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Early literacy and the Common Core
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015 11:11 AM

The Common Core State Standards include benchmarks for English that help students learn literacy. Starting in kindergarten, students develop the skills they'll use when reading. By the time they enter fourth grade, they should be able to read on their own. The Standards are designed to build upon themselves every year, so it's important that students keep up. To better understand the steps students take toward literacy, we'll take a look at the CCSS:

Basic skills
Seasoned readers know the mechanics of reading like the backs of their hands. They know to move from left to right, from up to down. They also know what the symbols mean independently and in a group. People who've been reading for a long time don't have to think about these simple mechanics. However, kindergarten students do. In this early grade, students learn to move their eyes across the page in the correct way. They also learn the alphabet and what spaces mean. Students even begin to recognize upper- and lower-cased letters. 

In first grade, students start to see the bigger picture. From knowing what words start and end a sentence to what punctuation stands for, they'll understand the organization of print. 

Beginning to read
Second grade marks the time when students sound out words, read syllables, establish sound correspondence and so on. While kindergarten students might know what "a" sounds like, second graders can read whole sentences. They even learn multi-syllable words and prefixes and suffixes. In second grade, their foundational reading skills are really coming together.

In third grade, students solidify the knowledge they've gained so far and start reading age-appropriate texts more often. Instead of struggling through word recognition, they'll begin identifying meaning faster. At the end of this grade, they should be able to get through texts without too much stumbling. 

Once students are able to read, they can start learning more challenging concepts in English.