ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: A path to early literacy

By Alyssa Phillips
April 2021
Why is it important for elementary students to practice phonemic awareness every day? Kindergarten students in Republic, Missouri, can explain the rationale to you. They restate the “why” behind their learning every morning: “Phonemic awareness helps us read and write. We have to build that foundation to build our reading house tall and strong.” By communicating this message, students develop a solid understanding of why and how their literacy engagement matters. Students begin to internalize and think, “To learn to read, I need to pay attention to this and put forth my best effort.” This intentional focus on systematic tier 1 phonemic awareness instruction is one component of the district’s Next Steps in Literacy plan. After analyzing students’ reading benchmark and STAR data in 2019-20,

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EAB. (2019). Narrowing the third-grade reading gap: Embracing the science of reading. Author.

Fisher D., Frey, N., & Akhavan, N. (2020). This is balanced literacy, grades K-6. Corwin.

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Alyssa Phillips ( is K-2 literacy specialist for Republic (Missouri) School District.

The Learning Professional

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