Teach With INFOhio

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: Highlights Library

Author // Emily Rozmus Friday, 20 August 2021

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio

Getting your district or school ready for the 2021-2022 school year begins by looking closely at the materials you use in your classrooms. Every Ohio student deserves the opportunity to learn from high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society (Each Child, Our Future).

Studies have shown that using high-quality, coherent curriculums and instructional materials lead to student growth in learning and achievement. We also know that students gain months of learning when teachers use high-quality instructional materials.  

While securing coherent curriculum and professional development for teachers is the first step in ensuring equity in Ohio’s classrooms, identifying high-quality supplemental materials at grade-level for all learners can be helpful in increasing student engagement, meeting diverse needs, and filling instructional gaps.

For over 20 years, INFOhio has been providing Ohio schools and districts with quality supplemental resources available at no cost. INFOhio’s resources provide educators and students with premium, vetted content such as eBooks, videos, lesson plans, instructional web tools, and training and support materials which can be used for teaching and learning. When paired with a high-quality curriculum, these resources can provide additional engaging and innovative materials for student growth and achievement and can scaffold student learning if there are gaps.

While the criteria for high-quality instructional materials is broad, key indicators can be applied to materials to determine their effectiveness for student learning. For this Teach With INFOhio blog series, the premium content provided by INFOhio will be shared, highlighted by its

  • Standards alignment/Research-based strategies
  • Inclusive teaching
  • Usability
  • Flexibility and Adaptability

These are the categories of criteria for the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric, developed by INFOhio's Instructional Team in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education. EdReports' and Achieve's EQuIP rubrics were models for this tool. You can feel secure knowing that using the instructional materials from INFOhio will provide students with the quality materials they need to be successful and grow as learners.

Highlights Library

In 2020, INFOhio was excited to partner with fellow Ohio company Highlights International, offering Ohio parents, educators, and students access to the quality content from the Highlights publications in digital eBook and video format. Over 2,800 fiction and nonfiction titles are available on Highlights Library, providing grade-level text for readers in grades PreK-5


Highlights Library is dedicated to promoting a love of reading while focusing on the whole child and their social-emotional well-being. The titles available to Ohio students range from humorous to informational, and many provide support for key issues such as beliefs and values, family and peer relationships, and emotions and conflict resolution. This handout will help educators align their lessons to CASEL's Social & Emotional Learning Core Competencies, the foundation for Ohio's Social-Emotional Learning Standards.  In addition, Highlights Library features the beloved Hidden Picture puzzles, a student reward for reading the quality text.

To learn more about how to use this resource and integrate its content into the classroom, take the Highlights Library class in the INFOhio K-5 Digital Content Learning Pathway. This self-paced class is available at no cost and participants can earn a certificate for two contact hours after completing the lessons and passing a final quiz.  

Educators can feel secure in using Highlights Library's quality content to supplement quality curriculums and scaffold learning. The eBooks and videos meet the criteria set by the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric and support rigor and acceleration in classrooms.

Using the individual criterion and applying its indicators to instructional materials can help you decide what will be the best content to use with your students. Below are some of the criteria and how Highlights Library aligns with the indicators.

Standards Alignment/Research-based Strategies

These criteria and indicators help educators identify instructional materials that are aligned with the rigor of the Ohio Learning Standards and rely on research and scientific thinking for best results in the classroom.

Content Builds on Prior Learning 

Highlights Library provides formative assessments such as advanced organizers - including exit tickets, mini-quizzes, student questioning, and content surveys to gauge students’ knowledge of concept or skill. Students can find titles in the Readers+ Collection which include a quiz, listening activity, thinking activity, and speaking activity to determine their knowledge of the concept presented in the title and skills in speaking and listening. 


Hover over the title and click the yellow i button to access the formative assessments. You will also find the Lexile Reading Level which is important to ensure students are reading at grade-level. 


Highlights Library also builds background knowledge through a variety of sources including eBooks, videos, short articles, and images.


Content Provides for Authentic Learning, Application of Literacy Skills, Student-directed Inquiry, Analysis, Evaluation and/or Reflection

A clear strength of Highlights Library is a variety of texts arranged by units and themes used across content areas. Using text sets to build knowledge and develop literacy skills is streamlined with Highlights Library's diverse content. You can use these text sets to promote reading, writing, and discussion as well as other forms of communication for learning or sharing information

Search by keyword or use the categories to narrow your search and find grade-level texts on the topic of your text sets.


Content Engages Students through Discussion Questions and Other Supports that Build Toward Independence

Highlights Library also includes supports to engage students. Self-motivation is promoted for student engagement with these handouts found in the Highlights Library class lesson Sharing Highlights Library with Parents. Send this chart home with parents or use it in the classroom to motivate students to read and earn rewards.


Instructional Approaches Used are Reflective of Best Practices and Research on What Works in Education

Highlights Library also cites evidence-based practices. Explore how this resource supports the Science of Reading. Unravel Scarborough's Rope and use the quality text to develop decoding, comprehension, and vocabulary.


Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive teaching emphasizes the strategies and practices educators can use in the classroom to leverage the strengths and tools students of color bring for learning. The criteria and indicators for this category focus on how instructional materials recognize, define, and contribute to the growth and understanding of these strengths. 

Content Creates Student Experiences that Enable All Children to Reach Empowering and Rigorous Learning Outcomes Regardless of Their Race or Income

Highlights Library uses students’ real-life experiences to connect school learning to students’ lives.  Titles provide a range of cultural experiences that mirror the realities of all students. Using Highlights Library helps educators provide instructional materials that recognize the strength in diversity.


In addition, the grade-level text in Highlights Library makes it equitable, providing all Ohio students with the same quality content to help accelerate learning and student success. This chart will help you align the Lexile Reading Levels represented below with Highlights Library's Reading Levels. 


Flexibility and Adaptability

The criteria and indicators for this category ensure that instructional materials provide students and educators with what they need for learning in any form - in person, hybrid, blended, or remote. 

Teacher Supports, Documentation, and/or Guides for Effective Use are Present

While Highlights Library is an eBook platform, it does provide digital teacher guides, examples, and/or templates for the materials to use in different delivery modes. The Highlights Library "i" page on the INFOhio website has many training and support resources to help educators use the resource and share it with parents using plain language for parent engagement.



High-quality instructional materials value accessibility. These criteria and indicators will help determine how well materials meet the needs of all learners.

Materials follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The text found in the eBooks available from Highlights Library have a font-size of at least 14pt and uses a variety of indicators other than color to convey important content or meaning.


In addition, the videos from Highlights Library have captions or transcripts available.


Try It out in Your Classroom!

Highlights Library is intended for use by students in grades PreK-5. It contains content to support English language arts, social studies, science, and social-emotional learning. Try the quality instructional materials available at no cost in your classroom. Be sure to share how #INFOhioWorks for you on social media.


Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: Highlights Library

About the Author

Posted by: Emily Rozmus

Emily Rozmus is a Senior Instructional Specialist at INFOhio. She has worked in education for over 25 years, first as a secondary English teacher and district librarian before starting at INFOhio in 2013. Emily has developed district growth plans, integrated technology, created instruction for information literacy, fostered teacher development, and worked on teams to implement curriculum. At INFOhio, she focuses on training educators to use INFOhio resources to improve early learning. She also works to share research and best practices for helping students be better readers of INFOhio's digital text. 

Emily Rozmus
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