If you’re ready to dive into a science of reading (SoR) aligned curriculum and trying to figure out how to structure your literacy block this is the post for you. A daily science of reading schedule will vary based on student needs and age. This sample schedule is based on a 90-minute literacy block. If you have more time in your ELA block, awesome! More time for valuable reading instruction is always a good thing, in my book.
Components of a SoR-Aligned Schedule
When planning a science of reading schedule it’s important to note that there’s a lot of flexibility and just because you see someone else’s schedule online doesn’t mean yours has to match exactly. Everyone’s school schedule is different and every class has different needs. As long as you’re including the big components of SoR, you’re golden! Remember, if this is something new for you, there’s a learning curve. Especially, if you’ve been using a non-SoR curriculum previously. Give yourself grace while you adjust to new curriculum and structure. The important thing to keep in mind is to set up a literacy schedule so the following SoR components are represented:
Set Yourself Up For Success
Right off the bat, make sure you know where those learning gaps are. You need to know what to target in order to make sure your reading instruction is as effective as possible. If you haven’t had a chance to screen your students take a look at the variety of screeners in the Small Group and Intervention Literacy Kit. Take the data gathered from your screeners to tailor your instruction to student needs.
Let’s Make A Schedule
Here’s a very basic structure and then we can dive into details for each section of the schedule.
Let’s break these four down with a little more detail.
PHONOLOGICAL & PHONEMIC AWARENESS in a Science of Reading Schedule
This section of your schedule is very dependent on where your students are. If your students are still struggling with rhyming and compound words, phonological awareness is where you need to be working. If your students are working on segmenting, blending, substitution, or phoneme deletion then that’s where this time should be spent. Don’t skip over it. These are important base skills. Suggested Lucky Little Learners resource: Phonological Awareness Toothy
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Phonological Awareness Toothy
PHONICS in a Science of Reading Schedule
Phonics is big. The most important thing is that phonics instruction be explicit & systematic. Hopefully, phonics instruction in your curriculum is SoR-aligned. If you’re not sure, The Reading League has a great curriculum evaluation tool.
The phonics portion of the day is mostly teacher-led. When we’re talking phonics this means decoding, encoding, and high-frequency words (heart words).
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Sound Wall & Phonics Posters
COMPREHENSION in a Science of Reading Schedule
Again, the reading abilities in your classroom play a big part in how this portion of your day is split up. If you have a larger population of emerging readers, class read alouds with comprehension activities might be appropriate. For independent and fluent readers, this is a great place for differentiated work. These 30 minutes can be broken into small chunks. For our age group, they probably should. For example:
- 5 minutes on print concepts (if that’s something your students need)
- 15-20 minutes on a specific comprehension skill using shared or close reading
- 10-15 minutes of vocabulary instruction
This is a great time of day to include cross-curricular nonfiction passages. They increase background knowledge and expand the vocabulary of our little learners.
Suggested Lucky Little Learners post: Reading Comprehension Strategies
FLUENCY in a Science of Reading Schedule
Fluency requires feedback. Our students need to hear us say, “remember, our reading should sound like talking.” For students who are struggling with fluency, this part of your schedule might look like modeling, re-reading sentences, choral readings, and timed-repeated readings (the comprehension passages linked above have fluency trackers). For students who are more independent, readers try using strategies like choral reading, cloze reading, or partner reading.
Suggested Lucky Little Learners post: Top Classroom Fluency Strategies
Where do Literacy Centers & Science of Reading Small Groups Fit In?
Now that we’ve talked about the basic components how does science of reading schedule work with centers and small groups? This is where you can make your reading schedule fit your class’s needs. Centers are a great way to hit all components.
Sample Schedule for Emergent Readers:
Let’s tailor the basic schedule above to a group of emergent readers.
Whole Group Phonological & Phonemic Awareness ~ 10 Minutes
For this example, my class is going to work on segmenting using Phonological Awareness Toothy. Every student will take out their own Toothy mat and we’ll play as a class.
Whole Group Comprehension Skill Instruction ~ 15 Minutes
This is where I will review a skill we’re working on like story elements. The Small Group and Intervention Literacy Kit has some great graphic organizers that would be a simple way to support learners working on story structure.
Small Groups & Centers ~ 45-60 Minutes
In this example, I’ll break my students into 3 groups based on skill deficits. Students stay with their group during this block of time. These groups are flexible and change often based on student growth, mastery, and new assessment data. My students will spend 15-20 minutes at each center.
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Small Group & Intervention Literacy Kit
Center 1 – Teacher Time
A small group will meet with me for phonics instruction that focuses on the needs I’ve identified during my literacy screening. In order for these small groups and centers to be successful students need to be able to work independently. While a group is working with me the rest of the class is working at one of the next two centers.
Center 2 – Comprehension
Another group will get some independent comprehension practice using the Story Elements “Puzzle It” center from the 1st Grade Literacy Centers. They’ll work in pairs or independently depending on the group. I want students to be able to do this work successfully without needing my constant attention. If your class can’t handle that yet, work on building their stamina to work independently and proving a lot of strategies they can use when they get stuck or frustrated.
Center 3 – Phonics, Writing, Grammar, Vocabulary
My last group will work on a mixture of hands-on phonics activities, writing, grammar, and vocabulary independently. In this example, my class will work on writing a fictional story using graphic organizers. The Lucky Little Toolkit has graphic organizers that are differentiated based on student ability.
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Fluency ~ 15-20 Minutes
To end my literacy block we’ll get in some fluency practice. Since the students in this example are emergent readers I’ll make sure I’m using decodable text and making use of repeated readings to help build fluency.
Science of Reading in the Classroom
If adding science of reading instruction into your classroom schedule feels overwhelming that’s okay! Focus on ensuring that you’re hitting the most important components. You’re doing amazing things for your students. If you need more specifics on how to use Lucky Little Learners in your science of reading classroom schedule check out Resources to Teach The Science of Reading Components.