New OES Literacy Materials

The OES Literacy Committee Recommends Wit & Wisdom

What is Wit & Wisdom?

Wit & Wisdom is an integrated literacy approach from the publisher Great Minds. The materials are aligned to the Iowa Core Standards and guide students through a series of essential and focusing questions to make deep, connected meaning to real life. It is founded on three main research-based ideas:

  • Layered learning through multiple readings of the text with more complex questions answered at each layer leads to a deep knowledge of the topic.
  • Integrated content that is connected to social studies and science.
  • Uses real books.

See the Great Minds Website for more information. Also, see Facts about Wit & Wisdom and Wit and Wisdom Q & A.

Why Wit & Wisdom?

The OES Literacy Committee evaluated five highly rated literacy materials series that align to the required Iowa Core Standards then identified two of these that align to the mission, vision, and guiding principles of Literacy Instruction at OES to pilot. These two materials were EL and Wit & Wisdom. Wit & Wisdom unanimously stood out to the team for six reasons.

  1. Deep Student Learning: builds deep learning aligned to the Iowa Core Standards.
  2. Student Engagement: students are deeply engaged in learning through real quality texts.
  3. Accessible for ALL Students: repeated readings of text and protocols that slowly increase the depth of thinking make the learning accessible and differentiated for all students.
  4. Alignment of Materials: the series aligns to Fundations and Geodes used for phonics instruction.
  5. Cross-Curricular Connections: connections to social studies, art, science, and music that make the learning meaningful and aligned.
  6. Deep Knowledge: builds deep knowledge which leads to improved connections, vocabulary, and writing skills.

Also, student feedback has been very positive. They love the books and look forward to reading, writing, and thinking. Teachers are reporting improved thinking and writing skills in students in piloting classrooms.

What are the Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles of Literacy Instruction at OES?

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How Does Wit & Wisdom Work?

Wit & Wisdom asks students to answer questions about a theme through building deep knowledge by reading informational text, literature, and poetry, as well as looking at paintings, watching videos, or listening to music. This is done in 4 modules each year in which each module corresponds to a specific theme. In a typical year, each grade level will complete modules 1, 2, and 3 which cover all grade-level ELA standards in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Some grades will begin module 4 as time allows. See the picture below for the themes and essential questions for each module in grades K to 5.
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What Books Will Students Be Reading?

Students will be reading multiple books, texts, articles, speeches, poems, and other multi-media sources to learn about each module's theme. The links below give specific information about each module including the books that will be read. Remember, not all grades will get to module 4 each year.


Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

What Do You Mean When You Say, "The Committee Recommends Wit & Wisdom?"

The OES Literacy Committee makes a recommendation to the school board based upon 18 months of meetings to research different publishers' materials, rank the materials, pilot the materials, and get feedback from students, piloting teachers, and families. The school board then listens to the recommendation, deliberates, and votes to approve or deny it. This recommendation will go before the school board at the February 8, 2022 meeting.

Can the Public View the Recommended Materials?

Yes. The public can view the recommended materials in the George Daily Auditorium the week of January 31st from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. Parents who attend the February 1st PTO meeting at OES will also hear about the recommendation from some of the Literacy Committee members.

Who Can I Contact With Questions?

If you have questions about the curriculum review process or the OES Literacy materials recommendation please contact the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Angie Hanson.