Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Atlanta

Reading isn’t just a nice skill to have. It’s arguably the most important skill for success in all areas of academics. At The Academy of Scholars, we don’t take reading lightly. We’ve devoted countless resources to making sure every student gets the tools they need to love and excel at reading.

Can You Really Teach Kindergartners to Read?

If you’re wondering when your child should start reading, we think it’s never too early. We encourage parents to expose kids to books and read out loud to them starting from the youngest ages. If fluent reading is the soundtrack of a child’s youth, they’ll be far more reading-ready when they reach the classroom.

As soon as our kindergartners enter the classroom, we begin introducing them to the fundamentals of reading. This is not a “sometimes thing”; we work on reading-readiness daily, giving students ample opportunity to internalize new skills. We teach letter recognition, sight words, phoneme identification, parts of speech, vocabulary, story elements, and composition. This lays a strong foundation that we continue to build on in each new grade.

What Makes a Good Kindergarten Reading Program?

The best reading programs are built on the following elements:

Phonemic Awareness

Research shows that strong phonemic awareness is a key indicator of early reading success. But what is it? And how can it be taught?

When you hear the word “cat,” you’re hearing a string of phonemes, or speech sounds. When you read the word cat, it rolls right off your tongue, and you probably aren’t aware of the skills you just drew upon.

First, you have to break that word into individual phonemes (in this case /c/ /a/ /t/). Then, you have to sequence those phonemes together and pronounce the word. It’s a surprisingly complex process, and it doesn’t happen naturally for about one in five readers who have low phonemic awareness. That’s why we intervene early, helping our youngest students master phonemic awareness so that it can become second nature.

At the kindergarten level, we teach basic phonemes and have students practice manipulating them within words (adding, subtracting, or switching sounds). Phonemic awareness is essential to being able to sound out unfamiliar words rather than just guessing at them. That’s why we prioritize it from the youngest grades.

Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Atlanta - Phonics


In addition to teaching phonemic awareness, we offer a robust phonics curriculum for our kindergarten students. Whereas phonemic awareness deals with speech sounds, phonics deals with letter-sound correspondence. Phonics helps kids understand digraphs like /ch/ and /th/. It also explains rules, such as why having an E at the end of “same” causes the A to say /ae/. With daily practice on phonics, consonant and vowel patterns and the rules of the English language become second nature—not something students have to work to figure out with each new word.


Being able to sound out words is only part of the equation. Students need to gather meaning from text and connect it to real life. Some students decode words with ease but have trouble comprehending them, so we practice building comprehension skills as part of our kindergarten reading curriculum here in Decatur.

This involves building vocabulary and helping students with skills like classifying, sequencing, and summarizing information and drawing conclusions.

Not all reading materials are interesting to kindergartners or even relevant to their lives, so we have invested heavily in an engaging library of materials that young students can relate to and connect with.

Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Atlanta - Kindergarten reading Comprehension
Kindergarten Reading Curriculum Atlanta - Kindergarten reading Fluency


Reading rate is important, so we work with our kindergartners to boost fluency. We help students commit the most common sight words to memory so they don’t waste time sounding out high-frequency words over and over again. We practice rapid reading of familiar texts and help students with expression and intonation.

Why Start Teaching Reading so Early?

According to an American Educator article, “About 20% of elementary school students nationwide have serious problems learning to read; at least another 20 percent are at risk for not meeting grade-level expectations.” The article also explains that African American and Hispanic students and those living in poverty fall behind at even higher rates, with 60 to 70 percent showing weak reading skills. When the stakes are this high, we don’t have the luxury of waiting to teach reading.

Another article in American Educator states, “Children who are destined to be poor readers in fourth grade almost invariably have difficulties in kindergarten and first grade with phonological skills.” The article goes on to explain how the spiral deepens with each passing year, hindering a student’s ability to build vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. It concludes that “children who are poor readers at the end of the first grade almost never acquire average-level reading skills by the end of elementary school.”

Fortunately, we have tools to identify and remediate risk factors starting in kindergarten. We also have research-backed methodologies for helping students master reading fundamentals as young as kindergarten.

The wrong time to teach these fundamentals is when a student is already falling behind. Prevention is always easier than intervention! The right time to start is in kindergarten before students:

  • Pick up bad habits that could hinder their reading progress (such as trying to guess at words rather than strategically sounding them out).
  • Lose self-confidence because they believe they don’t read as well as their peers.
  • Lose their love of reading.
  • Fall into the “spiral” and start losing ground in comprehension, fluency, etc.

Starting reading instruction early gives students time to learn and internalize critical skills at a comfortable pace.

What Does a “Day in the Life” Look Like for Our Reading Students?

Students learn to identify initial and final consonant sounds as well as vowel sounds in words. They learn to add, subtract, and substitute these sounds–a practice that boosts phonemic awareness.

They learn A to Z letter recognition, high-frequency words (the, for, am, see, you, etc.), story elements (like characterization, setting, sequence, realism vs. fantasy, drawing conclusions, etc.) They learn about nouns and adjectives and writing conventions (to include basic punctuation).

Students are immersed in a well-rounded curriculum that boosts reading, writing, comprehension, and fluency.

Are The Academy of Scholars Teachers Trained to Teach Kindergarten Phonics?

While a big part of an elementary school curriculum is (or should be!) reading instruction, it’s a sad truth that many teachers get their degrees without learning exactly how to teach reading. They may have been taught general theories about reading instruction, but most universities do not teach specific methodologies for teaching kids how to read.

The Academy of Scholars solves this problem by training our teachers in our research-backed reading curriculum. Thanks to our intensive training, our teachers know:

  • How to teach and practice specific reading skills on a daily basis
  • How to help students develop increasing autonomy so they can sound out new words and self-correct on their own
  • How to identify struggling readers and intervene to help them

What if My Student is Falling Behind in Reading?

It can be very easy for students to fall through the cracks when it comes to reading. They may learn to memorize words rather than sounding them out. However, this will catch up to them at some point, especially when they start learning multi-syllable words and discover there are far too many to memorize.

At The Academy of Scholars, we equip our teachers with diagnostic tools so they can gauge students’ mastery of key skills along the way. If they are struggling in certain areas, we intervene with focused kindergarten reading intervention programs. We know that if we gloss over reading fundamentals, students will pay for it later. We leverage the time and resources necessary to help each student master critical skills at their own pace so that no one gets left behind.

If you’re looking for a kindergarten reading curriculum in Atlanta or Decatur that will help your child master reading from a young age, come see us at The Academy of Scholars. We know that today’s readers are tomorrow’s leaders, and we start early to give our students the tools they need to excel in reading.

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