Teaching with Storyworks Jr.
Our simple and unique approach to grammar, writing, differentiation, and much more.Subscribe
Articles, Stories, Plays, and More
Every issue of Storyworks Jr. includes an array of exciting, rich, and meaningful content across the genres, all lovingly created to inspire and engage your students. Each issue includes:
We also cover the following genres during the year:
The difficulty level of all of our features will increase during the year (Click here for more information about our approach to text leveling.)
Reading and Skills Development
Storyworks Jr. includes a comprehensive package of support materials: features embedded in the student edition, complete lessons in the Teacher’s Guide, and an array of activity sheets and quizzes on this website.
• “Pause and Think” questions in our nonfiction stories and fiction are quick comprehension checks to ensure that students read carefully and understand the basic meaning of the text.
• “Think and Read” boxes set a purpose for reading and prompt students to focus on one important reading skill per story. These are connected to our “Think and Write” boxes, at the end of each story, which ask students to respond to a question related to skill focus.
• Close-reading questions (and answers) for every major feature in the magazine are provided in the Teacher’s Guide. These higher-level questions are designed to help students:
• gain a deeper understanding of the text
• uncover layers of meaning
• make inferences
• analyze the author’s purpose
• reflect on how words, sentences, and paragraphs help build the larger work and more
• Skill-building activity sheets for every major feature introduce and reinforce critical ELA skills. Each nonfiction and fiction story comes with a “reading kit,” a series of activities focusing on a core set of skills, including:
- Text Evidence
- Cause and Effect
- Text Features
- Compare and Contrast
- Main Idea
We provide rich vocabulary support for all of our features. Click here to learn more.
Here’s how we help you make Storyworks Jr. accessible to students of all levels:
Several versions of texts
The nonfiction, paired texts, Paragraph Power, and debate features that appear in the print magazine are all available online at a lower-Lexile level. The layout is virtually identical to the magazine version, so it’s not obvious to students that some classmates are accessing a different text. Click here for the lower-Lexile version of September’s main nonfiction text.
The nonfiction feature also comes in a “starter” level, which is a brief and straightforward presentation of the facts and vocabulary. It is designed to prepare students for the lower-Lexile version of the story. Click here for the starter version of the September story.
And for your high-achieving readers, we have a higher-level version of certain stories, which is the article that originally appeared in Storyworks, for 4th and 5th graders. Click here for a high-level version from our September issue.
Audio versions are available for both on-level and lower-Lexile versions of our narrative nonfiction and paired texts, as well as our fiction and poems. Best of all, the stories and poems are read by their authors or other vocal talents—no computerized voices! Check out a sample on the story page for our September paired texts.
In this game-changing video format, the author reads the narrative nonfiction story aloud, while authentic footage and photos provide background knowledge and pull your students further into the story. Here’s the September Video Read-Aloud.
Scope and Sequence
Our skills-support resources are designed to enhance your reading program no matter what your scope and sequence. Our “Reading Kits” that come with every issue include activities to support teaching key ELA skills—the ones that will best aid your students in reading comprehension and test readiness. You can select any or all the activities, creating a personalized package to fit your own scope and sequence.
We offer Reading Kits to support the feature nonfiction, paired texts, fiction, and play. And in each kit, we focus on up to three skills. For nonfiction and paired texts, the possible skills are:
- text evidence
- cause and effect
- text features
- compare and contrast
- main idea and details
For fiction and plays, the possible skills are:
Every major feature includes a quiz with multiple-choice and short-answer questions, mirroring challenging CCSS and state tests.
Our Paragraph Power feature helps students develop critical writing skills, with an emphasis on main idea and text evidence.
All of our activity sheets and quizzes can be used as formative assessments.
Storyworks Jr. offers authentic texts that help students in key reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language domains, and is aligned to the Common Core, TEKS, and other rigorous state standards. Storyworks Jr. will provide students with essential practice in skills such as close reading and critical thinking, main idea, cause/effect, text evidence, compare/contrast, making inferences, and paragraph writing.
Nonfiction features focus on curriculum-related science and social studies topics, feature academic and domain-specific vocabulary, and nurture the higher-level thinking and analytic reading, writing, and grammar skills demanded by today’s rigorous standards.
All of our major features have challenging academic and domain-specific vocabulary words highlighted and defined. Online activities that emphasize learning in context guide students to preview and practice using these words. Check out this sample vocab activity from our September issue.
Our column “One Word, Three Ways” allows students to explore the multiple meanings and nuances of one word. They can submit their own suggestions for multiple-meaning words as part of a contest, too. Click here to see our September “One Word, Three Ways.”
Our Leveling Approach
In every issue of Storyworks Jr., you'll find stories at a range of reading levels, but all within the 2nd- and 3rd-grade bands of the Lexile, GRL, and DRA scales. We’ve worked hard to produce texts that are accessible for 3rd graders, but also rich in text features, figurative language, and descriptive passages. It’s a balancing act and a labor of love.
We’re thankful to have scales like Lexile and GRL to guide us in crafting grade-appropriate texts, and we recognize the usefulness of these measures in matching texts to readers. But there’s another resource that we value most highly: teachers like you. All of the stories in Storyworks Jr. have been extensively field-tested by dedicated and passionate 3rd-grade teachers. They’ve assured us that the texts are suitable for their students. We feel confident that these features will challenge, fascinate, and delight your students.
We welcome your feedback! How do the texts in this issue suit your students’ needs and abilities? How can we do more to support you and your class? Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.