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Common Core State Standards ARE Working in Kindergarten ~ Lisa Bass

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Lisa is a National Board Certified Teacher from Ohio. She has been teaching first grade for 13 years. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science Degree from The Ohio State University. She worked in the business sector for 13 years before returning to school to earn her Masters in Education and Reading Endorsement from John Carroll University’s prestigious school-based master’s program.

Mrs. Bass prides herself in being a Language Arts Advocate, Consultant, and Specialist.  She is a National America Achieves Fellow and a Teacher Champion Fellow. Through these professional opportunities, Lisa is an expert on Common Core State Standards and supports educators in teaching Common Core State Standards-based differentiated lessons.

From my 13 years as an educator, I know that with prompting and support, Kindergarteners can learn a great deal about reading. They learn to retell stories, recognize types of texts, describe relationships between illustrations and stories, compare and contrast character experiences, and many other important literacy skills.

Reading doesn’t just “happen.” Reading develops! Students begin the process of reading when first introduced to letters, books, and pictures. In Kindergarten, reading consists primarily of building critical foundational skills, such as letter-sound recognition and familiarity with text structure, in order to be ready for success in later grades. Strong, cohesive, and comprehensive early childhood development is supported by the Common Core State Standards, which focus on introducing and building a strong foundation of literacy and language skills, beginning at the kindergarten level.

In Ohio, every child must meet reading benchmarks by the third grade by passing the Ohio Achievement Assessment in Third Grade to be promoted to the next grade level in reading. Our state made this research-based decision in order to guarantee academic success for their children. States support literacy development with funds that specifically target early literacy skills, beginning with kindergarteners. If we do not begin teaching these skills as early as Kindergarten, students will miss critical learning opportunities.

Recently, learning literacy skills in Kindergarten has come under attack by those who falsely dichotomize reading and play in early grades, claiming that our young students are not developmentally ready. As an expert in the field, I wholeheartedly support the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten. The standards exist only to help me benchmark my students’ learning expectations, but I decide how they will learn and we often learning literacy skills through play!

My students act out the stories we read. They perform text through reader’s theater while they develop fluency and learn to read with expression. They enjoy connecting text to illustrations by creating their own. They develop confidence as they connect the text to their own experiences with reflection activities.

Engaging in reading at any level is challenging, so why not start with the imaginations of kindergarteners, where they are happy to be with their peers: giggling when the characters act silly, smiling when the characters are happy, and losing themselves in the beautiful illustrations?