Frequently Asked Questions

Reading Program Questions

Formative and summative assessments are included.

You will find assessments in the Assessment and Intervention Guide for the Read Side by Side Reading Program, as well as online.

The assessment book will guide teachers in using data collected from multiple measures to determine the strengths and areas of improvement for readers. Teachers will learn how to differentiate and adjust instruction to best meet individual students' needs. Teachers are guided in how to provide explicit feedback to students and encourage self-reflection and goal setting. Teachers are given the following assessment tools in the guide and online:

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In addition to the assessments in the Assessment Guide, we recommend using a standardized assessment that will provide a percentile ranking. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Star Assessment (Renaissance Learning),
  • iReady (Curriculum Associates); and
  • Map Reading Growth Test (NWEA).



You will find the phonics routine, called Decoding by Analogy, in chapter 5 of the Assessment and Intervention Guide.  This routine will be used as an intervention during book clubs.

Many students in the upper grades have mastered the basic letter sound patterns and can decode most consonant-vowel-consonant words and many long vowel words, but they continue to struggle with multi-syllabic words.  For these students, it makes little sense to begin at the beginning and reteach the basic phonics patterns.  It is better to start where students are experiencing difficulty with multi-syllabic words.

We can teach students in the upper grades to use what they know to about single syllable words to decode multi-syllabic words. The process, called decoding by analogy or compare/contrast, is adapted from the work of Pat Cunningham (1979, 1980).

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Students write in response to reading within the reading block.

Students produce SHORT, informal writing pieces during the reading of a novel.  Short writing is meant to be completed within one or two class periods.  These pieces are considered informal because they may not go through all stages of the writing process.  Writing modes include:

  • summaries,
  • opinion,
  • cause and effect,
  • compare and contrast; and
  • evaluative pieces. 
  • They are considered informal, because they may not go through all the stages of the writing process.
New writing units supplement the reading program and require an addition 30 minutes, 2-4 days / week.


If you are looking for a more robust writing program, we recommend Jump into Writing published by Zaner-Bloser.


Grammar is not explicitly taught.

  • Students will learn grammar through reading and writing. 
  • Students will learn word derivations in the vocabulary routine. 
  • Some grammar lessons are also incorporated in the new writing units.

If you are looking for a grammar program to supplement the Read Side by Side Reading Program, we endorse the Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics program published by Zaner-Bloser, or the Patterns of Power program published by Stenhouse.  



Spelling is taught through the vocabulary routine, but there is no formal spelling test.

The vocabulary routine explicitly teaches key vocabulary and word morphemes.

If you are looking to add a spelling test to the program, we recommend using the words in the vocabulary handbook as a spelling list.  For intermediate students, we recommend limiting the amount of time given to spelling tests.  Consider a monthly spelling test instead of a weekly spelling test.  We provide recommended lists.

If you are looking for a more robust spelling program, we recommend Spelling Connections published by Zaner-Bloser.

Teachers are encouraged to use technology to enhance the program.

A limited use of  technology in the program is a purposeful design.  We want students to engage in rich, authentic, text-based experiences and do not want technology to become a barrier.  

Technology is incorporated through the use of nonfiction articles that can be accessed via an online URL.  The teacher chooses how students will access these articles, either by printing them for students or by giving students electronic access.

  • Links to nonfiction articles in each unit are provided on the Resource Page.  
  • Links to fillable forms for assessment can also be found on our Assessment Page.
  • E-notebooks for book clubs and independent reading are now available.

Suggestions for how teachers might incorporate technology are provided in the virtual enhancements.


We have created virtual enhancements for pandemic teaching.

Learn more about our virtual resources here.

New Virtual Units!

In a pandemic classroom (online, hybrid, or socially distanced), instructional time will likely be limited.  This will require a pairing down of the Read Side by Side curriculum. New enhanced curriculum guides can be downloaded to guide teachers.  Each scope and sequence alternates read-aloud, book clubs, and writing across the year.  Each grade level will complete:

  • 3 Read-Aloud Units
  • 3 Book Club Units
  • 3 Writing Units (narrative, expository, persuasive)

Additional value-adds:

  • Suggested activities for social emotional learning,
  • Scaffolds for virtual learning,
  • Asynchronous and synchronous lesson designs; and
  • Tips for teaching virtually.


For copyright protection, we do not offer our unit guides virtually. 

You can look inside all of the units here.


E-books and audio books will need to be purchased from a separate vendor.

We offer the book club notebook as an e-book.

The full list of available e-books and audio books can be found here.

Do you have a student with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page?  Apply for the service of braille and/or audio books here.


Through a variety of genres, topics, themes, and characters.

Every text in the program is carefully selected and curated.
See the list of titles.

The curriculum focuses on exposing students to rich, authentic literature.  Many of the titles are written by award winning authors.  Across the entire scope and sequence (grades 3-6) is a continued theme of human rights and social justice.  Books selected include students of various backgrounds, family structures, and demographics.  Specific lessons in the program teach students about stereotypes, biases, and call on students to consider the perspective of the author and the historical accuracy of the text.

4 parts


No, but we recommend it.

Students will be more successful when they are able to use the background knowledge gained in previous units. 

The Read Side by Side Reading Program was written to broaden student’s understanding of various text types and to increase students vocabulary and world knowledge. Each text was carefully chosen to be a part of the whole curriculum. Each text provides background knowledge for the next.  For example, the book Martin Luther King Jr. (Unit 3.3), builds background knowledge about the civil rights movement that will be important to draw on as students read Glory Be (Unit 3.4), and Maniac Magee (Unit 3.5).

It is also common for students to refer back to titles they read in previous grades. For example, when they read The Castle in the Attic (Unit 4.2) in fourth grade, they will connect the book to The War with Grandpa (Unit 3.2), a book they read in third grade.  

Additionally, the novels selected at grades 3-6 build background knowledge for titles students will likely read in middle and high school.  Some examples include:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. (Unit 3.3) and To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Aurore of the Yukon (Unit 4.5) and The Call of the Wild
  • Holes (Unit 5.2) and Lord of the Flies
  • Children of the Dust Bowl (Unit 6.2) and The Grapes of Wrath



While the program can absolutely be used for homeschool, and works very well in that environment, we typically find that purchasing decisions vary among homeschool families or programs.  It is our recommendation to reach out to an advisor regarding your specific needs.  We can then direct you in what components to purchase that will best fit your students.



It works with all text, children's books or adult books, narrative and nonfiction.  Some small adjustments will need to be made when transferring the approach to informational nonfiction.

The reason why teaching the CIA (Collect-Interpret-Apply) Approach is so transforming for both students and teachers is simply because it is a method that can be used with ANY text.  Students learn to transfer the strategy into ALL the books they read whether those books are read within instruction, or outside of the school day.  Students who have participated in the program at elementary claim that the approach has helped them in middle and high school English courses.



While we do not offer a comprehensive program for 2nd grade, we do have some products that make a wonderful supplement.

If you are looking for books to use as a C. I. A. read-aloud or as a book club for your highest readers, our Home Reading Kits are the perfect solution!  The kits include comprehension lessons and vocabulary to go with the selected trade-book, as well as the Independent Tri-fold for students to fill out while reading (complete with an answer key). Titles include, but may not be limited to:

  • Henry and Ribsy,
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8,
  • How to Eat Fried Worms,
  • The Boxcar Children: Mystery in the Cave,
  • The Chocolate Touch

New Bundle-1

The Independent Trifold can also be purchased separately to use with any book students are reading, in class or independently.

The Superkids Reading Program

Published by Zaner-Bloser

SK Pyramid

Superkids is a comprehensive English language arts curriculum crafted for grades K–2 using evidence-based literacy practices. This proven-effective program follows a unique systematic and explicit instructional path through engaging, increasingly complex text.

Schools using the two programs (Superkids and Read Side by Side) experience a somewhat seamless transition from 2nd to 3rd grade, as the components of the two programs are very similar and reflect the same research based strategies.  A crosswalk of the two programs demonstrates how the two programs align.  Learn more!


Pricing Questions

We offer FREE SHIPPING and straight forward pricing!

This is both a yes and no answer.

We offer a sample kit for your curriculum review that you are allowed to use however you would like for the length of your curriculum review.  For more information, contact us.



Our pricing is competitive with other reading curriculums.

60% of the cost is student trade-books.

We have set up our pricing to ensure your curriculum adoption won't break the bank, and will be sustainable across many years.

For specific questions about budget, please contact us.

Workbooks for students.


Our book club notebook is a consumable, and will need to be purchased each year if you decide to continue using the workbook as opposed to a blank composition book.

This workbook is also available in electronic form. Licenses for individual teachers and licenses for schools can be purchased.

Yes, there is a FREE teacher portal with no log-in needed.

We provide free downloads, printables, and resources on our website.  Teachers do not need a log-in and password to access these documents.  

Other free resources include:

Most of the courses for professional development can be accessed from the website at no cost.  Learn more.


We have built the savings into the cost, and provide free shipping.

The size of the order may qualify you for complimentary professional development and/or consulting time.

Yes, on a case-by-case basis.

We want to help you get the materials you need, and understand budget constraints.

For questions about split payment or to see if you qualify, contact us.

Low cost and hassle free PD.

We understand finding the time and the budget for professional development is complicated.  We want to make it easy for you to learn the program, and grow in your understanding of best practice year-after-year.  This is why we strive to make our professional development offerings low cost and hassle free.  We offer:

  • Book studies,
  • Video trainings; and
  • Web-call training and consulting.

Depending on your order size, these offerings may be complimentary.  Questions?  Contact us.

Ordering Questions

Yes! We take purchase orders!

Shipping times are currently being impacted.

You can expect to receive your teacher materials within 7 business days. Student materials take longer and currently are taking 20 business days.  Standard priority shipping is FREE.  If you need expedited shipping please contact us.

Shipments come from two warehouses.  

Shipments come from two separate warehouses.

Student materials typically take longer to arrive than teacher materials.

If you believe a product is missing, reach out to us. We want to make it right.

+1 425-412-3724,


We do not ship orders until we have verified that someone will be at the building to receive the shipment.

Yes and No.

We do not accept returns on unit bundles and classroom bundles.  

All other returns are accepted within 30 days of purchase, provided the materials are in new condition.

The buyer is responsible for return shipping, and a 10% restocking fee may apply.

Not seeing your question?

Our team would love to help!