Reading and writing development

From Foundations For Literacy

Jump to: navigation, search


Model of reading development

“Children learn to speak and walk by instinct. But did you know reading is different? Reading needs to be taught.” (Reading Rockets, 2008)[1] 

We learn oral language naturally, without formal training. However, all students, especially those who
are at risk for difficulties, can benefit from explicit, step-by-step training to integrate the oral sounds of
language and the code of written text.

While there are no easy answers or quick solutions for optimizing reading achievement, an extensive
knowledge base now exists to identify the skills children must learn in order to read and write well.
These skills can help prevent the predictable consequences of early reading failure (Armbruster, Lehr, &
Osborn, 2003[2].

The goal of literacy

  • To be able to construct meaning effectively from written text.
  • To encode written text accurately in writing.

Studies provide evidence that there is a link between a child’s strengths in reading and writing and his or her stage of cognitive development. For example, in the early grades, strengths in phonological awareness seem to outweigh other abilities such as short-term memory capacity. As cognitive abilities develop, strengths in comprehension knowledge and in short-term memory demonstrate greater importance in the reading process (Konold, Juel, McKinnon, & Deffes, 2003)[3]. Children in any class are at different stages of cognitive development and have different balances in their strengths.

The cognitive “Framework A”

Read about each of the elements of the “Framework A”, with links to instructional activities, assessment resources, and related research for each element.
SEDL (2008)[4] developed a research-based graphic “Framework A” that illustrates the cognitive components of reading development. The components are shown as separate within this diagram but in fact they are all linked and intertwined. The “Framework A” illustrates how these important components of reading development build up from the bottom, the foundation toward reading comprehension as the goal at the top.

Reprinted with permission from SEDL, 2008

Red Side of “Framework A” (the “oral” side, the comprehension of language):
  • Phonology (sounds of the language), syntax (grammar) and semantics (word knowledge/vocabulary) all contribute to a child’s linguistic knowledge (ability to put together or understand proper sentences).
  • Background knowledge combined with linguistic knowledge completes the necessary components for language comprehension.


Copyright ©2000,2001 Southwest Educational Development Labratory (SEDL). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission in writing from SEDL (4700 Mueller Blvd., Austin, TX 78723) or by submitting a copyright request form accessible here on the SEDL Web site.

Blue Side (the “written” side, the decoding of text):

  • Concepts about print (child’s knowledge of the form and purpose of written text) combined with phoneme awareness (ability to manipulate the sounds in language) are foundational skills required for reading.
  • Knowledge of the alphabetic principle and letter knowledge build upon the foundational skills.
  • These components combine to create a child’s lexical knowledge (knowledge of printed words) and cipher knowledge (understanding the rules for writing and spelling), which in turn determine a child’s decoding skills (ability to break sentences into words and into units of meaning).


Copyright ©2000,2001 Southwest Educational Development Labratory (SEDL). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission in writing from SEDL (4700 Mueller Blvd., Austin, TX 78723) or by submitting a copyright request form accessible here on the SEDL Web site.

Go to the University of Oregon's webpage to find out how all elements of reading work together.

Both sides of the framework are equally important for reading instruction. Therefore, weakness in
one or more components will negatively affect the other components. Together all of the cognitive
components must interconnect and build from each other to determine a child’s reading comprehension

As can be seen in the above graphic, the teaching of reading and writing involves providing a balance of the different components. Of equal importance in reaching the goal of understanding reading are:

  • the development of decoding skills (through connecting sounds to print, learning rules for spelling and developing a knowledge of printed words)
  • the development of oral language skills (through building vocabulary, enhancing grammar by forming correct sentences, and increasing listening comprehension).

Effective reading and writing instruction balances the oral and the written components. They are most effectively taught concurrently and not in isolation. For example, through storybook reading, a child can learn how speech sounds connect to print in addition to developing their oral vocabulary and listening comprehension skills. The balance of time spent on the various components will change as reading and writing skills advance. The foundation decoding skills require more instruction time in Kindergarten and Grade 1. Vocabulary and comprehension skills are originally learned orally; however, as children develop, they begin to learn these skills through print. If a child is weak in one skill, providing instruction through multiple modalities is important for increasing his or her chances of reading success (e.g., hearing the word, saying the word, writing the word, seeing the word written down, and reading aloud the sounds of the word; St. John, Loescher, & Bardzell, 2003)[5].

Dale Willows – Balance of time devoted to reading components

Many studies have shown that reading and writing skills support and reinforce each other as they are learned. For example:

  • Morphological awareness (e.g., awareness of the structures of words, roots and affixes) makes a significant contribution to the improvement of reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and fluency for students (Nagy, Berninger, & Abbott, 2006)[6].
  • Direct and systematic development of beginning readers’ awareness of phonemes in spoken words and print-sound connections through phonics skills significantly improves their acquisition of conventional spelling (Bryant, Nunes, & Bindman, 1999)[7].

Components in the development of literacy

Although the component skills are best taught concurrently, for the purpose of presenting them clearly, they are separated in the sections ahead. In each section, a brief summary of evidence is presented, followed by evidence-based practical applications for the classroom. Often a case study is provided. The descriptions of suggested activities may combine several of these elements as a student does not learn them in isolation. Examples of appropriate assessment for the components are also provided.

1. Concepts about print / print awareness

Jordan is just entering school. There are few books in his home. Jordan has never been to a library. When he is presented with a book, he can identify the cover, but does not follow along with the words. He also writes randomly on paper (e.g., does not start at the top of the page or at the left hand side). It is clear that he does not have much experience with print and that his home life does not facilitate literacy.

Can Jordan be supported?
What can happen if Jordan is not helped?
How long will it take to get him caught up?

Consider Jordan’s situation and read the following section. Then reflect upon how you would address this situation if a similar scenario arose in your classroom.

The evidence

  • Children with multiple exposures to text within their environments often develop print awareness at home before they start school (Wood, 2004)[8].
  • Children with limited exposure to text within their environments are inexperienced with print awareness; it is essential that these children receive additional support in order to catch up with their peers (Cunningham & Allington, 2007)[9].
  • With an intentionally literacy-rich environment and explicit instruction at school, children with limited print awareness can catch up with their peers (Cunningham & Allington, 2007)[9]. See The Importance of Starting Early - Kindergarten section
  • Early assessment upon school entry is critical in order to determine if a child is at risk due to inexperience (Cunningham & Allington, 2007)[9].

Explicit instruction of print awareness

The following chart outlines print awareness skills, beginning with the most basic to more advanced.

Print Awarness
Child is aware of text
Classroom is full of books, has print on walls

Child understands how text works
Teacher points out text on walls and reads it; points out individual words; reads stories aloud to class
Child points to certain words
Child understands that text contains information
Teacher reads to group, showing book and talking about the story
Child “pretend reads” the text
Child writes a pretend story about a picture
Child learns to flip through books from beginning to end, holding them right-side-up
Teacher shows the title, the author’s and illustrator’s names on the front cover, and shows the back of the book
Children “pretend read” same familiar stories to themselves
Child holds book right-side up and reads pages
from beginning to end
Child can identify location of cover page, title and
author/illustrator names
Child understands that text is read top to bottom and from left to right
Teacher follows words with finger while reading them aloud, and talks about how reading is from “this side” to “this side” and from the top of the page to the bottom
Child points to text he/she is “pretend reading”, perhaps identifies individual words in the passage
Child’s scribble writing is in lines, starting at top, one above another, and going from left to right, with spaces between lines

View a video clip from Reading Rockets 101 that illustrates a child developing print awareness.

What have I learned about print awareness and how to teach it?

2. Connecting speech sounds to print / decoding

The evidence

Linda Siegel – How children learn to read .

  • Children must be taught how writing systematically encodes spoken language (Rayner, Foorman, Perfetti, Pesetsky, & Seidenberg, 2001)[10].
  • Evidence from many studies indicates that oral and print development must be closely integrated and coordinated in reading instruction. Students show the most gains in letter knowledge, phonological awareness, alphabetic principle (phonics), and reading success when skills are taught in an integrated program (Blaiklock, 2004; Foorman, Chen, Carlson, Moats, Francis, & Fletcher, 2003; Schneider, Roth, & Ennemoser, 2000; WWC, 2006b)[11][12][13].
  • Awareness of individual phonemes develops more quickly when children already know letters or when letters are used within phonemic awareness instruction (Ehri et al., 2001; Lonigan, 2007)[14].

2a) Letter knowledge

Letter knowledge is not simply reciting the alphabet. The knowledge of letters includes:

  • being able to name letters (e.g., the name associated with a letter is invariant: “A” has the same name; the sounds it makes in words are what vary, and the letter “A” can make many different sounds, as in “cap, cape, coat, car”)
  • identifying both uppercase and lowercase letters, in isolation and in words
  • handling letters, grouping them
  • discriminating words one from another

Kelly knows the alphabet song by heart, and sings it whenever she has the chance. She can name each letter, but does not understand what they represent. Kelly often confuses “p” with “q” and “b” with “d.” Kelly’s teacher knows that before she can read, she needs to be comfortable with the alphabet and understand the basic concepts of the alphabet. These challenges are affecting her beginning reading abilities and Kelly’s parents are worried these difficulties will stay with her and affect her first reading experiences.

How can Kelly’s understanding of letters improve to help her as a future reader?

What would you do if you had a student who did not grasp the concept of letter knowledge? How could he or she be helped to ensure a literate future?

Read the next section for ideas and resources on how to help your students master the concept of letter knowledge.

The evidence

  • Teaching letter knowledge concurrently with phonological awareness shows more improvement in student results than if the skills are taught separately (WWC, 2006b)[15].
  • Children with greater knowledge of the alphabet tend to have better phonological awareness skills (Johnston, Anderson, & Holligan, 1996)[16].

Explicit instruction of letter knowledge

The video clip Letters and Sounds on the Reading Rockets website illustrates a Kindergarten teacher working with students on letters and the sounds they make.

  • Present letters in uppercase and lowercase at random (children know uppercase first, and need practice with lowercase letters; Blair & Savage, 2006)[17]; ask children to tell you about each letter. Ask them to give the name, the sound it represents, or a word beginning with that letter.
  • To familiarize students with the appearance of letters, ask them to put letters into groups by how they appear (e.g., the letters a, b, c, d, e, g, h have curves and the letters p, g, q, j, y have hanging sticks).
  • Teach letters along with teaching sounds, and ask students to match the sound to the symbol

Assessment of letter knowledge

Even if students do not know letter names, letter knowledge can be assessed. The teacher can provide cutouts of letters, numbers, and symbols and have students separate them into their respective groups. Ask the children what they know about each letter, for example, “what sound does it make?” or “do you know a word that starts with this letter?” Students may also be asked to separate letters into upper and lowercase, as well as vowels and consonants (Wren, 2002b)[18].

The teacher can say simple words, and ask students to write down one letter for each word. At this stage, children often represent a whole word with a single letter (e.g., for the word “dog”, the child may only write a “d”), but this reflects an understanding that a word exists as a representation of an object (Wren, 2002b)[18].

2b) Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness is an “umbrella” term used to refer to awareness of any aspect of sound structure in language. It includes:

  • understanding that words break down into parts (e.g., syllables, phonemes, etc.)
  • ability to recognize and manipulate the individual sounds in speech (e.g., through deletion or substitution of sounds within words, language games that manipulate sounds, rhymes)
  • ability to rhyme words (e.g., can, pan); ability to break words into syllables (e.g., ba-na-na)
  • ability to break syllables into their onset (beginning) and rime (ending) segments (e.g., c and -at)

Sam experiences difficulty with reading, and his spelling is also below grade level. Sam is beginning to notice that he is not as far along as the other students in his class and has started to lose motivation for reading. His teacher has been trying to keep him motivated by supporting and encouraging him where she can, but something needs to change fast, before Sam completely loses confidence in his reading ability. Sam’s teacher decides to check where Sam falls on the benchmark chart, and notices that despite the fact that he is in Grade 2, he has not mastered many of the skills involved with phonological awareness.

How can this teacher support Sam’s development of phonological awareness?

She plans on giving Sam some extra work to do at home with his parents, but what should it include?

How can this problem be tackled before it becomes a debilitating issue for Sam?

The evidence

A child’s awareness of the speech-sound relationship, measured in Kindergarten, predicts his or her reading ability in the primary school years (Catts, Fey, Zhang, & Tomblin, 1999; National Reading Panel, 2000; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998)[19][20][21].
  • Children with advanced phonological awareness skills have better reading development than their peers (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998)[21].
  • Regular exposure to activities that promote phonological awareness skills enhance reading development for all students (Blachman, 2000)[22].
  • Two recent reviews of interventions found that instructional activities in phonological awareness were most effective when conducted in small groups or with individual students. Significant improvements occurred in phonological awareness, letter knowledge, reading and spelling skills. These results were effective regardless of the age of the child or the child’s previous reading experience (WWC, 2006a, 2006b)[23][15].

Explicit instruction of phonological awareness

University Lab School – Phonological Awareness.

  • Ensure that children understand that, for example, the word “camel” has an /m/ sound in it, and that the /m/ sound in the middle of “camel” is the same as the /m/ sound at the end of “home” and at the beginning of “moon”.
  • Syllables: Work with syllables as a first step before isolating individual sounds. For example, syllable splitting: Clap for each syllable in a word “ba-na-na” – three claps
  • Rhyming: What words rhyme with “cat”? “bat, rat, sat, mat, fat”.
  • Phoneme isolation: What is the first sound in pig? “/p/” – the onset (i.e., initial sound). What is the rest of the word? “ig” – the rime (e.g. the rest of the syllable). Work with word families that share onsets or rimes (e.g., for onset: “rat, run, round, race, rub, rocket”; for rime: “ball, fall, small, tall, call”).

Assessment of phonological awareness

Assessment of phonological awareness can involve breaking words into parts. The child is asked to say the word aloud, but is instructed to pause after saying each part (e.g., segmentation). This can be accomplished in several ways: the child can segment compound words (e.g., “cow” (pause) “boy”), non-compound words (e.g., “pen-” (pause) “-cil”) and onsets and rimes of words (e.g., /m/ (pause) “-oon”; Wren, 2002b)[18].

2c) Phonemic awareness

Phonemic awareness is part of phonological awareness. It is an awareness of individual phonemes - see the Chart of phonetic symbols for 43 phonemes in English
  • It is an ability to notice, think about, or manipulate (e.g., isolate, delete) the individual phonemes in words.
  • It is an understanding that individual segments of sound at the phonemic level can be combined to form words (e.g., blending or synthesis).
Phonemic awareness should not to be confused with phonics. Phonics is a teaching term for the study of the relationships between letters of the written language and the sounds of the spoken language (sound-symbol correspondences) If children are to benefit from phonics instruction, they need phonemic awareness.

Aaron is in Grade 1. He knows his alphabet and reads the letter names (“bee – aaa – tee”) to try to blend them into words. Another student in his class can say the sounds of the letters and make words (“/b/ /a/ /t/ = bat”). Although Aaron knows and can read some words by memory, he is unable to read new words. When his teacher says a word and asks him to change the first sound to make a new word, he is unable to answer.

What could you do to help your students if they had a similar problem (lack of phonemic awareness)?

How would you assess their development of phonemic awareness and adapt your teaching to accommodate those who need more help?

The evidence

  • Instruction that teaches children to manipulate phonemes in words significantly improves reading (National Reading Panel, 2000; SEDL, 2008)[20][4].
  • Most children entering school have normal phonological skills (e.g., they can hear speech sounds) but lack phoneme awareness. For most children, phoneme awareness must be explicitly taught (SEDL,2008)[4].
  • Phoneme awareness is necessary for the child to understand that the letters in written words represent the phonemes in spoken words (National Reading Panel, 2000, SEDL, 2008)[20][4].
  • A well-established finding in reading research is the predictive relationship between phonemic awareness and reading acquisition (Kame’enui et al., 1997)[24].

Explicit instruction of phonemic awareness

  • Teach phonemes along with letters, not in isolation (e.g., what sounds do the letters make in this word?).
  • Sequence introduction of phonemes from simple consonant sounds (p, b, t, s) to vowel sounds, to complex phonemes (-ng /ŋ/, th /θ/ or /ð/, ch /tʃ/, or sh /ʃ/).
  • Scaffold from or build upon what the students know.
  • Phonemes should be taught as sounds, without an “uh” sound at the end. This makes blending sounds much easier (e.g., saying “ruh-a-nuh” makes blending the individual sounds in “ran” difficult). The sounds /s/ and /m/ are the easiest to say without adding an “uh” sound; therefore, they should be used first when teaching phonemic awareness.
  • Facilitate blending sounds by providing multiple opportunities to practice.
  • The child does not need to learn all phonemes; they can demonstrate awareness of sounds in words using a small list of phonemes (SEDL, 2008)[4].
View a Reading Rockets video showing a one-on-one practice of playing with the sounds of letters.

University Lab School – Phonemic Awareness

Sample phoneme manipulations

It is possible to go overboard teaching phoneme awareness. The student just needs to demonstrate awareness that spoken words are made up of phonemes and that phonemes can be arranged and manipulated into different words. (Adapted from SEDL, 2008)[4]

Phoneme addition: “What happens when you add /s/ to the beginning of ‘park’?” “spark”
Phoneme deletion: “What is ‘cat’ without the /k/?” “at”
Phoneme manipulation: “What word would you have if you changed the /t/ in ‘cat’ to an /n/?” “can”
Phonemic segmentation: “What are the sounds in ‘cat’?” “/k/ /æ/ /t/ “
Phoneme identity: “What words begin with /s/?” “snake, sit, saucer”
Categorization: “What word does not belong with the others: ‘cat, mat, bat, ran’?” “ran”
Blending: Saying sounds together quickly (e.g., blending) produces a word (e.g., “What word is made up of the sounds /k/ /æ/ /t/?” “cat”)

(Adapted from Armbruster et al., 2003)[2]

Assessment of phonemic awareness

University Lab School – Letter-Sound Correspondence.

For beginning phonemic awareness assessment, a child can be asked to complete any of the above manipulations or count the number of phonemes in a word.

2d) Understanding the alphabetic principle

The alphabetic principle is the code and foundation of most alphabetic writing systems. The alphabetic principle is the understanding that letters and letter patterns in written words have systematic, predictable relationships with the sounds in spoken words.

Madison is in Grade 1 and is excited to learn how to read, just like her older brother. However, every time she is presented with a (grade appropriate) new text, she is unable to understand what is on the page or sound out the words. Madison has not made the connection between the letters and their sounds. To her, letters are abstract objects that have no meaning. Madison has tried to memorize short stories to make it appear she can read, but new reading material intimidates her, and she is losing her motivation to read.

What can you do to make sure all of your students understand phonics, and how letters and sounds correspond?

Read the following section for ideas on how to help students such as Madison with their reading.

Phonics is a teaching term for the study of the alphabetic principle (e.g., sound-symbol correspondences). Phonics is a system for remembering how to read words. Knowing the relationships will help children recognize familiar words automatically and “decode” or sound out new words (Armbruster et al., 2003).[2]
The Reading Rockets First Year Teacher Program is an online resource for effective teaching strategies; it includes a discussion of how to recognize whether a phonics program is systematic and explicit.

The evidence

A systematic review found that explicit, systematic phonics instruction (see explanation below) has a significant positive effect on decoding text, reading accuracy, and spelling abilities in children; it is also significantly more effective in improving the alphabetic knowledge and reading skills of children from low socioeconomic backgrounds (Torgerson, Brooks, & Hall, 2006).[25]

Explicit systematic phonics instruction

Making sense of phonics: The hows and the whys, by Isabel Beck (2006). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Clearly identify a useful set of sound-letter relationships.
  • Organize the introduction of these relationships into a consistent logical instructional sequence.
  • Carefully scaffold introduction of new sound relationships and phonics skills from simple to more complex letter-sound correspondences (e.g., digraphs such as “wh” or “ee”, diphthongs such as “oo” or “oi”, blends such as “bl” or “str”).

Synthetic phonics instruction

Synthetic phonics introduces children to letter sounds before they are introduced to reading from books. After the first few sounds have been taught, students are shown how these sounds can be blended together to make words (e.g., with /t/ /p/ /a/ and /s/, children can form the words ‘tap,’ ‘pat, ‘pats’, ‘taps’, and ‘sat’).

Children are not told the pronunciation of the new word; they sound out each letter in turn and synthesize the sounds together in order to generate the pronunciation of the word. Thus, the children construct the pronunciation for themselves. See the link to Jolly Phonics on our website as an example.

Visit the Jolly Phonics website for more information.

Research results show modest advantages for a synthetic phonics method over an analytic phonics method (looking at words, changing sounds, and creating new words: mug, bug, rug) in the reading, spelling, phonemic awareness and phonics of children (National Reading Panel, 2000; Torgerson et al., 2006)[20][25]. However, these results are not large enough to be significant, and would indicate that both synthetic and analytic phonics are important in developing decoding skills.

More studies on synthetic versus analytic phonics are needed (Torgerson et al., 2006)[25].

Jolly Phonics, a well-researched synthetic phonics program, teaches groups of sound-letter correspondences in the following order:

Monique Senechal - Inventive Spelling- Exploring the connection between sounds and letters.

1. s, a, t, i, p, n

2. c, k, e, h, r, m, d

3. g, o, u, l, f, b

4. ai, j, oa, ie, ee, or

5. z, w, ng, v, oo

6. y, x, ch, sh, th

7. qu, ou, oi, ue, er, ar

(from Bowey, 2006)[26]

University Lab School – Inventive Spelling.

  • Teach patterns for pronunciation such as the “silent e” rule, which lengthens the vowel sound (Bowey, 2006)[26].
  • Use a program such as Phonological and Strategy training (PHAST) (Lovett, 2000)[27].
  • Explicitly address patterns in irregular words.
  • Provide students with ample practice to build sight word recognition of irregular words.
  • Allow students many opportunities to practice the new sound-letter relationships in words, sentences, reading, and writing.
  • Link phonics instruction to word recognition and spelling activities.
  • Establish instructional routines for development of phonetic decoding efficiency.

A sample resource for intervention, prepared by a teacher: A practical guide for 1st grade teachers: Strategies to assist 1st graders who are not reading by January (Williams, 2003)[28].

Evidence shows that practicing inventive spelling (e.g., “b-r-o-k” for “broke”) is beneficial for young children (usually in Kindergarten). This allows the child to practice connecting sounds with letter patterns (Ehri et al., 2001)[14] and demonstrate an understanding of written language. Once the child has made a connection between letters and sounds, he or she should begin to learn conventional spelling (in Grade 1 or 2).

Examples of phonics assessment

Point to words or groups of sounds and have the student read them aloud. Make a specific speech sound (e.g., “er” or “ow” or “scr”) and have the student identify (e.g., written or orally) the letter or group of letters that represent that sound. Ask students “what sound does the letter ‘v’ make?” or “what sound(s) do the letters “oo” make?” (Wren, 2002b).[18]

What have I learned about decoding skills and how to teach these skills?

3. Vocabulary building: developing a knowledge of words, oral and written

English has a very rich vocabulary and is the only language that has, or needs, a book of synonyms or a thesaurus (Bryson, 1990).[29]

Building vocabulary means both understanding the meanings of words and learning to decode those words. Acquisition of vocabulary improves reading comprehension. In the early years, vocabulary acquisition is largely an oral process.

Amanda is in Grade 3 and is performing poorly in all of her classes. She is still struggling in reading grade level texts; consequently she does not read outside school. Amanda is unable to answer many questions on vocabulary knowledge. She has started misbehaving in class in the hopes of being sent out, so she will not be called on to answer any questions. Amanda’s teacher has noticed this, and has given her book after book to read, hoping that if Amanda simply immerses herself in words, her reading and vocabulary will improve. This does not seem to be working and Amanda is becoming increasingly frustrated.

How would you help Amanda become an avid reader and develop her vocabulary?

Read the following section and discover ways to help students such as Amanda.

Bring words to life!
Through direct instruction, foster word consciousness and engage students in word-play activities to motivate and enhance learning. Raise an awareness of and an interest in words, their meanings, and their power. Students will enjoy words, become actively involved in learning them, and be able to acquire vocabulary independently (Graves, 2000).[30]

The evidence

  • Students enter school with large differences in exposure to vocabulary (Hart & Risley, 1995, 2003).[31][32]
  • Many children who successfully learn to read in Grade 1 or 2 are unable to understand books they need to read by Grade 3 or 4. The main reason for this is a lack of adequate vocabulary (Scarborough, 2001; Spira, Bracken, & Fischel, 2005; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002; Rupley & Nichols, 2005).[33][34][35][36]
  • Much vocabulary is learned indirectly; in oral language from parents, friends and through stories read either by adults or individually. Typically, students from “advantaged” homes learn two to three times as many words as children from “disadvantaged” homes (Hart & Risley, 1995; White, Graves, & Slater, 1990).[31][37]
  • Over time, students who read less acquire smaller vocabularies, and comprehend less in later years (Stanovich, 1986).[38]
  • Teaching vocabulary within a context facilitates better reading comprehension (National Reading Panel, 2000; Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).[20][39]
  • Research suggests that a rich and varied vocabulary is needed to excel in all school subjects because it relates to successful reading comprehension (Chiappone, 2006).[40]
  • Compared to adult prime-time television and typical conversation by college educated adults, children’s books contain up to 50 percent more rarely used words (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998).[41]

Andrew Biemiller – Vocabulary worth teaching.

Implications for teaching vocabulary: indirect learning

  • Read aloud to students, with discussion before, during, and after the reading of new vocabulary and concepts (Biemiller & Boote, 2006).[42]
  • Encourage students to read extensively on their own (e.g., outside of school or during independent work time; Armbruster et al., 2003).[2]
Read about what vocabulary does to enhance learning: “What reading does for the mind.”(Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998)[41].

Implications for teaching vocabulary: explicit, direct instruction

  • Teach a core vocabulary in a developmental sequence (Biemiller, in press)[43], scaffold and build on words that a child already knows.
  • Teach written core vocabulary that the child already knows orally.
  • Start early and teach many words; children will remember only 20-25 percent of the words learned indirectly, but up to 40 percent of those explicitly explained (Biemiller & Boote, 2006).[42]
  • Teach at least 10 words a week. These words should include useful words as well as those that are not part of the students’ everyday experiences. Students retain new vocabulary better if they see it in writing, are asked to pronounce it, and are asked to determine the meaning of the word (Rupley & Ehri, 2008).[44]
  • Teach oral vocabulary in Kindergarten and Grade 1, and both oral and written vocabulary in Grades 2 and 3 (Beck et al., 2002).[39]
  • Begin direct instruction of specific vocabulary very early in Kindergarten. This means explicit teaching of word meanings through contexts, definitions, multiple exposures, and meaningful experiences. Seeing vocabulary in rich contexts provided by authentic texts produces better understanding and retention of vocabulary meanings (Coyne, McCoach, & Knapp, 2007; National Reading Panel, 2000).[45][20]
  • Engage students in developing categories, word families, and in word-play activities to motivate and enhance learning (Graves, 2000)[30] and to aid in later retrieval.
  • Explicitly teach word-learning strategies to deepen students’ knowledge of word meanings. For example, work with new vocabulary to develop students’ understanding of how the word relates to similar forms and how the word can be used grammatically (National Reading Panel, 2000).[20]

These techniques actively engage students in using and thinking about word meanings as well as creating relationships among words; the students learn strategies for independently determining the meanings of unfamiliar words that have not been explicitly introduced.

Andrew Biemiller – Vocabulary Building.

Andrew Biemiller - Indirect Learning via Derivation of Word Meanings.

Andrew Biemiller - Vocabulary Enriching Activities: Explicit Instruction Through Storytelling.

Sample vocabulary-enriching activities

  • Explore words that are both spelled and pronounced the same, but have different meanings, such as “lie” (being dishonest, to rest in a horizontal and flat position), and words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently such as “wind” (blowing air); “wind” (twist); and “tear” (from eye), “tear” (rip).
  • Work with idiomatic expressions (e.g., ants in your pants, let sleeping dogs lie). Idiomatic expressions are hard to learn, and need context, but students enjoy learning them when they are discussed.
  • Even young students can play with words. They can draw pictures that “show” the meaning of the word, such as an illustration of “ugly” as a picture of an insect (Gambrell, Morrow, & Pressley, 2007).[46]
  • Encourage students to think about new words in different contexts. For example, explore synonyms, antonyms, teach groupings and classifications, use/show examples of the meaning (e.g., tools and hammer).
  • Have students provide vocabulary to complete a context. For example, “When I looked out the window and saw that it was raining, I made sure to get my (umbrella, raincoat, etc.) (Gambrell, Morrow, & Pressley, 2007).[46]
  • Teach words around contexts and themes (e.g., teach “kitchen” with various kitchen items).
  • Directly assist students when they use a dictionary, glossary, or thesaurus because many words have the same spelling or multiple meanings.
  • For older grades, teach how the words of Latin and Greek origin are formed (e.g., structural analysis). Help them learn base words (e.g., ”govern”), roots (e.g., “pend”), prefixes and suffixes (e.g., “pre-, post-, anti-, pro-, re-, -able, -ment, -tion”). Create activities on base words, adding prefixes and suffixes to form new words.

Examples of vocabulary assessment

Oral vocabulary testing focuses on the understanding of word meaning; written tests involve many other processes outside of vocabulary knowledge. For example, the teacher can present a definition and ask the student (orally) to provide a word that best matches that definition. Alternatively, the teacher can provide a word and ask the student to provide a definition for that word.

The teacher can test multiple words at once. For example, the students can be presented with a group of words (e.g., “thread, string, rope, knot”) and asked about which word does not belong in the group. Students can also be asked to provide synonyms or antonyms for given words (Wren, 2002b).[18]

What have I learned about vocabulary development and the role that teachers play in facilitating vocabulary development?

4. Reading comprehension

Reading comprehension involves the construction of meaning from text using a wide variety of skills and knowledge (National Reading Panel, 2000; Snow et al., 1998).[20][47] Comprehension begins in the earliest grades by actively developing listening comprehension skills, vocabulary and the understanding of concepts (Snow et al., 1998).[47]

The goal of reading is to obtain meaning from written text. The student reaches the stage of reading comprehension by drawing upon oral language, background (e.g., prior experience) and text decoding knowledge. Integrating this knowledge is difficult for early readers; however, once it becomes automatic, the student can appreciate, evaluate, interpret, and enjoy written texts

Cody has trouble understanding everything he reads. Although he is in Grade 4, he still has trouble reading fluently, and always gets stuck on challenging words. Because he focuses so much on reading fluently, he ignores the meaning of what is being read, and often has to go back and re-read pages two or three times. He does poorly on most comprehension activities and has become frustrated.

What are some ways in which comprehension can be improved?

Read the following section and decide how you would help your students with these kinds of reading challenges.

The evidence

  • For students learning to read, constructing meaning from text is a conscious operation of applying comprehension strategies. The short-term memory (“working memory”) has a restricted space. If too much conscious awareness has to be devoted to sounding out and recognizing words, it is difficult to read above the phrase level (Kirby, 2006).[48]
  • As language and vocabulary knowledge increases and decoding becomes more efficient and automatic, comprehension can improve (Kirby, 2006).[48]
  • For independent reading, the book should be at the child’s level and there should be discussion afterward to monitor comprehension (Barone, Taylor, & Hardman, 2006).[49]
  • More research is needed into how to teach comprehension (Pressley, 2000).[50]

Enabling comprehension through instruction

  • Scaffold to a new text using other children’s books to activate prior knowledge.
  • Scaffold from lower to higher level questions to promote higher order thinking skills (e.g., “What is the dog’s name?” versus “How do you think the boy felt?”).
  • Promote dialogue with critical thinking skills. Ask open-ended questions (e.g., “What would you do?”) and questions that require text-supported answers.
  • Promote reading of a wide variety of texts for many purposes (e.g., recipe books, instruction manuals, maps, informational texts, literature).
  • Have students make connections between the given text and other books, knowledge, or their own experience: “text to text,” “text to world,” or “text to self”.
  • Have students predict what will happen.
  • Have students “sketch to stretch” (e.g., draw what they have pictured in their minds as they read the book in order to stretch their imagination beyond the book).
  • For independent reading, ensure text is at the child’s reading level.
  • Read aloud to students every day.

(Adapted from FCRR, 2008; Rasinski & Padak, 2008)[51][52]

Reading comprehension instruction

Researchers have developed strategies that students need to use consciously for reading comprehension. The teaching of comprehension strategies is a long-term developmental process, as the student moves from consciously using strategies to gradually internalizing and automatizing those strategies (Pressley, 2000).[50]

Effective reading comprehension strategies for students to practice are:

  • comprehension self-monitoring (e.g., checking understanding while reading)
  • cooperative learning or reciprocal learning
  • use of graphic and semantic organizers (e.g., word maps)
  • study of story structure
  • predicting
  • answering and generating questions; seeking clarification
  • summarizing
  • meta-cognitive strategies such as re-reading, reading ahead, asking for help, adjusting reading speed, asking a question, paraphrasing, and retelling

(Adapted from National Reading Panel, 2000; Pressley, 2000)[20][50]

Assessment of reading and listening comprehension

When children are in the early stages of reading, their listening comprehension is better than their reading comprehension as they are just learning how to read. In order to assess a young child’s general understanding of a text, teachers can use listening comprehension. The following strategies can be used to assess either listening or reading comprehension.

  • Have the child listen to or read a story and then retell it orally or in writing.
  • Have the child predict or infer what may happen based on what has happened in the story.
  • Students can be asked to construct responses, select multiple-choice answers, or fill in missing words.

Reading comprehension tasks should not be confused with reading accuracy, where mistakes are analyzed to understand the child’s decoding strategies and not their comprehension strategies (Wren, 2002b)[18]. When children read text orally, they are usually more concerned with being accurate, and do not pay much attention to understanding the content. For this reason, reading comprehension tests are most effective when the child reads the text to themselves and not aloud (Wren, 2002b).[18]

What have I learned about comprehension and about how to teach it?

5. Fluency

Fluency is the ability to read connected text accurately, quickly, and with expression (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003)[53]. Fluent readers recognize words and comprehend at the same time (National Reading Panel, 2000).[20]

Reading fluently is vital for students because they do not have to concentrate on “decoding” the individual words, which means they can focus their attention on the meaning of words in the text.

Mary does not seem to be keeping up with the rest of the class. When she is pulled aside for small reading assessments, she focuses on decoding words (e.g., sounding them out, saying them correctly) rather than on inflecting her voice, and does not pay any attention to punctuation in the text. Mary’s teacher has tried to put her in round robin reading groups, to increase her exposure to fluent readers. This method has not improved her fluency, and Mary’s teacher is getting frustrated, as is Mary.

What can be done to give Mary more confidence while she is reading, and promote fluency?

Read the following section and decide what you would do for students struggling with reading fluency.

The evidence

  • In a large scale study conducted for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 40 percent of Grade 4 students read at low fluency levels. They read primarily in one- or two-word phrases, with little or no recognition of sentence structure (Daane, Campbell, Grigg, Goodman, & Oranje, 2005).[54]
  • Students who can recognize words rapidly and automatically in isolation or in a list (e.g., automatic word recognition) may not be able to transfer this speed and accuracy to silent reading of connected text (Armbruster et al., 2003).[2]
  • Round-robin reading does not increase oral fluency. This may be because students only read small amounts of text, and they usually read this small portion only once (Armbruster et al., 2003).[2]
  • Students who score lower on fluency also score lower on comprehension (Jenkins, Fuchs, van den Broek, Espin & Deno, 2003).[55]
  • Repeated oral reading that includes guidance from teachers, peers, or parents has significant and positive impact not only on fluency but also on word recognition and comprehension (National Reading Panel, 2000).[20]
  • Students who have not developed foundation skills in sound-letter correspondence and decoding do not improve reading fluency by independent silent reading practice; assisted approaches to fluency instruction are more effective (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; National Reading Panel, 2000).[53][20]
  • If word recognition is slow, then previous words will have faded from working memory before later words are recognized, and their joint meaning as a text will not be processed (Kirby, 2006).[48]

Working memory is a gateway for learning (Gathercole, 2007)[56]:

  • Is limited to four or five units and there is no limit to the size of those units.
  • Four or five unrelated words, but four or five groups of related words (e.g., rhyming phrases, lists, patterns).

For fluent reading:

  • Words are recognized, activating the sounds in the reader’s memory.
  • Codes are held in working memory while the reader figures out the structure and meaning of sentences and longer passages.
  • If a student’s coding and retention of words is faulty or inefficient, comprehension may suffer (Scarborough & Brady, 2002).[57]
Resource: Bafile, C. (2005) Reader’s theater: Giving students a reason to read aloud. [58].

Fluency instruction

  • Extensive oral reading practice (e.g., re-reading, repetition of texts).
  • Guidance and feedback.

Fluency promoting activities

View a PowerPoint presentation on teaching fluency, entitled 'Developing Fluency in Classroom Settings' (Reutzel, 2005)[59]
  • Choral reading (e.g., reading aloud together as a group).
  • Student-adult reading (e.g., reading to each other).
  • Tape-assisted reading (e.g., reading along with a tape).
  • Partner reading (e.g., a fluent partner provides a model of fluent reading, helps with word recognition, and provides feedback).
  • Activities such as reader’s theatre (e.g., dramatizing a story) make the re-reading task appealing. For reader’s theatre, students rehearse and perform a play for peers. They read from scripts derived from books that are rich in dialogue. Students play characters who speak lines or a narrator who shares background information.

Assessment of fluency

More details on fluency assessment:
Big Ideas in Beginning Reading.

Quick probes (e.g., short assessments that can take less than a minute to perform) are fluency indicators that also demonstrate success in other areas of reading (e.g., vocabulary, comprehension, etc.).

What have I learned about fluency and how to teach it?

6. Writing

Writing is essential to any reading instruction program. As children are read to and learn to read, they gain knowledge about writing (Sulzby, 1990).[60] Reading involves decoding, while writing is the “encoding” of speech sounds into text. Similar to reading, writing must be taught. Writing involves several different aspects:

  • learning to spell
  • learning to handwrite
  • learning to compose text, either as a comprehension activity or as a presentation of ideas in text

It is necessary to emphasize and reinforce the mechanics of writing. Slowly, students acquire the skills to improve their own writing skills, allowing them to think about language in new ways.

Eric is a typical elementary school boy who loves to move and be outside. When it comes to writing though, he is distracted, fidgety, and often bothers other children. Eric is stimulated by visual cues and cannot seem to sit still. In his descriptive writing, he more often describes the pictures in the book and not the text content, and he has difficulty using punctuation correctly. His spelling is random, and he has not completely made the connection between letter and sound correspondences.

How can you help Eric focus on words and become a better writer?

Consider Eric’s story as you read the following section. Then reflect upon how you would incorporate research into your classroom to help a student such as Eric.

6a) Spelling (spelling conventions / orthography)

Spelling conventions reflect the morphology of English. The spellings of words reflect differences in origin (e.g., ph for an /f/ sound in photography from Greek).

Spelling knowledge involves accuracy and quality in independent writing. Children are able to self-correct their spelling as they write, by consciously using strategies to check what they have written against what they know of word meanings, grammar, and spelling patterns.

Presenting spelling knowledge in a developmental sequence aids in spelling acquisition.

The evidence

Dale Willows – Teaching Spelling.
  • Spelling and reading rely on the same mental image of a word. Therefore, knowing the spelling of a word makes it more accessible for fluent reading (Snow, Griffin, & Burns, 2005).[61]
  • Awareness of grammar and morphology improves progress in spelling (Nunes, Bryant, & Bindman, 1997).[62]
  • Each time a child skips over a word and uses a picture to develop meaning, they lose the opportunity to learn the spelling of that word (Harm, McCandliss, & Seidenberg, 2003).[63]
  • The results of a longitudinal large-scale study of 1,342 students in 127 classrooms in 17 schools showed that, on average, children were better at reading comprehension than at spelling; this gap increased as children progressed in school. Implications are that progress in reading will not necessarily result in progress in spelling; therefore, spelling must be taught directly (Mehta, Foorman, Branum-Martin, & Taylor, 2005).[64]
  • Even beginning spellers use various knowledge sources (e.g., patterns they have already learned, familiar letter-sound correspondences) to guide their spelling; these patterns interfere when they try to learn the spelling of invented words that do not follow spelling rules (Wright & Ehri, 2007)[65]. Implications are that scaffolding from known spelling patterns to new ones is important for student understanding of new patterns.
  • Ability to read words “by sight” rests on the ability to map letters and letter combinations to sounds (Ehri & Snowling, 2004)[66]. For example, “can,” “car,” and “cane” are similar in appearance, so children need to develop insights into how letters and sounds correspond.
  • Word study, the teaching of spelling through patterns and word sorting, can be part of spelling instruction, but research indicates that it may not be sufficient (Leipzig, 2000).[67]
  • A recent review (Schlagal, 2002)[68] revealed that children move developmentally from concrete letter-sound strategies to sound-pattern strategies to meaning-pattern strategies for decoding text. These findings imply that there is a need to present spelling words in a careful, linguistically driven sequence. In addition, sufficient developmental variation in a classroom requires the use of multiple lists at the necessary developmental levels.

Explicit spelling instruction

University Lab School – Guided spelling.

  • Integrate spelling instruction with all other aspects of reading and writing (e.g., phonics instruction).
  • Explore spelling rules and patterns by using words from a familiar text.
  • Illustrate ways to spell a sound (e.g., long “a”).
  • Provide effective scaffolding for students as they develop their understanding of English orthography.
  • Some students need explicit instruction on how to apply spelling rules and patterns they have learned to the writing process (Williams & Phillips-Birdsong, 2006).[69]
  • Core words (e.g., sight words) should be spelled accurately from the start.

The table below provides examples of the variety of graphemes (e.g., letter patterns) that can be used to spell a single sound.

Examples of Graphemes

Speech Sound
Sample Spellings
mitt, comb, hymn
m, mb, mn
tickle, mitt, sipped
t, tt, ed
nice, knight, gnat
n, kn, gn
/ ɔ /
saw, pause, call, bought
aw, au, a, ough
/ u /
moo, blue, chew, suit, soup
oo, ue, ew, ui, ou
ate, day, straight, weight, wait
a, ay, aigh, ei, ai

ICS Grade 3 class - Classroom demonstration of engaging students in analyzing, distinguishing, and using homonyms.

View a video demonstration of teaching spelling patterns from Reading Rockets 101.

Sample activities

Many activities can be built from the approach to spelling as an exploration of language. For example, examine words that sound the same but are different (e.g., their, there; poor, pour; meet, meat; stair, stare; stake, steak).

What have I learned about spelling and how to teach it?

6b) Handwriting

Online tips for teaching handwriting:
Handwriting Help.
Handwriting Without Tears.

Handwriting begins with the correct pencil grip and letter formation and progresses to connected handwriting.

The evidence

Tip: Give the young child a short pencil that balances well in a small hand, with dots for the thumb and middle finger, on opposite sides of the pencil. Cut and distribute writing strips of different sizes for different writing abilities.

University Lab School Kindergarten – Pencil grip.

  • Research evidence suggests that to physically produce writing, many children will need explicit instruction (Edwards, 2003).[70]
  • Berninger et al. (2006)[71] found that direct handwriting instruction with visual cues (e.g., patterns, examples) and verbal mediation (e.g., guidance) led to improved automatic handwriting (e.g., rate of writing legible letters) and in one study, improvement in reading ability.

Instruction of handwriting

At the basic level, instruction in Kindergarten, and later if needed, in using the correct pencil grip allows the child to write more quickly and smoothly. This will become of increasing importance as the child learns handwriting. Correct pencil grip can also prevent physical problems with the hand and arm later in life (Berninger et al., 2006).[71]

What have I learned about handwriting and how to teach it?
Online tips for teaching pencil grip:
How to hold a pencil: The correct pencil grip.

6c) Composition

Composition needs to be taught for different types of texts such as persuasive, narrative, expository, creative, and descriptive.

The evidence

Dale Willows – Scaffolding and metacognitive thinking.

  • Writing skills are facilitated when students have: a general knowledge about the strategies needed to accomplish learning tasks; an understanding of particular task demands; the ability to select, monitor, and evaluate strategy use accordingly; the ability to use real-world knowledge in conjunction with literacy tasks; and a motivation to put their knowledge to use (Palincsar, David, Winn, & Stevens,1991).[72]
  • Students need to be provided with structures, questions, information, and organizational frameworks that help them approach new literacy concepts (Gallimore & Tharp, 1999).[73]
  • Teaching writing involves knowing how to explain, model, and scaffold the stages of planning, drafting, and revising. The child needs daily instruction and practice in order to develop good writing skills (Pressley, Mohan, Fingeret, Reffitt, & Raphael-Bogaert, 2007).[74]

Writing instruction

An essential component of writing instruction is teaching students how to generate and organize ideas before writing. The teacher should go through the process with the class or group, and then allow the class to practice:

Well-researched resource for writing instruction: Marvelous Minilessons for Teaching Beginning Writing, K-3 (Rog, 2007).[75]
  • developing questions on the potential topic by brainstorming
  • gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing information and words from a variety of sources
  • turning ideas into connected text
  • using graphic organizers and idea maps to build structure into the narrative writing task

Writing instruction should follow this sequence: 1) word choice, voice, and fluency; 2) correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation and grammar; and 3) revising writing for clarity, style, and effectiveness.

Instruction should allow students to adjust their writing through the use of different voices (e.g., write a letter as a fictional character, historical figure, or self). Students can also write for a variety of audiences and for a number of different purposes.

Steps in developing writing

Acquire knowledge: receive information (e.g., through reading and listening).
Retrieve knowledge: pull together acquired knowledge and express it in language.
Plan text: understand purpose and goal of writing; know planning processes and steps; know various text structures; be able to use or invent organizing tools to develop writing.
Construct text: understand and apply text conventions such as paragraph structure; organize information from broad to specific; and understand your perspective.
Edit text: recognize errors and places for improvements; monitor construction and cohesion and revise; apply writing mechanics (e.g., capitals, punctuation, and spelling).

(Adapted from The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K-8, 2008a)[76]

Suggested writing activities

  • Model the use of writing frames, templates, or graphic organizers to give students an understanding of narrative structure.
  • Ask students to take a text and break it down to its skeletal outline; this helps understanding of how writers develop a story.
  • Present students with two sentences, and ask them to combine the sentences to make one more complex sentence (e.g., “Brownies taste good” with “Mary likes to eat brownies” to create “Mary likes to eat brownies because they taste good”). This activity helps young writers with sentence structure and grammar.
  • Ask students to insert descriptive words into otherwise plain sentences (e.g., add “black” “big” and “quickly” into the sentence “The spider ran up the wall” to make the sentence “The big, black spider quickly ran up the wall” (Wren, 2002b)[18]. Extend this activity or teach at a more advanced level with a discussion of synonyms to substitute for words (e.g., “The enormous black spider rapidly raced up the wall”).

What have I learned about writing and how to teach it?

Summary of the reading and writing development process

This section has demonstrated how reading and writing skills develop in children. It explained the elements involved in reading and writing instruction including concepts about print, connecting speech sounds to print, vocabulary building, reading comprehension, fluency, and writing. These components are interconnected and build upon one another. For reading and writing instruction to be effective, it must balance the oral language skills (e.g., vocabulary, grammar, listening comprehension) and decoding skills (e.g., connecting speech sounds to print, building a knowledge of printed words, reading comprehension). Finally, effective instruction teaches all the components concurrently at a developmentally appropriate level to optimize student learning and achievement. The time devoted to different areas of instruction will change as students master these skills. The following section on milestones illustrates this change.

Developmental milestones for reading and writing

You are a new teacher, ready for your first day of school. Pencils are in place and all of the books are freshly sitting on the bookshelf at the back of the classroom. The students file in and after the introductions, activities, and assignments, you realize very quickly that there is a wide range of skill levels among the students. You notice several students who are not at the reading level you expected, several others who are reading at a level more advanced than you predicted, and even others who seem to be somewhere in between the two groups. What do you do? How will you teach a group with such a vast range of ability levels? More importantly, at what level should they be?

See the Grade Charts of Developmental Milestones for Reading and Writing (on the following pages) for research-based information on literacy levels by grade.

After an initial screening assessment, examine where your students fall in the milestones chart, think about what you will do with this information, and how this information will change your classroom practice.

Note that the milestones charts are intended as guidelines. Every child is different and no child will fit the chart exactly. If a student is not at the benchmark for his or her grade, find out what level they are at. This will provide direction on how to help the student catch up. If the student does not advance over the next months, then he or she may be at risk for reading difficulties and need intensive help.

Developmental milestones for reading and writing – grade charts

Milestones indicate levels by the end of the school year unless otherwise specified. Note that the milestones charts are intended as guidelines.

Concepts about Print
  • Knows a book is read from left to right and top to bottom in English
  • “Pretend reads”, turning pages to get to next part of story
  • Knows that print is stable, that anyone reading a book reads the same words
  • Knows that clusters of letters separated by space form words
Letter Knowledge
  • Recognizes and names letters, identifies upper and lowercase letters, recognizes some words by sight
  • Identifies the letter when someone produces the corresponding sound
Phonological Awareness and Phonemic Awareness
  • Understands that spoken words are made up of sounds
  • Can segment sentences into words, and words into syllables
  • Can identify and produce words with rhyme; compares and matches words based on their sounds
  • Orally blends syllables (e.g., mon-key) or beginning and end (e.g., m-ilk) into a whole word
  • Claps or counts the words in a three to five word sentence (e.g., Sue can jump far); claps or counts one, two, or three syllable words
  • Can identify (name) the first sound in a word
  • Can segment or blend individual sounds in one syllable words with two and three phonemes (e.g., /f/ + /ʌ/+ /n/ = fun or vice versa)
  • 25 first sounds per minute by mid-year; 35 sound segments per minute by the end of Kindergarten
Alphabetic Principle - Phonics
  • Understands that letters represent speech sounds
  • Blends the sounds of individual letters to read one-syllable, short-vowel, decodable words (e.g., sun, map)
  • Can recognize initial sounds
  • Uses and categorizes words to describe daily objects and actions (e.g., colour, shape, size, location)
  • Says each syllable in 2 and 3 syllable words (di-no-saur)
  • Recognizes some words by sight, including common, high-frequency words (e.g., a, the, I, my, you, of, is, are)
Listening Comprehension
  • Makes connections between the story and real life events
  • Answers questions about the story
  • Recalls information about the story (e.g., plot, characters, beginning, and ending)
  • Makes predictions
  • Retells stories
  • Identifies the correct sequence of stories
Pencil Grip and Writing
  • Holds pencil correctly
  • Forms letters correctly (upper and lowercase)
  • Can print own first and last name
  • Distinguishes drawing from writing
  • May use inventive spelling to label drawings
  • Does representational drawings
Spelling, Conventions and Grammar
  • Understands that sentences begin with capital letters and end with punctuation

Grade 1
Phonological Awareness
  • Can create rhyming words
  • Can identify first, final, and middle sounds in one-syllable words
  • Can blend three to four phonemes to make a word (e.g., /h/ + /ae/ + /n/ +/d/ = hand)
  • Can manipulate sounds in words (e.g., “What’s ‘hop’ without /p/?” = /ha/)
  • Knows 35-45 sounds per minute by mid-year; produces the sounds associated with all individual letters fluently (e.g., one letter-sound per second)
Alphabetic Principle-Phonics
  • Matches letters to sounds and sounds out words when reading
  • Matches spoken words with print
  • Identifies letters, words and sentences
  • Produces the sounds that correspond to frequently used letter combinations (e.g., sh, er, th).
  • Has a sight vocabulary of 100 common words
  • Sorts into categories (e.g., synonyms, antonyms, etc.)
  • Decodes (e.g., sounds out and blends) words with consonant blends (e.g., mask, farm, slip, play)
  • Decodes words with the letter combination accurately (e.g., diagraphs: fish, bath, chin; common letter combinations: book, farm, toy)
  • Uses knowledge of individual letter-sound correspondences and letter-combinations to read monosyllabic words fluently (e.g., mask, skip, play, fish, them, chin, at a rate of one word every 1 to 1.5 seconds)
  • Increases knowledge of common sight words and reads them automatically (e.g., have, would, there, said)
  • Reads words with common word parts (e.g., -ing, -ike)
Reading Comprehension
  • Recognizes print clues in the text
  • Makes predictions
  • Can make connections between background knowledge and text
  • Can pick out the main idea
  • Reads grade level material fluently with phrasing, attending to ending punctuation (e.g., no more than one error in 20 words)
  • Reads grade-level connected text fluently (20-30 words per minute by middle of first grade; 60 words per minute by end of first grade)
  • Listens to models of fluent oral reading and practices increasing oral reading fluency (e.g., from taped recorded readings, adult to peer models)
Pencil Grip and Handwriting
  • Prints clearly
  • Writes with appropriate word spacing and alignment
Spelling Conventions and Grammar
  • Spells frequently used words correctly
  • Makes errors in spelling based on phonetic correspondence
  • Begins each sentence with a capital letter and uses ending punctuation
  • Knows simple, commonly misspelled words; to/two/too
  • Can distinguish between vowels and consonants
  • Expresses ideas through writing
  • Writes a variety of stories, journal entries, or notes
  • Uses writing strategies, such as planning, drafting, revising

Grade 2
Phonological Awareness
  • Has fully mastered associating speech sounds, syllables, words, and phrases from their written forms
Alphabetic Principle-Phonics
  • Manipulates sounds and words in English
  • Can identify two and three syllable words
  • Sounds out new words
  • Uses knowledge of advanced phonic elements (e.g., digraphs and diphthongs), special vowel spelling, and word ending to recognize words
  • Reads compound words, contractions, possessives, and words with inflectional endings
  • Reads new multisyllabic words (e.g., two to three syllables) using syllabification and word structure (e.g., base/root word, prefixes and suffixes)
Reading Comprehension
  • Reads, paraphrases/retells a story in a sequence
  • Locates information to answer questions
  • Explains key elements of a story (e.g., main idea, main characters, plot)
  • Uses own experience to predict/justify what will happen in grade-level stories
  • Answers “what if,” “how” and “why” questions
  • Reads textual and functional material (e.g., map, atlas, directions, recipe)
  • Reads grade level stories, poetry, or dramatic text silently and aloud with fluency
  • Reads spontaneously
  • Reads and rereads connected text multiple times to increase familiarity with words and fluency
  • Reads grade-level connected text fluently with phrasing and expression
  • Increases the number of sight words that are read accurately and quickly
  • Rereads and self-corrects word recognition errors
  • Words Correct Per Minute (50th percentile): beginning of year: 53; middle of year: 78; end of year: 94 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006)[77]
  • Writes legibly
  • Spells frequently used words correctly
  • Progresses from inventive spelling (e.g., spelling by sound) to correct spelling
  • Begins to recognize orthographic conventions (e.g., knowledge that words must include vowels)
Conventions and Grammar
  • Capitalizes months, days of the week, proper nouns, locations, etc. correctly
  • Uses punctuation correctly (e.g., periods, question marks, exclamation points and quotation marks for dialogue)
  • Identifies simple adjectives that best fit context
  • Identifies simple nouns, pronouns, and verbs
  • Organizes writing to include beginning, middle, and end
  • Uses a variety of sentence types, in writing essays, poetry, or short stories (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Writes multiple page stories

Grade 3
Alphabetic Principle-Phonics
  • Demonstrates advanced phonetic skills: can use blends, long vowels, short vowels, and consonants correctly
  • Plays with sounds in words, as in “pig Latin” and other secret codes
  • Uses word analysis skills when reading
  • Uses clues from language content and structure to help understand what is read
  • Begins to understand prefixes and suffixes, and root words
  • Identifies simple literary elements: similes and characterization
  • More phonic patterns are recognized to increase automaticity of decoding (e.g., silent “e” rule)
Reading Comprehension
  • Predicts and justifies what will happen next in stories and draws conclusions
  • Compares and contrasts stories
  • Asks and answers “why,” “what if” and “how” questions regarding reading material
  • Uses acquired information to learn about new topics
  • Determines sequence of events
  • Distinguishes fiction from nonfiction
  • Makes text-to-self connections
  • Uses text features to decode information (e.g., titles, headings, bold print, glossaries, index, table of contents, charts, tables)
  • Follows simple written directions
  • Puts concepts in order chronologically, and by order of importance
  • Finds evidence in the text to support an idea or opinion
  • Reads grade-level books fluently (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Rereads and corrects errors when necessary
  • Adjusts speed and rate of reading
  • Words Correct Per Minute (50th percentile): beginning of year: 79; middle of year: 93; end of year: 114 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006)[77]
  • Writes clearly in cursive and print
  • Spells simple words correctly
  • Corrects most spelling independently
  • Spells compound words, contractions, and possessives correctly
  • Recognizes and uses morphemic patterns (prefixes and suffixes such as “mis-, -er, -ing”)
  • Uses predominantly conventional spelling
Conventions and Grammar
  • Uses commas in lists
  • Properly pluralizes irregular plurals (e.g., moose, teeth, feet, mice)
  • Identifies the subject and predicate in a sentence
  • Identifies the verb(s) in a sentence
  • Writes stories, letters, simple explanations and brief reports
  • Includes details in writing
  • Plans, organizes, revises and edits own and others’ work
  • Uses proper sentence structure
  • Oral and literate styles are mixed in writing
  • Writing resembles complexity in speech

Grade 4
  • Learns meanings of new words through knowledge of word origins, synonyms, and multiple meanings
  • Understands prefixes, suffixes, and root words
  • Uses a variety of synonyms and antonyms
  • Increases number of sight words
  • Decoding is efficient and automatic
Reading Comprehension
  • Uses previously learned information to understand new material
  • Follows written directions and understands sequence of events
  • Links information learned to different subjects
  • Uses reference materials (e.g., dictionary)
  • Explains the author’s purpose and writing style
  • Reads and understands different types of literature (e.g., fiction, nonfiction, historical fictions, short stories, and poetry)
  • Compares and contrasts content read
  • Makes inferences from texts and determines fact from opinion
  • Takes brief notes, paraphrases content including main idea and details
  • Asks and answers questions
  • Self-monitors and problem solves when text is not understood: rereads, uses context clues, accesses prior knowledge
  • Uses text features for information (e.g., titles, headings, bold print, glossaries, index, table of contents, charts, tables)
  • Recognizes bias in writing and persuasive techniques in advertisements, newspaper editorials, speeches
  • Reads grade-level books fluently, paying attention to punctuation
  • Adjusts reading speed and rate for specific purposes
  • Words Correct Per Minute (50th percentile): beginning of year: 99; middle of year: 112; end of year: 118 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006)[77]
  • Edits final drafts for spelling
  • Understands and uses spelling patterns (e.g., -ight pattern words)
  • Increases vocabulary of known spellings
  • Understands and uses common English spelling rules (e.g. suffix addition - hope + ing =hoping, hop+ing = hopping)
  • Writes clearly in cursive and print

Conventions and Grammar
  • Edits final drafts for grammar and punctuation
  • Uses correct past tense of regular verbs and common irregular verbs (hoped, swung, was/were)
  • Correctly uses commonly confused words (e.g., their/they’re/there and its/it’s)
  • Writes effective stories and explanations, including several paragraphs about the same topic
  • Develops a plan for writing, including a beginning, middle, and end
  • Organizes writing to convey a central idea
  • Understands and implements the writing process, especially revision

Grade 5
  • Learns meaning of unfamiliar words through knowledge of root words, prefixes, and suffixes
  • Understands “word chunks” such as mark/remark/remarkable
  • Uses possessives and contractions correctly
  • Understands simple similes, metaphors, and personification
Reading Comprehension
  • Prioritizes information according to the main idea and purpose of reading
  • Reads a variety of literary forms (including informational, functional, and literary texts)
  • Describes development of character and plot
  • Describes characteristics of poetry
  • Analyzes author’s language and style
  • Uses reference materials to support opinions
  • Identifies sequence of events
  • Compares and contrasts stories
  • Predicts conclusion and justifies response
  • Identifies difference between fiction and nonfiction
  • Identifies persuasive techniques in written texts
  • Reads grade-level books fluently
  • Words Correct Per Minute (50th percentile): beginning of year: 105; middle of year: 118; end of year: 128 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006)[77]
  • Spells possessives and contractions correctly
  • Spelling becomes increasingly conventional
Conventions and Grammar
  • Revises writing for clarity
  • Edits final copies of writing
  • Creates a complete sentence and identifies fragments
  • Uses abbreviations correctly (Mrs., Mr., St.)
  • Uses superlatives and comparatives correctly (biggest vs. most big)
  • Writes for a variety of purposes, with varied sentence structures, using vocabulary effectively within writing
  • Uses simple similes, metaphors, and personification in writing
  • Uses more subordinate clauses, writes more consistently in literary style
  • Begins to develop their own “voice” as a writer

Grade 6
  • Understands simple similes, metaphors, and personification
Reading Comprehension
  • Reads grade level material
  • Identifies supporting details
  • Uses context clues to understand difficult concepts/words
  • Generalizes main ideas
  • Identifies a sequence of events
  • Identifies elements in the story, including conflict and climax, and predicts conclusion
  • Makes complex predictions: consequences of actions, what is learned from a specific portion of the text
  • Understands cause-effect relationships
  • Understands persuasive techniques
  • Reads grade-level books fluently (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Words Correct Per Minute (50th percentile): beginning of year: 127; middle of year: 140; end of year: 150 (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006)[77]
  • Spelling errors decrease
  • Spelling becomes increasingly conventional
Conventions and Grammar
  • Identifies and uses prepositions correctly
  • Knows and identifies proper adjectives
  • Begins to explore the future perfect tense (e.g., “he will have travelled”)
  • Identifies and uses linking verbs (e.g., verbs that connect the subject to additional information about the subject such as: appear, become, look)
  • Continues to improve knowledge of writing conventions
  • Complexity in writing increases, and reaches or surpasses level in speech

(Information gathered from The American Speech and Language Association, 2008; The Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement (IDEA), 2007)[78][79]


  1. Reading Rockets. (2008). Reading rockets: Articles from A-Z about reading. Retrieved January 15, 2008, from
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Armbruster, B. B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2003). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. Kindergarten through grade 3. (2nd ed.). Jessup, MD: ED Pubs. Retrieved March 10, 2008, from
  3. Konold, T. R., Juel, C., McKinnon, M., & Deffes, R. (2003). Learning pathways to reading: A multivariate model of early reading acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24(1), 89-112.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 SEDL (Formerly the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory). (2008). Retrieved April 25, 2008, from
  5. St. John, E., Loescher, S., Bardzell, J. (2003). Improving reading and literacy in grades 1-5: A resource guide to research-based programs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  6. Nagy, W., Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D. (2006). Contributions of morphology beyond phonology to literacy outcomes of upper elementary and middleschool students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 134-147.
  7. Bryant, P., Nunes, T., Bindman, M. (1999). Morphemes and spelling. In T. Nunes. (Ed.), Learning to read: An integrated view from research and practice (Neuropsychology and Cognition). (pp. 15-42). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  8. Wood, C. (2004). Do levels of pre-school alphabetic tuition affect the development of phonological awareness and early literacy? Educational Psychology, 24, 3-11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Cunninghan, P. M., & Allington, R. L. (2007). Classrooms that work: They can all read and write. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  10. Rayner, K., Foorman, B. R., Perfetti, C. A., Pesetsky, D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2001). How psychological science informs the teaching of reading. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2(2 Suppl), 31-74.
  11. Blaiklock, K. E. (2004). The importance of letter knowledge in the relationship between phonological awareness and reading. Journal of Research in Reading, 27(1), 36-57.
  12. Foorman, B. R., Chen, D.-T., Carlson, C., Moats, L., Francis, K. D., & Fletcher, J. M. (2003). The necessity of the alphabetic principle to phonemic awareness instruction. Reading and Writing, 16(4), 289-324.
  13. Schneider, W., Roth, E., & Ennemoser, M. (2000). Training phonological skills and letter knowledge in children at risk for dyslexia: A comparison of three kindergarten intervention programs. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(2), 284-295.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ehri, L. C. Nunes, S. R., Willows, D. M., Schuster, B., Yaghoub Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s meta-analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 250-287.
  15. 15.0 15.1 What Works Clearinghouse (2006b). Phonological awareness training plus letter knowledge training. What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report 2006-12-28. Retrieved on February 10, 2008, from
  16. Johnston, R. S., Anderson, M., & Holligan, C. (1996). Knowledge of the alphabet and explicit awareness of phonemes in prereaders: The nature of the relationship. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 8(3), Foundations for Literacy • Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network 123 217-234.
  17. Blair, R., & Savage, R. (2006). Name writing but not environmental print recognition is related to letter-sound knowledge and phonological awareness in pre-readers. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, (19)9, 991-1016.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 Wren, S. (2002b). Methods of assessing cognitive aspects of early reading development. Austin TX: SEDL. Retrieved April 18, 2008, from
  19. Catts, H. W., Fey, M. E., Zhang, X., & Tomblin, J. B. (1999). Language basis of reading and reading disabilities: Evidence from a longitudinal investigation. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 331-362.
  20. 20.00 20.01 20.02 20.03 20.04 20.05 20.06 20.07 20.08 20.09 20.10 20.11 National Reading Panel (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Whitehurst, G.J., & Lonigan, C.J. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69, 848-872.
  22. Blachman, B. A. (2000). Phonological awareness. In M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3, pp. 483-502). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  23. What Works Clearinghouse (2006a). Phonological awareness training. What Works Clearinghouse Intervention Report 2006-12-14. Retrieved February 10, 2008, from
  24. Kame’enui, E. J., Simmons, D. C., Baker, S., Chard, D. J., Dickson, S. V., Gunn, B., et al. (1997). Effective strategies for teaching beginning reading. In E. J. Kame’enui, & D. W. Carnine (Eds.), Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners. Columbus, OH: Merrill.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Torgerson, C. J., Brooks, B., & Hall, J. (2006). A systematic review of the research literature on the use of phonics in the teaching of reading and spelling (Research Report No. 711). London, UK: Department for Education and Skills. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from
  26. 26.0 26.1 Bowey, J. A. (2006). Need for systematic synthetic phonics teaching within the early reading curriculum. Australian Psychologist, 41(2), 79-84.
  27. Lovett, M. W. (2000). Putting struggling readers on the PHAST track: A program to integrate phonological and strategy-based remedial reading instruction and maximize outcomes. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(5), 458-476.
  28. Williams, K. C. (2003). A practical guide for 1st grade teachers: Strategies to assist 1st graders who are not reading by January. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED480693). Retrieved March 12, 2008, from
  29. Bryson, B. (1990). The mother tongue: English & how it got that way. New York: W. Morrow.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Graves, M. F. (2000). A vocabulary program to complement and bolster a middle-grade comprehension program. In B. M. Taylor, M. F. Graves, & P. van den Broek (Eds.), Reading for meaning: Fostering comprehension in the middle grades (pp. 116-135). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.
  32. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (2003). The early catastrophe: The 30 million word gap. American Educator, 27(1), 4-9.
  33. Scarborough, H. S. (2001). Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice. In S. B. Neuman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of early literacy research (pp. 97-110). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  34. Spira, E. G., Bracken, S. S., & Fischel, J. E. (2005). Predicting improvement after first-grade reading difficulties: The effects of oral language, emergent literacy, and behaviour skills. Developmental Psychology, 41(1), 225-234.
  35. Storch, S.A., & Whitehurst, G. J. (2002). Oral language and code-related precursors of reading: Evidence from a longitudinal structural model. Developmental Psychology, 38, 934-945.
  36. Rupley, W. H., & Nichols, W. D. (2005). Vocabulary instruction for the struggling reader. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 21(3), 230-260.
  37. White, T. G., Graves, M. F., & Slater, W. H. (1990). Growth of reading vocabulary in diverse elementary schools: Decoding and word meaning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 (2), 281-290.
  38. Stanovich, K. E. (1986). Matthew effects in reading: Some consequences of individual differences in the acquisition of literacy. Reading Research Quarterly, 21(4), 360-407.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. F., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
  40. Chiappone, L. L. (2006). The wonder of words: Learning and expanding vocabulary. New York: The Guilford Press.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Cunningham, A., & Stanovich, K. (1998). What reading does for the mind. American Educator, 22 (1-2), 1-8. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from
  42. 42.0 42.1 Biemiller, A., & Boote, C. (2006). An effective method for building meaning vocabulary in primary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology; 98(1), 44-62.
  43. Biemiller, A. (in press). Words worth teaching. Columbus, OH: SRA/McGraw-Hill.
  44. Rupley, J., & Ehri, L. C. (2008). The mnemonic value of orthography for vocabulary learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(1), 175-191.
  45. Coyne, M. D., McCoach, D. B., & Knapp, S. (2007). Vocabulary intervention for kindergarten students: Comparing extended instruction to embedded instruction and incidental exposure. Learning Disability Quarterly, 30(20), 74-88.
  46. 46.0 46.1 Gambrell, L. B., Morrow, L. M., & Pressley, M. (Eds.). (2007). Best practices in literacy instruction (3rd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.
  47. 47.0 47.1 Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 Kirby, J. R. (2006). Reading comprehension: Its nature and development. Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development. London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from
  49. Barone, D., Taylor, J., & Hardman, D. (2006). Reading first the classroom. New York: Allyn & Bacon.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Pressley, M. (2000). What should comprehension instruction be the instruction of? In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research. Vol. 3 (pp. 545-561). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  51. The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). (2008). Retrieved April 25, 2008, from
  52. Rasinski, T., & Padak, N. (2008). Evidence based instruction in reading: A professional development guide to comprehension. Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.
  53. 53.0 53.1 Kuhn, M. R., & Stahl, S. A. (2003). Fluency: A review of developmental and remedial practices. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 3-21.
  54. Daane, M. C., Campbell, J. R., Grigg, W. S., Goodman, M. J., & Oranje, A. (2005). Fourth-grade students reading aloud: NAEP 2002 special study of oral reading (NCES 2006-469). U.S. Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  55. Jenkins, J. R., Fuchs, L. S., van den Broek, P., Espin, C. & Deno, S. L. (2003). Sources of individual differences in reading comprehension and reading fluency. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 719-729.
  56. Gathercole, S. E. (2007). Working memory: A system for learning. In R. K. Wagner, A. E. Muse, & K. R. Tannenbaum (Eds.), Vocabulary acquisition: Implications for reading comprehension (pp. 233-248). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  57. Scarborough, H. S., & Brady, S. A. (2002). Toward a Common Terminology for Talking about Speech and Reading: A Glossary of the “Phon” Words and Some Related Terms. Journal of Literacy Research, 34(3), 299-336.
  58. Bafile, C. (2005). Reader’s theater: Giving students a reason to read aloud. Retrieved March 15, 2008, from
  59. Reutzel, D. R. (2005). Developing fluency in classroom settings, Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Retrieved March 13, 2008 from:
  60. Sulzby, E. (1990). Assessment of emergent writing and children’s language while writing. In L. M. Morrow & J. K. Smith (Eds.), Assessment for instruction in early literacy (pp. 83-108). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  61. Snow, C. E., Griffin, P., & Burns, M. S. (2005). Knowledge to support the teaching of reading: Preparing teachers for a changing world. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  62. Nunes, T., Bryant , P. E., & Bindman, M. (1997). Morphological spelling strategies: Developmental stages and processes. Developmental Psychology, 33, 637-649.
  63. Harm, M. W., McCandliss, B. D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2003). Modeling the successes and failures of interventions for disabled readers. Scientific Studies of Reading, 7, 155-182.
  64. Mehta, P., Foorman, B. R., Branum-Martin, L., & Taylor, P. W. (2005). Literacy as a unidimensional construct: Validation, sources of influence, and implications in a longitudinal study in grades 1 to 4. Scientific Studies of Reading, 9(2), 85-116.
  65. Wright, D.-M., & Ehri, L. C. (2007). Beginners remember orthography when they learn to read words: The case of double letters. Applied Linguistics, 28(1), 115-133.
  66. Ehri, L .C. & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Developmental variation in word recognition. In C. Addison Stone, E. R. Silliman, B. J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders (pp. 433-460). New York: The Guilford Press.
  67. Leipzig, D. H. (2000). The knowledge base for word study: What teachers need to know. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11(2), 105-131.
  68. Schlagal, B. (2002). Classroom spelling instruction: History, research, and practice. Reading Research and Instruction, 42(1), 44-57.
  69. Williams, C., & Phillips-Birdsong, C. (2006). Word study instruction and second-grade children’s independent writing. Journal of Literacy Research, 38(4), 427-465.
  70. Edwards, L. (2003). Writing instruction in kindergarten: Examining an emerging area of research for children with writing and reading difficulties. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(12), 136-149.
  71. 71.0 71.1 Berninger, V. W., Rutberg, J. E., Abbott, R. D., Garcia, N., Anderson-Youngstrom, M., Brooks, A., et al. (2006). Tier 1 and tier 2 intervention for handwriting and composing. Journal of School Psychology, 44(1), 3-39.
  72. Palincsar, A. S., David, Y. M., Winn, J. A., & Stevens, D. D. (1991). Examining the context of strategy instruction. Remedial and Special Education, 12, 43-53.
  73. Gallimore, R. & Tharp. R. (1999). Teaching mind in society: Teaching, schooling, and literate discourse. In P. Lloyd & C. Fernyhough (Eds.), Lev Vygotsky: Critical assessments, Vol. 3: The zone of proximal development(pp. 296-330). London: Routledge.
  74. Pressley, M., Mohan, L., Fingeret, L. Reffitt, K., & Raphael-Bogaert, L. (2007). Writing instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
  75. Rog, L. J. (2007). Marvelous minilessons for teaching beginning writing, K-3. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  76. The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K-8 (2008a). Accessing skills toward successful writing development. Retrieved May 10, 2008, from
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 77.3 77.4 Hasbrouck, J., Tindal, G. (2006). Oral reading fluency norms: A valuable tool for reading teachers. The Reading Teacher, 59(7), 636-644.
  78. American Speech and Language Association. (2008). Your child’s communication development: Kindergarten through fifth grade. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from
  79. Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement (IDEA). (2007). Big ideas in beginning reading. Retrieved May 1, 2008, from
Personal tools