Skip to main content
elementary teacher in lively conversation with students who have hands raised

Curriculum and Instruction

Find Good Schools and Good Teachers

It’s important to recognize what good schools look like. The quality of your child’s school has a huge impact on his or her learning.

Good schools and good teachers do the following:

  • Conduct ongoing assessments to determine whether students are making progress
  • Change students’ reading group placements during the year based on the ongoing assessment results
  • Teach phonemic awareness and phonics in small groups
  • Use a variety of teaching methods to keep children motivated and excited
  • Use a variety of interventions to ensure that all children succeed

The teaching of reading in particular requires skilled and caring teachers who know how to deliver research-based reading instruction. Talk with your child’s teacher and ask two important questions:

  1. Do you provide explicit instruction to the students?
  2. Is your instruction based on a recent assessment?

Then observe a reading lesson. A good lesson will focus on one or more of these elements:

  • Phonemic awareness

    Are the students playing games with the sounds in spoken words? For example, “Sun, sock, and sand all start with s. What is another word that begins with that sound?”

  • Phonics

    Do small groups of students work with letters and sounds? Do you see reading materials that contain the letters and sounds they’re studying?

  • Fluency

    Once kids begin to read books, are they reading and rereading familiar books and poems? Does the teacher listen to the students read aloud?

  • Vocabulary

    Are the students talking with each other and the teacher? Does the teacher share interesting words?

  • Comprehension

    Does the teacher teach strategies to help kids understand what they read? Are students encouraged to ask and answer questions about what they’ve read?

You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact [email protected].