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Prior to August 2022, HPISD's approach to literacy instruction was based on a Balanced Literacy Framework, anchored by Lucy Calkins Units of Study, and supplemented with Fountas & Pinnell and other balanced literacy materials.

The information below will remain public, so that others understand what inspired formation of the HP Literacy Coalition. Concerned parents from other districts who are looking for assistance in pursuing change in their schools are welcome to contact the HPLC for help.


HPISD uses a Balanced Literacy Framework for instruction. The Designated District Resource List highlights Lucy Calkins Units of Study as the main anchor resource for English Language Arts for Kindergarten through 8th grade, with Fountas & Pinnell listed as a supplemental resource.

Balanced Literacy instructional materials are NOT based on the Science of Reading.


Since fully adopting the Balanced Literacy Framework, HPISD student test scores have fallen, parents have noticed significant changes to the school work students are doing, and there seems to be very little differentiation between standard and Talented and Gifted (TAG) classes in some grade levels. Experienced educators have also expressed concern.

As a reference point, Lucy Calkins was implemented at some elementary schools as far back as 2014. By the 2019-2020 school year, the program was fully implemented and currently serves as the foundation for all Kindergarten through 8th grade English Language Arts instruction. Impacted students include:

  • All Students in 8th grade and younger

  • Some Freshman and/or Sophomores, depending on 7th and 8th grade ELA class

In December of 2019, the HPISD Board of Trustees were made aware of the shortcomings of Balanced Literacy through board meeting public comments, a petition signed by 1,500+ people, and a report submitted to the Trustees and administration. While much of the concern was focused on students with dyslexia (15-20% of the population), Balanced Literacy’s ineffective methods were highlighted as a problem for all students.


In the fall of 2021, growing concerns prompted Trustees to create an English Language Arts Subcommittee to evaluate the situation. As of January 18th, 2022 the committee has some areas of general agreement where changes are needed. Unfortunately, many areas of concern could not be agreed upon by committee members, so discussions are ongoing. Click here for an update.

The HP Literacy Coalition encourages HPISD to replace Lucy Calkins Units of Study and Fountas & Pinnell with resources based on Science of Reading.

Literacy instruction could be up for a vote by the full board of trustees soon. Parents, community members, and educators are encouraged to contact the following people with any concerns:


28 states have initiatives that encourage school districts to adopt practices aligned with the Science of Reading. Texas allows local control of curriculum decisions, but 2019’s House Bill 3 created the Texas Reading Academies as a way to train every Texas K-3 teacher and principal in the Science of Reading.

HPISD's Balanced Literacy approach is at odds with the training provided by the Texas Reading Academies. Although HPISD teachers participate in the Texas Reading Academies, it's difficult for them to make use of the training because the majority of HPISD's classroom practices, materials, and resources follow Balanced Literacy - see examples below.

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