern way to teach the gamut of elementary literacy skills, developed by education publisher McGraw Hill.

    “It’s hard to stress how exciting this change is going to be, not only for students and staff, but parents too,” said Mary Wolverton, the district’s associate superintendent for elementary education. “It’s a big deal and we think students, staff and parents are going to love it.”
    There’s concrete support for that optimism.
    In 2015-16, Reading Wonders was piloted in 44 elementary classrooms across the district. And not only was the vote for a new ELA curriculum almost unanimous among the teachers who participated, but most of the teachers who used Reading Wonders liked it so much, they asked for a waiver to use it for the remainder of the school year.

    Great for students

    The biggest difference, which is also most important for students, is that the new curriculum is fully integrated and collaborative, according to Laura Bratland, and Debra Day, teaching and learning specialists for elementary literacy.

    “What that means is students who are in a class together, with Reading Wonders, they’re reading the same content no matter their reading ability,” Day said. “So students at different ability levels can participate through collaborative conversations and learn from each other.”

    And it all goes much beyond reading, according to Bratland. “We’re talking about spelling, vocabulary and writing, too,” she said. “It’s all embedded in the text of what is being covered, so, for example, there are authentic ways for students to learn the spelling and vocabulary lessons because it’s all right there in what they’re reading. It’s all built together.”


    The biggest change families may notice is the robust at-home learning opportunities, which are made possible with technology, according to Ranae Case-Evenson, the district’s director of elementary curriculum, instruction and assessment.

    “There’s an amazing at-home connection with this,” she said. “So all of the text and reading materials — families will have access to online. Students can have self-directed learning opportunities anywhere they have access to the online tools.”

    Those opportunities include games and activities that are tied to their daily lessons, and vocabulary and spelling lists that are automatically pushed out, and even the books they’re reading, Case-Evenson said.

    “It allows parents to be as hands-on as they want to be,” she said. “Materials are at their finger-tips so they can work on things at home, or if they go on vacation, or whatever the case may be.”

    That said, a technology-enhanced curriculum doesn’t mean the end of paper and pencils.

    “What’s great, too, is that Reading Wonders is technology-enhanced, but not technology dependent, so families who don’t have technology at home — teachers can provide everything as a hard copy too, so they can take them home,” Case-Evenson said. “The ways kids can learn with this are limitless.”

    Other details

    Reading Wonders will cost Anoka-Hennepin $3.1 million, which includes materials, shipping and seven years of professional development, Case-Evenson said.

    Because technology is such a strong component of Reading Wonders, up to $2.2 million in technology purchases using capital dollars will be made to purchase interactive whiteboards, Chromebooks and iPads.