Literacy Center - Schoolhouse Teachers

Literacy Center

Teach Your Child to Read in 101 Simple Steps

Reading is the building block of academic success! As parents and teachers, we want our students to be able to not only master reading, but also enjoy reading! The Literacy Center covers pre-reading and reading from a preschool-2nd grade level and reading comprehension through a 3rd-4th grade level. Please remember that every child will learn at his or her own pace, so please do not feel locked into these grade levels.

Download a printable version of the SchoolhouseTeachers.com Literacy Center.

Can’t get to the library? We have some downloadable books as well as online books for you to enjoy!

Downloadable books for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, an 4th grades

Trek’s Travels is a series of 12 early readers for PK/K that can be read by your child or read to your child (by you or the computer) as they follow along with the words. Teaching tools including vocab, discussion questions, and related games are included.

Welcome to Reading is a collection of 4 series of early readers for K-2nd grade. Each can be read by your child or read to your child (by you or the computer) as they follow along with the words. Printable foldable books, vocabulary, questions, and additional teaching ideas are included.

The Classics is a collection of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs for your little learners in PK-2nd grade to enjoy. Each can be read by your child or read to your child (by you or the computer) as they follow along with the words.

Consistent Strategies to Use with Students of All Ages

Read, Read, Read! Read aloud. Read picture books. Pre-readers can even “read” pictures. Read books above your child’s reading level to promote vocabulary development. “Bedtime reading” is a great time for novels above level. Also, model reading for your children. If they see that you enjoy reading, they will also value reading.

Everything requires reading! No matter what you are doing, reading is involved. Look for opportunities for print at the grocery store, at church, in the car, on billboards, while watching television, during dinner preparation, or while assembling a new tool or toy.

Ask questions. Basic questions are Who? What? When? Why? How? This will train your child to remember details.

Develop comprehension skills. Ask your child to tell you something he remembers from the reading. Ask for his favorite part. Have a discussion about the book or chapter.


Our Literacy Center is designed to help you determine where to begin reading instruction with your student. Read each statement. Continue reading until you reach a statement that is not true for your student. You will find links, techniques, and/or strategies to guide your instruction under each statement. You can also find some helpful tips for creating a literary environment in Teaching Reading Through Play: Week Four and tips for when to correct an error in Teaching Reading Through Play: Week Thirty-Three.

  • I can hold a book correctly.
    • Modeling is the key in this step. Point out the cover of the book. Spend some time looking at the picture. When turning pages, verbalize that it’s time to turn the page so the student begins to understand that the story will continue as long as there are words and pictures.
  • I can demonstrate that reading occurs from left to right and top to bottom.
    • When you are reading picture books aloud, point to your starting word (usually on the left of a page) on each page. It will help train the eyes to look in the correct spot. Sometimes, continue to guide your finger across the page. It is not necessary to point to each word all the time, as that will affect reading fluency.
  • I can name all lowercase letters in random order.
    • Simply being able to sing the “ABC song” is not good enough when learning to read! It is important for children to be able to recognize the letters in random order. Different fonts are also important. For example, some fonts are different for letters a, g, and q. Children should be able to recognize at least one of these, but also be aware of the variation.
    • Literacy Center Letter Identification Assessment
    • Teaching Reading through Play – Week One Mommy Letters and Baby Letters
  • I can name all uppercase letters in random order.
  • I can produce all letter sounds in isolation, in random order.
  • I can identify beginning sounds of words.
    • Identifying the beginning sound is an early step to being able to read three letter words. Remember, /uh/ does not follow isolated sounds! For example, a picture of a duck should have the beginning sound of /d/, not /duh/.
      • Teaching ideas:
    • Gather some picture cards. Name the picture on the card then ask the student what sound she hears first.
    • Play a matching game. Use your picture cards and magnetic letters on a cookie sheet. The student must place the letter of the beginning sound to hold the card to the cookie sheet.
    • Reading Remedies: Phonics, Week 1
    • Beginning Handwriting: Lessons 1-27
  • I can identify ending sounds of words.
    • Identifying the ending sound is an early step to being able to read three letter words. Remember, /uh/ does not follow isolated sounds! For example, a picture of a cat should have the ending sound of /t/, not /tuh/.
      • Teaching ideas:
    • Gather some picture cards. Name the picture on the card, then ask the student what sound he hears last.
    • Play a fine motor clip game. Use your picture cards and clothespins with letters written on them. The student must clip the letter of the ending sound to the card.
    • Reading Remedies: Phonics, Week 2
  • I can identify sounds in the middle of words.
    • This skill focuses on short vowels. If you have an alphabet with pictures, the short vowel is usually used. If you do not have an alphabet chart, it is advisable to make one especially for the vowels to help the student remember the sound. Some easy pictures to find would be apple (a), elephant (e), insect (i), octopus (o), and umbrella (u).
      • Teaching ideas:
    • Write some short vowel words on cards. Read the cards. Ask your student to find the middle sound, highlight it, then say it.
    • Play a matching game. Use your picture cards and magnetic letters on a cookie sheet. The student must place the letter of the middle sound to hold the card to the cookie sheet.
    • Play a fine motor clip game. Use your picture cards and clothespins with vowels written on them. The student must clip the letter of the middle sound to the card. A variation of this would be to place three clips on each card. The student has to choose which clip is the middle sound.
    • Watch: Big Ideas-Short Vowel Sounds
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Read and Rhyme Bump Short a Words (Aug, 2015)
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Roll and Write Short Vowels (Sept, 2015)
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Cover a Word Short u Words (Mar, 2016)
    • Reading Remedies: Phonics, Week 3
    • Reading Remedies: Phonics, Week 4
  • I can segment and decode (sound out) CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. Examples include hat, bet, fog,kid, hum.
    • A beginning reader would segment the individual sounds /h/, /a/, /t/ and then blend the sounds together to say “hat.” It is acceptable to segment repeatedly until the reader can blend quickly to form the word. Use your finger or a pointer to physically point to each letter in the word as you decode. To build fluency, slide your finger under the word to achieve the blending quicker.
    • Teaching Reading through Play – Week Seven: Combining Sounds into Words
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: CVC Words – choose as many as you like
  • I can read age-appropriate sight words in random order.
  • I can produce words in a given word family.
  • I can match words and sentences to pictures.
  • I can identify rhyming words.
    • Rhyming words end with the same sounds. It is also beneficial to ask whether words rhyme and give some pairs that do not rhyme. This will help the child discern a rhyme pattern.
      • Teaching idea:
    • A great way to review and practice rhyming and non-rhyming words is in the car! As you are driving, tell your child you are going to name two words. Your child needs to say, “Rhymes” or “Doesn’t rhyme.” To begin the game, you may say, “Cat and bat.” Your child would say, “Rhymes.” Next say, “Dog and bear.” Your child would say, “Doesn’t rhyme.” It’s an easy way to practice that keeps your child engaged and thinking while they are not in the school setting!
    • A variation on the game would be to name a word that rhymes with or doesn’t rhyme with a given word. To begin this game, you would say, “Rhymes with pet.” Your child may say, “Bet.” Next, you could say, “Doesn’t rhyme with door.” Your child may say, “Car.” It is always fun to let your child “be the leader” of the game, too, and make you guess words! That is still learning because they have to decide if you are correct!
    • Watch: Big Ideas-Rhyming
    • Teaching Reading through Play – Week Six: Listening for and Playing with Rhymes
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Rhyming – choose as many as you like
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Rhyming Word Hunt ar Words (Oct, 2013)
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Race and Rhyme with Bear (Dec, 2013)
    • Everyday Games with Teresa Evans: Misc. Reading – Snowman Find a Rhyme Long a Words (Jan, 2014)
  • I can retell a story. (comprehension skill)
    • Retelling is another word for summarizing. Questioning is a key component to teaching students to formulate a response to a story. Stories can include picture books, chapters from novels, Sunday School lessons, or even cartoons!
      • Some questions to ask are:
    • Who is the story about?
    • Where did the story take place?
    • What happened first? Next? Last?
    • What did the main character learn in the story?
  • I can sequence events from a story. (comprehension skill)
    • Sequencing events includes ordering happenings within a story.
      • Teaching ideas:
    • Draw your favorite events from the story on three index cards. Place the index cards in the correct order.
    • Asking questions such as “Which came first? Goldilocks ate porridge, or Goldilocks sat in the chairs?”
    • There are also many online printables that are cut-and-paste activities to practice sequencing.
  • I can identify the parts of a sentence: capital letter and end mark.
    • As students see printed sentences, they should begin to notice that all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a special mark. This will aid in fluency later as the student begins to pause at the end of a sentence. Making students aware of the ending of one sentence and the beginning of another will help master the skill.
  • I can identify short and long vowels.
  • I can identify and produce sounds of blends (two letters that make one sound). Examples include /th/, /sh/, /wh/, /ch/, /ph/, /wr/, and /kn/.
  • I can read one syllable words.
  • I can divide words into syllables.
    • Often the place of division can be heard within the word. A common method of finding syllables is clapping while saying the word. For example, the word cupcake has two syllables. Clapping once while saying “cup” and again while saying “cake” shows that the syllable division occurs between the cup and cake.
    • Watch: Big Ideas-Syllables
    • Reading Remedies: Phonics Review Week 7
  • I can read age-appropriate sight words in random order.
  • I can read -r controlled vowel words.
  • I can read words with inflectional endings.
  • I can read nonsense words.
  • I can read symbols and logos.
  • I can see myself as a reader.
  • I can practice my reading skills while listening to songs, shopping, playing, or traveling in the car.
  • I can read with more confidence than I used to.
  • I can decode unknown words.
  • I can identify “key words” in a sentence or passage.
    • This refers to being able to select the important words in text that aid in comprehension.  This skill can be practiced through simple questioning such as asking, “Which words in this passage help you understand what the story is about?”
  • I can read “first grade” level text with fluency, accuracy, and with appropriate expression. There are free reading books included in our Grade Level Readers as well as suggested booklists.
    • Fluency means reading at an appropriate rate of speed. Accuracy means getting the words correct, without substituting. Appropriate expression at this stage means pausing at punctuation.
    • Teaching Reading through Play – Week Thirty-Two: Strategies and Games for Building Reading Fluency
  • I can count syllables.
  • I can alphabetize a list of words by the first letter.
  • I can identify and use contractions (such as aren’t, wasn’t, isn’t, and I’m) and convert them to their longer forms.
  • I can determine when a word has been misread or when text is not understood.
    • This is a “self-correct” skill, meaning that after calling the incorrect word, the student realizes the mistake, then rereads the sentence or phrase correctly.
  • I can predict what will happen next in the text. (comprehension skill)
    • Prediction involves using what you know or have learned from the text to determine what will be next. This does not have to be an accurate prediction, only reasonable based on the text.
  • I can read words with common “vowel teams.” Examples would include words with ai, igh, ou, ow, ee, oo, ue, oi, oy.
  • I can decode words with common prefixes and suffixes. Examples of prefixes would include re-, un- mis-, de-. Examples of suffixes would include -s, -er, -ed, -ing, -ly.
  • I can use context clues to aid in understanding unfamiliar words.
    • When a good reader encounters an unknown word, the reader looks to the rest of the sentence to identify the meaning. For example, in the sentence, “When sprayed with water, our cat sprints away,” picture a cat getting sprayed with water. What will happen? It will run quickly away. Sprints means runs quickly.
  • I can decode and define words with Latin-based suffixes. These suffixes would include -able, -ible, -ation.
  • I can read “second grade” level text with accuracy, fluency, and appropriate expression. There are free reading books included in our Grade Level Readers as well as suggested book lists.
    • Fluency means reading at an appropriate rate of speed. Accuracy means getting the words correct, without substituting. Appropriate expression at this stage means pausing at punctuation.
  • I can alphabetize a list of words by the second and third letter.
  • I can see myself as a writer.
  • I can identify and understand synonyms.
  • I can identify and understand antonyms.
  • I can identify and understand homonyms.
  • I can identify and understand homophones.
  • I can identify and understand compound words.
  • I can use synonyms, antonyms, and other words to build my vocabulary.
  • I can recognize common abbreviations and understand their meaning.

Comprehension Skills

  • These are essential skills for a reader to be able to effectively understand the content of a passage of any genre. Skills should be taught after basic phonetic skills have been mastered.
  • You’ll find some fun comprehension games in the World Book Early World of Learning library. You can play Put the Story in Order (PK-1st), Story Concentration (PK-K), and Story Multiple Choice (1st).
    • I can identify the main idea and details of a passage.
    • I can predict the outcome of a scene or story.
    • I can answer questions about the story.
    • I can place the events of the story in the proper sequence.
    • I can identify events, characters, and the setting of a story.
    • I can differentiate between reality and fantasy.
      • Reality could happen. Perhaps it isn’t happening now, such as stories about life on the frontier. However, it is possible to occur. Fantasy is make believe.
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • I can draw conclusions based on the text.
      • Sometimes, this is confused with making generalizations. Reading a text and determining an opinion about the event described is drawing conclusions.
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 9
    • I can determine cause and effect from a given text.
      • Cause is the reason something happened, and effect is what happened due to the reason. For example, Sally’s shoes were untied, and she tripped. The cause is that her shoes were untied, while the effect is that she tripped.
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 6
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • I can compare and contrast two elements of the story.
    • I can identify the main characters of the story, describe some of their character traits, and identify their motives.
    • I can answer questions such as Who? What? Where? When? and Why? about what I have read.
    • I can answer true/false questions about what I have read.
    • I can summarize the text.
      • Summarizing text is giving the main events in the story. As the student gets older, summaries should be able to be condensed.
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 22
    • I know the meaning of plot and can identify it in what I have read.
    • I can identify the setting in a story.
    • I know the meaning of characters, hero, and heroine in the story and can identify them in what I have read.
    • I can differentiate between fact and opinion.
    • I can identify how the main character changes during the story.
    • I can determine the point of view of characters within the text.
      • Point of view is the narrator’s position in the story. The person who is telling the story will affect the amount of information given about certain characters or events.
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • I can identify the plot of the story.
    • I can identify the theme of a story.
    • I can visualize the text based on the author’s words.
      • Creating a picture in your mind is a powerful tool to aid in comprehension of the story. As students read more fluently, these pictures will become more developed.
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 8
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • I can identify figurative language.
      • Examples include imagery, similes, analogies, rhyme, rhythm, repetition, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, foreshadowing, idioms, personification, humor, and sarcasm.
      • Little Language Arts – Unit One (Lessons 1-5)
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 27 (Onomatopoeia)
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • I can find connections between a series of events, ideas, concepts, or steps in a text.
    • I can compare and contrast different versions of the same story.
    • I can take simple notes about what I am reading.
    • I can explain how different characters viewed the same events differently.
    • I can explain the differences between the author or character’s point of view and the reader’s.
    • I can understand how a character’s actions contribute to or advance the plot.
    • I can describe how parts of a story, poem, or drama build on other parts.
    • I can compare and contrast themes or ideas in two texts about the same subject or by the same author.
    • I can understand the difference between a biography and an autobiography.
    • I can alphabetize words to the third and fourth letter.
    • I can appreciate and recognize forms of poetry.
    • I can identify conflict in a story or poem.
    • I can identify foreshadowing in a story or poem.
    • I can identify idioms in a story or poem.
    • I can identify personification in a story or poem.
    • I can identify humor, sarcasm, and suspense in a story or poem.
    • After reading text, I can determine the author’s purpose.
      • Authors write text for four purposes: persuade, inform, entertain, explain. Each purpose has unique characteristics. Students should be able to identify what parts of the text were clues to the author’s purpose.
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section
    • While reading a passage, I can infer meaning from the text.
      • Inference is a skill that involves using your own knowledge added to the author’s text to determine meaning. Sometimes we can infer feelings of characters.
      • Little Language Arts – Lesson 7
    • I can use a graphic organizer to represent information in a story.
      • Graphic organizers include Venn Diagrams, various types of webs, KWL charts, concept maps, and character maps. You’ll find various printable templates in the World Book Student library.
    • I can take notes on a story and turn them into an outline.
    • I can identify the mood of a story.
    • I can recognize dialect in a story.
    • I can distinguish fact from fiction.
    • I can gather information from more than one source and can compare and contrast that information.
    • I can identify how the author’s background or motivation may influence how he/she presents the information.
    • I understand how words are divided into syllables, accent marks and shifts in accents, unstressed syllables, and syllable patterns.
      • These skills are covered in the New National Fourth Reader and McGuffey’s Fourth Eclectic Reader, which are both included in the Grade Level Readers.
    • I can identify the characteristics of a tall tale, legend, exaggeration, and folk tale.
    • I can identify the genre of a book.
      • Genres are categories of writing. Examples include biography, non-fiction, poetry, fantasy, realistic fiction, autobiography, folktale, fairy tale, historical fiction, mystery, and science fiction. To create well-rounded readers, exposure to a variety of genres is ideal.
      • Reading Comprehension Skills and Templates in the Unit Studies and More section

More Resources

Can’t get to the library? Try these grade level readers!

Help for struggling learners and students with special needs.

Additional literacy resources

*These readers have been reformatted and adapted for use in the Literacy Center. Please see details listed here for changes.