Guide for Reading and Word Study Levels on Elementary Report Cards in Grades 1-5
Emergent: Emergent readers are becoming aware of print as something that carries a
message; know some sounds and names of letters of the alphabet, are developing directional
movement (left to right, top to bottom, etc.); are establishing one to one correspondence by
finger pointing, locate some known words, use picture clues; begin to use pattern and repetition in text; use some letter sounds (beginning/ending); and respond to texts by linking meaning with their own experience. (Grades K and early first)
Beginning: Beginning readers have good control of early reading strategies such as
directionality, one-to-one word matching, and locating known words; rely less on picture and
more on information in print; are beginning to build their knowledge of high-frequency words that they know with automaticity; read familiar text with phrasing and fluency; notice and attend to punctuation in reading; use more than one source of information; are beginning to monitor their own reading and to self-correct; use phonetic clues to help them decode; and engage in some discussions about what is read. (Grades K and 1st Grade)
Transitional: Transitional readers use multiple sources of information (meaning, language
structure, visual information, etc.) and a variety of strategies to read; make predictions and
confirm or revise them when reading; monitor their reading for understanding; use familiar parts of words (beginning, middle, end) to help them read unknown words; know many high frequency words with automaticity; read punctuation marks appropriately; read most texts with phrasing and fluency; read a variety of longer and more complex texts; are becoming aware of story structure and literary language; engage in discussions about what is read, and identify details from text to support ideas. (Late First Grade and Second Grade)
Intermediate: Intermediate readers have good control of and use their reading strategies to
engage in reading more complex text; read with fluency and phrasing; know and use high
frequency words with automaticity; use their knowledge of word patterns and structure and
use context clues to read new, unfamiliar words; use a variety of decoding and comprehension strategies; engage in self-correction and self-monitoring; analyze details of text to identify key features; make connections across texts; and engage in in-depth discussions about what is read. (Third and Early Fourth Grades)
Advanced: Advanced readers have excellent control of and use of a variety of reading and
decoding strategies which they use with ease as they engage in new text; read to learn; share
extensively about their reading, making connections across texts; read with fluency, accuracy,
and expression; can skim text quickly to retrieve information and to infer; perform multiple
reading tasks simultaneously; and engage in in-depth discussions about what is read. (Late
Fourth and Fifth Grades)
Word Study Levels:
Emergent: The emergent level in word study focuses on developing oral language with concept sorts; playing with speech sounds to develop phonological awareness; learning the alphabet (aligned with speech development); sorting pictures by beginning sound; learning to finger point in memory readings such as rhymes, dictations, and simple pattern books; and engaging in invented spelling.
Letter Name: The letter name level in word study focuses on collecting known words for a
word bank; sorting picture and words by beginning sounds and later by different short vowel
word families, by short vowel sounds and CVC patterns; studying beginning consonant blends
and digraphs and continuing to examine more difficult consonant blends with pictures and words; studying features of the ends of words; sorting pictures to compare long and short vowel sounds; and developing spelling skills.
Within Word: The within word level in word study focuses on sorting words by long and short
vowel patterns and by common long vowel patterns; comparing words with r-influenced vowels; exploring less common vowels, diphthongs (oi, oy), and other ambiguous vowels (ou, au, ow, oo), examining triple blends and complex consonant units such as thre, str, dge, tch, ck; and exploring homographs and homophones.
Syllables and Affixes: The syllables and affixes level of word study focuses on examining
plural endings; studying compound words; studying consonant doubling and inflectional
endings; studying open and closed syllables and other syllable juncture issues; exploring
syllable stress and vowel patterns in the accented syllable, especially ambiguous vowels;
recognizing unaccented syllables such as er and le; exploring unusual consonant blends and
digraphs (qu, ph, gh, gu); studying base words and affixes; learning two-syllable homophones
and homographs; linking meaning and spelling with grammar and meaning; exploring grammar through word study; sorting and studying common affixes (prefixes and suffixes); and studying stress or accent in two-syllable words.
Derivational: The derivational level of word study focuses on words that students bring to word study from their reading and writing; joining spelling and vocabulary studies; linking meaning and spelling with grammar and meaning; examining common and then less common roots, prefixes, and suffixes; examining vowel and consonant alternations in derivationally related pairs; studying Greek and Latin word roots and stems, and abstract Latin suffixes (ence/ance; ible/able; ent/ant); learning about absorbed or assimilated prefixes; exploring etymology especially in content areas, and examining content related foreign borrowing.