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By Grade Band


Reading instruction in preschool is focused on cultivating a deep love of story. Children are surrounded by stories, in the books that fill their classrooms, the narration that flows from their teachers, and the budding ideas being shared by their classmates. Each child is developing skills as a creator and interpreter of stories. This happens on a daily basis through:

  • Ongoing exposure to many different genres of books
  • Acting out stories as a means of solidifying understanding and sequencing
  • Engaging in pre-reading activities, such as holding a book and turning the pages or pointing to pictures as books are read aloud
  • Listening to quality literature in in many different settings
  • Participating in discussions about stories we have heard
  • Telling stories about the world around them and their experience of it (“Today on the playground I…”)
  • Exploring the building blocks of words – sounds and letters – by playing with them through rhyme, nonsense words, and matching


Reading instruction in prekindergarten strives to support children as they deepen their understanding of story while developing knowledge about the building blocks of words. Emphasis is placed on cultivating a love of stories through frequent reading, dramatic interpretation, and sharing of stories. This is balanced by opportunities to consider the letters and sounds that make words through systematic phonics instruction. On a daily basis, children build their reading skills through:

  • Ongoing exposure to many different genres of books, cultivating preferences for specific characters, authors, or story types
  • Building phonics and phonemic awareness skills through games, songs, poetry and more
  • Developing visual memory skills though letter and early sight word recognition
  • Opportunities to read whether by reading the words, reading the pictures, or telling the story
  • Opportunities to read books with small and large groups, participating in discussions about stories
  • Making connections between books and the world around them

Kindergarten and First Grade

Kindergarten and first grade students are immersed in a balanced reading program, which incorporates instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, and an appreciation of literature. They have daily opportunities to engage with text independently, with a reading partner, in a small group, and in whole group settings. Students also participate in active exploration with letter/sound relationships, word solving strategies, comprehension skills, and sight word recognition. Each month, a new author or theme is studied allowing the children to develop reading mentors, favorite authors, and a love for books. Comprehension skills are developed through one-on-one reading with a teacher, guided reading groups, and interactive read-alouds. Kindergarten and first grade readers represent a range of skill levels, from those building their knowledge of early print decoding, to others who are integrating their decoding and sight word skills to decipher more complex texts. Across this range, students are supported in their growth through frequent, informal assessment and skilled adaptation of the reading program.

Second and Third Grade

Second and third grade is often when students transition from the behaviors of learning to read to those of reading to learn. Students are able to access information from both fiction and non-fiction texts with purpose and to deepen their own understanding. They also have well developed attitudes and habits of reading: maximizing reading time, building stamina, selecting “just right” books that are based on interest, strategies to decode unknown words, and the ability make meaning from what they have read.

During daily independent, partner, and small group reading time, students work on a variety of individual goals, such as using context to derive the meaning of new vocabulary, self-correcting when they make errors that detract from meaning, attending to punctuation cues, stopping and thinking about meaning, or reading dialogue with phrasing and expression. Teachers read aloud from a variety of genres. Through discussion and lessons, students explore comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary building strategies to enrich their understanding and enjoyment of literature.

Fourth and Fifth Grade

Fourth and fifth grade readers decode grade level text fluently and accurately, to deepen their literal and inferential comprehension of reading material, and to develop an enjoyment of literature and nonfiction writing. Some of the key component skills that support these goals include supporting opinions with evidence, engaging with increasingly complex text, understanding differences in genres, and identifying and analyzing stylistic elements. High quality instruction centers on the strategies of summarizing, visualizing, connecting, inferring, predicting, synthesizing, analyzing, evaluating, and discussing. Interactive read-aloud, book clubs, and partnerships offer students opportunities to engage in rich conversations with their peers about a shared text. Students regularly share feelings, observations, questions and impressions of the texts as they read.