Skills Block: Module 3 (Cycles 12-18) | EL Education Curriculum

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Skills Block: Module 3 (Cycles 12-18)

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Kindergarten Module 3 signals an important shift: Students apply growing phonemic awareness to decoding and encoding single-syllable, CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. As a result, the cycles begin to look more like the cycles in first grade, including new instructional practices such as Chaining and the Decodable Reader.

Each cycle focuses on a particular medial short vowel sound. Students work toward mastery of decoding and encoding VC (vowel-consonant) and CVC words with the focus vowel before moving on to the next. As a result, students are exposed to a growing number of words and become progressively more comfortable with analyzing words.

Phonemic awareness instruction, particularly segmentation and blending, work in tandem to support encoding and decoding. Students work on these skills during the Phonemic Blending and Segmentation and Chaining instructional practices. In each case, changes are practiced with a succession of words and sounds.

Finally, with the introduction of the Decodable Readers in whole group and the Decodable Student Reader routine in differentiated small groups, students gradually begin to take on more responsibility and independence with text. High-frequency words, introduced during the continued Mystery Word instructional practice, are used in both the shared and the decodable text.

By the end of the module, students should be able to hear and segment the individual phonemes of single-syllable spoken words. They will become increasingly more comfortable with decoding and encoding single-syllable VC and CVC words, including words with digraphs at the beginning or end.

Cycle Details

  • Cycle 12: Introduces "sh," "th," and "ch" and the new instructional practice Phonemic Blending and Segmentation.
  • Cycle 13: Introduces decoding and encoding with /a/ and the Decodable Reader instructional practice.
  • Cycle 14: Introduces decoding and encoding with /i/ and a shift from Interactive Sentence Building to Interactive Writing as well as new instructional practice Chaining.
  • Cycle 15: Introduces decoding and encoding with /u/.
  • Cycle 16: Introduces decoding and encoding with /o/.
  • Cycle 17: Introduces decoding and encoding with /e/.
  • Cycle 18: Review of all short vowels.

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: reteaching).

Module 3 introduces several new instructional practices: Phonemic Blending and Segmentation, Decodable Reader, Chaining, and Interactive Writing (a new version of Interactive Sentence Building). As a result, consider using one or more Flex Days to reinforce the new instructional practices and/or the new, more challenging skills introduced, if necessary.

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

Cycle Assessments

  • Beginning in Module 4, at the end of each cycle, students also are 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.

Reflections in lessons throughout the curriculum foster students' ability to see the relationship between the skills and knowledge they are learning and the ability to read proficiently. Specific prompts such as "How will our work today in finding the vowels in written words help us read longer words?" guide students to make those connections. Regular student analysis of their own work via feedback and goal setting continues, further developing their capacity as "leaders of their own learning." Teachers encourage students to identify actions they can take during Independent Work Time to work toward their goals and monitor progress. This, paired with prompts related to habits of character, such as "What did you do today that demonstrates perseverance? How will that help you become a more proficient reader?" or "How did you collaborate with someone today to help you both become proficient readers?" further supports students' understanding that they can take ownership over the process of learning.

Engagement Texts and Decodable Readers

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

  • "ShaMiiah, Sh!" and "Thank You, Theo!" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 12)
  • "A Book of Animals" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 13)
  • "The Ham Sandwich" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 14)
  • "The Milkshake" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 15)
  • "Fun with Gum" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 16)
  • "The Mop Is a Dog!" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 17)
  • "Josh's New Home" (written by EL Education for instructional purposes) (Cycle 18)

CCS Standards Taught and Assessed

Reading-Foundational Skills

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

A. Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.

B. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters.

C. Understand that words are separated by spaces in print.

D. 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 12

Introduced: /sh/, /th/, /ch/

High-frequency words: "to," "do"

Cycle 13

Introduced: Decoding and encoding single-syllable words with /a/

High-frequency words: "at," "has"

Cycle 14

Introduced: Decoding and encoding single-syllable words with /i/

High-frequency words: "is," "it"

Cycle 15

Introduced: Decoding and encoding single-syllable words with /u/

High-frequency words: "was," "his"

Cycle 16

Introduced: Decoding and encoding single-syllable words with /o/

High-frequency words: "for," "or"

Cycle 17

Introduced: Decoding and encoding single-syllable words with /e/

High-frequency words: "be," "by"

Cycle 18

Introduced: Review of all short vowels

High-frequency words: "are," "with," "will"

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

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