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Literacy at Riverbank Charter School of ExcellenceEndFragment
Framework of Literacy
Riverbank Charter School Literacy
The literacy at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence is effective and successful. Our goal is for our students to master each grade level standards and challenge them in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, reading and writing. We accomplish this through incorporating these language arts components into the curriculum, in a balanced literacy approach. Students are taught to apply these concepts in all areas through extensive routine, repetition, modeling, practice, application and assessment. We hope this information helps provide insight on best practices, to integrate into your daily literacy instruction.EndFragment
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Benchmarks and Assessments At Riverbank Charter School of Excellence on-going assessment is a critical component in understanding the literacy development of students.  Assessment provides teachers current data concerning areas of strength, in need of improvement and stagnation in learning.  This helps guide instruction for students to have the most successful, effective phonics experience.  Assessments need to be meaningful.  According to New Jersey Model Curriculum, “Assessments will be designed to measure how well students have met the targets, and, more important, what students still need to master.  These assessment data will allow teachers to effectively determine what interventions students need as they encounter increasingly complex text.”  These assessment data will allow teachers to effectively determine what interventions students need as they encounter increasingly complex text.”  Once students demonstrate mastery in each of these areas, the next phonics topic is introduced.  It's important to continuously incorporate previously learned skills into phonics instruction, to ensure carry over from unit to unit and grade to grade.   The teachers at all grade levels at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence develop a literacy profile for each student, documenting ongoing assessment results across the 5 domains of reading   ✰ Phonological Awareness ✰ Phonics ✰ Fluency ✰ Comprehension ✰ Vocabulary ✰ Oral Language Development ✰ Concepts Of Print ✰ Reading Strategies ✰ Reading Attitudes/Interests ✰ Writing Skills There are a variety of measures that can be used to gather data for each area of early reading; different types of assessments are used for different purposes, which include:
Academic Vocabulary
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Framework of Reading
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Framework of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness
Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence There are four main components of reading instruction. They include concepts about print, word recognition, fluency, and reading comprehension. Teaching these components simultaneously throughout reading instruction has been proven to help readers become successful. At Riverbank Charter School of Excellence success begins and continues with routine, repetition, modeling, practice, application, and assessment of the above components throughout this reading framework.  Concepts about Print Students understanding of the purposes and language are important for their motivation for learning to read. Modeling read aloud regularly and working with letters and words students begin to understand concepts about print.  
Framework of Writing
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Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Word Recognition Word recognition is quickly and automatically translating letters and spelling patterns into speech sounds so they can identify words. It is crucial that students learn their sound and spelling knowledge as a strategy for word recognition. 
Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Fluency  Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and using appropriate pacing. Students read aloud with expression and intonation. Students must be able to read words they are unfamiliar with as well as recognize and recall many words automatically. Reading fluency is a bridge between decoding and comprehension.
Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Reading Comprehension Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process the information, and understand the texts’ meaning. Reading comprehension is an active, intentional, and interactive process that occurs before, during, and after reading a text. Reading comprehension is important because it provides readers with any information they may need. With out comprehension, reading would be looking at symbols on a page with no meaning. Reading comprehension is important because children need to be able to decode, make connections between texts, and think about what they are reading.  Reading comprehension strategies must be taught as well as prior skills such as phonemic awareness and phonics to make sure students are successful in decoding. Reading comprehension is having a wide range of vocabulary or knowing the meaning of words.  Reading comprehension develops through the skills of analyzing, making sense of it, and translating it into their own understanding. 
Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence
Reading Instruction at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Additional Non-Fiction Elements of the Common Core Standards
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The Framework of Writing at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence There are three main components of writing instruction. They include the writing skills, the writing process, and the purpose of writing.  Intertwining these components throughout writing instruction has been proven to help writers become successful. At Riverbank Charter School of Excellence success begins and continues with repetition, routine, modeling, practice, application, and assessment of the above components throughout this writing framework. Writing Skills Writing skills encompass all the writing mechanics taught in order to be a writer. They include, but are not limited, to manuscript, punctuation, capitalization, parts of speech, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, organization, word choice, and voice. Instruction at Riverbank emphasizes these skills throughout the instructional day, allowing time for application of those skills.
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The Framework of Writing at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Writing Process The five stages of writing are prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing.  Starting writing instruction in the early years using the writing process helps learners develop, construct and revise their own ideas across the curriculum. 
The Framework of Writing at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Purpose of Writing There are several different purposes or reasons for learners to write.  The three main genres are narrative, informative/explanatory and persuasive. Other common writing genres are reading responses, journals and letters, and poetry writing.
The Framework of Writing at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence What does successful writing instruction look like at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence? Successful writing instruction at Riverbank is part of the daily literacy block and is routinely 60 minutes in length; it includes a routine of repetition of instructing the students through each of the steps of the writing process. Teachers model each step so that students can practice.  Teachers then scaffold the responsibilities to the students by having them apply those steps independently in their own writing.  Finally, through the use of conferencing and using rubrics students are able to self assess and peer assess to evaluate their own learning.  Teacher assessments are done throughout the process, specifically in the beginning of a piece and at the culmination to show the students growth. 
The Framework of Writing at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Daily instruction starts with a mini-lesson based on the writing skills needs of the students.  This will be planned using the grade’s scope and sequence and routinely evaluated based on the evidence of usage from the assessments.  For instance, if after several writing pieces a teacher notices that her students are still not able to apply the skill of subject-verb agreement.  The teacher will alter the progression of the scope and sequence to ensure mastery of that skill, re-teaching to ensure students are using the skill in their writing.  Students will be focusing on the various genres of writing throughout the school year, always spiraling back so that students have several opportunities to practice. Throughout the process teachers will be conferencing with the students, focusing on the targeted writing skill to guarantee mastery and help their students concentrate on that skill as well.  Once students have completed their writing piece, their success is celebrated by author chair reading, parent presentations, using technology to publish their writing, writing portfolio’s and school-wide research presentations.  It has shown to be a proven motivator at Riverbank that by allowing the students to celebrate their hard work it increases their success as writers.  Interactive writing is best used after you have modeled a writing skill/genre.  It works to reinforce and build confidence in the skill.  The class can contribute to the writing piece works as a perfect scaffolding instruction method.
• The Developmental and Sequential Order to Effective Teaching of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness A. Phonological Awareness  1. Word Awareness 2. Syllables  - segmentation - blending - deletion 3. Rhyming - recognition - production  4. Onset & Rime - segmentation - blending B. Phonemic Awareness 1. Phoneme Isolation 2. Phoneme Identity 3. Phoneme Categorization 4. Phoneme Blending 5. Phoneme Segmentation 6. Phoneme Deletion 7. Phoneme Addition 8. Phoneme Substitution Charts Adapted from the Ideas presented in Next STEPS in Literacy Instruction: Connecting Assessments to Effective Interventions.  This is a model that Riverbank has adopted and incorporated into our literacy curriculum to drive and align instruction.
The Framework of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence • What skills does phonological/phonemic awareness consist of?  Phonological and phonemic awareness are the basic principles and skills that set the foundation for reading skills in the later years. There is a developmental and sequential order in which these skills can be learned and should be taught. It is important to assess students at the beginning of the year to see what base knowledge they come into school with. This will enable teachers to drive further instruction and differentiate as needed. Below you will find the order in which the teachers at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence teach all phonological and phonemic skills. It is important to follow the order, as the skills build upon one another. 
The Framework of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence
The Framework of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence • What does successful phonological/phonemic instruction look like?  It is important to understand first, that multiple and continuous opportunities should be available in order to make connections to literacy skills learned across content areas. In Kindergarten at Riverbank, phonological awareness and phonemic awareness can be seen during Morning Meeting, independent reading opportunities, through direct instruction during the literacy block, when lining up for activities, during free play and even in informal conversations between peers and the teacher and student. We strive to incorporate it into math, science and social studies as well. This gives students the opportunity for repetition, practice and application, which are imperative components to effective teaching.  Our lessons consist of an introduction with modeling, guided practice in a whole group setting, individual practice and application of skills, an informal/formal assessment piece and a closing. We also get into a solid daily routine for the literacy block to ensure sufficient time for academics, i.e. no down time in between lessons. At Riverbank, phonological and phonemic skills are taught for a minimum of 5 days to ensure we have met all the students’ learning needs.
Academic Vocabulary: Academic vocabulary is crucial to all reading components and balanced literacy program.   The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) define academic vocabulary words as the words that are traditionally used in academic dialogue and text. Specifically, it refers to words that are not necessarily common or that children would encounter in conversation. These words often relate to other more familiar words that students use. For example, rather than watch, observe. They are also words that help students understand oral directions and classroom instructional dialog. They also help students to comprehend text across different content areas- including math, science, and social studies/history. [if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
The Framework of Phonics at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence • What skills does phonics consist of? Phonics needs to be taught in a predetermined sequence. It needs to be developmentally appropriate for students to master these skills and build upon them, in forming new words. The reason phonics instruction is so necessary for students, is that is helps them identify unfamiliar words . In addition, it is important for phonics to be taught daily in an explicit instruction, with an introduction, followed by guided practice mini lessons and ending with a meaningful assessment.  Identifying Unfamiliar Words:How should I teach students about unfamiliar words? There are three strategies for students to learn how to identify unfamiliar words. By learning these three methods throughout their primary years, it will serve as essential tools to carry with them in years to come. 
The Framework of Phonics at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence The Developmental and Sequential Order to Effective Teaching of Phonics The sequence of teaching phonics is a critical factor in students’ success in carrying over these patterns. Starting in kindergarten, students need to have direct phonics instruction, in order to improve students’ reading and writing skills.  With the Common Core State Standards, students are responsible for carrying over skills from year to year, in order to build upon their skills. Here is an order of Riverbank’s best practices that have proven to be successful for our students: 1. Consonants 2. Short Vowels 3. Digraphs 4. Consonant Blends 5. Long Vowels  • Silent E- CVCE  • Long A: a_e, ai, ay • Long E: ee, ea, ey, y • Long O: o_e, oa, ow • Long U: u_e, ue, ew, ui, oo • Long I: i_e, ie, igh, y 6. Less Common Dipthongs/ Digraphs: oi/oy ou/ow 7. Inflectional Endings 8. R Controlled Vowels  9. Hard/ Soft G and C 10. Syllables 11. Silent Letters 12. Prefixes/Suffixes 
The Framework of Phonics at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Successful Phonics Instruction:What does it look like? From Kindergarten into the primary education years, these are the ideal years for students to have explicit instruction with phonics. Phonics needs to be a daily opportunity for students to experience these skills through reading and writing. There are a few elements that need to be emphasized when teaching phonics. These include routine, repetition, modeling, practice, application and assessment. This instruction delivery is accomplished through an effective teaching layout that is applied for all the phonics skills.
Modeling: It is crucial that in each of these phonics delivery methods, the teacher adheres to all learners. In a visual model, the words or letter may be written on the board for students to see. An auditory model might have the teacher reading words aloud and supplying rhyming words. In a kinesthetic, movement model, the teacher can arrange magnetic letters on the board for students to manipulate on their board. 
The Framework of Phonics at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence Mini Lessons: It is often a challenge to expose students to all of these mini lessons a week. Therefore, by incorporating these into literacy centers and other subjects, students apply it across all areas and practice it. As we say at Riverbank, “Practice makes perfect and permanent!” The best practices, as seen in sequencing chart, appear in the mini lessons where students are exposed to modeling and guided practice. 
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How are these skills taught?  1. Word AwarenessStudents at an early age must be able to discern between individual words in sentences in order for them to later break words down into syllables, rhymes and phonemes. Beginning with simple sentences including their names or rhymes creates engaging and fun mini lessons. Use manipulatives & strategies such as dropping counters into jars for each word spoken, cutting up sentence strips as each word is said, or using Popsicle sticks lined up as the words spoken in sentences. 
2. SyllablesSyllables are taught as the parts of words. Words are made up of pieces, like puzzle pieces, and we call them syllables. I often have the students chant the sentence, “Syllables are the parts of words!”  We begin and wrap-up each lesson chanting the definition together. Lots of modeling should be taking place during the beginning of all phonemic awareness lessons. It is most beneficial if the introductory lesson is all modeling and or students repeating the teacher. Based on students’ needs the next lesson or even the next two lessons can also be modeled with guided practice. In its earliest phonological stages words need to be clapped or tapped into syllables, as well as syllables need to be blended together to form words. a) Syllable SegmentationStudents must be able to take whole words apart into their syllables using a variety of strategies (chin tapping & clapping)  b) Syllable BlendingStudents must be able to hear the segmented syllables and be able to blend them together to form the whole word c) Syllable DeletionStudents must be able to segment a word into syllables and delete one of the syllables and identify which syllable is left  This can also be done with compound words (e.g., rainbow, segment them into syllables and delete one of them and identify which is left)
3. RhymingStudents must understand that rhyming is an auditory process and they must listen critically to the words spoken. They must also understand that rhyming words sound the same at the end. This is another definition we chant before and after a mini lesson (“Rhyming words sound the same at the end”). This is a great time to informally bring in some word family work, poems, songs and rhyming literature. The more students are exposed to and work with these skills the more likely they will be to grasp the skills and apply them independently.  a) Rhyme RecognitionStudents will listen to two or three words said and have to identify whether or not the words rhyme or which two words rhyme. This can also be done using picture cards where they have to find the matching picture that rhymes. Rhyming is simple and fun and can be done simply and effectively in small intervals throughout the day. b) Rhyme ProductionThis skill has been said to be the more challenging of the two in regards to rhyming. The teacher will give a word and students will have to produce a word that rhymes. This is also a great time to implement games such as I Have, Who Has, Engine & Caboose or OOPS! Wrong Rhyme. 
The Breakdown of Phonological & Phonemic Awareness at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence
7. Phoneme CategorizationThis is when a group of words are given (usually 3) and students identify the word that doesn’t sound the same in the beginning, middle or end as the other words. Students also need to have a strong understanding of the terms: same & different prior to this skill as well. 
4. Onset & RimeThe onset & rime of words refers to the beginning sound or blend as the onset and the rime as the word family (or vowel and final consonant) at the end that usually remains constant when referring to rhyming words. It is imperative that students can segment words into the onset & rime & blend the onset & rime into a word, as this is a preliminary skill that assists with phoneme deletion and substitution under phonemic awareness. Teaching onset & rime can go hand in hand when teaching rhyming words as well.
8. Phoneme Blending  Phoneme blending is when the teacher dictates individual phonemes for simple CVC words and the students need to blend them together to form the word. This is usually only done with CVC words or short vowel words that begin with a blend or digraph (i.e. flat, shop). 
5. Phoneme Isolation  The phonemes are the smallest parts of words; the understanding that each letter represents a sound. Students must now become familiar with isolating the beginning sounds in words. This will need to be modeled and practiced with guidance frequently in order to obtain mastery in this content area. The next direction would be to identify the ending sounds in words and then the medial sounds in words. This best done with a manipulative (using ones own fingers for each sound, Elkonin boxes with counters, or even picture sorts). It is also crucial that the teacher makes sure students are familiar with the terms beginning, middle & end or initial, medial and final. This takes precedence over being able to isolate specific sounds.
9. Phoneme SegmentationThis is the opposite of blending. Students are given a CVC word and must take it apart into its individual phonemes or sounds. At Riverbank we usually use what we call the “3 finger” strategy, where students use their first 3 fingers and segment the sounds onto them (ex: index finger= beginning sound, middle finger= medial sound, ring finger=ending sound). We will also use visuals to help students who may need assistance. This is in the form of Elkonin boxes and counters. 
6. Phoneme IdentityPhoneme identity (letter naming) can also go hand in hand with isolation. Students must isolate the sound, identify the letter and then give the corresponding picture. We do this with our Wilson Fundations alphabet cards. We try to implement some basic alphabetic skills from The Wilson Program into our kindergarten and first grade literacy instruction to strengthen the relationship between the letter, picture and sound association.
10. Phoneme DeletionPhoneme deletion is learned when they have mastered the ability to segment and blend phonemes. This is when students will be able to take a word apart into its sounds and delete a sound, usually the beginning or ending. They will then need to state what sounds are left.
11. Phoneme Addition Phoneme addition is a great strategy to use when learning about word families. You can teach a word family and then add a phoneme to the beginning of the word family to create new words. Again, students must have a strong understanding of the prior skills before being able to master this one as well.
12. Phoneme Substitution We LOVE this activity in kindergarten at Riverbank. This is commonly known as word ladders, but we call it “Switchies.” The students are able to switch a phoneme in a CVC word to create a new word. This can be done by substituting either the beginning, middle or ending sounds (i.e. change the /c/ in cat to a /p/ or change the /e/ in net to an /o/).
Short Vowels It is necessary to identify if students can differentiate vowels (a, e, i, o, u) from consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z). This is a skill taught in Kindergarten, but needs to be quickly refreshed in first grade before reviewing short vowels. By using the Wilson Fundations program in kindergarten, we carrying this over into the first few weeks of first grade. Students are taught “A, apple /a/, E. Ed, /e/, I, itch, /i/, O, octopus /o/ and U, up /u/”. By adding words to the short vowel sounds, it helps students remember how they appear in CVC words. After students have demonstrated mastery in spelling short vowel words, we move on to digraphs. The following resources are best practice materials that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence:  • Wilson Fundation Cards • Wilson Fundations Vowel Visual  • Wilson Fundation Word Family Boards • Word Building 
Digraphs Digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound. The digraphs that first grade covers includes:  /ch/, /th/, /sh/ and /wh/. Digraphs are a difficult phonics skill to grasp. However, words with digraphs appear in first grade books, therefore it becomes an important topic to address from the beginning. Some of the best methods to teach digraphs include word building using the Word Ladder Chains. These chains can be laminated and used throughout the week, in both mini lessons and during literacy centers. Because digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound, we teach students to write the digraph in one box. Each box stands as a sound. Therefore all digraphs, whether they are seen at the beginning or end, go in one box.  Another way digraphs are taught in first grade is by having a student match the sound with different pictures. For example, a picture of a shark would have a line underneath it. Students would need to write the diagraph that makes the /sh/ sound. By doing this, students are first taught to identify which digraph it would be. Later in the unit, students would have to write the entire word. The following resources are best practice materials that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence: • Wilson Fundation Cards • Picture Sorts • Word Ladders
Long VowelsLong vowels are difficult for students to master and incorporate into their reading and writing. There are many rules for students to learn that can serve as a helpful reminder in identifying unfamiliar words. The rules need to be stressed and repetition, along with modeling is essential for students to master and retain.CVCE (Consonant - Vowel - Consonant - E)The first area taught for long vowels is the Silent/Sneaky/Magic E words. This is because it incorporates all the vowels (a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e) and students are exposed to these words in both in writing and books. Because so many teachers use different language (The Sneaky E, Silent E, Magic E, CVCE), that all means the same thing, it’s a good idea to begin teaching this concept by stating all three of these and how they mean the same thing. At Riverbank, we teach students the rule, “The E says to the vowel, ‘What’s your name?’” When we introduce this concept, we create a poster in the shape of an “e” for students to refer to. Many lessons surrounding this skill include having students differentiate between short vowel words and long vowel words.• Magic E Spoon Activity EndFragment
Breakdown of Phonics Instruction in Kindergarten:
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Consonant Blends After students have been assessed on digraphs, we move to consonant blends. According to the School House, “Consonant blends may consist of two or three letters whose sounds are blended together. Each letter within the blend is pronounced individually, but quickly, so they blend together. ” The beginning blends are taught first. These blends are seen at the beginning of the word and include “l, r and s”. Blends are introduced through watching a brief video on Youtube. Next, as a class we create a “blender” poster.  For the visual learners, by having the blends on a picture of a big blender, it helps them identify the skill. Like previously stated, routine is crucial in teaching phonics. The Word Building Ladders are necessary for teaching each phonics skill. Because a consonant blend is two sounds, we place the blend in two boxes, to demonstrate two sounds. 
Breakdown of Phonics in First Grade: Short Vowels It is necessary to identify if students can differentiate vowels (a, e, i, o, u) from consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z). This is a skill taught in Kindergarten, but needs to be quickly refreshed in first grade before reviewing short vowels. By using the Wilson Fundations program in kindergarten, we carrying this over into the first few weeks of first grade. Students are taught “A, apple /a/, E. Ed, /e/, I, itch, /i/, O, octopus /o/ and U, up /u/”. By adding words to the short vowel sounds, it helps students remember how they appear in CVC words. After students have demonstrated mastery in spelling short vowel words, we move on to digraphs. The following resources are best practice materials that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence:  • Wilson Fundation Cards • Wilson Fundations Vowel Visual  • Wilson Fundation Word Family Boards • Word Building
Digraphs Digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound. The digraphs that first grade covers includes:  /ch/, /th/, /sh/, /wh/ and /ck/. After mastering these digraphs, we dive further in by introducing the three letter digraphs, /thr/ and /tch/. Digraphs are a difficult phonics skill to grasp. However, words with digraphs appear in first grade books, therefore it becomes an important topic to address from the beginning. Some of the best methods to teach digraphs include word building using the Word Ladder Chains. These chains can be laminated and used throughout the week, in both mini lessons and during literacy centers. Because digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound, we teach students to write the digraph in one box. Each box stands as a sound. Therefore all digraphs, whether they are seen at the beginning or end, go in one box.  Another way digraphs are taught in first grade is by having students match the sound with different pictures. For example, a picture of a shark would have a line underneath it. Students would need to write the diagraph that makes the /sh/ sound. By doing this, students are first taught to identify which digraph it would be. Later in the unit, students would have to write the entire word. The following resources are best practice materials that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence: • Wilson Fundation Cards • Picture Sorts • Word Ladders 
Long E The long e can be spelled, /e/, /ee/, /ea/, /ey/, /ie/, /y/, which can be tricky for students to master at first, especially with the /ee/ and /ea/. It is important to provide visuals for students, such as pictures of clipart items, like a “leaf” for /ea/, next to that section. The more students see it, write it, read it, etc. the more it will become ingrained. When teaching this skill, a flip book may be a useful tool for students to create, so they can visually separate the different words for each spelling, through writing.
Long O After long e, we teach long o. Long o consists of o_e, /oa/ and /ow/. Just like the other long vowels, o_e is reviewed first, to familiarize students with this sound.  We teach students to recognize that the /oa/ comes in the middle of the word, like in “coat” and the /ow/ comes at the end, such as in “show”. When teaching this skill, a useful tool can be recording combination patterns on associated pictures. Students can write all the o_e words on a “note”, the /oa/ on a “boat” and /ow/ on a “bow”. This way students are correlating visuals to text when reading and writing. When modeling to students, it is important to exaggerate the sound, making it appear more intense then it may be. Show students how their mouth looks when creating these sounds, by using a mirror or having students feel their face. This can be especially useful for separating short o from long long o sounds. 
Long Vowels Long vowels are difficult for students to master and incorporate into their reading and writing. There are many rules for students to learn that can serve as a helpful reminder in identifying unfamiliar words. The rules need to be stressed and repetition, along with modeling is essential for students to master and retain.
CVCE (Consonant – Vowel – Consonant – E) The first area taught for long vowels is the Silent/Sneaky/Magic E words. This is because it incorporates all the vowels (a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e) and students are exposed to these words in both in writing and books. Because so many teachers use different language (The Sneaky E, Silent E, Magic E, CVCE), that all means the same thing, it’s a good idea to begin teaching this concept by stating all three of these and how they mean the same thing. At Riverbank, we teach students the rule, “The E says to the vowel, ‘What’s your name?’” When we introduce this concept, we create a poster in the shape of an “e” for students to refer to. Many lessons surrounding this skill include having students differentiate between short vowel words and long vowel words.  For example, our goal is for students to identify that “cut” is a short vowel CVC word because the /u/ is between two consonants and that “cute” is a long u word, because the silent/sneaky/magic e makes the /u/ say its name. Once students are able to differentiate in both reading and writing, they are able to move on to more difficult vowel patterns or teams.
Long A The long a can be spelled in three different ways, a_e, /ai/ or /ay/. We now introduce them to the more challenging ways to spell the long a. Since students are now familiar with a_e words, they can supply various a_e words, for example “ate”. Remind students to use what they know about word families when spelling these words. Model to students, “If I know how to spell ‘ate’, I know how to spell ‘date’, ‘fate’, ‘gate’ and ‘late’”. When introducing /ai/ explain to students that this vowel team appears in the middle of the word, for example “wait”, “bait”, “paint”, “paid”. For the /ay/, teach students that this combination comes at the end of the word, such as in “play” and “day”.
Long U This can be a challenging long vowel to teach students. Time and repeated exposes to these combinations is the best key for success in carrying over the long u into both reading and writing. The combinations for long u include u_e, /ue/, /ew/, /ui/ and /oo/. The order we find most effective in teaching long u is to start with the u_e, similar to each of the other long vowels. This helps instill an immediate confidence in students, by beginning with a skill they are familiar with. Next, the ue and ew should be taught, followed by the ui and oo. Altogether, long u can take from 3-4 weeks to teach, because of the five different spelling patterns. When teaching the long u, it is important to model all the ways the long u sounds. Students need to understand that although long vowels “say their name”, at times it may vary. Just like the other vowels, it is helpful for students to build these words and see where the patterns lie. The /ue/, /ui/ and /oo/ fall in the middle of the word, where the /ew/ and /ue/ usually come at the end of the word. Of course there are always exceptions, such as “cruel”, however it’s ideal to teach students through rules to set a phonics guideline they can follow. There are a variety of activities that help teach long u. A useful tool can be a word sort. Students can cut and paste the different spelling patterns, onto a worksheet, with only beginning and/ or ending consonants, or through reading and sorting cards. This way students use their knowledge of the rules to paste the correct vowel teams.
Long I The last long vowel taught is the long i. The combinations for long i, include i_e, /ie/, /igh/ and /y/. Because the long i patterns fall at the end of the word, it is important to expose students to a variety of texts and examples for students to recognize these words. Different matching exercises, where students draw a line from the word to the picture will help students connect the idea of a picture to a word. Also, word building with a Word Ladder and rhyming is important when teaching students how to spell and read long i words. For example, by having students write the word “pie” on their ladder, tell students to “take away the /p/ and add a /t/, to make a new word”. Allow students time to create the word “tie”. Continue to do activities with the /ie/ and then move onto the /igh/. Because the /y/ can make the long i and long e sound (“sky” vs. “baby”), a poster is a useful tool for students to refer to as a resource, to differentiate between the two.
Phonemic Awareness By Second and Third Grade the shift has been made from phonological and phonemic awareness to phonics. At Riverbank Charter School of Excellence, students should have mastered all phonological and phonemic awareness skills, as they are the building blocks for which phonics is built upon. If there are students who still struggle with specific phonological skills we provide immediate, direct one-on-one or small group instruction to strengthen these skills, as these students will most likely have deficits with phonics if their foundational skills are not strong. Early warning signs may be seen in their writing, decoding skills, and phonics based assessments. If this is apparent please review the Kindergarten and First Grade phonemic awareness skills to pinpoint the specific skill set that the individual child needs support concerning. It is imperative that they master these skills in order to move forward in their phonics skills and be a successful reader and writer in school. 
CVCE (Consonant – Vowel – Consonant – E) The first area taught for long vowels is the Silent/Sneaky/Magic E words. This is because it incorporates all the vowels (a_e, e_e, i_e, o_e, u_e) and students are exposed to these words in both in writing and books. Because so many teachers use different language (The Sneaky E, Silent E, Magic E, CVCE), that all means the same thing, it’s a good idea to begin teaching this concept by stating all three of these and how they mean the same thing. At Riverbank, we teach students the rule, “The E says to the vowel, ‘What’s your name?’” When we introduce this concept, we create a poster in the shape of an “e” for students to refer to. Many lessons surrounding this skill include having students differentiate between short vowel words and long vowel words.  For example, our goal is for students to identify that “cut” is a short vowel CVC word because the /u/ is between two consonants and that “cute” is a long u word, because the silent/sneaky/magic e makes the /u/ say its name. Once students are able to differentiate in both reading and writing, they are able to move on to more difficult vowel patterns or teams. The following resources are best practice materials that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence:
Breakdown of Phonics in Second Grade:  Digraphs  In Second Grade, Digraphs are integrated at the beginning of the year and throughout the year.  Digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound. The digraphs that first grade covers includes:  /ch/, /th/, /sh/, /wh/ and /ck/. After mastering these digraphs, we dive further in by introducing the three letter digraphs, /thr/ and /tch/. Digraphs are a difficult phonics skill to grasp. However, words with digraphs appear in first grade books, therefore it becomes an important topic to address from the beginning. Some of the best methods to teach digraphs include word building using the Word Ladder Chains. These chains can be laminated and used throughout the week, in both mini lessons and during literacy centers. Because digraphs are two consonants put together to make one sound, we teach students to write the digraph in one box. Each box stands as a sound. Therefore all digraphs, whether they are seen at the beginning or end, go in one box.  Another way digraphs are taught in first grade is by having students match the sound with different pictures. For example, a picture of a shark would have a line underneath it. Students would need to write the diagraph that makes the /sh/ sound. By doing this, students are first taught to identify which digraph it would be. Later in the unit, students would have to write the entire word.
Long A: The long a can be spelled in three different ways, a_e, /ai/ or /ay/. We now introduce them to the more challenging ways to spell the long a. Since students are now familiar with a_e words, they can supply various a_e words, for example “ate”. Remind students to use what they know about word families when spelling these words. Model to students, “If I know how to spell ‘ate’, I know how to spell ‘date’, ‘fate’, ‘gate’ and ‘late’”. When introducing /ai/ explain to students that this vowel team appears in the middle of the word, for example “wait”, “bait”, “paint”, “paid”. For the /ay/, teach students that this combination comes at the end of the word, such as in “play” and “day”.
Long Vowels Long vowels are difficult for students to master and incorporate into their reading and writing. There are many rules for students to learn, that can serve as a helpful reminder in identifying unfamiliar words. The rules need to be stressed and repetition, along with modeling is essential for students to master and retain.
Long O: After long e, we teach long o. Long o consists of o_e, /oa/ and /ow/. Just like the other long vowels, o_e is reviewed first, to familiarize students with this sound.  We teach students to recognize that the /oa/ comes in the middle of the word, like in “coat” and the /ow/ comes at the end, such as in “show”. When teaching this skill, a useful tool can be recording combination patterns on associated pictures. Students can write all the o_e words on a “note”, the /oa/ on a “boat” and /ow/ on a “bow”. This way students are correlating visuals to text when reading and writing. When modeling to students, it is important to exaggerate the sound, making it appear more intense then it may be. Show students how their mouth looks when creating these sounds, by using a mirror or having students feel their face. This can be especially useful for separating short o from long long o sounds.
Breakdown of Phonics in Second Grade: Long E:  The long e can be spelled, /e/, /ee/, /ea/, /ey/, /ie/, /y/, which can be tricky for students to master at first, especially with the /ee/ and /ea/. It is important to provide visuals for students, such as pictures of clipart items, like a “leaf” for /ea/, next to that section. The more students see it, write it, read it, etc. the more it will become ingrained. When teaching this skill, a flip book may be a useful tool for students to create, so they can visually separate the different words for each spelling, through writing.
Long U: This can be a challenging long vowel to teach students. Time and repeated exposes to these combinations is the best key for success in carrying over the long u into both reading and writing. The combinations for long u include u_e, /ue/, /ew/, /ui/ and /oo/. The order we find most effective in teaching long u is to start with the u_e, similar to each of the other long vowels. This helps instill an immediate confidence in students, by beginning with a skill they are familiar with. Next, the ue and ew should be taught, followed by the ui and oo. Altogether, long u can take from 3-4 weeks to teach, because of the five different spelling patterns. When teaching the long u, it is important to model all the ways the long u sounds. Students need to understand that although long vowels “say their name”, at times it may vary. Just like the other vowels, it is helpful for students to build these words and see where the patterns lie. The /ue/, /ui/ and /oo/ fall in the middle of the word, where the /ew/ and /ue/ usually come at the end of the word. Of course there are always exceptions, such as “cruel”, however it’s ideal to teach students through rules to set a phonics guideline they can follow. There are a variety of activities that help teach long u. A useful tool can be a word sort. Students can cut and paste the different spelling patterns, onto a worksheet, with only beginning and/ or ending consonants, or through reading and sorting cards. This way students use their knowledge of the rules to paste the correct vowel teams.
Breakdown of Phonics in Second Grade: Long I: The last long vowel taught is the long i. The combinations for long i, include i_e, /ie/, /igh/ and /y/. Because the long i patterns fall at the end of the word, it is important to expose students to a variety of texts and examples for students to recognize these words. Different matching exercises, where students draw a line from the word to the picture will help students connect the idea of a picture to a word. Also, word building with a Word Ladder and rhyming is important when teaching students how to spell and read long i words. For example, by having students write the word “pie” on their ladder, tell students to “take away the /p/ and add a /t/, to make a new word”. Allow students time to create the word “tie”. Continue to do activities with the /ie/ and then move onto the /igh/. Because the /y/ can make the long i and long e sound (“sky” vs. “baby”), a poster is a useful tool for students to refer to as a resource, to differentiate between the two.  The following activities for long vowels are best practices that we find to be beneficial at Riverbank Charter School of Excellence: • Word Identification in a Paragraph • Generate words from pictures, write and sort by rule • Fill in the blank- word building • Writing sentences with the phonics rules
Inflectional Endings: Inflectional endings are, “a group of letters added to the end of a word, to change its meaning” (https://www.mheonline.com/ccssehandbook/grade1/ccslh_g1_fs_i_3_3a_l7.html)  Teaching inflectional endings will occur after students are able to identify nouns and verbs. A noun is a person, place or thing and a verb is an action word. By teaching this ending, it shows that the base word has changed and therefore has created a new meaning. Begin by teaching the plural: -s and -es. As a class, create a noun poster with different examples of a person, place and thing. Next, show students that we add an –s and –es to change the singular noun to make it plural, if there is more than one. A T chart can be helpful when teaching inflectional endings with plural nouns. When teaching, show that nouns that end with a consonant or vowel, that don’t have a missing sound, we add the –s, for example in the word “dogs”. However, for words the end with “x”, “ch”, “sh”, “s” and “tch”, we use –es, for example in the word “boxes”. For words that end with “y”, model to students how to make it plural, by crossing out the “y” and adding “ies”, for example in the word “babies”. For the inflectional endings of –ed and –ing, used for verb tenses, start off by reviewing verbs. A game of charades is an exciting way for students to act out different verbs. It is important to teach students that these verbs are present tense verbs. Model by saying “I am jumping.”  Then move onto past tense verbs, introducing the –ed. Tell students that if we have already done something, it happened in the past and we need to add an –ed to the end. Allow time for students to practice this, providing multiple examples. Anchor charts are useful to create when teaching inflectional endings. For the past tense verbs, a mini lesson would be beneficial to review the three sounds that are associated with the –ed: “d”, “ed” and “t”. Fill in the blank worksheets and activities where students include these endings in sentences is the most valuable way for this concept to be incorporated in their writing.
R-Controlled Vowels: “R-Controlled vowels are vowels that are modified in sound by the R that follows them (bogglesworldesl.com)”. These words have ar, er, ir, or and ur. They are called R-Controlled because the vowel is taken over by the /r/ sound. This is often times referred to as the “Bossy R”, due to its bossy nature to control the short vowel. Some examples of these include “star”, “tiger”, “bird”, “corn” and “turn”.  Begin teaching R-Controlled Vowels by showing a video on YouTube. The Electric Factory creates many useful videos, when teaching phonics. Once students have been introduced to the five types of R-Controlled vowels, make a poster for students to use as a visual. List multiple examples for each. For those students who have difficulty with this skill, a poem can be an exciting tool, for students to remember.  Bossy R Bingo is another engaging activity to practice this skill. Have students pick a board game with the different R-Controlled vowels. When they hear the word called, they place a counter on the word. Boggle is another game to play for teaching this skill. The website Starfall is an interactive way for students to work with phonics on the computer Ipad or Smartboard. There is a section where students can work on R-Controlled vowels, both reading and manipulating letters to form words. 
Breakdown of Phonics in Second Grade: Diphthongs: A diphthong is when “Two vowels, when combined make a certain sound and not necessarily the sound of either vowel present (Blends, Digraphs and Diphthongs)”.  Blends, Digraphs and Diphthongs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://school.judsonisd.org/webpages/cbianco/readinghelp.cfm?subpage=23376 [if gte mso 9]> 0 0 1 24 142 Mercer County Community College 1 1 165 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
Hard/ Soft G and C: According to Fact Monster, “The letters c and g make spelling tricky. Each of these letters has a hard sound, as well as a soft sound.” For example, the hard c sound (kuh): cat, cup verses the soft c (suh): city, cell. The hard g sound (guh) is seen in words like gap and goat, verses the soft g (juh), which sounds like a /j/, such as gym and giraffe. Students need to learn this skill not only for writing purposes, but for reading, as well. When teaching this concept, once again it is crucial to form a visual for students, such as a poster. On this poster, the rules should be stated, along with examples of words and sentences. The rules are as follows: • The hard c/g come when there is an /a/, /o/ or /u/. However, when there is a /e/ or /i/, it will be soft. To clearly indicate this, I might have the /a/, /o/ and /u/ written in uppercase: A, O, U and the /e/ and /i/ in lowercase. This way, students can associate the large letters with hard and soft letters with soft.
Breakdown of Phonics in Second Grade: Silent Consonants: Silent consonants can be difficult because there are no set rules for why we use them. Some of these include: wr, kn, gn and –mb.  The silent /w/ comes before /r/ in words, such as wrap, wrist and write. The silent /k/ comes before /n/ in words such as know, kneel and knife. The silent /g/ comes before /n/ in words such as gnome and gnat. Finally the silent /b/ comes after the /m/ in words such as lamb, crumb and comb. The best way to have students practice silent consonants, is by exposing them to each type with multiple examples. A flipbook can be a great way to show students the differences with each combination, having them supply examples and write them down. Another way to teach silent consonants is through reading word cards and having students sort in categories. As an assessment, a fill in the blank silent consonant worksheet would help you evaluate if students recognize the correct silent letter that comes at the beginning and end of words. 
Second Grade Fiction
Second Grade Non-Fiction
Breakdown of Phonics Instruction for Third Grade: Diphthongs A diphthong is when “Two vowels, when combined make a certain sound and not necessarily the sound of either vowel present (Blends, Digraphs and Diphthongs)”.  Blends, Digraphs and Diphthongs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://school.judsonisd.org/webpages/cbianco/readinghelp.cfm?subpage=23376 [if gte mso 9]> 0 0 1 24 142 Mercer County Community College 1 1 165 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE 0 0 1 11 64 Mercer County Community College 1 1 74 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
R-Controlled Vowels “R-Controlled vowels are vowels that are modified in sound by the R that follows them (bogglesworldesl.com)”. These words have ar, er, ir, or and ur. They are called R-Controlled because the vowel is taken over by the /r/ sound. This is often times referred to as the “Bossy R”, due to its bossy nature to control the short vowel. Some examples of these include “star”, “tiger”, “bird”, “corn” and “turn”.  Begin teaching R-Controlled Vowels by showing a video on YouTube. The Electric Factory creates many useful videos, when teaching phonics. Once students have been introduced to the five types of R-Controlled vowels, make a poster for students to use as a visual. List multiple examples for each. For those students who have difficulty with this skill, a poem can be an exciting tool, for students to remember.  Bossy R Bingo is another engaging activity to practice this skill. Have students pick a board game with the different R-Controlled vowels. When they hear the word called, they place a counter on the word. Boggle is another game to play for teaching this skill. The website Starfall is an interactive way for students to work with phonics on the computer Ipad or Smartboard. There is a section where students can work on R-Controlled vowels, both reading and manipulating letters to form words.
Hard/ Soft G and C According to Fact Monster, “The letters c and g make spelling tricky. Each of these letters has a hard sound, as well as a soft sound.” For example, the hard c sound (kuh): cat, cup verses the soft c (suh): city, cell. The hard g sound (guh) is seen in words like gap and goat, verses the soft g (juh), which sounds like a /j/, such as gym and giraffe. Students need to learn this skill not only for writing purposes, but for reading, as well. When teaching this concept, once again it is crucial to form a visual for students, such as a poster. On this poster, the rules should be stated, along with examples of words and sentences. The rules are as follows: The hard c/g come when there is an /a/, /o/ or /u/. However, when there is a /e/ or /i/, it will be soft. To clearly indicate this, I might have the /a/, /o/ and /u/ written in uppercase: A, O, U and the /e/ and /i/ in lowercase. This way, students can associate the large letters with hard and soft letters with soft.
Breakdown of Phonics Instruction for Third Grade: Silent Consonants Silent consonants can be difficult because there are no set rules for why we use them. Some of these include: wr, kn, gn and –mb.  The silent /w/ comes before /r/ in words, such as wrap, wrist and write. The silent /k/ comes before /n/ in words such as know, kneel and knife. The silent /g/ comes before /n/ in words such as gnome and gnat. Finally the silent /b/ comes after the /m/ in words such as lamb, crumb and comb. The best way to have students practice silent consonants, is by exposing them to each type with multiple examples. A flipbook can be a great way to show students the differences with each combination, having them supply examples and write them down. Another way to teach silent consonants is through reading word cards and having students sort in categories. As an assessment, a fill in the blank silent consonant worksheet would help you evaluate if students recognize the correct silent letter that comes at the beginning and end of words.
Syllables “A syllable is the sound of a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) that is created when pronouncing a word. The number of times you hear a vowel, is the number of syllables a word has (www.howmanysyllables.com)”.  There are six syllables types used in the English spelling. It is important to teach these because “they help students remember when to double letters in spelling and how to pronounce the vowels in new words. The conventions also help teachers organize decoding and spelling instruction”. This teaches students how to chunk longer words that can often be difficult to read. The first two syllable types to teach are closed and open syllables. Here is the breakdown of syllable instruction implemented at Riverbank.    
Breakdown of Phonics Instruction for Third Grade: Prefixes/Suffixes It is important to teach prefixes and suffixes, for students to understand the meaning of words and to help expand students’ vocabulary.  It is essential to start with by teaching about base words and root words. A base word is a word in its simplest form that can stand-alone as an actual word. On the other hand, a root word is a base element of a word that cannot stand-alone.  A prefix is what is added to the beginning of a base word that changes its meaning. Some examples include un, re, in, mis and dis. A suffix is what is added to the end of a base word that changes its meaning. Some examples include ful, able, ness, ment, tion, sion.  First start by teaching a variety of prefixes, then suffixes. Create an anchor chart for students to refer to and use as a resource. “I Have, Who Has” is a fun game to teach these concepts. Have students match up with their partner and work together to record down different prefixes or suffixes. A Smartboard or Ipad has matching and sorting activities that serve as a beneficial tool.