Once children learn some letters, they should be encouraged to write them, to use them to begin writing words or parts of words, and to use words to begin writing sentences. Instruction should be designed with the understanding that the use of invented spelling is not in conflict with teaching correct spelling. Beginning writing with invented spelling can be helpful for developing understanding of the identity and segmentation of speech sounds and sound-spelling relationships. Conventionally correct spelling should be developed through focused instruction and practice. Primary grade children should be expected to spell previously studied words and spelling patterns correctly in their final writing products. Writing should take place regularly and frequently to encourage children to become more comfortable and familiar with it.

Throughout the early grades, time, materials, and resources should be provided with two goals: (a) to support daily independent reading of texts selected to be of particular interest for the individual student and beneath the individual student’s frustration level, in order to consolidate the student’s capacity for independent reading, and (b) to support daily assisted or supported reading and rereading of texts that are slightly more difficult in wording or in linguistic, rhetorical, or conceptual structure in order to promote advances in the student’s capabilities.

Throughout the early grades, schools should promote independent reading outside school by such means as daily at-home reading assignments and expectations, summer reading lists, encouraging parent involvement, and working with community groups, including public librarians, who share this goal.

SOURCE: National Research Council (1998).

“basic” level (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001).2 It is therefore of utmost importance that knowledge gleaned from the study of effective practice and from research on reading instruction be carefully articulated, tested in rigorous research, and incorporated into instructional programs and into teacher education programs.

Checkpoints: Assessment

The general consensus in the field of early reading that has emerged from a relatively strong research base extends to the


Categories include below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced.

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