Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

Dr. Seuss said it best:
The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Reading mastery is pivotal for a child’s success. So how early should you start setting up a child for reading success? In the home, every effort you make from day one to introduce your children to books is a step in the right direction. And at The Academy of Scholars, we start from day one, too. With our youngest enrolled scholars, we incorporate systematic, research-backed reading instruction through our acclaimed reading program for preschool.

Teaching Reading to Preschoolers: Why it Matters

Fluent Reading Doesn’t Just Happen

Contrary to what some may think, reading is not necessarily a natural process. This might have something to do with our past as a species. Written language is a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of human existence. For many years, the human brain was processing oral language but not written language.

Today, we see that some readers catch onto reading naturally, but about one in five readers doesn’t. This does not mean that these students aren’t smart. In fact, research shows no link between the ability to read and IQ. What’s more, this does not mean that struggling readers are lazy. Brain scans show that the brains of struggling readers are working very hard in the reading process, just not in ways that translate into efficient reading.

Fortunately, due to some really great research in reading instruction over the years, we now have the tools to make reading a natural process across the board. But since it involves activating new pathways in the brain, it’s important to start young when the brain is more “plastic” and adaptable to new ways of learning.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

Early Intervention Allows for Plenty of Practice on the Fundamentals

Some schools mistakenly believe that the trick to getting students to read better is simply to have them read more. But this does little to help struggling readers, except perhaps to allow them to memorize more words. But memorization is a bandage approach that doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.

Research shows that poor phonemic awareness lies at the heart of reading difficulties. Phonemic awareness is the ability to discern separate sounds within words. If you think back to our ancient ancestors who communicated through oral language, phonemic awareness wasn’t really an important skill. If someone said the word “eat,” you would know what that word meant. You wouldn’t need to break it down into its separate parts. But reading forces the need for phonemic awareness. You need to see a word on the written page, break it into corresponding sounds, then sequence those sounds together into a whole word. And you need to do it fast so you can read fluently.

The best schools in the country are incorporating phonemic awareness into their curriculums in the youngest grades. Students who already have high awareness get reinforcement of this foundational reading skill. Students who don’t have this awareness learn to develop it so they can master reading along with their peers.

Reading Underlies Everything

If you don’t learn fractions right on time, your overall education can remain intact. Same with the Krebs Cycle or the 50 states, but reading is different. Reading is foundational to so many other skills. You need it to solve story problems in math, understand lab directions in science, and learn about historical events. If any skill deserves our attention at the youngest ages, it’s reading.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

The Costs of Waiting are Too High

A 2020 American Educator article by Louisa Moats (former site director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Early Intervention Project) exposes the costs of waiting too long to teach reading properly. She cites evidence showing that all but 5% of children can learn to read by the time they finish the first grade, with future gains only limited by their comprehension abilities. On the other hand, she says that when schools don’t teach reading until later, ”the time, effort, and emotional strain for children and teachers involved is considerably greater.”

Waiting too long to teach reading fundamentals means kids could miss important educational milestones. They could develop bad habits to “compensate” for lack of reading ability (such as simply memorizing words and guessing at unfamiliar ones). And children’s self-esteem could suffer as they struggle to keep up in reading-related academics and feel embarrassed to read aloud.

At The Academy of Scholars, our pre-K curriculum sets students up for success, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The stakes are too high to wait.

Looking for a Good Pre-K Reading Program in Atlanta?

At The Academy of Scholars, our students hit the ground running with reading skills. Here’s what we teach in our pre-K classrooms:

Phonemic Awareness

Students learn key sounds and practice manipulating sounds within words. They learn to rhyme and identify syllables. Phonemic awareness is key to helping students sound out new words correctly instead of just memorizing words.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta


In addition to being able to break words into sounds, students need to master the letter/sound correspondence, which is what phonics is all about. Students learn different letters and consonant blends. Phonics works in tandem with phonemic awareness to help kids make sense of new words and make what they see on paper match what they say.


Students begin to memorize the most common sight words, so they don’t have to sound out the same words over and over and can spend their energy sounding out new and unfamiliar words.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

Reading Immersion

Exposure to literature helps speed reading mastery along. We read aloud to our students, allowing them to pick up on expression and hear fluent reading. We teach kids how to process books in a focused way, with an understanding of plot, summarization, main idea, and compare/contrast. Reading is a means to learning, so while we focus on systematic reading instruction, we give students the tools to derive meaning from what they’ve read (or heard).

What Makes The Academy of Scholars’ Preschool Reading Program so Great?

As you look at different schools’ pre-K reading curriculums in Decatur and Atlanta, you’ll find a wide variety of instruction methods. Here’s what sets us apart from the competition:


Trusting instincts or tradition (“This is what we’ve always done!”) can lead schools astray. A good example is “whole language” reading instruction, which swept the nation in the ‘80s and ‘90s and encouraged kids to learn words by looking at context clues. This method has been discredited by an avalanche of research, which supports systematic phonics instruction instead. Unfortunately, there are plenty of schools that continue to teach whole language.

At The Academy of Scholars, we follow the data and use a curriculum that has been proven to boost student achievement. It’s not guesswork. It’s not a hunch. It’s a data-backed program with an incredibly impressive track record of helping students across the nation master reading and comprehension.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

Built on Phonemic Awareness/Phonics

Years of research on reading instruction have taught us that students must have a strong foundation in phonemic awareness and phonics in order to succeed at reading. These are the underpinnings of our pre-K reading curriculum because they are indispensable. When schools ignore these skills, they risk leaving a large percentage of students behind.

Teacher training

Teachers learn many important things in college, but the sad truth is most don’t learn to teach students how to read. Effective reading instruction methodologies have yet to make it into most college curriculums for teachers. Thus, many teachers come into the classroom knowing general theories about reading instruction but not boots-on-the-ground methodology.

At The Academy of Scholars, our teachers are thoroughly trained in our premier reading instruction program. They lead students through daily instruction to bolster their reading skills. They teach kids to be independent so that they can catch and fix their own mistakes without having teachers leaning over their shoulders. The goal is strong, self-reliant readers, and our teachers know how to get students there.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta
Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta


Because all of our teachers are experts in the same pre-K through sixth grade curriculum, students enjoy a seamless progression from grade to grade and class to class. This is not an arbitrary situation where teachers march to the beat of their own drum. We’re all on the same page when it comes to reading instruction, and that ensures an iterative experience, with students building and improving on each new skill.

Well-balanced Program

Along with phonemic awareness and phonics, we teach the full spectrum of reading skills. This includes vocabulary development, comprehension building, spelling skills, and composition writing. While kids are learning to master new sounds, they are also learning to memorize high-frequency words for reading fluency, understand parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, etc.), write letters and stories, and speak in public—all while in pre-K! They are also learning to identify plot, story sequence, and main idea and to picture what they read, all of which are essential for preschool reading comprehension.

Our balanced approach teaches students the “why” of learning to read because they see how it fits into a larger whole. It also develops the comprehension and fluency they will need to become A+ readers.

At The Academy of Scholars, we know that reading is the foundation for all other academic subjects, and we don’t take it lightly. We know that when it comes to reading, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “Prevention” means starting at the pre-K level with systematic, research-based reading instruction. We refuse to wait to intervene until children are struggling and their self-esteem is plunging because they can’t keep up with their peers. Instead, we give our youngest learners daily practice in the skills they’ll need to become thriving, lifelong readers.

Pre K Reading Curriculum Atlanta

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