Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante are comprehensive English and Spanish Reading/Language Arts programs from Benchmark Education Company for Kindergarten through sixth grade. These programs are built to address key shifts in curriculum and instruction to meet the demands of the new standards.
Rigorous, integrated reading, writing, speaking, and listening instruction meets the needs of districts implementing a reading collaborative, balanced approach, or workshop model, and enables all students to master rigorous learning goals with strong resources for differentiated instruction and responsive teaching based upon ongoing assessments.
A forward-thinking approach to English Learner instruction provides unique tools designed to scaffold students to on-level materials, which are complex, high-quality texts built for today's learner.
The architecture of Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante provides a framework that develops students content knowledge over time. All ELA, SLA, and ELL instruction occurs in the context of 10 content-focused knowledge strands that increase in complexity and build knowledge over time, within a grade level and also across grades K-6.
Every topic is a unit. Every unit consists of three weeks of instruction. This framework provides ample time for students to be immersed in the topic, expanding their academic knowledge and vocabulary as they build literacy and language skills.
Students are provided wide, deep, and meaningful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts that build knowledge. Whole-group instruction focuses on core, grade-level texts. Small-group instruction provides a wealth of leveled texts at a variety of levels and reader's theater to support differentiation. All texts are connected to the unit topic.
As students move to the next grade level, they will revisit these strands through the lens of the unit topic and an Essential Question that builds from prior years of instruction, supports grade-level standards and expectations, and promotes thinking about a topic or concept from many perspectives simultaneously.
There are ten, three-week units in Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante. Each unit focuses on one knowledge strand, or one topic—so students will build deep content knowledge by reading a variety of text types centered on one single topic. Both striving readers as well as those who need to be challenged will have ample time to internalize main vocabulary and concepts using oral language in collaborative conversations.
Each unit is organized by an Essential Question and enables students to dive deeply into each of the unit topics, which include Next Generation Science Standards as well as social studies standards.
With Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante, students are building knowledge in these knowledge strands not only within a grade level, but also across their elementary school careers.
Students will receive their own books that they can own and write in. With these books, students are taking responsibility and ownership for their learning, using a powerful tool that takes the place of a simple workbook. Annotation slows down the reader in order to deepen understanding. The Texts for Close Reading and My Shared Reading components provide space for students to write, highlight, circle, and underline. The paragraphs are numbered so that they can have conversations and easily cite evidence.
Students will be able to mark up their e-books and take notes in the margins. The e-books can be easily assigned to students, so they can access them from any device, anytime, anywhere. Everything saves in their personal online account so that teachers can review at any time.
A backward-mapped instructional design provides a clear path to each unit’s end. Students are set up for success from Week 1, where they use a short text that includes all of the potential text complexity barriers that they will encounter in extended texts during Weeks 2 and 3. Students are practicing and applying skills assessed at the end of the unit right from Week 1.
The texts in Benchmark Advance climb a staircase of complexity – across the grades and within a grade. The program’s backward-mapped instructional design provides a clear instructional path along with scaffolding to help students climb those stairs!
Students will encounter an evenly-balanced selection of 50% informational and 50% literary texts, including authentic literature. In Benchmark Adelante, 70% of the literary selections are authentic Spanish literature!
Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante carefully and systematically provides students with a strong foundation in literacy. Foundational skills instruction begins on the very first day of school and continues each day as students move from phonological awareness to phonemic awareness, to phonics, and into a connected text. Picture Cards, Letter Cards, Word Cards, Sound/Spelling Cards, Elkonin Boxes, interactive games, and connected texts are provided as students build a strong foundation and become readers and writers.
Connected texts provide authentic practice, which is key to the transfer of phonics skills as students begin to see themselves as readers and writers! Students cement their learning in authentic practice that is presented in context of their texts. In Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante, foundational skills practice goes beyond simple worksheets and into meaningful practice opportunities - authentic and in context.
English Learners thrive when language is amplified, not simplified. In Benchmark Advance, materials used for designated English Learner instruction are not watered down or below-level. English Learners receive the same rigorous cognitive demands as native English-speaking students, with additional scaffolds and explicit language development to support their access to meaning making.
The English Learner text centers on the core ELA selections. English learners in Benchmark Advance do not read adapted texts. Instead, they read shorter chunks pulled from the core complex text with enhanced visual support, as they deconstruct essential sections of text to learn how English grammar and syntax work.
During instruction, students will spend significant time speaking. In fact, lessons are designed so that at least 50% of time is devoted to students generating oral language.
With Benchmark Advance and Benchmark Adelante you will have the resources and rigor you need to ensure your students are prepared for the new assessments, including PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments.
Not only will your students be prepared with the right skills with text written at the right complexity, students will have practice taking tests in a digital environment that mirrors the new assessments! New question item types such as multi-part, drag and drop, multi-response, hot spots, text box response, and multimedia are all part of the program assessments.
A robust reporting system will allow you to use data to drive your instruction. You can see your students’ performance reports based on question items, standards, as well as Depth of Knowledge and Targets and Claims. These reports will help you intervene in time to make a difference before the high-stakes tests!