Skills Block: Module 4 (Cycles 19-25) | EL Education Curriculum

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Skills Block: Module 4 (Cycles 19-25)

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In this module, students continue to focus on vowel spelling patterns. Students first work with r-controlled vowels, followed by vowel teams and patterns in which the first vowel says its name, such as "ai" and "ea." They then continue to use vowels to identify syllables and decode known syllable types within two-syllable words. The bank of available two-syllable decodable words expands significantly with the addition of each new vowel team. As the module continues, students gain knowledge of alternative spelling patterns for long vowel sounds (such as "igh" for long "i"). Students can then work with adding suffixes to changing base words. Finally, students work with vowel diphthongs (gliding vowels; refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable).

In preparation for Grade 2 work, new instructional practice is introduced in this module: Fluency. Students will learn how to monitor their oral reading, paying attention to reading smoothly, with expression, with meaning, and not too fast or too slow.

By the end of the modules, students should be able to decode one- and two-syllable words. Words include closed and open syllables, r-controlled vowels, CVCe vowel patterns, and vowel teams. Students should be able to identify vowels in words and use that knowledge to divide words into two syllables. Lastly, students begin to use decoding skills as well as knowledge of vowels and syllables to encode (spell) two-syllable words.

Notice that the lesson guidance becomes more simplified for familiar instructional practices in this module. Refer to past lessons if a reminder of the procedure is needed.

Cycle Details

  • Cycle 19: Introduces “r” to the vowels “a” and “o,” altering their sound. The cycle begins with one-syllable words and then moves to two-syllable words by pairing an r-controlled syllable with a closed (example: “gar-den”) or open (example: “mo-tor”) syllable type. Students continue to notice how suffixes can change the meaning of a word.
  • Cycle 20: Continues to build knowledge of r-controlled syllable type by introducing “-r” to the vowels “e,” “i,” and “u,” altering the sound to /r/. Students also work with “-er” as a “doer” suffix (example: “fixer”—a person who fixes). The cycle begins with one-syllable words and moves to two-syllable words by pairing an r-controlled syllable with a closed or open syllable type. Students continue to notice how a suffix can change the meaning of words such as “hard,” “harder,” and “hardest.” Note: There are no rules for choosing the correct spelling for /ər/; students must rely on their visual memory of such words.
  • Cycle 21: Introduces the spelling pattern of two vowels together, producing the long vowel sound of the first vowel: long “o” sound (spelled “oa”), long “a” sound (spelled “ai”), and long “e” sound (spelled “ea”). Instruction begins with one-syllable words, then moves to the Syllable Sleuth instructional practice with two-syllable words (example: raincoat).
  • Cycle 22: Introduces “ay” and “ow” spelling patterns, producing the /ā/ and /ō/ sounds. Days of the week words (example: “Sunday”) are introduced for decoding (not encoding yet), and other two-syllable words are offered as an extension.
  • Cycle 23: Introduces the “oo” pattern as well as two spelling patterns that both produce the /ē/ sound (“-y” at the end of a two-syllable word and the vowel team “ee”). Students continue to practice decoding two-syllable words using combinations of known syllable types.
  • Cycle 24: Introduces the spelling patterns “ie” and “igh,” both producing the /ī/ sound.
  • Cycle 25: This last cycle solidifies decoding two-syllable words, using all the syllable types learned throughout the Grade 1 modules. This includes closed (CVC), open (CV), magic “e” (CVCe), r-controlled, and vowel teams (“ai,” “ea,” “oa,” “ay,” “ow,” “ee,” “-y,” “igh,” and “ie”).

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: reteaching).

Module 4 introduces several new instructional practices: Bossy "r" (Opening) and a new version of two existing Work Time instructional practices: Interactive Editing, Fluency, and Spelling to Complement Reading with Sentence Dictation. Similar to Module 3, the work becomes more challenging in preparation for Grade 2. Consider using one or more Flex Days to reinforce the new instructional practices and/or the new, more challenging, skills introduced.

The new Fluency instructional practice takes the place of Review on the days of Cycle Assessments. If students still need this review time, consider using flex days.

The End-of-Year Benchmark Assessments should be administered at the end of the module. If time has not already been set aside for this in the school calendar, consider using Flex Days to complete assessments.


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 1 Assessment Overview).

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 for details.

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.

Students and teachers have been regularly reflecting on what proficiency means and how specific skills, knowledge, and habits of character (i.e., perseverance and collaboration) contribute to it. In addition, students have become more and more adept at looking at their own assessments with the teacher, determining specific goals to work on and how to work on them. Module 4 develops the opportunity for students to see their progress over the course of the year and reflect on their overall growth.

Engagement Texts and Decodable Readers

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

  • "Looking for Mars" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 19)
  • "Sam's Hammer" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 20)
  • "Sam's Throat Hurts!" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 21)
  • "Pat's Birthday" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 22)
  • "A Little Seed" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 23)
  • "Night Skies" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 24)
  • "Reading Together" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 25)

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

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

  • 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.1.41 (1) 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

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

  • 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.

(1) Whole group lessons in first grade do not address the RF.4 fluency standards explicitly, though students are encouraged to read the Decodable Student Reader aloud with a partner during the Partner Search and Read instructional practice. Fluency is explicitly addressed during Accountable Independent Reading, which is suggested as an independent rotation for students not working with the teacher during differentiated small group instruction (see Independent and Small Group Work guidance document for more details).

Module at a Glance

Cycle 19

Introduced: r-controlled vowels “a” and “o”

High-Frequency Words: “again,” “bye,” “could,” “would,” “does,” “knew,” “but,” “around” "or," "just"

Cycle 20

Introduced: r-controlled vowels “i,” “u,” and “e”

High-Frequency Words: ”about,” “around,” “old,” "over"

Cycle 21

Introduced: Vowel teams “oa,” “ai,” “ea”

High-Frequency Words: “good,” “only,” “very,” “would,” “should,” “eat,” “after”

Cycle 22

Introduced: Vowel teams “ay” and “ow”

High-Frequency Words: “always,” “today,” “laugh,” “both”

Cycle 23

Introduced: Vowel team “ee” and “-y” as /ē/

High-Frequency Words: “soon,” “under,” “little,” “every,” “really,” “one,” “anymore”

Cycle 24

Introduced: Vowel team “ie” and spelling pattern “igh,” both producing the /ī/ sound

High-Frequency Words: “have,” “sometimes,” “through”

Cycle 25

Introduced: Two-syllable words

High-Frequency Words: “come,” “himself,” “together”

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

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