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Literacy Instructional Framework

Winnetka Public Schools K-8 Common Understandings:

  • Teachers use the District’s literacy framework to provide students with lifelong skills and motivation to become fluent, effective, and purposeful readers, writers, and communicators.
  • Instruction includes thoughtful integration of reading, writing, and oral language.
  • Teachers use a variety of ongoing formative assessments to inform instruction and measure student growth.  Formative assessments include, but are not limited to, teacher-student conferences, observations, anecdotal records, various writing samples (including on demand), and reading inventories.
  • Reflection plays an instrumental role in learning, allowing students to develop ownership of their progress, process, and performance as learners.  In cultivating self-reflection and critique, we develop purposeful, insightful, and intrinsically motivated readers and writers.   
  • At each grade level, developmentally appropriate instruction is thoughtfully scaffolded to allow students to become independent readers and writers.
  • Teachers understand the broad context of skill and knowledge development, with a particular focus on the grades preceding and following their own.


Best practices in a comprehensive literacy program


Foundational Skills & Language Knowledge

Students learn foundational reading skills, grammar and conventions, and word knowledge through both direct and embedded instruction in ELA and across the curriculum. Depending on the grade level, the teacher provides direct instruction in the following key areas:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonological awareness
  • Phonics
  • Word attack skills
  • Spelling

Additional instruction in language craft and vocabulary development focuses on the use of these skills in reading, writing and speaking, and is embedded through literacy and content learning across the curriculum.


Oral Language: Listening & Speaking

Students develop speaking and listening skills to help them participate in conversations with others. They evaluate a speaker’s perspective and reasoning. 

Students use a variety of media to develop effective oral presentation skills that suit the purpose, context, and audience.  In addition, students evaluate and integrate information presented in diverse media.