Elementary Literacy
Elementary Literacy

Elementary literacy instruction engages students in reading stories and literature along with more texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas including science and social studies. They read challenging texts and engage in questions that will require them to refer back to what they have read through writing and speaking. There is also an increased emphasis on building a strong vocabulary so that students can read and understand challenging material. Explicit instruction of foundational reading skills is critical in grades K-2 and begins with phonological awareness, a clear sequence of phonics patterns, providing direct instruction with adequate student practice, and making use of weekly assessments and target supports.

EL Education

EL Education is a curriculum written by and for teachers with emphasis placed on active learning and student engagement. Classrooms are structured with highly collaborative activities that allow students to engage in academic conversations and investigations of compelling, real-world content. EL Education aims to contribute to a student’s ability to be globally competitive and an active contributor in building a better world.

  • Taking Risks: Students stretch and grow their abilities by engaging with difficult texts and opening up to feedback from others by sharing their thinking. They surprise themselves with the levels they’re able to achieve.

  • Loving Books: Students get hooked on what they’re reading and ask for more. The content is interesting, relevant, and fun. There are no textbooks or anthologies, only original texts.

  • Working Together: The curriculum makes room for students to collaborate in pairs, small groups, or as an entire class. Students with different proficiency levels and abilities have opportunities to work together on the same content and learn from one another.

  • Owning Standards: Students take ownership of their learning and can tell you their learning targets for each module. They know their jobs as learners and have plans to meet their goals.

  • Using Expert Vocabulary: Students can use expert-level academic and subject-specific vocabulary in discussions and writing about compelling topics.

  • Citing Evidence: Students refer to specific examples from the texts they’re reading to make a strong case for their positions in writing and discussion.

  • Iterating: Students consistently give and receive feedback and revise their work to bring it to a higher standard of excellence.

  • Thinking Critically: Students engage in original research and deep interdisciplinary investigations of rich academic topics. They develop habits of inquiry, analysis, critical thinking, and craftsmanship.

  • Presenting: Students proudly present high-quality learning products to peers, teachers and others beyond the classroom, knowing that their school work can have a positive impact on the world.



Reading Foundations Skills Block

In K-2, one component of the curriculum is the EL Education Reading Foundations Skills Block. This curriculum includes an approach to teaching the fundamentals of reading that is called structured phonics. Structured phonics teaches the letters, sounds, phonological awareness skills*, and spelling patterns* of English in a logical and research-based sequence. The Skills Block is closely aligned with the Orton Gillingam sequence of teaching spelling patterns and skills, with some exceptions based on design decisions and alignment with state standards.

The Reading Foundations Skills Block places students into phases of reading development, developed by Dr. Linnea Ehri, a leading expert in the science of reading.   Schools will administer a benchmark assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of the year to place students into a reading phase.  Teachers will provide learning opportunities to meet the needs of students based on their phase.


Partial Alphabetic

Full Alphabetic

Consolidated Alphabetic

Students are not yet understanding how letters and groups of letters that often appear together represent the sounds of spoken language. 

Students may recognize some letters (e.g., letters in own name) and environmental print (e.g., “Stop” on stop sign).

Students are partially understanding how letters and groups of letters that often appear together represent the sounds of spoken language 

Students are beginning to read and spell CVC* and VC* words, but frequently confuse vowels and vowel sounds.

Students are fully understanding letters and groups of letters that often appear together and represent the sounds of spoken language

Students are able to read and spell all regularly spelled, one-syllable words and some words with multiple syllables.

Students are using knowledge of syllable types to read and spell words with multiple syllables.  


EL Education Family Communication

EL Education Family Letters provide an overview of each module and unit. They are available in English and Spanish as well as in digital and print format. 

The K-2 Skills Block Family Letters provide an overview of reading foundational skills for each grade level.

Contact Information


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade K

Email: kendran.alston@cms.k12.nc.us


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade 1

Email: courtneyb.stallmann@cms.k12.nc.us


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade 2

Email: barbara.truette@cms.k12.nc.us


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade 3

Email: teresal.broughton@cms.k12.nc.us


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade 4

Email: darla.barker@cms.k12.nc.us


Elementary Literacy Specialist, Grade 5

Email: danielle.lange@cms.k12.nc.us

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
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