The Hathaway Graded Readers system helps teachers, parents, and students work comfortably with natural, authentic reading material through carefully-scaffolded supporting workbook materials. Learning is reinforced by often task-based activities that extend language points drawn from the readers, allowing students to develop the topics creatively.
Through pre- and post-reading activities, the vocabulary, grammar structures, and language use present in the readers are highlighted, simplifying the learning load and providing a sense of familiarity with the text. Learners receive just enough support to efficiently and successfully engage in the key reading strategy of guessing unknown words from context.
Vocabulary and grammar structures are reviewed in a meaningful context using focus-on-form type grammar, vocabulary recognition, and communicative exercises. The combination of readers and workbooks provides access to natural, stimulating reading material. It fosters independence, while at the same time allowing teachers, parents, and students to navigate the material in an uncomplicated, structured yet supportive manner.
The start-up package of Hathaway Readers includes twelve 32-page workbooks/activity books, three per grade level for Grades 3–6. Hathaway has chosen to provide workbooks to spare teachers the expense and extra work of reproducing worksheets for students and also to provide students with a more ‘authentic’ reading experience in which their reader is much more like a ‘mainstream’ picture book and not a ‘textbook or coursebook’ that would include exercises.
The workbooks are designed to provide language instruction and opportunities for the development of a variety of skills, so teachers in different environments might even choose to use readers and workbooks exclusively with their students. Each Workbook has a specific focus and include activity pages related to each of the grade-level readers as well as generic pages that can be used with any reader:
- Reading and Word Study Workbook: Word study activities that cover the vocabulary and grammar used in the reader and present new vocabulary and structures essential to an enjoyable understanding.
- Reading/Writing Journal: Activities that check comprehension and draw upon students’ understanding of the stories and the information presented to encourage them to produce written work of a similar nature. Using the readers’ narrative contexts and structures, students gradually develop their writing through a series of controlled and free exercises.
- Beyond Reading Activity Book: Extension activities that contain task-based group work projects encourage students to further contextualize the readers via extended situational events and tasks. The projects are collaborative and multi-modal, involving not only writing but include dialogue, drawing, drama, and games.
While the Workbook lessons and activities can stand alone, their order complements the use of the readers. As such, teachers or parents in at-distance learning situations may choose to use some Word study lessons before reading, to pre-teach unfamiliar vocabulary. Alternatively, more confident students can be left to read independently and then do the Word study exercises to reinforce the understanding and meanings they have acquired from context. The Reading/Writing Journal lessons and Extension activities build on the story narratives or non-fiction readers. These enhance comprehension and solidify knowledge after reading.
Workbook materials are flexible and allow implementation in different contexts, from independent homework assignments to group work in a classroom environment. For homeschoolers or other independent learners, collaborative projects can be easily adapted. Neither are tasks limited to classroom use; nowadays, the possibilities for online work afforded by the Internet make distance collaboration between groups of students real and potentially rewarding.
Each grade-level package of four multi-genre readers includes a Teacher’s Book with step-by-step notes on how to work with each individual reader in class:
- guiding students as they acquire the habit of reading for enjoyment
- teaching grade-level language lessons
- exploiting themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion in classroom activities and discussions