Reading 688

EDRD 688: Foundations of Literacy Instruction

Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of Graduate Coordinator

Credit Hours: (3)

This course is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge of the developmental stages of literacy development, as well as important seminal research within each stage.  Students will also gain knowledge of developmentally appropriate, research-based instructional strategies for each stage of reading development.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course explores the characteristics and a wide-range of research-based instructional practices, approaches and methods, including technology-based practices, for learners at differing stages of literacy development. 

Major topics addressed within the course include:

·         Emergent Stage of Literacy Development - characteristics

·         Beginning Stage of Literacy Development - characteristics

·         Transitional Stage of Reading Development - characteristics

·         Advanced Stage of Reading Development -- characteristics

·         Reading readiness

·         Concept of Word and Concepts of Print

·         Phonemic and phonological Awareness

·          Basic principles of word study instruction for each stage of development:  onsets and rimes, consonant blends/digraphs, short and long vowel patterns, diphthongs, syllables, inflections, affixes, morphemes.

·         Fluency instruction across the stages of literacy development

·         Comprehension strategies across the stages of literacy development

·         Role of oral & silent reading

·         Role of motivation and engagement in literacy development

·         Social, physical and psychological facets of literacy development

·         Word attack skills

·         Reading / Writing Connection

·         Selecting appropriate texts for each stage of reading development


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will involve a lecture format with class discussion, audio/visual presentations, guest speakers, role-playing, hands-on activities and action assignments. Students will develop and implement reading lessons with students in various stages of reading development and engage in professional readings addressing pertinent issues in the field of reading. 


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standards 1b Professional Content Knowledge and 1g Professional Dispositions.

The objectives and corresponding codes included below refer to the Virginia Department of Education Standards for Reading Specialists (VRS), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the International Reading Association Standards for Reading Professionals (IRA). 

Having successfully completed this course, the student will:

  • Demonstrate expertise in developing students’ phonological awareness skills. (VRS 2b; NAEYC 4b)
  • Demonstrate expertise in explicit phonics instruction, including an  understanding of sound/symbol relationships, syllables, phonemes, morphemes, decoding skills, and word attack skills (VRS 3a; IRA 1.4, IRA 2.2; NAEYC 4b)
  • Demonstrate the ability to promote creative thinking and expression, as through storytelling, drama, choral/oral reading, etc. (VRS 2e)
  • Demonstrate expertise in the morphology of English including inflections, prefixes, suffixes, roots, and word relationships. (VRS 3b)
  • Demonstrate expertise in reading comprehension strategies, including a repertoire of questioning strategies, understanding the dimensions of word meanings, teaching predicting, summarizing, clarifying, and associating the unknown with what is known. (VRS 3e)
  • Demonstrate expertise in the ability to teach strategies in literal, interpretive, critical, and evaluative comprehension (VRS 3f)
  • Recognize how to use a variety of comprehension strategies (e.g., linking information in the text to previously learned knowledge, identifying key words and conepts, questioning, paraphrasing, summarizing) to clarify understanding of a text.  (VRS 3e, VRS 3g)
  • Identify instructional strategies (e.g., summarizing, using graphic organizers) to help students distinguish main ideas and supporting details in a nonfiction text and identify the author's purpose). (VRS 3g)
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of instructional strategies to promote students' comprehension by helping them identify logical organization and recognize structural patterns. (IRA 4.1)
  • Demonstrate the ability to foster appreciation of a variety of literature (VRS 3h)
  • Understand the importance of promoting independent reading and reading reflectively by selecting quality literature, including fiction and nonfiction, at appropriate reading levels (VRS 3i)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of  systematic spelling instruction, including awareness of the purpose and limitations of “invented spelling,” the orthographic patterns, and strategies for promoting generalization of spelling study to writing (VRS 4b)
  • Demonstrate expertise in their use of technology for both process and product as they work to guide students with reading, writing, and research (VRS 5; IRA 2.2)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the needs of high achieving students and of strategies to challenge them at appropriate levels (VRS 6b)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current research and exemplary practices in English/reading.  (VRS 6j; NAEYC 4c)
  • Understand the integrated relationship of physical, psychological and social/cultural factors as they influence reading (IRA 1.1; IRA 4.1)
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the role and importance of automatic word recognition (e.g., automatic recognition of high-frequency irregular sight words in connected text) and reading fluency (i.e., the ability to read aloud accurately at an appropriate rate and with appropriate expression). (IRA 1.4)
  • Identify instructional strategies for promoting development of students' reading fluency (e.g., oral reading and rereading of texts written at each student's independent reading level).  (IRA 1.4; NAEYC 4b)
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the linguistic, sociological, cultural, cognitive, and psychological bases of the reading process and how they influence students' reading comprehension (e.g., vocabulary knowledge, prior knowledge and experience, fluency, interest, motivation). (IRA 1.1; NAEYC 4c)
  • Understand the role of motivation and engagement on reading development, particularly reading comprehension (IRA 1.4, IRA 4.1, 4.4)
  • Identify ways to promote independent reading and family and community involvement in literacy activities. (IRA 4.3, 4.4, NAEYC 2)


Assessment Measures

1.      Personal Literacy Autobiography 

2.      Action Research Assignment 

3.      Basic Skills Competency Exam (*key NCATE assessment)


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

May 1995        Reviewed Dr. Robert Lockwood

October 2008    Course title change, course revision Don Langrehr/Jennifer Jones