Into Literature: Research Evidence Base

At a glance

Today’s secondary classrooms are evolving, with shifts related to how we live together in a global society impacting our schools more than ever before. Increasingly, the focus on real-world skills beyond academics has permeated our English language arts classrooms. We still expect our students to read, write, and pass required high-stakes assessments; however, state standards now include expectations related to listening, speaking, research, thinking, knowledge building, and collaboration.

HMH Into Literature® © 2022 was built to address the needs of today’s classrooms and the requirements of tomorrow’s world. Its intentional design, based on evidence-based principles, features program components that work in concert with lesson structure, while keeping the student and the reading at the center.

HMH Into Literature is a comprehensive English language arts solution that provides engaging and rigorous texts to build intellectual stamina and tenacity while developing analytical readers, independent thinkers, and proficient writers. High-interest, relevant materials motivate students and serve to build agency and a growth mindset. The program provides a clear path through every classroom moment: the right tools and the right amount of choices for every situation and every learning goal.

For teachers, HMH Into Literature provides a flexible design, including expanded access to rich and varied digital resources for each literacy strand. The flexibility of the program allows teachers to differentiate and adapt instruction to meet all students at their appropriate level and develop equitable lessons for their classrooms.

Ongoing assessment and meaningful reporting provide critical feedback loops to teachers and students so that each experience encourages self-assessment and reflection and drives positive learning outcomes for ALL students. HMH Into Literature provides an impactful use of data from Day 1 via a simple yet strategic approach to formative assessment and cumulative data that informs and enriches the program.

HMH Into Literature was developed with careful attention to these principles for quality English language arts instruction:

  • Learning must be student centered, to develop students beyond their academic competencies, including noncognitive factors, social-emotional learning, and citizenship.
  • Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are fundamentally connected strands of literacy and therefore must be taught within an integrative approach.
  • Effective teaching is data driven, and assessment is an essential component of effective teaching; assessment must be conducted within a comprehensive and balanced system that includes formative, interim, and summative evaluations of student progress in meeting targeted learning goals.
  • Teachers’ ongoing professional learning is a vital component of quality education; best practices include instructional strategies for everyday teaching plus modeling and coaching, creating an approach to blended professional learning that maximizes educator agency and accommodates individual needs to build a culture of professional growth.
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Digital Promise’s recent report Policies and Practices That Meet Learners Where They Are points to the convergence of growing classroom diversity, advances in learning science research, ever-increasing sophistication and access to technology, and changing 21st-century job requirements in a global market as factors that make for both a promising and challenging educational landscape today (Pape & Vander Ark, 2018).

The Increased Role of Technology

Digital-first learning environments can create more engaging and effective experiences for students that yield deeper knowledge and increased mastery of targeted skills (Simba Information, 2017). By fully integrating technology in their classrooms, teachers can create “authentic learning experiences emphasizing collaboration, creativity, and innovation,” which will then prepare their students to be “productive digital-age citizens” (James, 2011, p. 48).

Considering the evidence for digital learning’s potential to increase engagement and knowledge, it is encouraging that the presence of and reliance on technology within classrooms is increasing. Schools are adding more technology to their classrooms from front-of-room options, like interactive projectors and whiteboards, to devices like laptops and tablets in the hands of students. In a nationwide survey, more than 80% of teachers indicated they are using digital resources in their instruction, and the same overwhelming percentage said they had received or accessed training in the use of technology in classrooms (Simba Information, 2016).

The Evolving Role of Teachers

Educators today are charged with the responsibility of personalizing learning to increase equity and meet the needs of each student in increasingly diverse classrooms. This personalization necessitates major shifts in how teaching happens in classrooms. Educators constantly collect and analyze formal and informal data to identify and close gaps before they persist with a focus on making instruction equitable for all students. Key principles for accomplishing these goals for 21st-century learning include organizing teaching with the learner at the center; tailoring objectives, approaches, content, pace, and tools to optimize outcomes for each student; giving students ownership of their learning, characterized by more self-direction as well as greater choice and greater voice over what, when, how, and where they learn; and cultivating the social, emotional, and collaborative skills required to succeed in college and career (Pape & Vander Ark, 2018). Specifically, “employers now seek people who can solve complex problems, think critically and creatively, coordinate with others, and manage people” (Pape & Vander Ark, 2018, p. 3).

Literacy Demands for College and Career

As described by the National Council of Teachers of English (2013), literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices that evolves as society and technology change. Because technology has made literate environments more intense and complex, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies that are both dynamic and malleable. Active, successful participants in our current global society must be able to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so as to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts; and
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

“Today’s economy demands a universally higher level of literacy than at any time in history, and it is reasonable to expect that the demand for a literate workforce will only increase in the future” (ACT, 2006, p. 27).

For far too long, the percentage of students performing at or above proficient on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading assessment has remained appallingly low, with only 34% of Grade 8 students and 37% of Grade 12 students scoring proficient or higher in 2019. Even more concerning is the immense variation in the opportunity gap by student group. For example, race and ethnicity proficiency gaps in 2019 ranged from 15% to 57% in Grade 8 and 17% to 50% in Grade 12 (See Figure 1 and Figure 2). Similarly only 20% of Grade 8 students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored proficient or higher, compared to 50% of students who were not eligible. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that schools prioritize equity in learning opportunities by delivering high-quality instruction and materials for all students, with the goal of closing these long-standing gaps.

WF1314200 ELA Rsrch 2021 NTL Into Literature Figure1
FIGURE 1. NAEP 8th Grade Reading Trends: Percentage of Students Scoring At or Above Proficient, by Race & Ethnicity
WF1314200 ELA Rsrch 2021 NTL Into Literature Figure2
FIGURE 2. NAEP 12th Grade Reading Trends: Percentage of Students Scoring At or Above Proficient, by Race & Ethnicity

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1992–2019 Reading Assessments.

HMH Into Literature:

Maximizes growth through data-driven differentiation and targeted scaffolds
HMH Into Literature is built on the promise of student outcomes. The program is driven by data that allows teachers to close close gaps and build equity in their classrooms. The meaningful use of data provides for just-in-time instruction at each student’s level, without the need for teachers to spend hours grouping students and planning lessons. This frees teachers to focus on building knowledge and providing equitable instruction for all students.

Develops learners with positive habits of reading, writing, and thinking behavior to foster agency
Combining teacher know-how with HMH Into Literature resources equips students with active and self-directed learning skills and the lifelong learning mindset needed to thrive. HMH Into Literature makes the thinking that goes into reading and writing visible. The program’s close reading instruction teaches students how to ask the right questions while reading, and its writing instruction shows how to skillfully analyze and respond to a prompt.

Fosters a learning culture with a focus on collaboration, peer interaction, and articulation of views
As teachers work to transfer responsibility for learning from teacher to student, efforts are supported with the gradual release model embedded within HMH Into Literature—explicit instruction, modeling, and productive collaboration take students on the road to independence. To encourage the culture of collaboration and responsibility demanded by the 21st century workplace, the program features learning activities that are social, active, and student owned.

Unburdens teachers to focus energy on the delivery of powerful instruction through simple, intuitive program design
Saving teachers the time of choosing and planning selections that work well for whole-group, small-group, and independent learning structures, HMH Into Literature presents selections in each unit perfectly suited for recommended practices and grouping arrangements. The gradual-release model moves classes through Analyze & Apply to Collaborate & Compare to Reader's Choice. Giving both teachers and students expanded access to rich and varied digital resources, HMH Into Literature also provides digital student resources for each literacy domain with a wealth of materials for instruction, practice, remediation, and enrichment.

Empowers and supports teachers to be developers of high-impact learning experiences through embedded and ongoing professional learning
HMH supports teachers in achieving agency in their professional growth by giving them voice in the place and pace of purposeful, embedded, ongoing professional learning and effective instructional strategies relevant to everyday teaching. Comprehensive professional learning solutions are data and evidence driven, mapped to instructional goals, and centered on students, and they build educators’ collective capacity.

HMH Into Literature © 2022 delivers student-centered learning for students in Grades 6–12 that fosters positive habits of reading, writing, and thinking behavior as well as a learning culture with a focus on knowledge building, collaboration, peer interaction, and articulation of views. HMH Into Literature makes the thinking that goes into literacy visible for optimal differentiation and allows students to become increasingly independent in their learning within and beyond school. The program architecture was designed to support focused, purposeful learning. Guided by experts and proven outcomes, HMH Into Literature develops students beyond their academic competencies, including noncognitive factors such as mindset and agency, social and emotional learning, digital literacy, and citizenship.

Agency is part of a network of noncognitive skills impacting students’ academic success (Farrington et al., 2012). A person’s sense of agency has become increasingly important within our socially, culturally, and technologically complex world (Bandura, 2001).

In developing agency, secondary-level students utilize effective strategies and cultivate positive attitudes that help them navigate common barriers to success in and beyond the classroom (Nagaoka, Farrington, Ehrlich, & Heath, 2015; Raikes Foundation, 2012).

Self-efficacy in the academic realm is the belief and confidence that one has in regard to his or her capacity to accomplish meaningful learning tasks and produce the desired results (Brozo & Flynt, 2008).

Autonomy support is the practice of providing students with opportunities for choice and self-direction while minimizing controlling pressures—and one that has a significant impact on motivation (Guthrie, Klauda, & Ho, 2013). Instruction that encourages students to evaluate their progress in meeting learning goals has been shown to increase self-efficacy and achievement in reading (Schunk & Zimmerman, 2007).

Students who exercise agency and self-efficacy, such as through the use of problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles and make responsible decisions about their learning, do better academically (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). Conversely, students who lack self-efficacy tend to suffer decreased motivation and academic self-regulation, as well as devalue academic tasks (Cleary & Zimmerman, 2004).

Research strongly suggests that students be given regular opportunities for self-selection of reading material so as to increase motivation and interest (Allington & Gabriel, 2012; Atwell, 2007; Guthrie & Humenick, 2004; Pilgreen, 2000; Schunk, Pintrich, & Meece, 2008). Motivation and engagement are associated with reading achievement (Guthrie et al., 2013). “Giving students control of what they read is one step in making them lifelong readers and lifelong learners and a major stride toward helping them take control of their lives” (Gardiner, 2005, p. 128).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature supports students by instilling learned habits of thinking behavior and fostering student agency and confidence.

High-interest, relevant materials motivate students and serve to build agency and allow choice while building skills and stamina. Stimulating Essential Questions anchor each unit, while the Spark Your Learning feature at the beginning of the unit prompts students to think about the essential question as well as to brainstorm connections to pop culture.

Launch each lesson in the unit with the Engage Your Brain activities, designed to get students sketching, quick-writing, and discussing key ideas related to the text. Choices activities give the class, small groups, or individual students the opportunity to choose how they demonstrate their understanding of each unit's skills.

Students are engaged with active and self-directed learning that develops skills and autonomy. In print, consumable text fosters engagement and interaction with the text. In digital, annotation and note-taking prompts give students practice with text analysis, synthesis, and other high-level thinking skills.

Self-evaluation of student writing is cultivated through detailed scoring guides.

Autonomy and independence are among the aims of a learner-centered curriculum—and both are supported by approaches to instruction that emphasize the role of students as active agents in their own learning (Benson & Voller, 2014).

Teachers support autonomy by providing opportunities for choice and self-direction, giving positive feedback regarding competence, and minimizing external controls and pressures (Guthrie et al., 2013; Stefanou, Perencevich, DiCintio, & Turner, 2004). “Clearly the goal for educators is to create and foster classrooms that support students in becoming truly autonomous and self-determined as learners” (Stefanou et al., 2004, p. 99).

The gradual-release model of instruction purposefully shifts the cognitive load from the teacher to joint responsibility shared by teacher and learners to independent practice and application by the learner (Fisher & Frey, 2014). Through this effective process, as students become increasingly responsible for their learning, they become more competent and independent learners (Graves & Fitzgerald, 2003).

A vital component of the gradual-release model includes peer collaboration; “[a] more complete implementation model for the gradual release of responsibility recognizes the recursive nature of learning and has teachers cycle purposefully through purpose setting and guided instruction, collaborative learning, and independent experiences” (Fisher & Frey, 2014, p. 3)—with deep learning necessarily encompassing all four phases.

Researchers have found that several pedagogical practices have a positive effect on students’ motivation and engagement with reading, including access to many interesting, challenging books, both fiction and nonfiction, and choice of what to read (Allington & Gabriel, 2012; Guthrie et al., 2013; Guthrie & Humenick, 2004; Morrow & Gambrell, 1998).

Students will not become successful independent readers unless they are given the chance to practice reading independently (Pilgreen, 2000). By giving students the opportunity to choose texts in which they are interested, they will be able to read more complex texts because they are motivated and often knowledgeable about the topic (Liben & Liben, 2013).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature develops learners with positive habits of reading, writing, and thinking behavior to foster student agency.

At Grades 6–12, HMH Into Literature units are structured with a mix of topics and genres. At Grades 11 and 12, the structure is also chronological, emphasizing American literature at Grade 11 and British literature at Grade 12.

A gradual-release model with decreased scaffolding fosters independent reading and critical thinking. Responsibility for learning is transferred from teacher to student through an instructional process that includes explicit instruction, modeling, and productive collaboration on the road to independence.

HMH Into Literature facilitates instructional choice through flexible program architecture that includes Choices activities at the end of each lesson; Reader's Choice selections, which include short and long reads connected to the unit theme; and the digital Text Library full of high-interest, motivating texts.

The Notice & Note Signposts feature fosters independence in analysis and citation of text evidence.

Interactive digital resources on Ed offer additional instruction and independent practice in key English language arts skills. Students have access to these digital resources at point of use in the core Student eBook, providing them both choice and experience in seeking help as needed with reading, writing, speaking/listening, grammar, and vocabulary.

A concept pioneered by psychologist Carol Dweck, growth mindset is a belief that a person’s intelligence, competence, and talents can be developed through dedicated efforts and hard work.

In contrast to a “fixed mindset,” in which people see their abilities as immutable, the idea is also linked to attitudes and perceptions regarding success and failure—and the amount of control one thinks he or she has in experiences with either throughout life. Engagement, motivation, choice, and autonomy are intimately related to growth mindset (Dweck, 2007; Glei, 2013).

Growth mindsets impact academic mindsets, which play an important role in academic success. Four important beliefs that make up academic mindset include a sense of belonging, self-efficacy, relevance/purpose, and growth mindset (Farrington et al., 2012). “Notably, across the empirical literature, one’s beliefs about intelligence and attributions for academic success or failure are more strongly associated with school performance than is one’s actual measured ability (i.e., test scores)” (p. 10). Mindsets drive how much time and energy and intensity students devote toward their educations—and the outcomes of those efforts have a recursive effect, perpetuating a positive or negative cycle as results affirm beliefs (Dweck & Leggett, 1988; Farrington et al., 2012; Snipes, Fancsali & Stoker, 2012). Students with a growth mindset are much more likely to persist in their efforts and overcome challenges (Dweck, Walton, & Cohen, 2014).

Traits such as perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control instill growth mindset and grit in students, encouraging them to continue efforts to succeed, even in the face of adversity. These skills have more to do with character than with cognition and should be taught alongside daily curricular instruction (Tough, 2012). Self-efficacy, the confidence or strength of belief that we have in ourselves to make learning happen, is an important contributing factor in students’ literacy (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie, 2016).

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the malleability of mindsets; that intervention programs can be effective at altering students’ perceptions of their own success and failure and fostering growth mindsets; and that when students are taught to have a growth mindset, they are more successful academically (Farrington et al., 2012; Tough, 2012; Yeager & Dweck, 2012). Blackwell and colleagues (2007) found that after just eight growth mindset sessions in which students learned that intelligence can change over time, the students outperformed a control group on grade point averages.

While brief interventions can prove successful at helping students establish a growth mindset, more lasting change can be effected through daily activities that reinforce the importance of growth mindset. Schools and classrooms that reinforce growth mindset messaging place the focus on learning rather than performance and make learning more enjoyable for students (Yeager, Paunesku, Walton, & Dweck, 2013).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature provides engaging and rigorous texts to build intellectual stamina and tenacity. High-interest, relevant materials motivate students and serve to build agency and a growth mindset.

Growth mindset is a primary goal and a philosophical driver of the program. HMH Into Literature applies the principles of growth mindset throughout all student and teacher materials in order to seamlessly foster positive self-perceptions for academic success and encourage students to become lifelong learners.

To help students acquire the attitude of perseverance through learning obstacles, teachers have Social & Emotional Learning notes and strategies for nurturing students’ optimism and confidence as they recognize and grow their abilities. In the Introduce the Unit feature, a Teacher's Edition note supports direct instruction in a specific growth mindset competency.

In the Choices section of every lesson, there is an activity in the Student Edition or Teacher's Edition that connects the content of the literature to a competency.

The Spark Your Learning activities that open each unit and the Engage Your Brain activities that open each lesson provide opportunities for students to practice self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.

Notice & Note provides a practical method to get students to read observantly, to think about their responses and the textual elements that provoked them, and to articulate and explain their findings. This particular form of scaffolded instruction supports engagement and a growth mindset while developing students’ close reading skills and their understanding of author’s craft.

Formative assessments, peer reviews, and Reflect on the Unit questions also aid students in monitoring their progress and developing metacognitive ability. Digitally, the program includes opportunities for teacher-to-student and peer-to-peer feedback for users to leverage in the writing process.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process by which students develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2018a). Research has shown that social skills are predictive of academic achievement and that social-emotional competencies are vital for positive and productive experiences in workplaces, communities, family and other relationships, and in general health and well-being (Durlak et al., 2011; Farrington et al., 2012; Jones & Bouffard, 2012; National Research Council, 2012).

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the five core SEL competencies are self-awareness (the ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior); self-management (managing one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations); social awareness (taking the perspective of and empathizing with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures while recognizing social and ethical norms for behavior); relationship skills (establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups); and responsible decision-making (making constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards and the well-being of self and others) (CASEL, 2018b).

Some of the SEL factors that improve success in school include self-discipline, self-motivation, stress management, and organization of one’s approach to learning (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005). Self-regulation is another component of SEL that has been linked to academic achievement; those who display this trait try harder and have more persistence in the face of challenges (Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002).

Three decades of research covered in a meta-analysis of 213 SEL programs yielded the conclusion that SEL programming has many positive effects. SEL interventions increased students’ academic performance by 11 percentile points over students who did not participate in SEL programs. The SEL programs also reduced aggression and emotional distress, increased helping behaviors, and improved positive attitudes toward one’s self and others (Durlak et al., 2011): “Through systematic instruction, SEL skills may be taught, modeled, practiced and applied to diverse situations so that students can use them as part of their daily repertoire of behaviors. . . . Quality SEL instruction also provides students with opportunities to contribute to their class, school, community and experience the satisfaction, sense of belonging, and enhanced motivation that comes from such involvement” (pp. 406–407).

Research also shows that social skills can be intentionally developed and generate positive results—with greater gains even more likely for at-risk students (Jones & Bouffard, 2012).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

To be successful in life beyond school, young people must be able to work collaboratively in teams and demonstrate literacy skills in a variety of settings. Accordingly, ELA standards now include expectations related to listening, speaking, research, and thinking in addition to reading and writing. Additionally, teachers across the content areas are increasingly charged with providing instruction that focuses on real-world skills such as collaboration, perseverance, and tenacity.

HMH Into Literature builds opportunities for collaboration and reflection into instruction to enhance learning and engagement. Both collaboration and reflection serve to foster students’ individual social-emotional competencies and a culture of collaboration, self-awareness, and responsibility. The Teacher's Edition integrates Social & Emotional Learning tips relating to the content at point of use.

At the end of every unit, the Reflect & Extend section includes a Social & Emotional Learning note in the Teacher's Edition to provide guidance for incorporating competencies into the activities.

The Lesson Planning Guide notes the SEL competency associated with each Choices activity so teachers can plan ahead. Selections that include especially sensitive content will have additional strategies for dealing with issues related to the text.

For students, the Choices options, Spark Your Learning activities, and the text-based questions and writing activities embed Social & Emotional Learning activities into every unit.

These activities encourage students to consider the factors and consequences involved in the character's decision-making, thus strengthening their own decision-making abilities.

The program supports the transfer of responsibility for learning from teacher to student through explicit instruction and modeling by employing the gradual release of responsibility and an emphasis on productive collaboration, developing a learning community through structured activity.

Reader's Choice selections offer students a choice of online texts for reading on their own and sharing with a partner or small group. HMH Into Literature honors cultural diversity. Each unit includes a rich array of selections that represent multicultural authors and experiences.

Notice & Note cultivates close reading and comprehension skills by having students think deeply about characters and engage in self-reflection, supporting social-emotional growth.

Technology is pervasive in present-day life. Yet access to technology is only part of ensuring citizens are included and empowered within society; technological skills and competencies are equally important. Digital literacy has become a fundamental component of academic and workplace success in the 21st century (ALA, 2013).

The American Library Association (ALA, 2013; Becker, 2018) defines digital literacy as a combination of both cognitive and technical skills that enable an individual to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information effectively. A digitally literate person can appropriately and effectively use diverse technologies to search for and retrieve information, interpret search results, and judge the quality of the information retrieved. Further, a digitally literate person understands the complex relationships among technology, lifelong learning, personal privacy, and appropriate stewardship of information—and how digital information and technology can affect life beyond its immediate use. Finally, digital literacy is social; a digitally literate person applies skills and technologies to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and the general public in order to participate actively in civic society and contribute to an informed, vibrant, and engaged community.

“Indeed, if formal education seeks to prepare young people to make sense of the world and to thrive socially, intellectually and economically, then it cannot afford to ignore the social and cultural practices of digital literacy that enable people to make the most of their multiple interactions with digital technology and media” (Hague & Payton, 2010, p. 3).

Today’s students—famously dubbed “digital natives” by Prensky (2001)—have grown up with computers and the internet, providing them with technical skills and comfort levels unique to their generation. However, Becker (2018) points out that no one is born digitally literate and must be taught the refined cognitive skills and competencies to become effective and savvy users and consumers of digital information.

Hobbs (2010) recommends students learn the following as part of the process of becoming digitally literate:

  • Making responsible choices and accessing information by locating and sharing materials and comprehending information and ideas;
  • Analyzing messages in a variety of forms by identifying the author, purpose, and point of view and evaluating the quality and credibility of the content;
  • Creating content in a variety of forms, making use of language, images, sound, and new digital tools and technologies;
  • Reflecting upon one’s own conduct and communication behavior by applying social responsibility and ethical principles; and
  • Taking social action by working individually and collaboratively to share knowledge and solve problems in the family, workplace, and community and by participating as a member of a community.

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature was built to address the needs of today’s classrooms and the requirements of tomorrow’s world by fostering media literacy and proficient use of digital tools for learning.

For teachers, HMH Into Literature provides a flexible design, including expanded access to rich and varied digital resources for each literacy strand.

When students utilize digital resources, teachers want to know how they are spending their time. Progress tracking data provides teachers valuable insight into students’ digital learning. To inform instruction, learning, and growth, reports on Ed allow teachers to view progress by class, students, assignments, standards, and skill level. This information, available right when they need it, allows teachers to adjust instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

The program offers the ability to interact with text digitally using annotation tools, note-taking and storing, and the organization and sharing of notes. Students can personalize information and collaborate with digital tools. Writing is also constructed and stored digitally.

Understood broadly as thinking about thinking, metacognition has been defined more specifically as “the ability to monitor one’s current level of understanding and decide when it is not adequate” (National Research Council, 2000, p. 47) or “the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge” (National Council of Teachers of English & National Writing Project, 2011, p. 5).

Studies have determined that there is a significant correlation between metacognition and academic achievement and that training in the use of metacognitive skills increases achievement; researchers have also discovered relationships between metacognition and study habits and attitudes (Ozsoy, Memis, & Temur, 2009). Upon conclusion of a large-scale meta-analysis, Hattie (2012) emphasized that teachers need to be aware of what each student is thinking in order to provide meaningful feedback and effectively guide learning.

The National Research Council’s How People Learn (2000) cited the importance of educators fostering metacognition to allow students to take control of their own learning and monitor their own progress. Conscious regulation and control of cognitive activity are commonly seen as major components of metacognition (Harris, Graham, Brindle, & Sandmel, 2009).

Successful readers tend to use metacognitive awareness as they are reading to think about what they are doing and to adjust the strategies they use accordingly. Some metacognitive strategies that foster reading growth include setting goals while reading, regulating progress, and employing mastery-oriented strategies in order to reach comprehension goals (Molden & Dweck, 2006; Pressley & Afferbach, 1995).

It is also essential to engage students’ metacognition for them to achieve a deeper level of reflection about their inquiry (Bennett, 2015).

Metacognition is a vital component in writing, especially in the way one approaches a writing task, encompassing both genre-specific and general strategies (Harris et al., 2009). “Writing is the production of thought for oneself or others under the direction of one’s goal-directed metacognitive monitoring and control, and the translation of that thought into an external symbolic representation” (Hacker, Keener, & Kircher, 2009, p. 154).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature is a comprehensive English language arts solution at Grades 6–12 that focuses on students’ thinking—and thinking about thinking—as part of developing analytical and effective readers, writers, speakers, and listeners.

To aid students in reflecting and developing their metacognition, formative assessments, peer reviews, and Extend & Reflect questions are included within the program.

The Reflect on the Essential Question feature at the end of each unit has students pause and reflect on their processes and understanding of the selections and their themes.

Ongoing assessment and data reporting provide critical feedback loops to teachers and students, so that each experience encourages self-assessment and reflection.

The Notice & Note protocol fosters metacognition by having students engage in critical thinking about a wide range of texts. The Notice & Note Signposts allow students to become more aware of the kinds of text features and strategies that writers use and readers recognize to develop self-reflective habits and skills.

Standards instruction is applied throughout each selection, from pre-reading to post-reading application of skills. For each selection, guided reading prompts and questions require students to reenter each text to apply standards and use metacognitive skills to expand their learning. By identifying text evidence that supports their interpretation, students strengthen their understanding.

Differentiated instruction rests on the assumptions that students differ and that these differences are important to how students will best learn. Teachers who can identify and build on each individual student’s strengths and weaknesses will ensure that all students can learn (Tomlinson, 2006).

To meet the needs of all students, effective teachers match learning activities to student readiness, interests, and learning preferences (Jackson & Davis, 2000; McLaughlin & Talbert, 1993; Stronge, 2002; Tomlinson & Allan, 2000). Multiple elements of the curriculum can be effectively differentiated (Tomlinson & Allan, 2000): teachers can adjust the content of the curriculum (what students are learning); they can differentiate the process of how students learn (providing support for the strategies students use to make sense of content); and they can adjust the expected products or demonstrations of learning (assessment) (Tomlinson, 2001).

Research demonstrates that differentiated instruction can significantly improve student achievement (Allan & Goddard, 2010). Effective differentiation can also decrease the achievement gaps in classrooms, as shown in Beecher and Sweeney’s 2008 study in which achievement gains were seen across all groups—and achievement gaps were reduced—when differentiation was applied in math, reading, and writing instruction. In a multiyear study in elementary and high school, Tomlinson, Brimijoin, and Narvaez (2008) found that differentiated instruction led to lasting gains in achievement for students across demographic groups, grade levels, and subject areas.

Specific strategies that have been proven effective for meeting diverse learners’ needs include varying the presentation of text and ideas, including orally, in writing, and with visuals; presenting content instruction in smaller chunks; providing ample time for discussion; and using and teaching academic English (Klingner & Vaughn, 2004; Tomlinson, 2004). For intermediate and secondary-level students experiencing reading difficulties specifically, Wanzek and colleagues (2013) found strong evidence supporting the following differentiation practices: providing explicit vocabulary instruction, using direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction, and providing struggling readers with intensive and individualized interventions.

Differentiation strategies research has found to be effective for English learners include the development of academic language proficiency and oral language proficiency (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Gersten & Baker, 2000; Goldenberg, 2008). Advanced learners require differentiation in their instruction as well. Advanced learners benefit from opportunities to move at a different pace (Tomlinson, 1995) and to work independently on projects (Rogers, 2007), particularly on activities centered around issues, problems, and themes that are of interest and relevant to those students (VanTassel-Baska & Brown, 2007). Employing flexible grouping practices has been shown to be effective for meeting the needs of advanced learners as well (Tomlinson, 1995). It is also important that teachers provide opportunities to work with peers and to work independently (Rogers, 2007).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature’s formative assessment and digital reporting, including HMH Growth Measure, allows for effective and efficient data-driven differentiation and scaffolds. Actionable reports drive grouping and instructional recommendations appropriate for each learner. Differentiated Instruction notes in the Teacher’s Edition focus on potential points of difficulty and provide strategies for when students struggle, need a challenge, or need English learner support.

Ed—HMH’s digital integrated system for planning, teaching, and learning—allows teachers to modify lesson plans in multiple ways and to do quick searches for resources by selection, genre, skill, component, or learning level. This system includes access to direct help with differentiation; for example, teachers can get information about students’ readiness for a selection and challenging skills plus resource recommendations to fit their varying needs.

In addition to strategic grouping to support differentiated instruction, HMH Into Literature provides guided-skills practice in skill areas in which individual students need to build proficiency. One major way is through the Intervention, Review, & Extension section on Ed. Resources such as Level Up Tutorials, Leveled Texts, and Adapted Texts are available as student choice activities.

Human learning occurs within a social context (Vygotsky, 1962). Research and cognitive theory suggest that when students work in groups toward a common goal, they support one another, model strategies, and provide context-appropriate explanations and immediate feedback (Slavin, 2002).

In a meta-analysis, Marzano and colleagues (2001) found collaboration to be one of the nine most effective instructional strategies. Teaching practices that develop students’ interpersonal competencies and encourage small group discussions and collaboration have been shown to support deeper learning—and are key to developing students’ 21st-century skills (National Research Council, 2012; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2010).

Classroom discussion differs from simple participation in that it involves sharing and generating ideas, rather than simply seeking correct answers: “Discussion can be defined . . . as the open-ended collaborative exchange of ideas among a teacher and students or among students for the purpose of furthering students’ thinking, understanding, learning, or appreciation of text” (Wilkinson & Nelson, 2013, p. 299). When discussions encourage students to consider others’ perspectives and argue (through explanation, elaboration, and support) about a text, students think more critically about the text in question—and come away able to apply this thinking to other texts (Reznitskaya et al., 2008).

Engaging students in collaborative writing and peer review benefits students’ writing, organization of ideas, use of conventions, problem solving, and self-esteem (Boscolo & Ascorti, 2004; Graham & Perin, 2007; Pritchard & Honeycutt, 2007; Saddler & Graham, 2005). “Studies of this approach compared its effectiveness with that of having students compose independently. The effect sizes for all studies were positive and large. Collectively these investigations show that collaborative arrangements in which students help each other with one or more aspects of their writing have a strong positive impact on quality” (Graham & Perin, 2007, p. 16).

Numerous respected writing instructors and researchers have concluded that writing instruction is most effective when an engaged community of writers is developed (Atwell, 1998; Graham, McKeown, Kiuhara, & Harris, 2012). Implementing a writing workshop, in which students are immersed in all aspects of writing and sharing their writing with others in a safe and predictable environment, is one way to establish such a community. “Students and teachers also should have regular and structured opportunities to interact through giving and receiving feedback as well as collaborating on writing activities. Collaboration can increase the sense of community in a classroom, as well as encourage students to become engaged in the writing process with their peers. When students feel connected to one another and to the teacher, they may feel safe participating in the writing process and sharing their writing with peers. . . . Teachers can encourage students to collaborate throughout the writing process by brainstorming ideas about a topic, responding to drafts in a writing group, or helping peers edit or revise their work. Collaboration also can take the form of collaborative writing, whereby students jointly develop a single text” (Graham et al., 2012, p. 34–37).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

Collaboration is a fundamental aspect of HMH Into Literature, with frequent collaborative opportunities for students built into the program structure. This approach reflects and supports 21st-century standards and goals for learning and the widely held recognition that to be successful in work and life, people must be able to work effectively in teams.

HMH Into Literature encourages a culture of active collaboration, peer interaction, and articulation of views, full of learning experiences that are social, active, and student owned.

Within each unit of the program, Collaborate & Compare has students share and explore their individual readings and responses. This part of the program requires students to take their annotations of texts into small groups for comparing elements such as theme, arguments, and cross-genre features.

Throughout the program, collaborative activities for research, writing, discussing, creating, and presenting enhance engagement and learning.

Teachers can best meet their students’ needs by employing whole-group, small-group, and independent learning activities (McNamara & Waugh, 1993). Pressley, Yokoi, Rankin, Wharton-McDonald, & Mistretta (1997) found a correlation between effective instruction in reading and writing and the use of diverse activities—whole-group, small group, and independent reading.

Whole-group instruction can be best used to introduce new skills and concepts, while small-group work can ensure thorough learning (Cotton, 1995). “When students experience explicit instruction on a specific skill, teacher modeling, guided practice, and independent practice, they are much more likely to become proficient at the skill being taught” (National Institute for Literacy, 2007, p. 39).

For teachers of reading, beginning reading instruction with a whole-group shared read-aloud provides a common foundation for all students (Fountas & Pinnell, 2006), while small-group instruction allows for learning based on specific needs and interests. Nystrand (2006) found that “A number of studies show that reading comprehension is enhanced by the classroom interaction of students with their teachers and peers, including both small-group work and whole-class discussion” (p. 398).

Whole Group Learning: Direct Instruction and Modeling

Direct instruction describes an instructional approach in which the teacher first explains a new concept or skill and then allows time for practice, with teacher direction and guidance (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2000). The National Reading Panel (2000) found explicit instruction in comprehension strategies to be highly effective in enhancing understanding. Graham (2006) found that explicit strategy instruction produced large effects on student writing with improvements in quality, organization, and revisions, and particularly significant benefits for lower-performing students. Research also demonstrates that explicit instruction in vocabulary strategies and academic terminology is essential for vocabulary building (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002; National Reading Panel, 2000).

When learning a new skill, most of us benefit from watching the performance of an expert; modeling refers to this kind of expert demonstration by a teacher. Students benefit from seeing models of the processes and performances that they are trying to emulate. Graham (2006) found that teacher modeling of writing strategies—in which teachers showed students how to use specific strategies for writing—was effective in improving students’ writing performance. Ferris (2003) found that teachers’ feedback to students’ writing served as a model for students’ self-assessment and revision processes.

Small Group Learning: Collaboration and Guided Practice

Diverse grouping arrangements that provide peer mediated instruction, collaborative learning, and consequent shared dialogue support improved understanding; small, cooperative groups allow students to model and provide immediate feedback for each other (Abrami et al., 2000; Biancarosa & Snow, 2006; Cotton, 1995; Langer, 2001; National Reading Panel, 2000; Pressley et al., 1997; Slavin, 2002).

Placement in small groups for instruction has been shown to benefit all students—those with low, medium, and high abilities (Abrami, Lou, Chambers, Poulsen, & Spence, 2000). In addition to the benefits for students, small-group instruction is instructionally efficient; interventions can be delivered to small groups, saving resources for more intensive one-on-one interventions if they are necessary (Burns & Gibbons, 2008).

Research has shown that small-group learning is particularly effective in teaching students reading comprehension strategies, particularly in having them model strategy usage for each other (National Reading Panel, 2000; Slavin et al., 2009). According to Alvermann (2002), classrooms that engage students in goal-driven small groups that use texts as the basis for deep conversations produce students who are higher-level and more critical thinkers. Small groups and pairings of students to work collaboratively on writing and peer reviews have also been found to be beneficial (Boscolo & Ascorti, 2004; Graham & Perin, 2007; Pritchard & Honeycutt, 2007; Saddler & Graham, 2005).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature utilizes dynamic and diverse student grouping arrangements to enhance learning and engagement while developing students’ English language arts competencies.

The program architecture moves students through phases of instruction following the gradual release model and varied grouping structures.

Analyze & Apply: Whole-class direct instruction to introduce each unit and for analysis, annotation, and application of the Notice & Note protocol as well as standards instruction.

Collaborate & Compare: Cooperative small-group work for a comparative analysis of two selections linked by topic but different in genre, craft, or focus. Standards instruction and annotation are also applied.

Reader's Choice: Interactive, digital, short and long reads linked to the unit topic and in a wide range of genres and Lexile® levels provide resources for students’ independent reading, expanding student choice and experience. Other resources on Ed provide independent practice. These resources can be self-selected for students who go in search of extra practice, or they can be assigned as data-driven recommendations. Teachers can use Ed to better understand which students are excelling or struggling with specific skills or standards, and then assign groups or individuals targeted practice or acceleration.

Research has long established that the domains comprising literacy—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—are interconnected and most effectively learned within an integrated and balanced approach to instruction such as the program architecture forged in HMH Into Literature © 2022. The program’s embedded gradual-release format, leading students through explicit instruction, modeling, and productive collaboration centered around high-quality, diverse, and complex texts, fosters independence and inquiry. HMH Into Literature helps all students build the academic language needed to succeed across the content areas as well as the literacy and social competencies demanded by the 21st-century workplace. Giving both teachers and students expanded access to rich and varied digital resources, HMH Into Literature also provides a wealth of materials for both guided and independent instruction, practice, remediation, and enrichment for each literacy domain.

Reading and writing are connected. They develop together naturally (Sulzby & Teale, 1991). We can see connections between reading and writing at the word level (word recognition, spelling) and at the text level (comprehension, composition) (Berninger, Abbott, Abbott, Graham, & Richards, 2002).

Because of these connections, improving students’ knowledge and skill in one area will improve their knowledge and skill in the other (Graham & Herbert, 2010). Reading and writing share a bidirectional relationship—writing instruction improves reading comprehension and reading instruction improves composition; when they read and write, students become better at both (Shanahan, 2006).

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of an integrated approach to English language arts instruction. Reading and writing together improves achievement, enhances communication skills, and builds critical-thinking ability (Cooper, 2000). Connecting writing with reading helps students process new information and comprehend complex ideas (Knipper & Duggan, 2006). Tierney and Shanahan’s research (1991) showed that engaging students in writing activities improves reading ability. Research shows that the many specific benefits of integrating reading and writing include increased word learning (Baker, Simmons, & Kame’enui, 1995; Klesius & Searls, 1991); increased retention of reading content (Santa, Havens, & Harrison, 1989); improved revision skills (MacArthur, 2007); higher-quality independent student writing (Corden, 2007); and support of EL students (Francis, Rivera, Lesaux, Kieffer, & Rivera, 2006). Bitter, O’Day, Gubbins, and Socias (2009) found that increased reading comprehension resulted from high level questioning and discussion about texts; greater amounts of writing instruction; and accountable talk, or use of textual evidence to support ideas and respond in discussion. And in a study of an instructional program in which teachers provided a wide range of reading materials and the integration of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, 90% of students recommended continuing the integrated-skills approach in the following year (Su, 2007).

Integrating speaking and listening is particularly important in English language arts classrooms because of the interconnectedness of reading and writing, speaking and listening, and viewing. Each of these elements of literacy is more readily learned and retained when skills are integrated, allowing students to create pathways of learning and remembering in their minds. Research suggests that a comprehensive literacy program will include many varied reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing activities (Lyon & Moats, 1997; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature offers a fully integrative solution for English language arts instruction. The program cultivates engaged, independent readers, writers, speakers, listeners—and thinkers—through high-interest rigorous texts and meaningful connected learning activities that sharpen students’ higher-level skills.

HMH Into Literature prepares students for the competencies they need to become successful, productive citizens and individuals. Students read great literature and nonfiction, they write in a wide variety of forms, they think and discuss critically, they problem-solve, and they express informed views.

HMH Into Literature continues to support skill building and practice in individual literacy domains through its digital resources that also foster independence.

Reading is fundamental for meeting life goals, such as becoming informed, accomplishing tasks, pursuing interests, and raising children. When students read complex texts, they gain new language and knowledge that they need in order to access ever more advanced texts (Adams, 2009 & 2011).

Unless students learn how to read texts of real-world complexity, they will be unprepared for college, careers, and life in general (ACT, 2006 & 2009). “How is reading complex text like lifting weights? Just as it’s impossible to build muscle without weight or resistance, it’s impossible to build robust reading skills without reading challenging text” (Shanahan, Fisher, & Frey, 2012, p. 58).

Thoughtful and informed instruction and scaffolding can help students tackle complex text. Teaching students how to pay close attention to the text, reread, annotate the text with notes in the margin, identify the author’s purpose and text structure, circle confusing words or sections, talk about the text with others, and ask text-dependent questions can be beneficial in helping students comprehend complex text (Liben & Liben, 2013).

There are many factors that contribute to the complexity of a text. In its research on reading and college readiness, ACT (2006) identified the following elements as making texts complex:

  • Relationships: Interactions among ideas or characters in the text are subtle, involved, or deeply embedded.
  • Richness: Text possesses a sizable amount of highly sophisticated information conveyed through data or literary devices.
  • Structure: Text is organized in ways that are elaborate or unconventional.
  • Style: The author’s tone and use of language are intricate.
  • Vocabulary: Author’s choice of words is demanding and highly context dependent.
  • Purpose: Author’s intent is implicit or ambiguous.

Conversely, texts in familiar genres that are well structured with signal words are easier to read than unfamiliar, less structured texts (Williams et al., 2007). Another factor that contributes to text complexity is cohesion, or the characteristics of the text that help the reader connect ideas in the text (Graesser, McNamara, & Kulikowich, 2011). It is important that educators consider all of these factors when assessing the complexity and readability of a text.

Immersion in complex texts is one of the best ways to help students develop mature language skills and the conceptual knowledge needed for success in school and beyond (Bridges, 2014; Coleman & Pimentel, 2012). Studies indicate that exposure to a wide range of texts strengthens understanding of the relationships among different words and concepts—building a “word consciousness” that enables readers to more easily interpret the meanings of previously unencountered words (Adams, 2009).

Providing students with exposure to complex texts allows access to academic language, and having interaction with the texts allows discovery of how academic language works (Fillmore & Fillmore, 2012). To build content knowledge, students must read an adequate number of high-quality, complex, and engaging texts that allow them to study a topic for a sustained period of time. Infusing these content-rich texts into the English language arts curriculum allows students to spend an extended part of the school day not only reading but also gaining knowledge that will allow them to read more complex texts in the future (Wattenberg, 2014).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature provides students with engaging, complex texts and ongoing opportunities to analyze those texts. The program helps students develop independence in their analyses and citation of evidence from texts to support conclusions. The program also offers students experiences with interpreting rigorous texts for writing and collaborative discussion.

The Notice & Note feature within HMH Into Literature is a systematic protocol that provides scaffolding to aid students in close readings and comprehension of complex texts. Practical Notice & Note signposts guide students in asking relevant questions while reading, building capable close readers.

Literary development requires that students become knowledgeable of and experienced with a diverse array of different types of texts representing a variety of fiction and informational books (Fountas & Pinnell, 2012; Morrow & Gambrell, 1998; Saul & Dieckman, 2005).

Experts are also increasingly calling for students to learn comprehension skills for multimodal and Web-based texts and to learn how to evaluate online sources (Duke, Zhang, & Morsink, 2015) as well as argumentative or refutational texts (Sinatra & Broughton, 2011).

In an effective literacy program, students gain experience with high-quality literary and informational texts. Literary texts play an essential role in the English language arts classroom. Informational texts are also important for preparing students for success in school and work. Most of the reading students will encounter in school, in work, on the internet, and elsewhere is informational. As Duke (2004) asserts: “We are surrounded by text whose primary purpose is to convey information about the natural or social world. Success in schooling, the workplace, and society depends on our ability to comprehend this material” (p. 40). Varied media should also be considered texts, and students should engage in activities to build their critical comprehension of an expanded repertoire of rich texts that fluent readers handle on a daily basis, including digital text, multimedia texts, hypertext, student-constructed texts, periodicals, and newspapers (Alvermann, 2007; Ogle & Blachowicz, 2002).

Reflective of this multi-genre approach, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) includes literary texts (fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry) and informational texts (exposition, argumentation and persuasive texts, procedural text, and documents). The Reading Framework for the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) specifies the percentage balance of literary and informational texts required as students progress through the grade levels, with a heavier weight on informational texts at the secondary level—and 70% informational by Grade 12 (National Assessment Governing Board, 2012).

In addition to expanding students’ familiarity with different genres and their structures, teaching with texts of varied genres in the English classroom builds students’ background knowledge (Cervetti et al., 2009; Jago, 2004). The relationship between reading informational texts and building content knowledge is reciprocal; reading more builds content knowledge and greater content knowledge supports comprehension (Best, Floyd, & McNamara, 2008; McKeown, Beck, & Blake, 2009).

Texts used in the classroom should engage students’ interest and motivate them to continue reading. Students who are interested in what they are reading are mentally engaged (Hidi & Boscolo, 2006). The use of interesting texts is associated with high cognitive recall, and comprehension (Guthrie et al., 2007) has been shown to increase students’ generalized motivation for learning (Guthrie, Hoa, Wigfield, Tonks, & Perencevich, 2006).

Texts should reflect and honor students' diverse cultures and backgrounds, particularly those cultures and backgrounds that have been historically marginalized. Programs that do not honor students' cultures risk becoming irrelevant, impractical, and exclusionary for students from diverse backgrounds (Paris & Alim, 2017).

“Texts worthy of instruction . . . allow readers to reflect on themselves and their actions; invite them in the worlds of others; understand the biological, social, or physical world; or solve problems that are timely and important. Texts worthy of instruction also allow students to develop their literary prowess and become informed citizens” (Fisher & Frey, 2012, p. 2).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature exposes students to a variety of rigorous texts across fiction, nonfiction, and informational genres and provides deep knowledge and experience with each.

Students explore those genres through explicit instruction with examples and embedded reflection as well as Note & Note signposts and mentor texts that students use to apply genre knowledge to their own writing.

Across content areas, the very act of writing can help students process new information, make sense of complex ideas, and connect to their prior knowledge and experiences (Knipper & Duggan, 2006). According to Vygotsky (1962), such cognitive functions as analyzing and synthesizing develop more fully through writing engagement.

Lance and Lance (2006) contend that informal, exploratory writing exercises encourage students to make sense of new ideas for which they do not yet have a solid understanding.

Taking notes, or making annotations while reading, is a strategy that effective readers do to think about and retain new concepts encountered while reading. When students annotate a text while reading, they add notes, highlight or underline to identify important ideas, mark examples, or call attention to specific words, lines, or passages. “Annotation is the written result of the mental process of comprehension that occurs as the reader absorbs the material on the page” (Spatt, 1983, p.163). In this way, active readers make texts their own, and better understand and recall concepts in reading.

According to Zywica and Gomez (2008), annotation helps students become more active and engaged readers. Note-taking has been shown to improve students’ writing (Buczynski & Fontichiaro, 2009) and to improve student thinking, literacy skills, and collaboration (Gilbert & Kotelman, 2005; Sherer et al., 2008). According to Sherer et al. (2008), the strategy of annotation can help students not only comprehend and recall information, but also read more quickly and accurately because they will know how to identify the most important information while reading.

Note-taking is an important dimension of effective study habits. Note-taking and the study of notes taken preserve knowledge for a longer time (Eliot & Stinson, 2002). Studies point out that effective note-taking increases students’ success in learning (Austin, Lee, & Carr, 2004).

“Writing can be a solitary cognitive act of producing meaning for oneself, and writing can be a social act of producing meaning through negotiation with others. The very symbols that are used to express ideas, the manner in which the symbols are arranged, and the ways those symbols are interpreted by the writer and reader are socially, culturally, and historically bound. These aspects of writing cannot be ignored. But we also cannot ignore that there is a mind/brain that stores, manipulates, and uses the symbols for oneself or makes them available for others to use” (Hacker et al., 2009, p. 170).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

Annotation is an integral feature within HMH Into Literature and its Write-In Student Edition. The program allows students to personalize their understanding, insights, and questions through embedded note-taking and annotative activities connected to each reading. Write-In Student Editions provide point-of-use space for annotation, analysis, and consideration of writer’s craft and allow students to discover the importance and rewards of taking ownership for their learning.

Digital annotation tools support students in asking the right questions while reading, noting significant details,and recording details about author’s craft. These tools help students make connections and synthesize ideas across various texts about the same topic, helping with their writing and discussions about the Essential Question.

Notice & Note is a research-based annotation protocol. Students are guided in writing in response to reading and sharing their responses within collaborative groups.

The Analyze and Apply section of each unit teaches Notice & Note signposts, models annotation, requires application, and focuses students on gathering ideas for responses to the Essential Question.

The program also features standards instruction followed by application as students use guided reading prompts to annotate the texts.

Explicit and systematic cognitive research conducted over many decades has revealed that reading not only builds our brains, but also exercises our intelligence (Bridges, 2014).

Reading is a rich, complex, and cognitive act that entails understanding written text; developing and interpreting meaning; and using meaning as appropriate for a type of text, purpose, and situation (National Assessment Governing Board, 2012). It provides us with a great opportunity to exercise our intelligence in ways that we lose if we do not read (Cunningham & Zibulsky, 2013). Effective teachers create opportunities for students to become better readers. To do so, students must encounter a wide range of texts; read for enjoyment and information; and analyze, interpret, synthesize, and critique what they have read.

Reading instruction should be integrated with opportunities to read meaningful, connected text as part of a coherent instructional approach (Moats, 2012; Strickland, 2011). ACT® (2006) analyzed students’ patterns of performance relative to the ACT College Readiness Benchmark, finding “performance on complex texts is the clearest differentiator in reading between students who are likely to be ready for college and those who are not. And this is true for both genders, all racial/ethnic groups, and all family income levels” (p. 16–17).

A greater focus on complex texts in instruction and increased instruction on how to read texts closely are needed to help students build their skills and stamina in working with increasingly challenging texts. McKeown et al. (2009) found that a "content" approach for reading comprehension instruction—in which the teacher's attention was focused on directing students toward the content of the text and working closely together—engaged “students in the process of attending to text ideas and building a mental representation of those ideas” (p. 219). According to Adams (2011), the careful sequence of texts on given topics, both in terms of the reading level and the key words and concepts, and the explicit teaching of key words and concepts can scaffold students’ readiness for texts of increasingly greater depth and complexity.

Comprehension occurs as a cluster of higher-order processes such as inference generation and reasoning that allow readers to recognize meaningful relationships among text elements and between text elements and background knowledge (Cutting & Scarborough, 2006; Kendeou, van den Broek, White, & Lynch, 2009). Higher-order cognitive skills, such as making inferences and planning and organizing information, help students comprehend more complex text and question types. As such, developing these higher-order skills is important to reading growth as students progress through school (Eason, Goldberg, Young, Geist, & Cutting, 2012).

Research suggests that the approaches students take to reading and comprehending fiction and informational texts differ (Klingner, Vaughn, & Boardman, 2007) and that students need experiences with and instruction in reading multiple forms of texts (Ogle & Blachowicz, 2002). Readers need specific, advanced skills to comprehend content-area texts (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). White and Kim (2008) found that merely giving students books to read had no positive effects; however, with scaffolding in the form of oral reading practice and comprehension strategies instruction, students demonstrated increased achievement. Numerous studies have shown that scaffolding can lead to improved reading comprehension (Clark & Graves, 2008; Lutz, Guthrie, & Davis, 2006). To scaffold student independence, Schunk et al. (2008) suggest activating prior knowledge; reviewing previously learned material; modeling and thinking aloud; providing models and different representations; questioning; using cues or tools; and providing useful feedback.

Students will not become successful independent readers unless they are given the chance to practice reading independently. By giving students the opportunity to choose texts in which they are interested, they will be able to read more complex texts because they are motivated and often knowledgeable about the topic (Liben & Liben, 2013). Half of children (52%) ages 6–17 who read independently as a class or school say it’s one of their favorite parts of the day and wish it would happen more often. Almost all children in this age range (91%) say that their favorite books are ones they choose themselves (Scholastic, 2015).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

The structure of HMH Into Literature links texts topically, with each unit including an Essential Question, a quotation, and unit task for analysis, discussion, synthesis, and response.

The program provides teachers with ideas for teaching, modeling, and helping students apply strategies for more meaningful reading.

The Write-In Student Texts provide point-of-use space for personalized response, annotation, and analysis.

Standards instruction for each selection is supported by the opportunity for students to apply these concepts within the text in guided reading annotations with a focus on text evidence.

Notice & Note Signposts form unique scaffolding for the gradual-release approach, building students’ capacity for considering key aspects of texts as they close read and become more discerning readers.

The Reader's Choice selections available on Ed foster fosters student choice and agency, collaboration, and commitment to reading, as well as practice and experience with a wide variety of genres and texts. In addition, teachers may choose from among 1200 long reads to offer students print resources for independent reading experiences that build confidence and fluency.

The online Reading Resources provide independent practice in specific reading skills and strategies.

The program’s digital assets allow teachers to informally monitor students’ annotations—and understandings—of texts.

“Writing is a highly complex cognitive ability which comprises a range of different cognitive processes. It includes low-level processes focused on handwriting and spelling and higher-level processes associated with determining and structuring content in such a way as to meet the demands of the reader. Unlike speech, writing is late-developing and requires protracted instruction and practice” (Torrance & Fidalgo, 2013, p. 338).

The ability to write well is crucial for students’ social, academic, and professional advancement and is essential for 21st-century learning and success in today’s economy (Partnership for 21st-Century Skills, 2010). Effective writing instruction that helps students “to write clearly, logically, and coherently about ideas, knowledge, and views will expand their access to higher education, give them an edge for advancement in the workforce, and increase the likelihood that they will actively participate as citizens of a literate society” (Graham & Perin, 2017, p. 28). Also, to be well prepared for college, the workplace, and life, students need opportunities to develop critical-thinking skills, discussing and critiquing different viewpoints in order to form and justify their own stance (Carnegie Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy, 2010; Lewis & Moorman, 2007).

Reading and writing have a reciprocal relationship. Writing instruction can have a positive impact on students’ reading skills and comprehension, particularly when students analyze and interpret texts in writing, write summaries, and answer questions about them in writing (Graham & Hebert, 2010). By identifying and explicitly discussing the features of different texts, teachers can support students’ comprehension and offer models for writing (Schleppegrell, 2009). Research shows that students who write about texts they have read show more evidence of critical thinking and improved composition (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004).

Effective instructional programs stress the reading-writing connection as students engage in higher-order thinking skills, such as reading and writing about a wide range of text types, comparing and contrasting the structure of complex texts, and analyzing how an author’s writing decisions contribute to the text’s structure and meaning (Pytash & Morgan, 2013). Teachers can use writing instruction to promote knowledge and as a mechanism for higher-order thinking (Graham & Hebert, 2010).

Initially popularized by Donald Graves (1991, 1994), the process approach breaks writing down into a series of steps. When writing is taught as a process, students are encouraged to develop a piece of writing over time in recursive stages that mirror the stages that expert writers go through when working on their own authentic writing—prewriting, drafting, revising, editing or proofreading, and publishing. Because the process approach breaks writing into these major stages, it enables students to understand and gain control over the complex task of writing.

Research has long established that when writing is taught as a process, students write more thoughtfully and effectively—and student achievement increases (Graham, Harris, & Santalego, 2015; Graham, McKeown, Kiuhara, & Harris, 2012; Graham & Perin, 2007; Hillocks, 1986; MacArthur, Graham, Schwartz, & Schafer, 1995). In Writing Next, Graham and Perin (2007) identified the process-writing approach as one of the most effective instructional practices for Grades 4–12, particularly for adolescents who have difficulty writing. “When students are taught to plan, draft, and revise in a self-regulated fashion, their writing improves a great deal” (Pressley, Mohan, Fingeret, Reffitt, & Raphael-Bogaert, 2007, p. 24).

Anderson, Mitchell, Thompson, & Trefz (2014) found that digital technologies and tools for teaching writing (including online instructional presentations, model texts, and links to academic vocabulary) helped scaffold student learning.

English learners need significant, structured opportunities to engage in academic discourse through speaking and writing (Feldman & Kinsella, 2005; Francis et al., 2006). For English learners, structured approaches to teaching writing have been found to be more effective than approaches without structure or scaffolds (Shanahan & Beck, 2006).

Research suggests that greater exposure to reading from specific genres and models of texts on which to base writing will lead to greater ability with those elements of writing (Donovan & Smolkin, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007). Students need to practice a variety of communicative purposes for which they will write in typical workplace, school, and real-life situations, including to persuade, explain, and convey experience.

Collaborative writing and peer review benefits students’ writing, organization of ideas, use of conventions, problem solving, and self-esteem (Boscolo & Ascorti, 2004; Graham & Perin, 2007; Pritchard & Honeycutt, 2007). Graham and Perin (2007) found the research conclusive: “Collectively these investigations show that collaborative arrangements in which students help each other with one or more aspects of their writing have a strong positive impact on quality” (p. 16). Many opportunities and extended time to practice, share, and discuss writing build confidence and skill in student writers (Cunningham & Allington, 2007).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature has students writing in response to reading across all stages of instruction, through annotations within the Write-In Student Texts.

HMH Into Literature utilizes the process approach to writing and provides built-in scaffolding at all stages of the process, including prewriting. Detailed self-scoring guides are also included to foster independence.

The program has students explore various genres in both reading and writing, using annotations and mentor texts to analyze features of genres and individual selections, understand the effects of authors’ choices, emulate craft, and synthesize ideas.

The Writing Resources on Ed include digital writing lessons that serve as an effective tool for direct or independent instruction.

HMH Into Literature emphasizes both craft and communication, with students working together to respond to and hone each other’s writing in peer review. In this collaborative environment, students inform, argue, and connect; apply conventions; revise and improve; and develop writing competencies through process and partners.

Writable, your digital writing solution, features scaffolded practice assignments that focus on the genre-specific skills needed to demonstrate proficiency on the HMH Into Literature Unit Writing Task. As students progress through the Writable assignments for the unit, they develop and practice the discrete skills needed to successfully complete the Unit Writing Task.

Mentor texts are pieces of literature teachers present to students that can be referenced for different purposes, but fundamentally they are studied, imitated, or responded to; mentor texts can aid students in trying out new strategies, techniques, and formats (National Writing Project, 2013).

Just as research shows that writing is a tool that can increase reading achievement and critical thinking (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Graham & Hebert, 2010), research shows that reading—as a model or as a source for content information—can improve writing (Tierney & Shanahan, 1991). Research findings suggest that greater exposure to reading from a specific genre and models of texts on which to base writing will lead to greater ability with those elements of writing (Donovan & Smolkin, 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007).

As Segev-Miller (2004) describes it, this process of writing from sources is a complex and cognitively demanding activity in which students must “select, organize, and connect content from source texts as they compose their own new text” (p. 5)—and a process that students can be taught to engage with effectively. Research shows that students who write about texts they have read show more evidence of critical thinking and improved composition (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006). In 2010, Graham and Hebert published a report for the Carnegie Corporation entitled, Writing to Read: Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading. “The evidence,” they concluded, “is clear: writing can be a vehicle for improving reading. In particular, having students write about a text they are reading enhances how well they comprehend it” (p. 6).

Additionally, teaching students specific strategies and structures in writing in multiple genres supports their skill in producing varied genres (Graham, 2006). “Genre knowledge develops, in part, from experience with text structures . . .” (De La Paz & McCutchen, 2011, p. 45) and, as such, exposing students to varied genres is important.

In Writing Next, Graham and Perin (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of research on the impact of specific types of writing instruction. Their findings led them to identify the study of models of various genres as an important, research-based method to improve student writing; by analyzing these models, students can recognize and mirror in their own writing the essential elements, organizing structures, and forms. Adolescents benefit from “opportunities to read, analyze, and emulate models of good writing” and from the use of “writing as a tool for learning content material” (Graham & Perin, 2007, p. 5).

Because students are not equally familiar with all modes of writing, such as expository and persuasive writing, students need instruction in various forms of writing and how they are organized (Downing, 1995; Lenski & Johns, 2000). “[E]xamples of good writing and techniques for writing in specific genres can help students write more effectively for different purposes and audiences” (Graham et al., 2012, p. 12). Students who are exposed to different genres in reading and as models are able to analyze these examples and “to emulate the critical elements, patterns, and forms embodied in the models in their own writing” (Graham & Perin, 2007, p. 20).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature provides comprehensive genre instruction with multiple examples and unique opportunities to apply mentor texts in each genre to writing instruction.

The program presents students with an authentic mentor text for each unit and has students use these sources to analyze genre-based and individual text features, imitate and emulate technique and craft, understand the effects of an author’s choices, and synthesize ideas (their own and those of fellow students in collaborative groups).

Mentor texts serve as models for students’ own writing. When the genre, structure, author’s purpose, and craft are analyzed and applied to original writing, competency and confidence in writing is enhanced.

Human learning occurs within a social context (Vygotsky, 1962). Communication and collaboration are skills identified as essential for the 21st century (Partnership for 21st-Century Skills, 2010). Teaching practices that develop students’ interpersonal competencies and encourage small-group discussions and collaboration have been shown to support deeper learning—and are key to developing students’ 21st-century skills (National Research Council, 2012). Teaching students how to effectively and respectfully engage in argumentative discourse builds important reasoning and interpersonal skills (Kuhn & Crowell, 2011; Kuhn, Wang, & Li, 2011).

Kamil and colleagues (2008) identified extended discussion of text and textual analysis as among the research-based, best practices for improving adolescent literacy. Langer (2001), too, identified discussion—when used to develop students’ understandings rather than as an assessment of recall—as a particularly important element of effective English language arts classrooms. In his review of the history of comprehension and discourse in American classrooms, and research on the use of discussion, Nystrand (2006) found that “a number of studies show that reading comprehension is enhanced by the classroom interaction of students with their teachers and peers, including both small-group work and whole-class discussion” (p. 398). Murphy and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 42 studies on the effects of classroom discussion and concluded that “many of the approaches were highly effective at promoting students’ literal and inferential comprehension” (Murphy, Wilkinson, Soter, Hennessey, Alexander, 2009, p. 759).

In their examination of discussion-based approaches in middle and high school English classrooms, Applebee and colleagues (2003) found that discussion-based approaches enhanced students’ understanding of complex texts and were effective for low-and high-achieving students; their findings suggest that an emphasis on discussion helps students “internalize the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in challenging literacy tasks on their own” (p. 685), likely due, according to the researchers, to spontaneous scaffolding or support for developing ideas that is possible in an open discussion.

Wilkinson and Nelson (2013) found that the most effective classroom discussions have these characteristics: structured and focused; teacher-led but not teacher-dominated; students are given ample time to “hold the floor;” and students are prompted to discuss texts through open-ended questions. Reznitskaya and colleagues (2008) concluded that when discussions encourage students to consider other perspectives and argue (through explanation, elaboration, and support) about texts, students think more critically about the text in question—and come away able to apply this thinking to other texts. Shanahan and colleagues (2010) recommend that discussions go beyond the surface level to feature thoughtful exploration of text and support students in learning how to argue for or against points, resolve ambiguities, and draw conclusions about a text. Academic conversational discourse is powerful in helping English learners develop language, clarify concepts, comprehend texts, and fortify thinking (Zwiers & Soto, 2017).

Finally, classroom discussions promote speaking and listening—skills that are often underemphasized in the educational setting, but which play a crucial role in students’ experiences in their personal and working lives outside of school (Palmer, 2011). With instruction and practice, students can learn to carefully choose their words, organize their ideas, employ effective gestures, pace speech for emphasis, and captivate audiences (Palmer, 2011).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

Collaborative discussion about engaging, complex texts and students’ writing is at the heart of HMH Into Literature. The process develops oral language proficiency, speaking and listening skills, and social-emotional learning.

Essential Questions introduce and unify the texts within each unit, posing thought-provoking ideas for discussion and reflection as students read; the Essential Question stimulates analysis and synthesis, leading to a richer understanding of the unit’s texts.

The program provides teachers with support for fostering oral language proficiency and effective collaborative discussions. Close Read Screencasts show students how dialogues can reveal meaning and can be used to model readers’ discussions and annotations as they analyze difficult passages. Concrete, differentiated approaches get students over their stumbling blocks; When Students Struggle supplies teaching ideas during discussion and other activities.

The Speaking & Listening Resources on Ed provide interactive, self-paced lessons such as Producing & Publishing with Technology; Participating in Collaborative Discussions; Speaking Constructively; and Evaluating Presentations.

Reflection activities help students improve the quality of their collaborative discussions. Students have opportunities to present their writing and inquiry-based research, giving them additional experience in speaking.

Inquiry-based learning empowers students. As Kuhn, Black, Keselman, and Kaplan (2000) argue, students who engage in inquiry will “come to understand that they are able to acquire knowledge they desire, in virtually any content domain, in ways that they can initiate, manage, and execute on their own” (p. 496).

The process of inquiry-based learning begins with carefully crafted and profound questions (Bennett, 2015; Lazar, 2011). Indeed, a critical inquiry approach calls for a question-based approach to teaching that fosters engaged learning, rich understandings of the self and others, and an empowered sense of citizenship (Beach, Thein, & Webb, 2016).

According to McTighe and Wiggins (2013), a good essential question is open ended, without a single, final, and correct answer; is thought provoking and intellectually engaging, often sparking discussion and debate; and requires higher-order thinking, such as analysis, inference, evaluation, or prediction. Also, it cannot be effectively answered by recall alone; points toward important, transferable ideas within (and sometimes across) disciplines; raises additional questions and sparks further inquiry; requires support and justification, not just an answer; and recurs over time—that is, the question can and should be revisited again and again.

Involving students in inquiry activities, in which they must engage in investigation and analyze concrete data prior to writing, has been shown to be powerfully effective (Graham & Perin, 2007; Hillocks, 1986). Active learning engages students across disciplines; in writing, active learning can help students develop ideas and focus on concrete details for support (Graham & Perin, 2007). Experimental studies of inquiry-based learning have found that students demonstrated increased achievement and motivation (Abdi, 2014).

Research is often part of the inquiry process as it entails finding answers; however, true inquiry also allows students to investigate complex problems (Holland, 2017). It is also essential to engage students’ prior knowledge to extend personal understandings toward topics of interest and their metacognition to achieve a deeper level of reflection about their inquiry (Bennett, 2015). Inquiry must also entail students’ close examination of evidence, including reevaluation of original claims (Lazar, 2011).

Three strategies encourage inquiry: use of visible thinking routines to generate question sets and reflection; focus on an essential question; and tapping into students’ curiosity and wonder (Holland, 2017). Numerous studies have shown that scaffolding can lead to enhanced inquiry (Fretz et al., 2002; Kim & Hannafin, 2011; Simons & Klein, 2007).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

Inquiry is embedded in both content and objectives within HMH Into Literature. Students engage in exploration and research through both independent and collaborative processes in which they generate questions, synthesize information, cite sources, plan and revise, and present results.

Units are bound together topically and thematically via Essential Questions that guide readings and provide bases for reflection of learning. Response Logs help students explore and deepen understanding of the Essential Question in each unit.

Students are supported in their inquiry and research via scaffolding that generates critical thinking about topics and fosters connections to texts.

People construct new knowledge and understandings based on their existing knowledge (National Research Council, 2000). Research shows that background knowledge is critical to reading proficiency (Adams, 2009; Lee & Spratley, 2010; Torgesen et al., 2007). Knowledge of subject matter is necessary in order to understand what is read (Hirsch & Pondiscio, 2010).

Academic language refers to the form of the English language that is expected in situations such as the discussion of topics across the curriculum, making arguments, defending propositions, and synthesizing information. Written and spoken academic discussion is significantly different from informal discussion as academic language is characterized by specific types of vocabulary, text structures, and grammatical structures (Dutro & Kinsella, 2010; Snow, 2010). Research shows that there is a strong reciprocal relationship between reading comprehension and knowledge of both conversational and academic language (Baumann, Kame’enui, & Ash, 2003; Duke & Pearson, 2002; Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001). To add new academic words to their expressive vocabularies, students need structured classroom contexts that offer frequent and accountable opportunities to use the new terminology in their speaking, listening, and writing (Feldman & Kinsella, 2005).

A program that enriches the knowledge of students is a must for reading improvement (Hirsch, 2014). In order to build content knowledge, students must read an adequate number of high-quality, complex, and engaging texts that allow them to study a topic for a sustained period of time. Infusing these content-rich texts into the English language arts curriculum allows students to spend an extended part of the school day not only reading but also gaining knowledge that will allow them to read more complex texts in the future (Wattenberg, 2014).

The interaction between academic language and academic content is a significant challenge for English learners, contributing to gaps in achievement between English learners and English-proficient students (Anstrom et al., 2010). While the development of conversational English may take place naturally, through social interactions, English learners need support in learning academic language (Schleppegrell, 2009). Academic language is like a “third” language that takes students much more time to master than social English (DeLuca, 2010). According to Francis et al. (2006), “mastery of academic language is arguably the single most important determinant of academic success for individual students” (p. 5). Teachers must provide instruction in academic language through direct, varied, frequent, and systematic instruction in words and word-learning strategies (Francis et al., 2006) and ongoing opportunities for participation in academic conversational discourse (Zwiers & Soto, 2017).

Baker and colleagues (2014) concluded that to enable English learners to be successful in school, in addition to focusing on academic vocabulary, educators should integrate oral and written English language instruction; provide regular and structured opportunities for writing; and offer small-group, targeted interventions.

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature offers teachers routines and activities for English learners’ participation and acceleration. English Learner Support provides instruction for a range of conversational and academic English proficiency.

The program’s graphic organizers help students process, summarize, and keep track of their learning and prepare for end-of-unit writing tasks. The Lesson Planning Guide in the Teacher's Edition includes the text complexity of each selection so teachers can anticipate any challenges that may impact students. The Scaffolding for English Learners feature includes tips for building background knowledge, cultural notes, language objectives, and a list of additional online resources.

The Text Support section of the Planning Guide identifies resources available to support English learners including Text Sketch, which provides a high-level visual summary that helps students take notes on key points, and the Summary with Targeted Passages, which provides additional background information and easier-to-read summaries of a selection alongside key passages.

Online resources assist English learners in developing skills in individual literacy domains, targeting academic language specifically as needed.

Spanish Unit Resources on Ed include the Spanish-language versions of each unit's description and theme, the Response Log, and academic vocabulary.

The Multilingual Glossary includes literary and informational terms, academic vocabulary, and critical vocabulary in ten languages: Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, Vietnamese, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Tagalog, and Urdu.

Summaries in multiple languages ensure students have a basic understanding of key ideas, events, and characters in the text.

Point-of-use scaffolding helps teachers support English learners with challenging language and concepts in the selection.

HMH Into Literature © 2022 provides ongoing balanced assessment and integrated, actionable reporting and harnesses digital technologies to empower teachers with data-driven decision making and tools for effective instructional planning. HMH Into Literature then presents selections in each unit perfectly suited for recommended practices and grouping arrangements. This data-driven program additionally provides critical feedback loops that encourage students’ self-assessment and reflection while freeing teachers from guesswork and time-consuming assessment reporting and subsequent material selections and planning. These approaches to evaluation of learning support optimal instructional practices and drive positive outcomes for ALL students.

Student assessments, accountability programs, and related data systems have emerged as strategies for improving public schools across the nation (Carlson, Borman, & Robinson, 2011).

Data-driven decision making in education is the process of collecting and analyzing student assessment results to document student growth and guide instruction, intervention, and school improvement efforts (Levin & Datnow, 2012). This process is a common feature of educational reform agendas at both the national and international level (Datnow, Choi, Park, & St. John, 2018). Increases in accountability for student outcomes as well as in the availability of technology and funding from policymakers have all contributed to the heightened focus on data use for educational improvement (Marsh & Farrell, 2014).

Data-driven decision-making policies require that educators know how to analyze, interpret, and use data effectively so they can make informed decisions across areas, from professional development to student learning to reforms as well as to plan instructional practices that target student needs (Levin & Datnow, 2012). Streamlining the regular collection and examination of data, as well as modifying instruction based on what is learned from student data, can benefit all students and can be a powerful tool to help make a teacher’s job more efficient rather than more difficult (Duffy, 2008).

Carlson and colleagues (2011) found evidence that, when implemented validly and reliably at scale, data-driven reform efforts can result in substantively and statistically significant improvements in achievement outcomes. For students with disabilities, it is particularly important to use student performance assessment data to monitor progress in order to determine ongoing instructional and interventional needs (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 2008).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature is built on the promise of student outcomes. The meaningful use of data-based insights provides for just-in-time instruction at each student’s level to meet each student’s needs—without teachers having to spend hours grouping students and planning lessons. HMH Growth Measure data combines with in-program assessment data from HMH Into Literature in the Standards and Growth Reports to form a more complete picture of a student’s knowledge.

Ongoing assessment and data reporting provide critical feedback loops so that each experience encourages self-assessment and reflection and drives positive learning outcomes for all students.

Progress tracking data provide teachers with valuable insight into students’ learning.

In schools that embrace a student-centered approach, assessments are designed to help students engage in the learning process and develop analytical, collaborative, and communicative skills. Student-centered schools are more likely to outperform others on standardized assessments, graduate more students, and help more students become eligible for and successful within college (Friedlaender et al., 2014).

Assessment systems can provide a balanced way to give teachers and schools the information and tools they need to improve teaching and learning so that all students leave high school ready for college and careers. Balanced assessment systems include formative assessment practices that guide instruction; interim assessments that are flexible and open and are used for actionable feedback; and summative assessments that measure progress toward meeting standards as well as college and career readiness (Gendron, 2012). In defining the critical elements, Darling-Hammond (2010) concluded that an effective student assessment system and one that aligns with the characteristics of high-achieving countries must “employ a variety of appropriate measures, instruments, and processes . . . [that] include multiple forms of assessment and incorporate formative as well as summative measures” (p. 1).

Effective assessments allow educators to make important claims about the knowledge and skills that students possess. Literacy assessments can enable educators to determine whether students can read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts, to determine whether they can write effectively when analyzing text, and to determine their overall literacy proficiency (Gendron, 2012).

Formative assessments enable teachers to understand how and what students are learning so they can support student mastery of content, skills, and dispositions (Friedlaender et al., 2014). Curriculum designed and developed for 21st-century learning should use formative assessment to “(a) make learning goals clear to students; (b) continuously monitor, provide feedback, and respond to students’ learning progress; and (c) involve students in self- and peer assessment” (National Research Council, 2012, p. 182). Formative assessment places assessment within instruction to guide teaching and learning as it occurs: “In order for assessment to play a more useful role in helping students learn it should be moved into the middle of the teaching and learning process instead of being postponed as only the end-point of instruction” (Shepard, 2000, p. 10).

Shepherd and Marzola (2011) found that teachers who incorporated formative assessments into their lessons increased student reading achievement scores more than teachers who did not use formative assessments. While formative assessments are beneficial for all students, they are particularly helpful for struggling students as they highlight troublesome areas and provide guidance on what needs to be done to overcome them (Black & Wiliam, 2009).

Interim assessments are flexible, open, authentic assessments that align with curriculum; support proficiency-based instruction; and are used for actionable feedback (Gendron, 2012). Interim assessments may serve a variety of purposes, including predicting a student’s ability to succeed on a large-scale summative assessment, diagnosing gaps in a student’s learning, or evaluating a particular educational program or practice. They are typically administered school- or district-wide. Interim assessments may be given at the classroom level to provide information for the teacher, but results can be meaningfully reported and have implications at a broader level. While the results may be used at the teacher or student level, the information is designed to be aggregated beyond the classroom, such as to the school or district level. The purpose of the interim assessment should determine its features (Perie, Marion, Gong, & Wurtzel, 2007). Research indicates that interim assessments are particularly beneficial to lower-performing students (Konstantopoulos, Wei, Miller, & van der Ploeg, 2015).

Summative assessments are administered at the end of some unit of time—usually the end of a school year or semester, although it may be a larger unit of an instructional program—to measure student progress relative to meeting a defined set of content standards. Summative assessments may be given at the state, district, or national level, typically as part of an accountability system or to inform policy. Summative tests “provide ways of eliciting evidence of student achievement, and used appropriately, can prompt feedback that moves learning forward. These can also communicate to learners what is and is not valued in a particular discipline, thus communicating criteria for success” (Black & Wiliam, 2009, p. 5).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

Freeing teachers from designing the complex choreography of assessing, interpreting data, adjusting instruction, and finding resources, Ed offers summative, interim, and formative assessments to monitor progress, recommendations based on data, and formative practice for students on a frequent basis.

To inform instruction, learning, and growth, reports on Ed allow teachers to view progress by class, students, assignments, standards, and skill level. This information, available right when needed, allows teachers to adjust instruction to meet the needs of all learners.

Seamless Assessment enhances learning by providing ongoing measures that replicate instruction and provide an easy way to track and monitor student progress. These assessments further provide critical feedback loops to teachers and students so that each experience encourages self-assessment and reflection. Further, state-based tests are an important driver of the curriculum—and even selection assessments are standards compliant.

HMH Into Literature © 2022 features effective approaches to professional learning that support teachers in becoming developers of high-impact learning experiences for their students. Comprehensive professional learning solutions are data and evidence driven, mapped to instructional goals, and centered on students—and they build educators’ collective capacity. HMH allows teachers to achieve agency in their professional growth through effective instructional strategies, embedded teacher support, and ongoing professional learning relevant to everyday teaching.

Effective professional learning, whether in-person, online, or blended, takes place as a “series of connected, coordinated components on a continuum” (Rock, 2019). This continuum includes alignment between the study of theory and practice, observation of theory and practice, individual coaching, and further practice and refinement through collaboration. Each of these components is essential to support and build on the content and pedagogy that is learned, observed, and practiced in each of the other components.

Long-term connected professional learning includes cohesive features—online coaching, remote peer observations, online collaboration, and facilitated online communities—all with a focus on how to ensure social and emotional well-being and meaningful student learning in digital environments. Connecting workshops to follow up learning and support among peers and with coaches can help teachers retain new knowledge, practice new skills, and share innovative effective approaches. A connection between workshops, coaching, and collaboration is essential for professional learning to make a difference in student achievement (Aguilar, 2019).

Research increasingly finds that teachers’ professional learning is essential to school reform and a vital link between standards movements and student achievement (Borman & Feger, 2006; Garet et al., 2001; Gulamhussein, 2013; Sweeney, 2011; Wei et al., 2009; Yoon et al., 2007). According to Wei et al. (2009):

As students are expected to learn more complex and analytical skills in preparation for further education and work in the 21st century, teachers must learn to teach in ways that develop higher order thinking and performance. . . . Efforts to improve student achievement can succeed only by building the capacity of teachers to improve their instructional practice and the capacity of school systems to advance teacher learning. (p. 1)

Enabling educational systems to achieve on a wide scale the kind of teaching that has a substantial impact on student learning requires much more intensive and effective professional learning than has traditionally been available. If we want all young people to possess the higher-order thinking skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, we need educators who possess higher-order teaching skills and deep content knowledge. (Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. in Wei et al.’s Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: Status Report, 2009, p. 2)

Current reform efforts across disciplines require significant shifts in teachers’ roles from traditional, rote, fact-based approaches to fostering students’ deeper engagement, critical thinking, and problem solving. For schools to support these standards and instructional practices, effective professional learning during the implementation stage, when teachers are learning and committing to an instructional approach, is critical (Gulamhussein, 2013). While technology transforms the teacher’s role, this does not mean that evidence-based teaching practices should be discarded. In fact, effective instruction results when teachers purposefully combine these tools with proven instructional approaches (Kieschnick, 2017).

Teachers’ initial exposure to a concept should engage them through varied approaches and active learning strategies to make sense of the new practice (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2014; Garet et al., 2001; Gulamhussein, 2013). An effective professional learning program should focus on the targeted content, strategies, and practices (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; 2014; Saxe et al., 2001; Wei et al., 2009) and be grounded in the teacher’s grade level or discipline (Gulamhussein, 2013).

Research has documented that educational reforms are not self-implementing or predictable in terms of how they may (or may not) take hold at the classroom level; the vital link necessary for targeted change is local professional learning by teachers (Borman & Feger, 2006).

Effective professional learning is embedded and ongoing as part of a wider reform effort, rather than an isolated activity or initiative (Garet et al., 2001; Wei et al., 2009). “The duration of professional development must be significant and ongoing to allow time for teachers to learn a new strategy and grapple with the implementation problem” (Gulamhussein, 2013, p. 3).

How HMH Into Literature Aligns with the Research

HMH provides a continuum of connected professional learning through synchronous and asynchronous support. The program’s embedded and on-demand support coupled with live online professional learning fosters teachers’ agency, promotes collaboration, and builds collective efficacy to support the teachers’ role as designers of quality instruction.

The program’s comprehensive professional learning solutions are research based, mapped to a teacher’s goals, centered on his/her students, and designed to build the collective capacity and efficacy of leaders and teachers. Collective efficacy within a system has the power to change lives.

The Getting Started with HMH Into Literature live online session is an important part of teachers’ learning journey. We know teachers can’t take in every detail before they start teaching, so the Getting Started live online session is streamlined to focus on preparing teachers for the first three weeks of implementation. The online experience provides an overview of the program resources and opportunities for teachers to explore, collaborate, and ask questions to build understanding and confidence to ensure a strong start. As to be expected, questions will arise as teachers begin teaching with HMH Into Literature. This is why we also provide Follow-Up support tailored to teachers’ needs. These personalized and focused Follow-Up live online sessions will help teachers stay engaged and build their expertise in a manageable way. Schools and districts can choose from a variety of follow-up topics. Some examples are:

  • Maximize Learning with Online Resources
  • Plan Instruction to Meet Students’ Needs
  • Make Literacy Accessible for All with Differentiation
  • Use Writable to Strengthen Writing through Practice, Feedback, and Revision

For some things, just-in-time help can be more effective than scheduled professional learning. Teacher’s Corner on the Ed platform supports the whole teacher, providing a nurture path to grow teachers’ social, emotional, and professional learning on their time. It is where teachers can get on-demand support exactly when they need it. They can watch classroom videos to see master teachers in action, read articles and get tips from fellow HMH Into Literature teachers, and sign up for a variety of live events to nurture their heart and mind and strengthen their teaching and learning.

Research has demonstrated that sustained, job-embedded coaching is the most effective form of professional learning, whether it is delivered in person or in a virtual setting. Coaching delivered in person has been most effective when coaches are highly experienced and focus their work with teachers on a clearly specified instructional model or program. Other opportunities for teachers to develop their content knowledge of the targeted instructional model (e.g., in courses, workshops, or coach-led learning groups) are also an important component of successful coaching programs. Online coaching shows promise for being at least as effective as in-person coaching for improving outcomes, though the research base comparing delivery systems is thin. The balance of evidence to date, however, suggests that the medium through which coaching is delivered is less important than the quality and substance of the learning opportunities provided to teachers (Matsumara et al., 2019).

A recent meta-analysis of coaching programs found effect sizes of 0.49 SD on instructional practices and 0.18 SD on student achievement (Kraft et al., 2018). Encouragingly, teachers who received virtual coaching performed similarly to teachers who received in-person coaching for improving both instructional practices and student achievement. The authors identified several aspects of coaching in a virtual setting as potential strengths: increasing the number of teachers with whom a high-quality coach can work, reducing educators’ concern about being evaluated by their coach, and lowering costs while increasing scalability (Kraft et al., 2018).

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) embraces a professional development model that includes effective coaching, collaborative communities, and a technology-rich environment. Effective coaching is contextual, relevant, and ongoing. Collaborative communities can be school-based or online professional learning communities that allow teachers to learn from each other through observation, imitation, and modeling. ISTE recommends that school districts chose a coaching model that best fits the needs of their teachers, whether it is cognitive coaching, instructional coaching, or peer coaching (Beglau et al., 2011).

Effective professional learning programs provide continued follow-up and support from coaches (Sweeney, 2011). Knight (2011) stresses that once training initiatives are kick-started to raise awareness of targeted teaching practices, follow-up and coaching are essential: “[l]asting change does not occur without focus, support, and systemwide accountability. . . . Support is necessary for transferring talk into action” (p. 10).

Instructional coaching entailing the modeling of specific sought-after practices has been shown to help teachers embrace and implement best practices and educational policy (Coburn & Woulfin, 2012; Gulamhussein, 2013; Heineke & Polnick, 2013; Knight, 2011; Taylor & Chanter, 2016; Wei et al., 2009).

Effective modeling of targeted instructional practices is purposeful and deliberate, incorporates academic language, and is based on research (Taylor & Chanter, 2016). Gulamhussein (2013) reports that:

While many forms of active learning help teachers decipher concepts, theories, and research-based practices in teaching, modeling—when an expert demonstrates the new practice—has been shown to be particularly successful in helping teachers understand and apply a concept and remain open to adopting it (p. 17).

“Like athletes, teachers will put newly learned skills to use—if they are coached” (Joyce & Showers, 1982, p. 5). According to a large-scale survey commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2014), teachers seek more opportunities to be coached in learning effective new instructional strategies and practices, believing these professional learning efforts are more valuable.

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH blended coaching not only focuses on HMH Into Literature but provides personalized support focused on instructional practices, content, and data to ensure continuous improvement over time. HMH coaches build strong relationships with teachers by engaging them in the coaching process; they analyze student data, set student learning targets, learn and apply new skills and then review and reflect. By incorporating action steps, gathering data, and analyzing evidence and reflecting, coaching can facilitate measurable results (Taylor & Chanter, 2016).

To make it easy for teachers to stay connected to their HMH coach, share resources, upload and reflect on classroom videos, and make continuing progress on learning goals, they will have access to the HMH Coaching Studio platform.

Through the HMH Coaching Studio, teachers have access to:

  • Goal Tracker—Allows teachers to create and track goals
  • Collaboration Hub—Discussion forums, resource sharing, and video-based reflection to drive collaboration with coach and peer
  • Video-Powered Coaching—Allows teachers to upload their own videos for reflection and input
  • Model Lesson Library—Access to HMH classroom and expert videos of best practices

HMH Into Literature Blended Coaching Services provide support for implementing effective teaching practices. This support includes model lessons to illustrate instructional techniques, differentiation strategies to meet the needs of all students, and analysis of student work samples to assess learning and determine instructional next steps. Blended Coaching Services focuses on developing and deepening content knowledge to build collective efficacy within teachers. HMH Professional Services also assists with facilitation of professional learning communities, cadres, and collaborative learning.

Personalized professional development allows teachers to pursue learning to support their instructional needs in their own place and at their own pace. Teachers can take courses via online professional learning portals, opportunities offered by the school, or off-campus settings. In this process, teachers learn new competencies, demonstrate what they have learned in their classrooms, and submit evidence of mastery. As teachers build their knowledge and skills, they earn badges to demonstrate their expertise (Clayton, Elliot, & Iwata, 2014).

Many school districts and providers of teachers’ professional development are moving toward a more personalized model of professional development, taking a cue from the movement toward personalized learning for students. This approach often focuses on short modules, which teachers can choose and then complete on their own time. The modules can incorporate aspects of gamification, micro-credentialing, and online professional development communities. By allowing teachers to choose their own professional development courses and activities, the professional development will be better matched to their needs. Teachers will be able to set goals, find resources to help them meet those goals, track their progress, and get feedback from supervisors and colleagues (Gamrat et al., 2014; Meeuwse & Mason, 2018).

Effective training efforts should be developed according to evidence-based strategies for adult learning and communication, including engaging teachers in varied approaches that allow for their active participation (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2014; Garet et al., 2001; Gulamhussein, 2013; Guskey, 2002; Taylor & Chanter, 2016). As intellectuals, they are empowered to reflect on theory, research, and their practice to innovate and implement new teaching strategies and approaches. This process of reflection can lead to teachers’ turning to their colleagues for advice and clarification—a process sometimes called “collective sensemaking,” which research has shown that in the form of professional learning communities can be a powerful motivator for school improvement (Coburn, 2005).

As Bryk and colleagues (2015) noted in a study of improvement efforts that included professional learning, positive changes happen in the presence of teachers’ “good will and engagement,” which is often rooted in teachers having choice and autonomy in their own learning. These qualities are essential whether teachers meet for large-group professional learning, attend professional learning communities within their schools, or work on their own to search out experts to guide them through self-study with print or online resources.

Teachers who seek to improve their practice and their students’ achievement can also turn to resources to help them continue successfully on their path toward professional mastery and control the place, pace, and path of their professional learning. Individually and collaboratively, they engage in a process sometimes called “self-coaching” (Wood, Kissel, & Haag, 2014). There are five steps to self-coaching that align with high-quality teaching:

  1. Collecting data to help answer questions about instructional improvement. Formative and benchmark data are important, but so is information about students’ interests, styles of learning, and work habits.
  2. Reflecting on the data as a whole and on the data that results from looking back on each day’s and each week’s instruction.
  3. Acting on the reflections, trying things out, and sharing the results of teachers’ actions in a collaborative and mutually supportive group.
  4. Evaluating one’s practice, especially through video self-reflection, asking questions about effectiveness of instruction and students’ receptivity to the instruction.
  5. Extending one’s actions, for example, taking a successful approach to teaching students to understand complex narrative texts to instruction on reading, social studies, science, or other informational texts.

How HMH Into Literature Aligns to the Research

HMH Into Literature builds a culture of professional growth through a continuum of connected professional learning that is actionable, flexible, personalized, and collaborative to foster high-impact instruction and collective efficacy.

  • Teacher’s Corner on Ed: Provides an ever-growing library of professional learning resources from authentic classroom videos to tips from other teachers and our team of experienced coaches.
    • Curated, Trusted Content: There’s no shortage of free resources online, but with Teacher’s Corner, professional learning and instructional recommendations align to research-based practices. Teachers have access to prominent thought leaders, experienced coaches, former teachers, and practicing teachers.
    • On-Demand, But Not One-Size-Fits-All: Teachers have the choice of bite-size professional learning resources that were designed to be easily applicable to tomorrow’s instruction. Teachers are empowered with the information they need to choose what’s right for them and offer a variety of media types, duration time, and authors.
    • Relevant & Ready for Tomorrow’s Instruction: Teacher’s Corner includes authentic classroom videos and articles from teachers who are currently teaching with HMH programs. The number one teacher-requested resource, these videos will build teacher confidence and share how the programs can be tailored to each classroom’s unique needs.
    • A Community of Live Support: Whether teachers have a question or want implementation advice, our Live Events offer teachers opportunities to connect with HMH coaches and each other. Teachers can register for these online sessions that feature everything from groundbreaking new author research to group discussions facilitated by other teachers.
  • Implementation Success: Professional Learning sessions and resources are tailored to meet districts’ needs.
    • Getting Started: Getting Started with HMH Into Literature live online session provides an overview of the program from both a teacher and student perspective to build understanding and confidence to ensure a strong implementation.
    • Program Guide: Provides helpful information and strategies for planning instruction and implementing the program.
    • Follow-Up: Districts choose from classroom-focused topics for a deeper dive into digital tools and resources, collaborative instruction, close reading and writing strategies, and analysis of data and reports.
    • Coaching: Personalized in-person and online support to deepen mastery and ensure continuous improvement. Student centered and grounded in data, coaching focuses on specific HMH Into Literature instructional practices and components.

In this paper, we have demonstrated how HMH Into Literature aligns with evidence-driven principles and practices for high-quality, highly effective English language arts instruction. HMH Into Literature provides a comprehensive ELA solution that builds intellectual stamina and tenacity while developing analytical readers, independent thinkers, and proficient writers.

HMH Into Literature © 2022 was built on content architecture that is flexible, focused, and purposeful. The program features student-centered learning encompassing and integrating all domains of literacy. The program also fosters social and emotional learning and positive self-perceptions for academic success, including agency and growth mindset. Relying on research-based principles, HMH Into Literature delivers effective instruction based on stimulating, rigorous, and diverse texts that provide comprehensive genre study. Students develop independence in textual analysis and citation of evidence to support their interpretations and conclusions via a gradual release approach and apply examinations of mentor texts to their own writing. Students also engage in active learning and productive collaborations. HMH Into Literature additionally includes expanded access to rich and varied digital resources for each literacy domain.

The program is also data driven, providing a seamless and comprehensive balanced assessment system featuring integrated, actionable reports that make grouping and planning easier for teachers while allowing them to better aid students in meeting targeted learning goals. The data collected allows teachers to identify and address learning gaps and deliver instruction focused on equity for all students. Learning is enhanced through ongoing assessments that replicate instruction and provide critical feedback loops to encourage self-assessment and reflection. Finally, the program is supported by ongoing and relevant professional learning for teachers, including modeling and coaching to maximize educator agency and accommodate individual students.

HMH Into Literature addresses the needs of today’s classrooms and the requirements of tomorrow’s world to better prepare students for college, career, and citizenship.

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