QCSD PK-5 Literacy Buzz

February 2020

QCSD K-12 ELA Vision Statement

All students in QCSD will become productive citizens with a command of literacy that prepares them for the challenges of being “College and Career Ready” and enables them to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Table of Contents

Celebrations and Learning for ALL

  • Neidig, Share by Building Coach Stacey Dicicco
  • Pfaff, Share by Building Coach Aly Kriner

Implementation News

  • SQLR Win District Summary
  • Resource Share - K2 ReadyGen Tradebook Posters
  • Decodable Readers
  • Fluency
  • Fundations Grade 3

Content Area Literacy

  • Strategy Spotlight - Anticipation Guide
  • Math Language Routines
  • Content Area Literacy Guide

What the Research Says

  • Know Better, Do Better by David and Meredith Liben
  • Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boehler

Save the Date for PD

  • Fundations Grade 3
  • The Why and How of Direct, Explicit, Systematic, and Multi-sensory Literacy Instruction


Fourth Grade students in Mrs. Cronin's science classes are demonstrating rigor by using the Science Research Cards aligned with the Text Collections to study Energy. Students are practicing their reading and writing skills as they build a deep knowledge on the topic of Energy. Students are also practicing their speaking and listening skills as they prepare for their presentations.


Students in grades PK-2 at Pfaff are deeply engaged in building foundational skills through the use of Fundations materials.
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Year 2 Implementation News

SQLR WIN District Summary

Each elementary building participated in an SQLR during WIN time between the dates of October 2019 and January 2020. As a result of the data and takeaways that were shared with each building, here you will find an overview of district trends. As you will see, there are many celebrations, some wonderings to work through together, and a few practices to reconsider. Please don't hesitate to reach out to your building coach or an OTL coach to further explore any of the trends shared.

K-2 ReadyGen Poster Resource

Click here for vocabulary and close reading support for your favorite ReadyGen trade books! Print them out at the largest paper setting you have on your printer. Default poster size is 11" x 17". Check back frequently—more posters will be added!

K-2 Which Texts for Teaching Reading

As we continue on our journey to move towards a more structured literacy approach, primary teachers are looking closely at the different text types. Many teachers are using decodable texts during small group instruction to support students' application and practice of skills learned during whole group explicit and systematic phonics instruction. This short article explains the differences within decodable, predictable, and controlled vocabulary texts.

In the book, Know Better, Do Better, it states, in a systematic phonics program that uses decodable texts early in students' reading instruction, it is more likely that students will be attentive to the letters and the sounds they represent.

Here is a decodable reader instructional protocol . Fundations, Imagine Learning, and ReadyGen has decodable text available.

2-5 Fluency in the Content Areas

Why Fluency?

As students become able to read a greater number of words per minute with increased understanding, they read more. The more they read, the more they build knowledge.

What makes a quality fluency activity?

Quality Texts

  • Passage can be anything short enough for repeated reading with in a period of 15 or so minutes. It can be an article, a poem, or an important excerpt from something longer you’re reading in class.

Oral Reading

  • Text must be read aloud. Fluency practice should be oral, so students can hear what good reading sounds like. Authentic practice in oral reading will not only improve fluency, but also silent reading skills.


  • Students should receive teacher feedback. Sometimes feedback comes from their own observations as they tap into the metacognitive skills and think about how they sound as they read. *Fluency evaluation form (Thank you Melissa Reidi for making the form student friendly!)


  • For fluency to improve, repeated reading is strongly encouraged.


  • Repeated readings = success! The option to perform is also motivating for some students.

Example of a Daily Fluency Practice Plan

Click here to find an easy to use daily fluency practice plan that can be used with any high quality grade level text any time of day!

Fundations Grade 3

Level 3 of Fundations® builds on the basic skills that were learned in Fundations Levels K-2 and progresses further into the study of word structure, focusing on advanced spelling rules and morphology.

As you know, Fundations Level 3 will be arriving to buildings shortly. Teachers and coaches will be exploring the materials and lesson contents for the remainder of the school year. Click here to see a detailed list of skills and knowledge our 3rd graders will be exposed to through Fundations. Wow!

Content Literacy

Strategy Spotlight ~ Anticipation Guide

An anticipation guide is a comprehension strategy that is used before reading to activate students' prior knowledge and build curiosity about a new topic. Before reading, students listen to or read several statements about key concepts presented in the text; they're often structured as a series of statements with which the students can choose to agree or disagree. Anticipation guides stimulate students' interest in a topic and set a purpose for reading.

See Page 12 of the QCSD Content Area Literacy Guide Grades 2-5 below for more information.

Click here to read more about Anticipation Guides from Reading Rockets.

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Literacy in Math

Mathematical Routines

As in other subjects, math students must be able to read, write, listen, speak, and discuss the

subject at hand. Often, these multimodal ways of learning and using math skills are given too

little attention in curricular materials, and teachers may want to supplement with classroom

activities that provide opportunities for students to use language to discuss the math content

they’re learning.

Click here to find routines that are designed to support a variety of language-focused skill growth: from reinforcing mathematical terminology to scaffolding conversations to providing opportunities for students to deepen their conceptual understanding by describing their work. These routines, done regularly, can benefit all students!

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What the Research Says

Know Better, Do Better

It's our goal that every child in every elementary school in America can read fluently by the end of second grade. This book explains how to make that happen - for all children in all classrooms. ~ Meredith and David Liben

The Libens have poured through the research, pedagogical movements, and deeply entrenched classroom myths to find the literacy practices and instructional materials that actually improve student learning outcomes. Through their work, the Family Academy reading scores rose to the highest of any non-gifted school in Harlem. The best of intentions aren't enough to make children literate; educators have to know better so they can do better.

Mathematical Mindsets

In January, teachers attended a session focused on enhancing the math curriculum. The presenter shared the work of Jo Boaler. Boaler created youcubed to give teachers, parents and students the resources they need to excite students about mathematics.

Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all children, even those who are convinced that they are bad at math, that they can enjoy and succeed in math. Jo Boaler—Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning—has studied why students don’t like math and often fail in math classes.

Save the Date

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The Why and How of Direct, Explicit, Systematic, and Multi-sensory Literacy Instruction

June 23, 2020 or August 20, 2020

Facilitated By: Alexis McCullough, BCIU Program and Training Specialist

Time Needed: One Full Day

Participants: Elementary PK-2 Staff and Specialists

Overview of Topics Include:

  • The neurobiological influences connected to literacy acquisition and factors linked to reading failure.
  • Examine a developmentally appropriate scope and sequence of literacy skill, including a breakdown of phonemic awareness, phonics, and accuracy/fluency skills.
  • Brief overview of informal assessment tools to determine ability in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, accuracy/fluency, and sight word recognition.

Fundations Grade 3, June 24, 2020

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Quick Links to ELA Documents

Links to Past Editions of the QCSD PK-5 Literacy Buzz


Erin Oleksa-Carter

Supervisor of Literacy, Fine Arts, and ELD


Kelly Cramer

PK-12 Instructional Coach

ELA Content Specialist


Guest Authors

QCSD PK-5 Building Coaches