Alaska State Literacy Blueprint


Content of Instructions

Oral Language & Vocabulary

  • Adults share words, songs, and oral and written stories, with an emphasis on stories of a child’s family, community, and culture(s).
  • Adults read and re-read books aloud which cover a broad range of interests, content, and information. Adults engage children in discussions and activities related to what has been read as well as provide direct explanations of specific word meanings from the books to enhance vocabulary.
  • Adults find or create language and literacy activities that reflect the child’s interest, culture and home language, and present them so the child is able to playfully explore and investigate the area of interest.
  • Adults enhance oral language and vocabulary by introducing new words in context of daily activities and by narrating what the child is doing (parallel talk) along with what the adult is doing (self-talk).
  • Adults build oral vocabulary by verbally labeling items (ages 0-3).
  • Adults build vocabulary by providing verbal and written labeling of surroundings (ages 3-5).
  • Adults deepen children’s oral conversational skills through longer, more complex oral and written stories and by having many opportunities for child-initiated conversations.
  • Adults provide numerous opportunities for children to ask and answer questions about the world around them.
  • Adults promote an environment that engages children in reciprocal conversations and cooperative play with peers, singing, telling and following directions, describing, playing with sounds and words, creating imaginative stories, drawing or writing their own stories.
  • Adults model and encourage the use of words that represent abstract ideas such as love and respect.
  • Adults engage children throughout the day in a variety of playful, interactive activities using materials and practices that are research-based and that are aligned with the Alaska State Early Learning Guidelines.

Print Awareness

  • Adults expose children to print in the environment.
  • Adults model the conventions of print in their everyday activities.
  • Adults read books to children to enhance these skills: front/back of book, turning pages, and tracking left to right.
  • Adults provide opportunities for children to practice “pretend” reading, to read environmental print, to recognize their first name in print, and to read familiar sight words.
  • Adults engage children throughout the day in a variety of playful, interactive activities using materials and practices that are research-based and that are aligned with the Alaska State Early Learning Guidelines.

Phonological Awareness

  • Adults actively support and value children’s home language by encouraging children to use it at home and in other early learning settings.
  • Adults provide opportunities to hear spoken words, songs, words from books and to vocally play with the sounds heard around the child.
  • Adults include activities, books and materials that promote the child’s ability to do the following:
    • Identify and produce rhyming words.
    • Orally segment words, syllables and sounds.
    • Say beginning sounds.
    • Orally blend beginning and later sounds in a word.
    • Orally match letters and sounds.
  • Adults engage children throughout the day in a variety of playful, interactive activities using materials and practices that are research-based and that are aligned with the Alaska State Early Learning Guidelines.

Letter Knowledge & Phonics

  • Adults provide opportunities for children to observe print, including a variety of alphabet books and games and culturally interesting and appropriate materials.
  • Adults expose children to visual and kinesthetic activities to discriminate shapes, symbols, directionality, lines, and curves.
  • Adults sing or speak the alphabet with children, sometimes pointing to the letters while naming them.
  • Adults provide a variety of formal and informal activities to help children learn letters names and sounds.
  • Adults engage children in activities to develop skills naming letters and their sounds, rapidly name sequences of random letters and begin applying letter-sound knowledge in the context of reading and writing.
  • Adults engage children throughout the day in a variety of playful, interactive activities using materials and practices that are research-based and that are aligned with the Alaska State Early Learning Guidelines.

Fluency

  • Adults model oral reading in a fluent manner while reading aloud to children.
  • Adults provide opportunities to hear spoken and written phrases, songs, and words from books and to vocally play with the sounds heard around the child.
  • Adults model fluent speaking and encourage the child to speak in longer, more fluent sentences as they develop their language.

Comprehension

  • Adults intentionally use and teach numerous words that are meaningful to the child to increase the processing skills necessary for oral comprehension.
  • Adults read books and other written materials relevant to the child’s experiences and engage in discussions before, during, and after reading.
  • Adults share words, songs, and oral and written stories, with an emphasis on stories of the child’s family, community, and culture(s).
  • Adults provide opportunities for a child to retell, predict, and relate stories to their own experiences.

Oral Language & Vocabulary

  • Teachers provide all students explicit instruction in oral language.
    • Teachers respectfully distinguish differences between conversational language use and standard academic English and provide guidance in the appropriate use of each.
    • Teachers provide students instruction in the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases, understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • Teachers provide vocabulary instruction with a focus on academic language.
    • Teachers provide instruction in specific words and concepts to help students develop depth of word knowledge.
    • Teachers provide instruction in independent word-learning strategies (e.g. morphemic analysis, external context clues) to help students determine the meaning of unfamiliar words encountered when reading.
    • Teachers provide opportunities for extended conversation, both during reading instruction and during the rest of the school day.
  • Teachers provide instruction in the conventions of standard English grammar and usage for speaking.
    • Based on identified needs of learners, teachers provide ELL students with additional oral language practice, focusing on academic language rather than basic communication skills. Beyond the vocabulary instruction in the regular classroom, teachers teach ELLs about words with multiple meanings, use visuals and graphic organizers to help convey meaning, provide additional review of vocabulary, and work with shared cognates, when appropriate.
    • Based on the identified needs of learners, teachers provide ELL students with structured opportunities to use language in ways that promote accurate grammar and syntax in meaningful contexts.

Print Awareness

  • Teachers work to help students develop an understanding of the conventions, purpose and functions of print.
    • Basic print awareness skills to be mastered in the beginning stages of reading (Kindergarten and early Grade 1).
  • Based on identified need, teachers provide explicit and systematic instruction in print concepts to ELL students whose first language is non-alphabetic and/or uses different writing systems or different directional conventions.

Phonological Awareness

  • Teachers works with students to develop a conscious understanding that oral language is composed of individual sounds (i.e., phonemic awareness) to better understand letter-sound relationships, blend sounds into words, and segment words to spell.
    • Phonemic awareness skills to be mastered in the beginning stages of reading (kindergarten and early first grade).
  • Based on identified needs of learners, teachers provide ELLs with targeted support to learn English sounds that do not exist in students’ primary language.

Letter Knowledge & Phonics

  • Based on the identified needs of the learner, teachers provide students daily explicit and systematic instruction in word recognition that includes letter knowledge, letter-sound correspondence, sound-spelling patters (e.g. digraphs, r-controlled vowels, etc.), blending, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g. roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar words in context and out of context.
  • For newcomer ELLs who are literate in their primary language, teachers build upon those primary language skills and help students transfer what they know across languages, rather than starting them at the rudimentary level of non-literate English speakers.

Fluency

  • Teachers model oral reading in a fluent manner while reading aloud to children.
  • Teachers build student reading fluency (i.e. reading with sufficient accuracy, rate and expression to support comprehension) by providing extensive reading opportunities with manageable texts, and with activities such as auditory modeling, Readers Theatre, and repeated readings.

Comprehension

  • Teachers provide all students explicit and systematic instruction and opportunities to practice the use of comprehension strategies with narrative text by creating opportunities for the following activities:
    • Retelling stories.
    • Identifying main idea and supporting details.
    • Using information gained from illustrations and print or digital text to understand characters, setting, or plot.
    • Comparing and contrasting characters, settings, or events in a story.
    • Visualizing characters, events or settings in a story.
    • Asking and answering critical questions while reading.
    • Inferring characters’ motivations from their actions.
  • Teachers facilitate structured, purposeful high-quality discussion of the meaning of text.
  • Teachers provide all students explicit and systematic instruction and opportunities to practice the use of comprehension strategies with informational text by
    • Using table of contents, glossaries, and other text features.
    • Identifying the main idea and supporting ideas.
    • Using knowledge of key academic vocabulary to clarify tasks (words such as analyze, interpret, classify, compare, synthesize, persuade, solve).
    • Working with multiple texts and evaluating the relevance and credibility of sources.
    • Interpreting information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages).
    • Asking and answering critical questions while reading.
    • Monitoring their own comprehension as they read and adjusting their use of comprehension strategies as needed.
  • Teachers provide all students with opportunities to develop listening comprehension skills.
  • Educators establish a plan to support students in reading a wide range of materials in and outside the school day.

Writing

  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in the conventions of standard English language grammar and usage, as well as appropriate capitalization, punctuation and spelling for writing in different contexts.
  • Teachers provide systematic and explicit instruction in writing strategies and the writing process, including prewriting, planning, drafting, editing/revising, and publishing.
  • Teachers provide explicit guidance in the structures and expectations for writing in different genres and subject areas.
  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in evaluating print and digital sources of information and synthesizing learning from multiple sources into a single piece of writing.
  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in summarizing text in written form and in synthesizing of learning from multiple texts into a single piece of writing.
  • Teachers provide collaborative writing opportunities in which students work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions.
  • Teachers assign students specific reachable product goals for the writing they are to complete.
  • Teachers explicitly teach the use of word processing and publishing applications.
  • Teachers use computers and word processors as instructional tools to allow students to produce legible text; add, delete, and move text; format documents; and check spelling.
  • Based on the identified needs of the learners, teachers may provide ELLs additional support for basic grammatical structures, such as passive voice, the use of different verb tenses and conditional clauses.

Disciplinary Literacy

  • Teachers provide instruction in the unique reading and writing skills required for literacy in different content areas.
    • Establish meaningful and engaging content learning goals around the essential ideas of a discipline.
    • Teach discipline-specific text structures and the specialized skills needed to read material in different disciplines.
    • Teach students to integrate information from several sources (e.g., print, digital) on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • Based on identified needs of the ELLs, teachers clarify vocabulary that has a different meaning in a specific discipline than in conversational language.

Oral Language & Vocabulary

  • Teachers provide all students explicit instruction in using oral language, including forms such as debates, speeches, and story-telling, as well as disciplinary-specific ways of talking about ideas and issues.
  • Teachers respectfully distinguish differences between conversational language use and standard academic English and provide guidance in the appropriate use of each.
  • Teachers of all subjects consistently provide explicit vocabulary instruction:
    • Teachers dedicate a portion of regular classroom lessons to explicit vocabulary instruction.
    • Teachers provide repeated exposure to new words in multiple contexts, and allow sufficient practice sessions in vocabulary instruction.
    • Teachers give sufficient opportunities to use new vocabulary in a variety of contexts through activities such as discussion, writing, and extended reading.
    • Teachers provide students with strategies to make them independent vocabulary learners, such as building knowledge of root words and suffixes and teaching students to use glossaries.
  • For ELLs, teachers provide additional oral language practice, focusing on academic language rather than basic communication skills. Beyond the vocabulary instruction in the regular classroom, teachers teach ELLs about words with multiple meanings, use visuals and graphic organizers to help convey meaning, provide additional review of vocabulary, and work with shared cognates, when appropriate.
  • For ELLs, teachers provide students with structured opportunities to use language in ways that promote accurate grammar and syntax in meaningful contexts.

Print Awareness

  • Basic print awareness is typically developed in the primary grades, but in the rare instances when that has not occurred, is addressed through targeted intervention.
  • For new immigrant ELLs who do not have print awareness in their primary language, teachers with a background in English language development provide engaging age-appropriate and intensive instruction designed to accelerate the development of basic literacy skills.

Phonological Awareness

  • Phonological awareness is typically mastered in the primary grades, but in the rare instances when that has not occurred, it is addressed through targeted interventions.
  • For newcomer ELLs, teachers realize that most phonological awareness skills transfer across languages and provide ELLs with extra support to learn English sounds that do not exist in students’ primary language.

Letter Knowledge & Phonics

  • Letter knowledge and phonics are typically mastered before entry to 6th grade, although students with specific difficulties in this area may need targeted intervention.
  • For new immigrant ELLs whose primary language is non-alphabetic, teachers provide engaging age-appropriate instruction in the correspondence of sounds and symbols.
  • For new immigrant ELLs who are literate in their primary language, teachers build upon those primary language skills and help students transfer what they know across languages, rather than starting them at the rudimentary level of non-literate English speakers.

Fluency

  • English language arts teachers provide opportunities for students to enhance their fluency by reading aloud, participating in Readers Theatre, or through repeated readings.

Comprehension

  • Teachers of all subjects explicitly teach content-specific text (e.g. mathematics symbols, chemistry periodic table, etc.).
  • Teachers of all subjects consistently provide direct and explicit instruction in comprehension strategies such as summarizing main and supporting ideas, asking questions about the reading, paraphrasing, drawing inferences, asking different types of questions, and using graphic organizers.
  • Teachers provide students opportunities to do the following:
    • Use comprehension skills.
    • Understand the purpose of text.
    • Recognize text structures and features.
    • Ask and answer critical questions while reading.
    • Monitor their own understanding by engaging in meaningful text-based discussions.

Writing

  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in the conventions of standard English language grammar and usage, as well as appropriate capitalization, punctuation and spelling for writing in different contexts.
  • Teachers provide systematic and explicit instruction in writing strategies and the writing process, including prewriting, planning, drafting, editing/revising, and publishing.
  • Teachers provide explicit guidance in the structures and expectations for writing in different genres and subject areas.
  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in evaluating print and digital sources of information and synthesizing learning from multiple sources into a single piece of writing.
  • Teachers provide explicit instruction in summarizing text in written form and in synthesizing of learning from multiple texts into a single piece of writing.
  • Teachers provide collaborative writing opportunities in which students work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit their compositions.
  • Teachers assign students specific reachable product goals for the writing they are to complete.
  • Teachers explicitly teach the use of word processing and publishing applications.
  • Teachers use computers and word processors as instructional tools to allow students to produce legible text; add, delete, and move text; format documents; and check spelling.
  • For ELLs, teachers include the instruction targeted to all students, and in addition do the following:
    • Provide clear and consistent feedback on preliminary drafts.
    • Focus on only a few errors or types of errors at a time.
    • Allow students time to revise.
  • For ELLs, teachers may provide additional support for basic grammatical structures such as passive voice, the use of different verb tenses and conditional clauses, as well as increasingly sophisticated tasks such as how to structure arguments in term papers, how to use quotations, how to switch verb tenses effectively and how to condense arguments.

Disciplinary Literacy

  • Content area teachers provide instruction in the unique reading and writing skills required for literacy in different content areas.
    • Establish meaningful and engaging content learning goals around the essential ideas of a discipline.
    • Teach discipline-specific text structures and the specialized skills needed to read material in different disciplines.
    • Clarify what conventions are used to write objectively or scientifically in a specific discipline and how to acknowledge alternative perspectives.
    • For ELLs, content area teachers clarify vocabulary that has a different meaning in a specific discipline than in conversational language.
    • For ELLs, rather than simplifying concepts, build the academic language that allows students to access complex ideas.