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K-5 Literacy

At Chisago Lakes School district, we are deeply committed to the mission, “Learning for All.” This includes equipping every child with the ability to read. For the last three years, over 100 teachers and administrators have been participating in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) by Dr. Louisa Moats and Dr. Carol Tolman. This intense training provides teachers with the most effective instructional practices that are aligned with the science of reading. 

At the heart of all of the research is the simple view of reading by Gough and Tunnar. Skilled reading comprehension is the product of word recognition and language comprehension. 

Word Recognition + Language Comprehension = Reading Comprehension


Decades of research have determined that reading does not occur naturally the way that speech does. The process has to be explicitly taught. The brain must link the sounds of speech to written symbols (letters). Over time, as the brain continuously links the sound with the image, it stores the word in the brain’s “letterbox” for later retrieval, which is instantaneous and effortless. This translates into fluent reading and subsequent comprehension. This component is called word recognition. 

In addition, research has indicated that reading comprehension is closely connected to the background knowledge the reader has and understanding of vocabulary contained in the text. This is called language comprehension. This part of reading includes syntax, semantics, inferences, and genre. If students cannot comprehend spoken English, they cannot comprehend written English either. For example, I can decode the word “quinoa,” but if I don’t know what it is, I still can’t comprehend the sentence.

For the language comprehension block of reading, the district is using Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) curriculum. The new reading curriculum, CKLA, is content based with rich text. Students will be learning about social studies and science as they practice and refine their literacy skills. To look at the list of units of study, click on the grade level below.