Attributes of learning

Basic reading skills for students in kindergarten through fifth grade

Common Core Standards (CCS) have stream lined the skills that educators should be teaching to students. The standards require students to progressively build skills as they go through school, building a repertoire of prior knowledge that will be accessed throughout the student's education. The CCS also encourage the development of skills necessary to gather evidence from reading materials, as well as the skills to answer the five basic "W's", who, what, when, where and why ("Great Kids", 1998-2016).
Big image


In kindergarten, students begin to learn the relationship between letters and their sounds, such as the sound /c/ in cat. Phonological awareness and decoding skills are developed. Students should be able to recognize basic sight words, such as, "the," "no," and "but" ("Great Kids", 1998-2016). The ability to read simple sentences is worked on as well, and by the end of kindergarten, students should be able to read simple sentences.

First Grade

First graders are able to read high frequency words, such as, the, who and why. Phonological and phonemic awareness are further developed. Students are able to read and speak common digraphs, such as /th/ in that. First grade also begins the development of skills to understand the content of reading materials. In order to do this, they need to acquire fluency and speed to read and understand the context and content("Great Kids", 1998-2016).

Second Grade

Second graders can read long and short vowel sounds correctly, understanding the sounds that vowel teams make as well. There is an emphasis on decoding and fluency in second grade, based on the knowledge students acquired in previous years ("Great Kids", 1998-2016). In second grade, students learn about how characters respond to situations in stories, different points of view and the comparison of different versions of the same story.
Big image

Third Grade

Third grade is a continuation of the skills developed in second grade("What To Expect By Grade", 2016). Third graders can self correct mistakes when reading and read words that are not spelled the way that they sound, such as the word "eight." Students are able to distinguish between literal and non-literal texts. They are also capable of determining the meaning of unknown words based on the context of the sentence. In third grade, students can read different types of stories, such as poems, fables and fiction and non-fiction("What To Expect By Grade", 2016).

Fourth Grade

Basic skills in fourth grade include the ability to identify the meaning or a story and connect it to themselves. Fourth graders can compare and contrast texts and read grade level texts with accuracy and comprehension ("What To Expect By Grade", 2016). Students use prior knowledge of letter sounds to figure out and read multi syllable words correctly. Fourth graders continue to develop their phonological and phonemic awareness skills.

Fifth Grade

In fifth grade students should have solid foundational skills from prior learning. Students can demonstrate knowledge of letters, sounds and words in reading. Fluency and decoding skills will be necessary to further develop reading skills. The use of root words, or chunking, for example, vall-ey, to determine unknown words are skills needed as well.Fifth graders also learn more complex prefixes ("Great Kids", 1998-2016). At this time, students should be able to read fluently, accurately and expressively. Students comprehend what they are reading ("What To Expect By Grade", 2016).


Decoding support:

  • letter sounds and words read aloud
  • use of visuals to show letter and sound
  • use of a software that provides multi-modal decoding lessons
  • magnetic letters, or letter blocks
  • word sorts that use written words and images

Instructional Strategies

  • direct instruction to the whole class or smaller groups
  • ensure students have the foundational skills necessary to decode words, for example the understanding that words are read left to right and the relationship between letters and sounds. If students are lacking in these skills, use programs to assist with skill development.
  • teach students to chunk words
  • provide activities that involve word families
  • repeat words and letter sounds frequently

Tiered Instruction

Decoding is a necessary skill for reading and deficits in decoding have the potential of hindering a student's progress academically. Recognizing letters, and the sounds they make is a major component of reading.

Tier 1

  • all students receive the same instruction using an evidenced based program, such as Literacy Place by Scholastic, which focuses on multiple skills.
  • Students receive instruction in the classroom as a large group.
  • Materials in evidenced based programs are often based on core standards and attempt to engage all different types of learners. These programs provide the baseline needed to then determine the students who are at risk of falling behind (Shapiro, 2016).
  • Universal design of learning

Tier 2

  • Students who are at risk of falling behind based on assessment data often work in smaller groups within the classroom, or in a different location.
  • These students are provided this instruction in addition to the instruction they are already receiving (Shapiro, 2016).
  • Teachers could use a program such as SPIRE to provide more targeted skill development in decoding.

Tier 3

  • Students at tier three work in very small groups, and one on one in some cases.
  • These students are at high risk of failure and may be candidates for special education services (Shapiro, 2016).
  • Students receive services daily for a determined amount of time, typically in a pull-out model.
  • Seeing Stars and LIPs are examples of programs that could be used.


Many evidenced based reading programs have built in progress monitoring and assessment techniques. Programs such as the Words Their Way spelling inventory can be used on all students and any students experiencing deficits in decoding may be identified ("Learning Services", 2016). This program also provides different activities that all students can participate in, but can be adapted by the teacher to meet the needs of varying students. The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) also has components that rate fluency, accuracy and comprehension ("Learning Services", 2016). Teacher observations are important in the identification of students who may require additional support. A students decoding abilities may become most evident when the student reads aloud to the educator, who is monitoring fluency and accuracy. The Basic Phonics Placement Assessment is another tool that can be used to assess students and place them with in the K12 PhonicsWorks program ("K12 Placement Tests", 2004).


Great kids. (1998-2016). Retrieved from

K12 placement tests. (2004). Retrieved from

Learning services. (2016). Retrieved from

Shapiro, E. S. (2016). Tiered instruction and intervention in a RTI model. Retrieved from

What to expect by grade. (2016). Retrieved from