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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

Have a list of words for students to read that focuses on specific blends. Record the number of words they read correctly and use the following scoring guide:

Mastery—80%+ correct
Approaching—60%–79% correct
ntervention Needed—50% or less correct


  • Initial consonant blends: r-blends (br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr), l-blends (bl, fl, gl, pl, sl), s-blends (sc, sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw), tw, qu
  • Final consonant blends: double consonants (ff, ll, ss, zz), or st, sk, sp, nd, nt, nk, mp, rd, ld, lp, rk, lt, lf, pt, ft, ct
  • Digraphs: sh, ch, th, ph, wh (initial and final)
  • Trigraphs: spl, scr, shr, squ, thr, sch, spr
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 sounds to form words. Decoding applies to reading words, not comprehending word meaning.
A digraph is a two-letter combination (e.g., th, sh, ch, ph, wh, qu) that stands for a single phoneme in which neither letter represents its usual sound.
a sequence of two or three consonant sounds that are clustered together at the end of a word where all consonants are heard (e.g., st- in fast)
the joining of two or more consonant sounds, represented by letters, that begin a word without losing the identity of the consonant sounds (e.g., /cl/ in clip)
Phonetic knowledge is the understanding of sound-symbol relationships and spelling patterns.
A trigraph is a three-letter combination that represents one phoneme (e.g. -tch, -dge, -spr, -squ). These are also known as consonant clusters.


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.