The mission of the Elementary Reading program in Loudoun County Public Schools is to teach all students how to read and comprehend written text so that they may become independent readers and lifelong learners who have a firm grasp of the written world that surrounds them.



    The reading program is not based solely on a basal reader, a leveled book or a particular text or reading program.  Instead, a variety of methodologies are employed to assist students in learning to read and reading to learn.  A balanced or comprehensive literacy approach to teaching reading is used, which includes shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading as well as read-alouds, literature study, and explicit skills lessons.  Students receive systematic instruction in the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  Students are taught that reading strategies are flexible and can be applied to and adapted to meet the demands of the material to be read. 



    Students read a variety of materials including basal readers, leveled books, informational texts, magazines, novels, documents on the computer, and trade books or commercial books. Leveled books are reading materials that represent a progression from simple to more challenging texts. 


    One component of the instructional reading program is the basal textbook published by Houghton Mifflin. Students in grades K-5 move through this program at a rate that provides continuous progress and growth.  Generally a student does not skip levels; rather a new year’s work is begun where the student left off the year before.  Thus the student’s progress in reading is continuous regardless of the grade level.


                Kindergarten     Level K                             Grade Three   Levels 3.1 – 3.2

                Grade One      Levels 1.1 – 1.5                    Grade Four     Level 4

                Grade Two     Levels 2.1 – 2.2                     Grade Five      Level 5


    Students who are capable of completing more material than offered within these levels are challenged with enrichment reading and other activities that extend the content and skills of the basal program.


    Some students may not be able to read at the level indicated by their grade placement.  Provisions are made to teach reading to the student at his/her instructional level. 


    Report Card

    Although a variety of materials may be used to teach reading, a student’s reading level as indicated by the basal textbook will be designated on the report card.  A student who is reading above or below grade level may have an adjusted curriculum.  This is indicated by an asterisk (*) recorded on the report card beside the reading grade.  It is possible for a student to be reading below grade level and demonstrate satisfactory performance at that level.  The comment portion of the report card may provide more specific information about the student’s reading performance.


    In grades one and two, the teacher will mark areas where the child is reading:  emergent, beginning, developing or independent.



    Writing Development

    Learning to write is a developmental process.   Children pass through the various stages of writing in a variety of ways and at different ages.  Children do not always move sequentially through the stages but may move back and forth between the stages or may exhibit traits of more than one stage simultaneously.  Teachers design instruction to support each stage and to move students to the next stage of learning to write.



    The Stages of the Reading and Writing Programs for grades one and two are detailed below. 


    GRADES 1 AND 2




    Emergent Reader:  The student enjoys being read to, uses pictures to retell a story, and demonstrates an understanding that print is read from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom of the page.  The student is able to identify all letters of the alphabet.


    Beginning Reader:  The student identifies beginning and ending sounds of words, the beginning and end of a sentence, recognizes the difference between a letter and a word, points to each word as it is read (tracking), uses picture clues to predict what will happen in the story and is able to retell a story.


    Developing Reader:  The student uses phonics and context clues to decode (read) words, is developing a sight vocabulary, self-corrects when reading orally, is able to retell a story in the correct sequence, reads picture books with text, and is beginning to read unfamiliar text that has not been taught.


    Independent Reader:  The student reads stories by himself/herself without adult assistance or instruction using word analysis skills and context clues to identify unknown words.  Fluent oral reading, strong comprehension and accurate interpretation of text are also observable.  The student reads for different purposes.













    Emergent Writer:  The student imitates writing by drawing pictures or scribbling.  The scribbles are random, and the writer may use circles, shapes, squiggles, or more controlled lines to write.



    Beginning Writer:  The student begins to make the connection that written symbols tell stories, knows that print goes from left to right and from top to bottom, begins to dictate a complete sentence in direct relationship to a picture, uses high frequency words, and copies words from the environment.


    Developing Writer:  The student begins to express thoughts in short, simple, complete sentences, uses capitalization and punctuation, spells words phonetically; and has structure to writing, including a beginning, middle, and an end.


    Independent Writer:  The student composes and records thoughts and ideas using the conventions of written expression.  The writer exhibits more attention to organization, word choice, sentence structure, conventional spelling, and editing.





Last Modified on October 25, 2007