Bookworms is designed to expose students to a high volume of full-length, deeply engaging trade books to build knowledge and drive literacy instruction. Over the course of elementary school, students will study 265 full-length texts. These grade-level texts are read—by the teacher and through shared reading with peers—multiple times, each time with a different purpose. The curriculum’s systematic phonics-based foundational skills block features unique skill-based student grouping, supported by frequent assessments, with tailored instruction for each group including protocols that are clear and simple for teachers to follow.

Rich, rigorous, diverse texts:

How Bookworms designs for:

Deep knowledge-building

Bookworms focuses all aspects of instruction, including knowledge-building, on full-length books. For example, in grade 3, the Snowflake Bentley text opens with Bentley’s close-up photos that show no two snowflakes are alike. Students continue to discover the shapes of snowflakes are a function of wind, temperature, and moisture in the air. Annually, students will have read (or been read to), analyzed, and discussed many challenging, authentic texts representing diverse authors, characters, and topics.
Each day, brief writing assignments reinforce the importance of attending to the text and topic. Students hear, read, and speak a high volume of words daily, focusing on how context determines meaning. Students also are encouraged and given time to read widely from highly regarded trade literature in their classroom libraries, where they can pursue their favorite authors and topics.

Systematic Foundational Skills and Fluency

Through daily differentiated skills blocks, Bookworms guides students systematically in foundational skills. Every student is regularly assessed and grouped to accelerate skill development. A separate book written by the program’s authors makes implementation of the differentiated systematic phonics straightforward for teachers to learn. In grades 1–2, such instruction also stems from work with patterns learned within the lessons’ word study section. Addressing older students’ skills deficits with precision is a highlight. Grade-level fluency instruction is a staple in Bookworms.

Equitable access to challenging texts

Bookworms distills research-based best practices into straightforward lesson structures. Instructional routines build connected classroom communities. While the content changes with every new challenging book studied, the writing, discussion, and vocabulary routines repeat. The simplicity of the structure makes the program accessible while promoting rapid student learning about the world and a deep appreciation of books and learning.

Topics of study

Learning and exhibiting deep knowledge

Foundational skills instruction

Access Bookworms

Bookworms was developed by reading researchers Mike McKenna and Sharon Walpole. It is published as an open-licensed curriculum by the nonprofit publisher Open Up Resources

Bookworms in districts