Elementary Reading Instruction

KLSD is committed to teaching children to read

We strive to help our students become skilled, avid readers who are able to comprehend and interpret a variety of texts. Our approach to reading instruction is grounded in the 5 Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction as defined by the National Reading Panel:  phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

5 Essential Components of Reading

we teach the five components of effective reading instruction through multiple teaching structures

Reading and writing are reciprocal processes.  Reading strengthens writing and writing strengthens reading.  For example, children first build phonemic awareness knowledge through exposure and direct reading instruction then, when they attempt to spell words in their writing, they put their phonemic awareness skills to work.  The process of sounding out unknown words as children write also helps to strengthen their ability to decode words as they read. Due to this reciprocal nature, rather than compartmentalizing the essential components of reading, we use a combined approach that both teaches skills in a direct and systematic way in isolation and then prompts children to apply those skills in the context of reading and writing.

Learn more here. 

Committed to continual improvement

Shifts we have made in recent years include:

  • Using a more systematic approach to teaching phonemic awareness.
  • Incorporating the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness Screener into our benchmark assessments for K-1.
  • More ongoing, regular assessments of students' phonics knowledge, including their abilities to decode low frequency and nonsense words in isolation.
  • Teaching high frequency words by showing students how to map the sounds in a word to their corresponding letters (orthographic mapping).
  • Using high-quality decodable texts for all students at the early stages of reading acquisition.
  • Assessing students with decodable texts, rather than leveled texts, for beginning readers.
  • Implementing interactive read alouds with a focus on vocabulary, knowledge building, oral language and comprehension.

How we provide additional support

Students are formally assessed in reading during our three benchmark periods and informally on an ongoing basis. Based on these assessments, and information from the classroom teacher, students may be identified as needing more support in a particular area of reading.

Our interventions take a multi-tiered approach.

  • Tier 1 interventions are delivered by the classroom teacher, typically through the form of small group instruction. 
  • Tier 2 and 3 interventions are considered to be more intensive (frequency, duration, or group size) and are taught by one of our interventionists in a separate location.

Our interventionists have access to many evidence-based tools and are able to customize the intervention for students to provide targeted practice in their specific areas of need. For example, students who need more intensive phonics instruction might receive an intervention such as Wilson Fundations (double dose), Sounds Sensible, SPIRE, Wilson Just Words, or Wilson Reading System (depending on the grade).