High-Quality Teaching: One Classroom

To become real readers, children in kindergarten and the early grades need well-integrated instruction that focuses on three core elements: (1) identifying words using sound-spelling correspondences and sight word recognition, (2) using previous knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies to read for meaning, and (3) reading with fluency. Good teachers help children master these skills with an engaging variety of activities.


In Mr. Carter’s first grade reading class, each student has a personal basket of books, chosen to match his or her abilities and interests. Bulletin boards offer children word attack strategies, with lists of spelling patterns and rhymes. Each child has a journal filled with interesting writing.

Because this is a high-poverty population, the district has made a conscious effort to create small classes. This class has only 18 children—a good thing, considering that the children come from an array of linguistic backgrounds and cultures, including Somalia, the Philippines, Guatemala, and Vietnam.

The room is bright and engaging, with various displays: photos of insects, alphabet letters, days of the week, colors, a tape recorder, and a little horticulture center with seeds and plants growing in the



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