Reading PK-3

Systems Change
Reading PK-3 > Strategies

Reading PK-3

Select one or more factors to see the strategies that support your chosen factor(s). For each strategy, we provide ideas for classroom and product application, videos, and further resources.


Language and Literacy

Alphabet Knowledge
Background Knowledge
Morphological Awareness
Narrative Skills
Phonological Awareness
Print Awareness
Sight Recognition
Verbal Reasoning


Auditory Processing
Cognitive Flexibility
Long-term Memory
Sensory Integration
Short-term Memory
Speed of Processing
Visual Processing
Working Memory

Social and Emotional Learning

Social Awareness & Relationship Skills
Stereotype Threat

Student Background

Adverse Experiences
Home Literacy Environment
Physical Fitness
Primary Language
Social Supports
Socioeconomic Status


Accessible Syntax

Teachers can support language development by using and providing syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g.

Accessible Vocabulary

Teachers support language development by using and providing Vocabulary that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using word wall words).

Advance Graphic Organizer

Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.


Audiobooks allow students to hear fluent reading and to experience books above their reading skills.

Brief Instruction Steps

Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.

Building Trusting Relationships

Building positive and trusting relationships with learners allows them to feel safe; a sense of belonging; and that their academic, cognitive, and social and emotional needs are supported.

Creating Visuals

Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.

Daily Review

Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.

Dialogic Reading

With this interactive technique, teachers help students become storytellers by listening and questioning.

Dictionary & Thesaurus

Dictionaries and thesauruses can serve as resources for students to expand their Vocabulary knowledge.

Dim or Natural Lighting

Dim or natural lighting provides a calming environment.

Direct Instruction: Comprehension Strategies

When teachers provide explicit instruction in comprehension strategies and model when to use them, students learn how to flexibly apply them to make meaning of texts.

Direct Instruction: Phonics

As students are learning to read, they benefit from explicit, systematic phonics instruction.

Direct Instruction: Vocabulary

Seeing and using new words repeatedly and in many contexts is critical for Vocabulary acquisition.

Discussing Emotions

Teaching students how to label, identify, and manage emotions helps them learn self-regulation skills.

Encourage Student Self-advocacy

Overtly encouraging all students to seek support and ask questions creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.

Explaining Their Thinking

When students explain their thinking process aloud, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.

Family Engagement

Students are more likely to come to school when families feel like a valued part of the community.

Field Trips

Visiting places connected to classroom learning provides opportunities to deepen understanding through firsthand experiences.

Foster Growth Mindset

Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process.

Free Choice

Free choice supports learner interests and allows more complex social interactions to develop.

Gallery Walk

As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.


Games help students visualize how to connect one fact to another.


Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.

Goal Setting & Monitoring

Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.

Graphic Organizer

Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthen recall.

Growth Mindset Feedback

Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates students to persist when learning.

Guided Inquiry

In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.

Guided Practice

Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.

High Frequency Word List

Easy access to high frequency words promotes sight word recognition as students see the words repeatedly.


Imagining allows students to step back from a problem or task and think about it from multiple angles.

Incorporate Students' Cultural Practices

Learning about students' cultures and connecting them to instructional practices helps all students feel like valued members of the community.

Independent Reading

Independent reading promotes reading development by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as by making time for free reading.

Individual Deliberate Practice

Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.

Individual Spaces

Having space where students can go supports Self-regulation and individual deliberate practice.


As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.

Language Songs

Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce language development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.

Learning Strategy & Tool "Fair"

To promote acceptance of learning diversity, students explore learning tools and strategies to see how they work and why they and others might use them.

Literacy Centers

Literacy centers with reading games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex reading skills and social interactions.


Providing physical representations of concepts helps activate mental processes.

Mindfulness Activities

Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.

Mnemonic Device

Creating patterns for remembering classroom processes, narrative structures, etc.

Mobility & Flexibility

Multiple tables and chairs on wheels allow for setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes of each classroom activity.

Model Assignment or Skill

By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.

Model Connections to Text

Teachers sharing text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections models this schema building.

Movement Breaks

Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.

Multimodal Instruction

Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their reading work.

Multiple Display Boards/Screens

Multiple display spaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.

Multiple Writing Surfaces

Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.

Music & Dance

Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.

Non-intensive HLE Intervention Program

A parent evening meeting about how to support literacy at home with one follow-up meeting with each family has shown strong results for students' reading development.

Participatory & Partner Read-alouds

Reading aloud allows students to hear and practice reading and fluency skills.

Physical Activity & Recess

Research shows physical activity improves focus and creativity.

Pictures & Visuals

Visuals help students recognize relationships within words and sentences to develop reading skills.

Positive Self-talk

When students reframe negative thoughts and tell themselves kind self-statements, they practice positive self-talk.

Pre-reading Questioning

Talking with students about what they know about the topic of upcoming work helps activate their Background Knowledge or reveals gaps.

Predictability: Environment & Structure

Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.

Prompt Cards

Cards with strategies for managing emotions help students remember how to act when faced with strong feelings.

Quiet Classroom/Pockets of Quiet

Decreasing extra audio input provides a focused learning environment.


Reading aloud regularly exposes students to new and familiar vocabulary and texts.

Read-alouds: Deliberate Topics

Reading aloud books about skills children are learning provides another model for their development.

Reciprocal Teaching

When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.

Reflect on Learning

Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.


Students build their confidence and skills by reading and rereading books.

Response Devices

Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.

Rich Library: Audio & Braille

Books for vision differences support reading development for learners with visual needs.

Rich Library: Complexity

Books of varying complexity and reading levels are necessary for all students to experience reading success.

Rich Library: Diversity

Multicultural and diverse books are critical for supporting all students.

Rich Library: Poetry

With rhyming and creative word use, poetry is a genre that supports the development of early literacy skills in particular.

Rich Library: Primary Language

Students who have had little exposure to the school's language can benefit from having books in their Primary Language in their classroom.

Rich Library: SEL Topics

Books with SEL topics, such as developing friendships and identifying emotions, help teach these skills.

Sensory Stimulation

Incorporating multiple senses with strategies like chewing gum, using a vibrating pen, and sitting on a ball chair supports focus and Attention.

Sound Level

Providing ways for students to adjust sound level supports individual auditory needs.

Sound-blocking Devices

Using earplugs or headphones can increase focus and comfort.

Story Map

Providing a story map ahead of time or having students create a map during or after reading helps learners understand and practice narrative skills.

Student Choice

Providing students a voice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful.


Providing ways for students to meet their individual temperature needs supports focus and Self-Regulation.

Text-to-speech Software

Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.


Students develop reading skills by listening to and speaking with others in informal ways.


Timers help students learn to self-pace and transition.

Tossing Activity

Tossing a ball, beanbag, or other small object activates physical focus in support of mental focus.

Uncluttered Environment

Spaces that are structured, organized, and clean provide increased room for collaboration and active learning.

Verbal Repetition

Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard and supports remembering.


Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.

Videos: SEL Topics

Videos developed with discussion guides can teach students about SEL skills.

Visual Reading Aids

Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strips, help students focus and properly track as they read.

Wait Time

Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.

Web-based Dictionary & Thesaurus

Web-based dictionaries and thesauruses can serve as visual and audio resources for students to expand their Vocabulary knowledge.

Word Sorts

Word sorts are multisensory activities that help learners identify patterns and group words based on different categories.

Word Walls

A word wall helps build Vocabulary for reading fluidity.