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Instructional Strategies to Support the 5 Pillars of Literacy

Supporting the 5 Pillars of Literacy

For both new teachers and experienced veterans, it’s important to focus on developing lessons and using instructional strategies that target each of the five pillars of literacy to help students become proficient readers. This can include using phonics-based instructional materials, incorporating vocabulary-building activities, and providing opportunities for students to practice reading fluently and understanding what they read. It’s also important to assess students’ literacy skills regularly to identify areas where they may need additional support.

The 5 Pillars of Literacy

If you read the last post in this series, you know that there are 5 pillars of literacy that were identified by the National Reading Panel.Β 

To summarize, the five pillars of literacy are:

  1. Phonemic awareness – the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words
  2. Phonics – the relationship between letters and sounds
  3. Vocabulary – knowing the meanings of words
  4. Fluency – the ability to read with accuracy, speed, and expression
  5. Comprehension – understanding what is being readΒ 

So, now the question is, how do I plan instruction that supports the 5 pillars of literacy?

What instructional strategies support the development of phonemic awareness?

Firstly, there are several instructional routines that can support the development of phonemic awareness, including:

  1. Rhyming activities where students specifically identify, produce, and manipulate words with similar sounds
  2. Phoneme segmentation tasks that have students break words into individual sounds
  3. Phoneme blending tasks where students combine individual sounds to form words
  4. Phoneme deletion tasks that ask students to remove individual sounds from words to form new words
  5. Phoneme substitution tasks that give students opportunities to replace individual sounds in words to form new words. Without a doubt, these routines can be practiced through games, songs, and other interactive activities to make learning fun and engaging.
Instructional Strategies Phonemic Awareness
Don't have time to make your own? Check out this Phoneme Segmentation Intervention.

What instructional strategies support the development of phonics?

Following phonemic awareness, instructional practices to support the development of phonics include:

  1. As mentioned above, explicitly teaching phonemic awareness skills such as blending, segmenting and manipulating sounds in words. Include nonesense words in this practice.
  2. Providing ample opportunities for students to read decodable texts that contain high frequency phonics patterns
  3. Practicing word families and rhyming words
  4. Using multisensory techniques to engage students in learning phonics, such as tracing letters in sand or using letter tiles to build words
  5. Obviously incorporating phonics instruction into daily reading and writing activities. Of course, make sure you’re explicit and systematic in your teaching. It must be remembered that there are tons of phonics skills your students need including letter names and letter sounds, short vowel CVC words, consonant blends and digraphs, silent e, long vowel teams, r-controlled vowels, diphthongs, and more!
Instructional Strategies Decodable Texts

What instructional strategies support the development of fluency?

Additionally, some instructional routines that can support the development of fluency include repeated reading, timed reading, choral reading, partner reading, and reader’s theater. In particular, these routines provide opportunities for students to practice reading aloud and build their fluency skills. Teachers specifically model reading fluency through interactive read alounds. In short, students observe the teacher‘s rate and expression to improve their own. Additionally, providing engaging and appropriately challenging reading materials can also support fluency development.

Instructional Strategies Reading Fluency

What instructional strategies support the development of vocabulary?

There are several instructional strategies that can support the development of vocabulary, such as:

  1. Word walls and word maps
  2. Contextualized vocabulary instruction, such as seasonal vocabulary activities
  3. Semantic feature analysis
  4. Word sorts and categorization
  5. Concept circles or webs
  6. Word association games and activities
  7. Interactive read-alouds and shared reading
  8. Vocabulary cards and flashcards
  9. Vocabulary journals or logs
  10. Digital tools for vocabulary development, such as online flashcards or vocabulary-building apps.

What instructional strategies support the development of comprehension?

Finally, teachers can use a variety of instructional routines that can support the development of comprehension, including:

  1. Pre-reading activities that activate prior knowledge and set a purpose for reading
  2. Think-alouds where the teacher models their own comprehension strategies while reading aloud
  3. Collaborative discussions where students share their understanding and interpretations of the text
  4. Graphic organizers that help students organize and visualize information from the text
  5. Summarization activities where students identify and articulate the main ideas of the text in their own words.
Instructional Strategies Book Buddies Comprehension
This BOTTOMLESS BUNDLE includes all of my Book Study Buddy reading comprehension activities. These Book Guides are designed to serve as a comprehension companions for students as they complete independent reading assignments. They're great for reading groups, too!

Summarizing the Instructional Strategies

Effective reading instruction based on the science of reading involves explicitly teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This means teaching students to understand how sounds and letters correspond, practicing reading aloud with accuracy and expression, building knowledge of word meanings, and actively engaging with text to understand its meaning. It is also important to provide explicit instruction, frequent practice opportunities, and ongoing assessment to monitor progress and adjust instruction as needed.Β 

I’m always looking for new ways to engage my beginning and advancing readers. What are some of your favorite instuctional strategies that support reading development? Comment below or catch up with me on social media!

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