Topeka Public Schools Fall 2023 Edition 1
Welcome to Literacy Learning!
What is Structured Literacy?
The International Dyslexia Association defines Structured Literacy as explicit and systematic teaching of all components of literacy. Explicit instruction means the teacher clearly teaches and models concepts and skills. Systematic instruction follows a scope a sequence that teaches skills in a progression from easiest to harder skills. Explicit and systematic instruction ensures students learn all necessary reading skills.
Structured Literacy occurs in six instructional areas. These are: sound-symbol relationships, phonology, syllables, morphology, semantics, and syntax. Below are some ways these are woven into comprehensive literacy instruction. Continue reading to learn how you are already incorporating structured literacy into your daily instruction, and to discover new ways to improve these skills.
Activities to Support Phonology Include:
Activities to Support Phonics Include:
- Sing a phonics song
- Phonics anchor charts
- Phonics flip books
- Letter tile activities
- Click here for more fun activities
Spelling patterns and decoding word parts is important in phonics and this includes knowledge of syllables. A syllable is a word or word part that has one vowel sound. Words that have more than one vowel sound are called multisyllabic.
The Six Syllable Types:
- Closed Syllables have a short vowel ending in a consonant. Ex. at, bug, tumble etc.
- Open Syllables end with a long vowel sound. Ex. so, pro/gram, mu/sic, etc.
- Silent e Syllables have a long vowel sound followed by a consonant then a silent e. Ex. cake, fine, cone, etc.
- Vowel Digraph Syllables contains two vowels that make one sound, the vowel digraph can be at the beginning, in the middle, or the end of the word. Ex. chair, each, tree, etc..
- R-Controlled Syllables have a vowel that is followed with an r, that changes the sound of the vowel. Ex. farm, circle, purple, etc.
- Final Stable syllables are found only at the end of multisyllabic words, they consist of a vowel followed by one or tow consonants then the letters l and e. They are pronounced by blending the first consonant with the l. Ex. fumble, wiggle, puzzle, etc.
Activities to Support Syllables Include:
Vocabulary is an essential component of comprehension. A reader must be able to understand words in context through syntax and semantics. In other words, the word “break” is a multiple-meaning word. Depending on how that word is used defines its meaning. For example:
Samuel took a break from his homework to play basketball. (noun)
Keon did not mean to break the vase. (verb)
Students must be explicitly taught multiple meaningful words and how syntax affects a word's meaning.
Activities to teach syntax and semantics to students:
Reading comprehension is the combination of understanding language and recognizing words. Comprehension is a complex process, and many factors allow one to comprehend what they are reading. One of those is developing background knowledge.Background knowledge is a reader's understanding of concepts and situations associated with words read. When readers have prior knowledge in the subject area, they are able to make meaning from words and build upon what they know to comprehend the text.
Activities for building background knowledge:
- Visual and hands-on representation
- Making text connections
- Virtual field trips (many virtual field trips are available on youtube)
- Graphic organizers
- Click here for more fun activities.
Want to learn more about the connection between comprehension and sentence structure? Check out this article!
Activities to build fluency
Adding Fun to Literacy Instruction
Students learn best when they are engaged in their learning. Engagement means students are having fun and enjoying the process of learning. It is essential that we make literacy engaging and motivating for students. Doing these things doesn’t have to take extra work and lots of planning.
Activities to build fun and engagement:
Complete a virtual field trip and connect to a story in ReadyGen
Use a read-aloud to spark interest and extend listening comprehension
Complete an art activity (Art of Education links are on the CDMs)
Reader’s Theater or act out a story
Reach out to Topeka Shawnee County Public Library and have them bring a set of books for your class
Bring in a guest reader to read to your class
Connecting Testing to Classroom Practice
For example, FastBridge data provides information on letter names and sounds for kindergarten. The data marks students as at some risk or high risk. Students in those areas could receive targeted instruction in those areas. If kindergarten shows mastery of letter names and sounds, take those students and have them apply the alphabetic principle to decoding CVC words.
When looking at MAPS data, explore the reports that show students who have and have not mastered skills. MAPS will also show at which grade level within a given standard where a student is currently performing. Groups students by skills- reteach and also enrich students who have mastered a skill.
Every Child Can Read Act
Kansas recently enacted K.S.An Act 72-36262 called the Kansas Every Child Can Read Act, which provides a legislative statement of intent regarding promoting academic achievement in schools to ensure that all students progress toward grade-level literacy proficiency, especially by third grade.
As a result, there are several new requirements pertaining to third grade. The first is the requirement to inform parents twice a year regarding their child’s reading profession. The second requirement is to report student interventions for third-grade students to the state. Topeka Public Schools is working diligently to meet the state’s new reporting requirements.
Click on the link to learn more about the Kansas Every Child Can Read Act.
District Resource Corner
QuickReads is a new resource that focuses on fluency and associated skills. The program contains a placement test and six levels: A-F. QuickReads improves reading fluency, reading comprehension, and content knowledge with nonfiction texts.
Please talk to your instructional coach to get the link to access the QuickReads folder.
High-Frequency Word List
Topeka Public Schools has a list of high-frequency words for grades K-2. The word list combines CR Success tricky words and Dolch sight words located within CR Success.
Use the link below to access the word lists you need for your classroom.
Teaching and Learning purchased decodables for each elementary building. There are books from Little Blossoms and Jump Rope Readers. Decodables allow students to practice the phonics skills they've been taught. Decodables are not leveled by a reading level but instead are skills-based. For example, a book called Sam and Jan Lost a Hat would best align when short a is taught in the classroom.
Decodables can be used during small group instruction and literacy station time. Books can be read to solidify a new phonics skill or for additional fluency practice. The decodables are stored in the book rooms in each building.