STAAR Techniques to Engage Learners in Literacy and Academic Rigor
(STELLAR) was developed as a resource for classroom teachers to use in
preparing their students for the English III College and Career Readiness
Exam. Through the course of four units, it incorporates multigenre reading
selections that are thematically linked and creatively crafted to encourage
inquiry, discussion, and ongoing reflection. Every unit offers value-added
enrichments through technology, research, and listening and speaking, while
providing relevant scaffolding options for diverse learners and gifted and
talented students. Also included are suggestions for big ideas, skills-based
vocabulary, literary extensions, and benchmark and summative assessment
options to support authentic literacy experiences.

Value-Added Components

STELLAR is carefully crafted to provide big-picture ideas in the form of
essential unit questions, themed passages, and assessments based on these
passages. In addition to the basics, each unit contains applications for
listening and speaking, research, skills-based vocabulary, technology, and
project ideas. To aid in planning for unit instruction, STELLAR offers ideas for
differentiation for diverse learners, adaptation for gifted learners, and
lesson-planning tools. The text also contains several appendices for
research-based study-skills practice, product options, grouping strategies
and activities, and discussion formats and models, all of which can be
utilized within each unit. Finally, in order to allow extensions with the
selected themes beyond the materials provided within each unit, additional
appendices on choosing themed passages and integrating instruction with
technology are included.

Thematic Instruction

STELLAR puts forth the best practice of thematic instruction in integrated
language arts. It utilizes the English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR)
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and the Texas College and
Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) as its foundational documents. There
are five strands of instructional skills outlined in the TEKS: Reading
(including Figure 19), Writing, Oral and Written Conventions, Research, and
Listening and Speaking. These skills are meant to be taught in conjunction
with one another in order to help students make connections between the
different literacy strands. The CCRS consist of a multilevel framework of
content skills and knowledge that motivates students to transition from basic

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