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 that focuses on specific spelling patterns. 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


  • Closed syllables: comet, happy, pencil, silly, cap, after, kitten, dentist (when dividing syllables, vowels are surrounded by consonants, so you say the short vowel sound)
  • Open syllables: he, open, apron, student, baby, paper, music, robot (when dividing syllables, vowels are open so you say the long vowel sound)
  • VCe syllables: ade, ak, ale, ame, ane, ape, ate, ave, ide, ile, ine, ite, ive, oke, ose, ule, ube, ute, use
  • Vowel Digraphs: ee, ea, ey, ai, ay, ie, oa, oe, ue, ui
  • Vowel Dipthongs: aw, au, ew, oo, oi, oy, ow, ou
  • R-controlled syllables: ar, er, ir, or, ur
  • Final stable syllables: -le (ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, kle, ple, sle, tle, zle), -tion, -sion, -ture, -age


A closed syllable is a syllable that contains only one vowel, spelled with one vowel letter and ending in one or more consonants that close off the vowel. The vowel makes its short sound. Examples of multisyllabic words with closed syllables include kitten, comet, pencil, dentist, and hundred.
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.
A diphthong, also known as vowel blend, is the combination of two vowels in one syllable where two sounds are heard (e.g., /ou/ in cloud and /oi/ in boil). Note that the ou combination can function as a diphthong or digraph depending on the sound: It is a diphthong in the word couch /ou/ and a diagraph in the word cough /aw/.) In a diphthong, the mouth position shifts during the production of the single vowel phoneme. Examples of diphthongs are oi, oy, ou, ow, and ew.
A final stable syllable is a syllable that occurs in the final position of a word and has an unexpected but reliable pronunciation (e.g., -ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, kle, ple, sle, tle, zle, -tion, -sion, -ture, -age).
An open syllable is a syllable ending with a long vowel sound that is spelled with a single vowel letter (e.g., he, me, yo-yo, open, apron, baby).
Phonetic knowledge is the understanding of sound-symbol relationships and spelling patterns.
An r-controlled syllable is one that includes a vowel followed by the consonant r, so that its pronunciation is influenced by the /r/ and is neither a long nor a short vowel sound (e.g., farm, her, first).
A VCe syllable (vowel-consonant-e) is a syllable that includes a vowel, followed by a consonant and a silent e. This makes the vowel produce the long sound. Examples of multisyllabic VCe words are reptile, explode, and compete.
Vowel digraphs are two vowels that stand for a single phoneme (e.g., ee, ea, ey, ai, ay, ie, oa, oe, ue, ui).
Vowel teams consist of two or more vowels that make one phonemic sound. Two types of vowel teams are vowel digraphs and vowel diphthongs (e.g., ee, ai, oa, ow).

Related 2009 Student Expectation

This student expectation is related to the following SE from the 2009 reading/language arts TEKS.

(2)  Reading/Beginning Reading Skills/Phonics. Students use the relationships between letters and sounds, spelling patterns, and morphological analysis to decode written English. Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater depth in increasingly more complex texts. Students are expected to:
(A)  decode multisyllabic words in context and independent of context by applying common letter-sound correspondences including:
(iii)  consonant digraphs (e.g., ng, ck, ph); and
(iv)  vowel digraphs (e.g., ie, ue, ew) and diphthongs (e.g., oi, ou);


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.