Heartland AEA Literacy Newsletter

December 2021

Reading as a Social Justice Issue

The Science of Reading: A Defining Movement Coalition was developed by The Reading League.

The Defining Movement coalition is driven by the underlying belief that learning to read and teaching reading to all children is a 21st century civil right.

"Scaffolding Up" Adolescent Literacy Grades 4-12

Last month you read about scaffolding up instruction as a way to accelerate learning and close the gap. Scaffolding up instruction is done by using grade-level text. Below are three short webinar examples using grade level text from el education along with research based instructional strategies aligned to adolescent literacy. These interventions were specifically designed for students with unfinished learning needs.

The Science of Reading: An Overview (by Dr. Jan Hasbrouck)

Science of Reading Professional Learning Opportunity

The Science of Reading learning opportunity can be offered in a variety of ways to best meet the needs of your buildings. On-site professional learning throughout the school year, a hybrid format, or virtual learning as a building or individually are all possible options.

Reach out to your Heartland Literacy Consultant assigned to your district to register your building for this professional learning opportunity. The participants will:

  • Learn about the principles of The Science of Reading
  • Think about the relationship between other reading approaches in comparison with The Science of Reading
  • Watch and read how experts define, discuss, model, and explain The Science of Reading
  • Learn about the five components needed in a literacy block that supports the Science of Reading
  • Analyze their current practices with practices discussed in this course and begin planning for implementation!

Comprehension Strategies for Grades 4-8

# 189537HL - Comprehension Strategies for Grades 4-8

Focus will be on examining reading comprehension strategies for close reading outlines in Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst, as well as using signposts to plan instruction.

This is a hybrid course with four hours of class time via Zoom on December 20, 2021, and January 10, 2022, from 5:00-7:00 p.m., and the remaining hours will be instructor led online through January 21, 2022. The instructor will send an email with the Zoom link prior to the course.


Fluency is about much more than reading fast. Student best reading is reading that includes expression and accurate word recognition at a rate that sounds like speech. Below are links to PDF's from UnBound Ed that indicate best practices in fluency instruction at each grade band.

Teacher Resource:

UnBound Ed Building Fluency Grades 3-5

Unbound Ed Building Fluency Grades 6-12


The Science of Reading is about teaching students to read and what to do if they do not. Many core literacy programs do not include explicit and systematic phonics instruction with a scope and sequence. Ensuring students master both decoding and encoding skills in the primary grades will set them up for reading success in 3rd grade and beyond. Open Source Phonics has explicit and systematic phonics instructional lessons available for teachers with a scope and sequence.

Teacher Resources:

Open Source Phonics

Free Reading: Teaching Tools for Literacy

Sound Walls

Sound Walls are a tool to enhance knowledge of the sounds in words and the structure of our language. Deeper knowledge of sounds in words helps students read and spell familiar and unfamiliar words.We encourage you to start with the "Read It" section of the Bit by Bit.
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