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Skills Block: Module 2 (Cycles 5-11)

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During the first few cycles of Module 2, students continue to focus on single-syllable words with two and three phonemes. By Cycle 9, students are introduced to new grapheme-phoneme connections with familiar sounds, represented by two letters instead of one (examples: /k/ as “-ck” and /f/ as “-ff”). Soon after, students are introduced to consonant clusters and begin to decode and encode these clusters at the beginning and ending of words.

This module also begins a conversation about the relationship between syllables and vowels by naming the words in the cycles as one-syllable, closed-syllable words, laying the groundwork for decoding and encoding two-syllable words by the end of the first grade. Students receive more direct instruction on the relationship between syllables and vowels in Modules 3 and 4.

By the end of Module 2, students should be able decode and encode one-syllable, short vowel words with initial and ending clusters (examples: “fast,” “flap,” “grub,” “hunt,” “pond,” “spot,” “trip,” “fist,” “fret,” “bend”). Words such as “blend” and “grasp” (containing initial and final blends) can be decoded as well. Students may also be able to read one-syllable, short vowel words with the “-ed” suffix. The goal by the end of Module 2 is to have all students working within the Full Alphabetic phase (relative to short vowels), ready to move into syllabication, and decoding and encoding words with long vowel patterns in Module 3.

Cycle Details

  • Cycle 5: Introduces students to the short vowel “o” using the phoneme/graphemes /j/ “j,” /w/ “w,” /ks/ “x,” and previously taught consonants. Decoding and encoding CV (“on”), CVC (“job”), CCVC (“shop”), and CVCC (“Josh”) words with short “o” are emphasized. Short “a,” “i,” and “u” are reviewed in decodables and as extensions in lessons. The introduction of “o” and “w” in this cycle allow for the decoding of “ow” to /ow/ (as in “how”). Students work with plural nouns, adding “-es” to words such as “fox” (“foxes”). Lastly, students learn about the common “-ng” orthographic chunk (“-ang,” “-ing,” “-ung,” “-ong”), which also serves as another opportunity to review /a/, /i/, and /u/. Initial clusters with “b” (“bl,” “br”) and “w” (“sw,” “tw”) are available for lesson extensions.
  • Cycle 6: Devoted exclusively to the short vowel “e,” which can often be the most difficult for students to distinguish from the other vowels. Students are given ample practice decoding and encoding CVC (“let”), CCVC (“shed,” “them”), and CVCC (“mesh,” “Beth”) words. Lesson extensions provide the option of consonant clusters as in “flesh” and “best.” Direct instruction of “-ank,” “-ink,” “-unk,” and “-onk” build from the “-ng” work in the fifth cycle. The decodable text focuses almost exclusively on short “e” words, with the review of /a/, /i/, /u/, and /o/ coming via “-nk” words (“bank,” “sink,” “bunk,” “honk”). Students are introduced to “-es” as an action ending (example: “Sam fishes in the pond”) in reading and it is offered as a suggested extension in writing (i.e., SCR lesson).
  • Cycle 7: Continues to emphasize encoding and decoding single-syllable words with short “e,” allowing more time for this potentially challenging vowel sound. Initial and final clusters for use in short “e” words are offered as extensions (examples: “chest,” “blend”). High-frequency, one-syllable words ending with “y” as long “i” (examples: “my,” “by,” “cry,” “shy,” “fly”) are introduced and used in the Decodable Readers. The suffix “-ing” as a doing suffix (“thinking,” “flying,” “crying,” “jumping,” “going,” etc.) is offered as an extension.
  • Cycle 8: Includes the phonemes /w/ and /k/ as represented by the graphemes “wh- and “-ck.” It also starts a significant push toward automaticity with decoding and encoding one-syllable words with four (and more) phonemes. In effect, student decoding of one-syllable short vowel words shifts to words with consonant clusters (examples: “stick,” “block”). Students are introduced to the suffix “-ed” (pronounced /t/) to denote past tense (examples: “ducked,” “fixed,” “kicked,” “locked,” “bucked,” “jumped”). High-frequency words include question words.
  • Cycle 9: Includes the phonemes /l/, /s/, /f/, and /z/ as represented by the graphemes “-ll,” “-ss,” “-ff,” and “-zz.” Students should understand that the short vowel needs an extra letter when these sounds are at the end of a one-syllable word (examples: “fill,” “hiss”). Direct instruction of clusters with “s” as an orthographic unit occurs (example: “sp-,” “spill”). In addition, “-ed” as /d/ is introduced (example: “yelled”) and included in the decodable text and offered as an extension in lessons (examples: SCR and Interactive Writing).
  • Cycle 10: Works with initial consonant clusters with “l” and “r,” moving from doubles (example: “sl”) to triples (example: “spl” and “spr”). The Decodable Reader is very cluster heavy.
  • Cycle 11: Continues work with consonant clusters. Direct instruction of the final clusters “-lt,” “-ft,” “-st,” “-nt,” “-nd,” “-nk,” and “-ng” to produce words such as “ended,” “melted,” “lifted,” etc.; this allows for the introduction of the “-ed” suffix, pronounced /id/. Students are also introduced to an alternate spelling of the /ow/ sound; “ou."

Module Pacing Considerations

Flex Week: All modules in the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills Block include a Flex Week for teachers to use at their discretion. When determining how to use these days, consider scheduling challenges (examples: holidays or teacher work days) and the needs of students (example: re-teaching).

The instructional practices in Module 2 follow a mostly consistent sequence throughout. Students should be quite familiar with the routines at this point, so maintaining the stated timing expectations for whole group (15–20 minutes) and small group differentiated instruction (40–45 minutes) should be manageable.

Middle-of-the-Year Benchmark Assessments can be administered at the discretion of the teacher, school leader, and/or school district. If administering between Modules 2 and 3, consider using a few Flex Days from each module to make up for this time.


There are two forms of assessment in the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills curriculum.

Benchmark Assessments

  • Students complete Benchmark Assessments at the start of the year, mid-year, and at the end of the year (see Grade Assessment Overview and Resources). Ideally, Baseline Benchmark Assessments should be administered before Cycle 1, but the Flex Week and/or differentiated small group time can be used to complete the first round, if necessary. Group students based on results to prepare for differentiated small group instruction (see Assessment Conversion chart).

Cycle Assessments

  • At the end of each cycle, students also are assessed on decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) of words made up of taught graphemes and phonemes as well as taught high-frequency words. It is suggested that the teacher scores the assessment and reviews the results with each individual student to facilitate a goal-setting conversation. If time is a concern, the teacher may consider only meeting with one or two groups for each cycle for a goal-setting conversation. Guidance is provided to differentiate the assessments based on each student’s Phase of Reading Development. Refer to the Review and Cycle Assessment lesson in each cycle for details.

Habits of Character / Social Emotional Learning Focus

Across EL Education’s curriculum, there is a specific focus on students building habits of character (see K–5 Curriculum Overview).

Within the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills Block, specifically, there is a strong focus on building students’ growth mindset: noticing their ability grows with their effort. This is addressed during a daily closing routine where students reflect on how the content of the lesson and specific learning or actions they’ve taken contribute to helping them become more proficient readers.

Grade 1, Module 2 continues to build students’ capacity to be “leaders of their own learning” (i.e., being directly involved in and understanding their own strengths, areas of challenge, and progress toward proficiency). In daily lesson reflections, the concept of “proficiency” is revisited along with the role of regular feedback (through end of cycle assessments and daily work). During that time, students reflect on their individual goals, as well as something specific they did that day that helps them meet their goal and become more proficient readers.

Engagement Texts and Decodable Readers

No purchase necessary. Engagement texts and decodables are included in the module materials.

  • “Sam’s Box” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 5)
  • “Sam Wants a Pet” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 6)
  • “Dad’s Plan” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 7)
  • “Sam’s Rock” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 8)
  • “Sam and Nell Have a Ball” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 9)
  • “On the Pond” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 10)
  • “I Look Out” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 11)

CCS Standards Taught and Assessed

Reading-Foundational Skills
  • RF.1.1: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

A. Recognize the distinguishing features of a sentence (e.g., first word, capitalization, ending

  • RF.1.2: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

A. Distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single-syllable words.

B. Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including consonant blends.

C. Isolate and pronounce initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in spoken single-syllable words.

D. Segment spoken single-syllable words into their complete sequence of individual sounds (phonemes).

  • RF.1.3: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

A. Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs.

B. Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.

C. Know final -e and common vowel team conventions for representing long vowel sounds.

D. Use knowledge that every syllable must have a vowel sound to determine the number of syllables in a printed word.

E. Decode two-syllable words following basic patterns by breaking the words into syllables.

F. Read words with inflectional endings.

G. Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

  • RF.1.4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

A. Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.

B. Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.

C. Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.


  • L.1.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

A. Print all upper- and lowercase letters.

  • L.1.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

D. Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.

E. Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.

Module at a Glance

Cycle 5

Introduced: “o,” “b,” “j”, “w,” “x,” “p,” and “g”

High-Frequency Words: “from,” “wants,” “says,” “see,” “he,” “had”

Cycle 6

Introduced: “e,” /e/

High-Frequency Words: “for,” “get,” “gone,” “no,” “to,” “am”

Cycle 7

Introduced: “y” (as /ī/)

High-Frequency Words: “will,” “my,” “of,” “go,” “not,” “saw”

Cycle 8

Introduced: “wh,” “ck”

High-Frequency Words: “who,” “when,” “where,” “why,” “what,” “gives,” “say”

Cycle 9

Introduced: “ll,” “ss,” “ff,” “zz”

High-Frequency Words: “all,” “could,” “said,” “then”

Cycle 10

Introduced: mastery of double and triple consonant clusters (initial), including “bl,” “cl,” “fl,” “gl,” “pl,” “sl,” “sp,” “spl”

High-Frequency Words: “by,” “there”

Cycle 11

Introduced: “ou,” continuation of consonant clusters

High-Frequency Words: “some,” “think”

See each Cycle Overview for more details, including information about what to prepare in advance and extension opportunities.

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