We don’t expect children entering kindergarten to be able to add or subtract digits. Yet,
there is an expectation that these young students will be ready to demonstrate the oral
language skills needed to form the crucial platform on which literacy is built. Here is a list
of strategies that we used at Burleson Elementary that can strengthen and build those
all-important literacy skills.
• More IS More. Provide a rich context for language-centered learning; not just more
instructional time and smaller instructional groups, but instruction that is precisely
targeted at the right level.
• Listen Up. Build auditory memory though dramatic play, games, poetry, rhymes, and
• Picture This. Visualizing a story while listening or reading can be extremely powerful
for students who struggle with basic comprehension skills.
• Practice Makes Perfect. Web-based reading curriculum (e.g. we use Lexia Reading
Core5) where students can practice and learn foundational reading skills.
• Think Outside the Computer Lab. We used a reading lab to provide student access
to computers and encouraged heterogeneous groups so that students with lower
vocabulary skills could benefit from hearing the discussions of their peers. We also
added school-to-home access as well as before- and after-school sessions, depending
on the needs of our students.
—Pamela Howard, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education