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Reading Block Activities

It is essential that literacy blocks include the following activities:

  • Explicit instruction and practice on foundational reading skills such as recognizing and manipulating word parts presented orally (phonemic awareness), understanding letter-sound relationships (phonics), blending letter-sound patterns to produce words (decoding), or understanding common spelling patterns (encoding).

  • Targeted, whole-class reading or writing instruction in a teacher-led lesson as a precursor to the longer period of independent or small-group work; during the mini-lesson, the teacher (1) ties new content or skills to what has been learned previously; (2) states the teaching point that will be presented (e.g., use of dialogue in narrative writing); (3) models or explains the teaching point, usually with some textual support; (4) asks students to practice the teaching point with partners; and (5) restates the focus of the mini-lesson; the teacher then sends students to their independent and small-group work.

  • Small-group instruction, during which teachers meet with small groups and other students work independently, work with partners, work in centers, or practice their developing skills.

    • Print or digital practice activities are available.

    • Center work reinforces what students have been learning.

    • Teachers check in with and debrief to ensure that students are maximizing their time.

  • A variety of interactive and independent reading and writing activities, for example:

    • Read alouds, during which teachers model reading and engage students actively in asking and answering questions

    • Instruction to build vocabulary and background knowledge

    • Writing independently or with a partner

    • Engaging in shared reading with a partner

    • Reading independently in trade books (~15–20 minutes) with teachers monitoring the reading

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