The University of Iowa



Dictate short stories, poems, and messages in a logical sequence (W.K.3)1

Compose a sentence with phonetic spellings for most sounds in high frequency, regular words and invented spellings for other words (L.K.2)2

  • State an opinion (W.K.1)
  • Identify a topic (W.K.2)
  • Name a story event (W.K.3)

Identify that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point (L.K.2)

English learner and bilingual footnotes

1 ELs should be encouraged to participate in these activities, either in their native language or, if able, in English.

2 Students can engage in “pretend” writing activities that encourage them to “write sentences” and express their ideas in writing, regardless of their linguistic abilities. During these pretend writing activities, the teacher can emphasize the direction of script and the symbolic nature of printed English.


Connect prior knowledge to information in the text (NA)

  • Relate the text to personal experiences

Monitor comprehension while reading (NA)

  • Stop periodically to check understanding

Ask and answer questions about a text (RL.K.1; RI.K.1)

  • Answer “who,” “what,” and “where” questions after listening to a sentence or short paragraph
  • Answer questions using multiword responses
  • Ask questions about a text before, during, and after reading to improve understanding

Recognize and use the organizational patterns/text structures to connect ideas across the text (RL.K.2; RI.K.2)

  • Restate the key ideas or important information in a text

Identify elements of literary and informational texts

  • Describe the characters, settings, and important events (RL.K.3; RI.K.3)

Make inferences while reading text (NA)

  • Make and confirm predictions using text features and information
  • Refer to ideas and information in the text to support responses

Connect oral vocabulary to words in print (L.K.5; L.K.6)

  • Name pictures of common concepts and, with adult assistance, match the pictures to the words in print

Determine the relationships among words (L.K.5)

  • Identify and sort pictures of common words into basic categories such as colors, sizes, shapes, textures, opposites, and locations
  • Identify and use words that name actions, directions, positions, and sequences

Use context to determine word meanings (NA)1

  • Use illustrations and texts the student is able to read or hear to learn or clarify word meanings

English learner and bilingual footnotes

Teaching vocabulary learning strategies at the beginning stages of literacy development is particularly important for ELs.


Recognize letters quickly and accurately (RF.K.4)

  • Recognize letters quickly and accurately (1/second)
  • Identify most common letter-sounds quickly and accurately (1/second)

Read decodable and irregular common words quickly and accurately (RF.K.4)

  • Recognize at least 25 research-based, grade-appropriate, high frequency words by sight

Decode and encode words using letter-sound knowledge and blending (RF.K.3; L.K.2)

  • Decode simple vowel-consonant words (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words
  • Spell simple VC and CVC words
  • Know the common sound of each consonant
  • Know the long and short sounds of vowels

Develop sight word knowledge (RF.K.3; L.K.2)

  • Read and spell grade-appropriate, high frequency irregular words (e.g., "have," "of," "said") from research-based lists

Recognize and form uppercase and lowercase letters (RF.K.1; L.K.1)

  • Identify all uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Accurately form all uppercase and lowercase letters, using appropriate directionality
  • Recognize the difference between a letter and a word in print

Know the organization of print (RF.K.1; RL.K.7)

  • Hold a book right side up
  • Turn pages correctly
  • Demonstrate that reading moves from top to bottom and left to right with return sweep
  • Distinguish pictures from the print and know which is read
  • Recognize that sentences are composed of words separated by spaces

Distinguish words in sentences (RF.K.1)

  • Identify individual words in a spoken or written sentence

Blend, segment, and count syllables in words (RF.K.2)

  • Identify syllables in words
  • Blend and segment syllables in words

Recognize when a spoken word has been changed  (RF.K.2)

  • Tell whether words and sounds are the same or different
  • Identify which sound is different in two words being compared

Blend, segment, count, and rhyme sounds in words (RF.K.2)

  • Blend and segment onsets and rimes in one-syllable words
  • Identify and produce rhyming words1
  • Blend and segment individual sounds in one-syllable words of up to 3 phonemes

English learner and bilingual footnotes

The ability to rhyme in Spanish transfers to and supports the development of reading in English.


Use informal, casual, formal, and academic language, in the appropriate context (L.K.6)

  • Share information and ideas by speaking audibly and clearly
  • Distinguish between asking and telling
  • Use social communication to make introductions and requests, to express empathy and feelings, and to ask “when/how” questions1
  • Initiate a topic and maintain conversation for four turns (initiate, listen, respond, listen)
  • Use vocabulary related to the topic
  • Report on past events and personal experiences
  • Make predictions orally while reading with an adult (e.g., “What do you think will happen next?”)
  • Expand grade-appropriate vocabulary used in oral expression

Speak using complete sentences of 4-7 words (L.K.1)

  • Use pronouns as the subject (I/she/he/we/they)2
  • Use present and regular past tense verbs
  • Use sentences that contain more than one verb
  • Join ideas using “and/so/because/if/when”
  • Use irregular plurals, articles, and adjectives

English learner and bilingual footnotes

1 ELs may not be able to use all forms of social communication in English, but they should be aware of the pragmatic importance of social communication and be able to recognize “when/how” questions when asked (even if they are unable to respond).
2 Depending on the context, subjects can be left out of Spanish sentences.