Lil’ Reading Scientists’ TM proprietary curriculum
Reading is a skill which is built upon through an ongoing process. The curriculum used teaches skills to the level of mastery before moving to the next step. These steps are neither exclusive of nor isolated from one another, and therefore all previous learning is reinforced in every lesson.
The curriculum utilizes the American Manual Sign Language Alphabet to teach the alphabet letters and their sounds throughout all the instruction tiers. Although signs were originally developed to help the hearing-impaired communicate, it turns out they can also help hearing children learn to read. Sign language helps children to make links between the letter, the symbol, its sound, and the corresponding keyword taught for each alphabet letter. The sign language is later used to decode (read) and to encode (spell) words in more advanced tier levels. Using sign language brings a kinesthetic dimension to learning, and also makes learning fun!
Children are placed the appropriate reading tier, based on screening results.
Tier 1: Readiness
Children learn phonemic awareness skills such as rhyming, syllabication, initial and final sounds, and rapid automatic naming, to prepare for formal reading instruction. They learn the alphabet auditorily, and also work on developing oral language skills, listening skills, and following directions. Literature is enjoyed and then acted out through reader’s theater. Fine motor skills are practiced through tracing, cutting, gluing, and fine motor exercises. Vocabulary development is interwoven into the curriculum throughout the semester. (Ages: 3 years old)
Tier 2: Alphabet Learning
Children at this level focus on learning the alphabet letters and sounds through the American Manual Sign Language Alphabet, letter-sound keywords, songs, and games, in preparation for phonetic reading instruction. Phonemic awareness skills, such as rhyming and syllabication, are taught and students have plenty of practice with rapid automatic naming. Listening skills and following directions are practiced, as well as fine motor skills, including instruction on proper letter formation. New vocabulary is introduced, and children enjoy award-winning literature. (Ages: 4, 5, & 6.)
Tier 3: Transition Reading
This tier of instruction is for children who know their alphabet letters and sounds, but are not quite ready for the beginning reading process. Children learn how to segment spoken words into individual sounds, and they learn how to sequence spoken sounds into words, using Lil’ Reading Scientists’ TM specialized materials and curriculum. Students practice blending and segmenting without alphabet letters until that MAGIC moment occurs when they are ready to begin using alphabet letters for reading and spelling. (Ages: 3 1/2 – 5 years old.)
Tier 4: Beginning Reading
Children in this tier know the alphabet letters and sounds and are ready to learn to decode (read) and to encode (spell), blend, and manipulate letter sounds to begin the MAGIC process of phonetic reading! Children work at the word, phrase, sentence, and short passage levels in this class, while working their way through the five short vowels. Spelling and reading are reciprocally taught, as are handwriting and creative writing with each new word taught. Sight words and reading comprehension skills are introduced. Children re-enroll at this level until all of the five vowels have been mastered. (Ages: 4 – 7 years old.)
Tier 5: Advanced Reading
Children in this tier have mastered beginning reading skills with the short vowels, and are ready to learn about twin letters, digraphs, chunks, blends, long vowels (Vowel Consonant Silent E syllable type), and multi-syllable words. The first two syllable division rules are taught, and children continue to progress with handwriting, writing composition, creative writing, reading comprehension, and reading fluency. Quality literature is explored in a variety of ways. Children re-enroll in this tier until all of the skills have been mastered. (Ages 5 – 8 years old.)
Tier 6: Super Advanced Reading
Smith, Kaitlyn. “Curriculum for Reading Therapy & Enrichment.” Lil Reading Scientists. 19 Mar. 2014.