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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Elementary schools in Granite adopt Wonders Reading program to meet literacy standards

Oct 27, 2016 04:46PM ● By Rubina Halwani

Wonders Reading offers print and digital resources. (McGraw Hill)

By Rubina Halwani | [email protected]


A new language arts program for students in grades K-6 has arrived in the Granite School District. Wonders Reading Program is a literacy package developed by McGraw Hill. Wonders was designed to align with the current Utah Common Core Standards.

“Our Imagine It materials were adopted (in 2008) prior to the new standards being adopted. It’s clear that the alignment hasn’t been there. And (it’s) time for a change, said Granite School District Superintendent Martin Bates.  

A committee of 18 GSD teachers, administrators and officials formed to review all possible reading programs approved by the state. The committee recommended Wonders as the best program to meet all requirements. After the review was completed, Jared Gerdner, director of purchasing, drafted a purchase request for approval from the GSD Board of Education. 

Linda Mariotti, assistant superintendent, presented the request to the board of education in March 2016. The program was approved at a cost of $3.7 million.

“It’s a very comprehensive tool,” Mariotti said at the March meeting. The program offers print and digital resources for students, teachers and parents. 

“We are confident that this new instructional tool will contribute to increased student literacy as well as classroom engagement at the elementary school level,” Mariotti said. 

Although the rollout of the program is fairly new, Mariotti mentioned she had not received any negative complaints from parents, teachers or others in the school community. 

“The only negative feedback received by (teachers or principals) has been related to training and/or initial deployment of the accompanying books,” Mariotti said. 

She explained the initial purchase of materials was based on the enrollment of students from the previous school year. The initial count failed to account for student growth. 

“It did not help that some schools hoarded materials on the off chance of receiving more students; we ultimately bought over $15,000 worth of additional books to address the problem quickly,” Mariotti said. “

We had some complaints about the August training and the fact that it was conducted in a fairly lockstep fashion — intentionally so — to force exposure to all elements of the program before teachers could dabble with their own class lists and personal calendars.” 

Mariotti disagreed with this assessment, mentioning several available trainings were offered in the spring and summer.

“Teachers have had access to the entire program with the exception of their own class rosters and a personal planning calendar component all summer long and should have been well prepared for the first few weeks of school,” Mariotti said. “A vendor error did cause an issue with licenses being available for all sixth-grade teachers and our summer hires at the end of that August training day, although they were available to them before noon the following morning.”

 For more information about Reading Wonders Program, visit