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Skills Block: Module 1 (Cycles 1-4)

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Kindergarten Module 1, a six-week module, establishes routines and instructional practices that support the development of foundational reading skills in this and all subsequent modules. Letter identification (including name, sound, and formation) and phonological awareness (the ability to focus on the sounds of speech) are established through recurring instructional practices. These fundamental skills allow young learners to make connections between graphemes (letters) and phonemes (sounds within words).

Primary learners use stories to construct meaning. The story of “The Search for Names” is revealed to students at the start of this module and becomes an anchor text for letter identification as students accompany the young protagonists on a quest that reveals the names of creatures they encounter (resulting in letter mnemonics called “keywords”).

Students learn about intonation, rhythm of speech, rhyming, manipulation of beats (syllables) and separate sounds in spoken words, and concepts of print, such as left-to-right directionality through various stories, poems, and other shared texts.

By the end of the module, students will be familiar with the name, formation, and sound for many letters (consonants and vowels) of the alphabet. They will begin to develop an ability to identify rhyming words and syllables in words. They should be comfortable with the procedures related to the recurring instructional practices of the cycle as well as the management and expectations of whole group and differentiated small group instruction.

Cycle Details

  • Cycle 1 (10 days): Introduces “a” and “t,” and familiarizes students with some of the procedures and modified versions of instructional practices introduced in the next cycle.
  • Cycle 2: Introduces “h” and “p,” and the new instructional practices: Poem Launch, Getting to Know Letters (Parts 1 and 2), Mystery Word and Mystery Word Search, Letter-Sound Chant, Feel the Beats, and Rhyme Time. Optional Snapshot Assessments are introduced as well as suggested re-teaching activities for each instructional practice (see each Cycle Overview for more details).
  • Cycle 3: Introduces “n” and “c.”
  • Cycle 4: Introduces “m” and “r.”

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 students’ needs (example: re-teaching).

Module 1 challenges kindergarteners with many new instructional practices, procedures, management expectations, and new content. To help students ease into the year successfully, consider extending the whole group instruction time to re-teach and practice content and procedures as needed. Similarly, consider using the differentiated small group instruction time for the first cycle (or longer) to familiarize students with the rotations, materials management, behavior expectations, etc. during this time rather than jumping right into differentiated small group instruction. Consider also using Flex Days for this purpose as needed.

Beginning-of-the-Year Benchmark Assessments can be administered at the discretion of the teacher, school leader, or school district. It is suggested that the assessments be administered before the teaching of Module 1. Consider using a few Flex Days, if necessary.


There are two forms of assessment in the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills Block 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 in the K-2 Skills Resource Manual for details. 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 (see Assessment Conversion chart) to prepare for differentiated small group instruction.

Cycle Assessments

  • Beginning in Module 3, at the end of each cycle, students are also assessed on decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling) 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 document for details.

Within the K–2 Reading Foundations Skills Block, specifically, there is a strong focus on building students’ growth mindset: noticing that 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 will contribute to helping them become more proficient readers.

Primary learners use stories to construct meaning. In the story, “The Search for Names,” students are introduced to a young boy and girl who take the initiative to explore the world and seek out knowledge. These children are curious, they persevere, they learn, and they feel the responsibility to communicate to others the wonder and joy of what they have learned. Students are guided to make connections between these traits represented by the children in the story and their own habits of character as they persevere and collaborate in their Reading Foundations Skills Block work. Lessons in this module also begin a reflection routine where students identify specific knowledge or a skill they learned that day and consider how it might help them and their peers become proficient readers and writers.

Engagement Texts and Decodable Readers

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

  • “Alligator and Tern” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 1)
  • “The Search for Names” (Parts 1, 2, and 3) (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 1)
  • Poem: “A Pink Parrot Took My Hat!” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 2)
  • Poem: “My Cat, Noodles” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 3)
  • Poem: “Mouse and Rabbit Share a Snack” (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 4)

CCS Standards Taught and Assessed

Reading-Foundational Skills

  • RF.K.1: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

C. Follow words from left to right, top to bottom and page by page.
D. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.
E. Understand that words are separated by spaces in print.
F. Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.

  • RF.K.2: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

A. Recognize and produce rhyming words.
B. Count, pronounce, blend and segment syllables in spoken words.
C. Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable spoken words.
D. Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. (This does not include CVC words ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)
E. Add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words.

  • RF.K.3: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

A. Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
B. Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
C. Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g. the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
D. Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.

  • RF.K.4: Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.


  • L.K.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

A. Print many upper- and lowercase letters.

  • L.K.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

C. Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
D. Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

Module at a Glance

Cycle 1

Introduced: “a” and “t”

High-frequency word: “if”

Cycle 2

Introduced: “h” and “p”

High-frequency word: “I”

Cycle 3

Introduced: “n” and “c”

High-frequency word: “the”

Cycle 4

Introduced: “m” and “r”

High-frequency word: “in”

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

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