beginning reading writing teks talk image

Knowledge and Skills Statement

Developing and sustaining foundational language skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking--beginning reading and writing. The student develops word structure knowledge through phonological awareness, print concepts, phonics, and morphology to communicate, decode, and spell.

Use a decoding inventory assessment. Ask students to read a list of words. The list of words can include VCV words, VCCV words, VCCCV words, or a combination of the three. Record the number of words they read correctly for each category and use the following scoring guide:

Mastery—80%+ correct
Approaching—60%–79% correct
Intervention Needed—59% or less correct


  • VCV: camel (cam/el), final (fi/nal), flavor (fla/vor), planet (plan/et), fever (fe/ver), money (mon/ey), moment (mo/ment), finish (fin/ish), behind (be/hind), palace (pal/ace), razor (ra/zor), female (fe/male), lemon (lem/on), salad (sal/ad), model (mod/el)
  • VCCV: absent (ab/sent), bandit (ban/dit), forget (for/get), insect (in/sect), helmet (hel/met), window (win/dow), plastic (plas/tic), spelling (spel/ling), getting (get/ting), plotted (plot/ted), pencil (pen/cil), contest (con/test), velvet (vel/vet), picnic (pic/nic)
  • VCCCV: hilltop (hill/top), hundred (hun/dred), dolphin (dol/phin), constant (con/stant), kitchen (kit/chen), chalkboard (chalk/board), children (chil/dren), partner (part/ner), hamster (ham/ster), reckless (reck/less)
Decoding is the process of translating written speech into verbal speech sounds by applying knowledge of letter-sound correspondences. It is the ability to recognize letters, apply their associated sounds, and blend the sounds to form words. Decoding applies to reading words, not comprehending word meaning.
Phonetic knowledge is the understanding of sound-symbol relationships and spelling patterns.

Understanding word structure for reading, vocabulary, and spelling requires knowing syllable patterns. Students should understand a new word by sounding it out, breaking longer words into segments if necessary, supplying accents, and relating familiar word parts to meaning when possible. The syllable division patterns students should be working on are VCCV, VCV, and VCCCV. Some examples of words include the following:

VCV - camel (cam/el), final (fi/nal), flavor (fla/vor)
VCCV - absent (ab/sent), bandit (ban/dit), forget (for/get)
VCCCV - hilltop (hill/top), hundred (hun/dred), dolphin (dol/phin)


1. International Literacy Association. (2018). Explaining phonics instruction: An educator’s guide [Literacy leadership brief]. Newark, DE: Author. Retrieved from

Summary: In this guide from the International Literacy Association, answers to the questions following questions are explored: (1) What is phonics?; (2) When are students ready to learn phonics?; and (3) How is phonics taught? 

2. What Works Clearinghouse. (n.d.). Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade: practice guide summary. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Science. Retrieved from

Summary: This practice guide provides four recommendations for teaching foundational reading skills to students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common obstacles. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared towards teachers, administrators, and other educators who want to improve their students’ foundational reading skills.