Igniting Literacy

K-4 ELA at the Harvest Network of Schools

September, 2016


HNS educators are among the most passionate and tireless in the world, and I am honored to have the privilege of working with you! This publication is intended to spark your imagination with fresh ideas for inspiring students to embrace literacy and find their voices.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Primary Instruction (K-2)

Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress (STEP)

Are you getting into the rhythm of STEP? Feeling out of synch? By now you know your students' initial levels, and you might be wondering what to do next. Here are some helpful hints:

  1. Use baseline data to organize students into leveled groups.
  2. Use the STEP Bottom Lines and STEP Instructional Level Analysis tools to determine instructional goals and objectives.
  3. Don't forget to plan strategically for independent work time so students are making the most of their precious time! Organize access to leveled libraries and plan for meaningful student interaction with print.
  4. Track group and individual progress using the STEP Guided Reading Tracker, or feel free to create an organizational system of your own. Share your creative ideas!
  5. As students reach their goals, reassess and celebrate progress!

Links to Resources

Intermediate Instruction (3-4)

Frustration levels, instructional levels, independent levels, oh my!

Now that you have your classroom routines and procedures established, you're ready to get to every teacher's favorite part of our profession: instruction! Highly effective reading programs balance student exposure to text at a variety of levels.

Frustration Level: Complex, frustration level text is roughly two levels above independent reading level, and content area text is a great resource! The "productive struggle" that students experience when working with complex text increases comprehension. Readers authentically engage in word solving and comprehension strategies, resulting in greater perseverance and deeper learning.

Instructional Level: Roughly one level above independent reading level, the Journeys curriculum provides grade level text that can generally be read with teacher support in your close reading groups.
  • Introduce new comprehension strategies with visuals and provide practice.
  • Focus on tier 2 vocabulary, text structure and repeated reading for deeper comprehension.
  • Include partner reading focused on improved rate and prosody to increase comprehension.

Independent Level: Students can easily decode and comprehend text at their independent level. Independent reading builds confidence and a love of reading that ignites the reading cycle: enthusiastic readers are more skilled, and skilled readers are more enthusiastic! Although it's tempting to fill independent reading time with teacher-led activities, it's important to remember that our students lead busy lives when they leave our classrooms, and opportunities for quiet sustained reading may be rare.

Ms. Anne Melius

Literacy Coordinator

Harvest Network of Schools

1300 Olson Memorial Highway

Minneapolis, MN 55411