A Year in Foundational Literacy – Episode 5 - KIPP Nashville

A Year in Foundational Literacy – Episode 5

With just five weeks left until the end of this school year, our kindergarten teachers are making the most of every second.

“These last five weeks is not where school gets chill, it’s where we dig in even deeper,” says Mrs. Quach.

At the end of year, students will be tested on a variety of foundational skills, including: letter sounds and letter names, being able to decode and read words, and how many high frequency words they can read in a minute (high frequency means words you’d most often see in a text).

“We are still progress monitoring every two weeks and looking at data every day, making adjustments moving from group to group to better serve the kids we have,” says Ms. Tipton. “We are still hitting it hard, no breaks right now.”

After spring break, all three teachers say they’ve seen a shift in their classes. Certain skills that had been tricky for students to master, like phonemic segmentation, are now clicking.

“It’s kind of crazy, because it just clicked,” explains Ms. Tipton. “I remember one Friday being like ‘What do I need to do?’ Then, I came in that Monday and I was like let’s try it, put a passage in front of them, and I was like ‘Oh, you’re ready!’ So now it’s like taking the risk, putting it in front of them, and just working through it.”

Mr. Jones adds, “It’s a beautiful thing to see kids get this at a very young age.”

In Mrs. Quach and Mr. Jones’ class, they’ve seen a shift in the number of students testing below grade level, to a majority now approaching.

“And a lot are approaching that goal by literally one, two or three points, which is a good place to be in,” explains Mrs. Quach.

In addition to reviewing the foundational skills their students have already learned, Mr. Jones says they’re continuing to add on with new concepts.

“We’re still doing the foundational things, but we’re also introducing ending sounds,” says Mr. Jones. “And we’re introducing the importance of vowels and how they are they different from the other letters.”

Ms. Tipton says, “I’m most proud that students are serious. They want to do a good job. When I see them reading, their eyes light up, they’re excited to read. I feel like that’s something that I haven’t always seen. Kids are proud, and I want them to continue that, I want them to value education and enjoy learning and that’s what I’m seeing now.”