Differentiated Instruction: Sample Literacy Plans

Five-day literacy plans were developed for four elementary classrooms using popular basal programs. Programs included Harcourt (Kindergarten), Open Court (1st grade), Houghton Mifflin (2nd grade), and Scott Foresman (3rd grade). Each sample plan demonstrates how to address small-group instruction for below-grade level readers using a selected basal. The lesson plans align with Virginia's mandated curriculum (Standards of Learning) and assessments (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS K-3).

The Virginia SOL's provide a set of curricular expectations and assessments to measure student achievement. Curriculum guides indicate what areas teachers are responsible for covering across grades K-12. To monitor student learning, the SOL's include a series of assessments given in grades 3, 5, 8, and certain courses in high school. The SOL assessments include English, Math, Science, History/Social Studies, and Computer technology. Test results are tied directly to overall school performance and are widely reported to families and the media. See Virginia's Department of Education website, www.pen.k12.va.us for more information. (Close)

Teachers in grades K-3 administer the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) to screen students for potential reading difficulties, monitor progress, and diagnose individual's relative strengths and weaknesses. The PALS Kindergarten assessment assigns a benchmark score based on performance on rhyming, beginning sounds, alphabet, and spelling measures. In grades one through three, the PALS assessment assigns students a benchmark score based on performance on word identification, spelling, and letter sounds (first grade only). In addition to these tasks, PALS 1-3 evaluates reading in context for accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. Other diagnostic measures (e.g., alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness tasks) are provided if needed. Students failing to achieve the benchmark score are eligible for additional reading support. With its online administration and scoring, teachers can generate individual and class reports that suggest instructional word study and reading levels, instructional groups, and assist in planning instruction. See www.pals.virginia.edu for more information. (Close)

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