Curriculum and Instruction


Literacy FAQs

  1. What are the certification requirements for a Reading/Literacy Teacher in NYS?
    You can visit the Office of Teaching Initiatives at: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/ You will be able to search the requirements needed to be a certified reading teacher in NYS through this site or by contacting the NYS Education Department.

  2. What is the recommended, minimal number of books students should read per year?
    The Department provides guidance for educators to encourage student reading for many purposes--enjoyment, instruction, information, etc. The introduction to the 1998 English Language Arts Resource Guide with Core Curriculum and the introduction to the ELA Core Curriculum (May 2005) both include guidance from educators who helped in the development of the New York State English Language Arts Learning Standards. In those documents, it is suggested that students read a minimum of 25 books, or the equivalent, per year, across all content areas (subjects) and standard areas. Since the development of curriculum and selection of materials and textbooks is a matter of local choice in New York State, decisions about the recommended amount of reading are made at the local level.

  3. What is the recommended, minimal amount students should write per year?
    The Department provides guidance for educators to encourage student writing for many purposes. The introduction to the 1998 English Language Arts Resource Guide with Core Curriculum and introduction to the ELA Core Curriculum (May 2005) both include guidance from educators who helped in the development of the learning standards. In those documents, it is suggested that students write at least 1,000 words per month, across all content areas (subjects) and standards. Since the development of curriculum is a matter of local choice in New York State, decisions about the recommended amount of writing are made at the local level.

  4. Does the New York State Education Department have required reading, spelling, or vocabulary lists?
    The Education Department does not have a statewide curriculum. It issues core curriculum outlines that indicate the topics and skills that must be included in relation to the standards for those subjects. The core curriculum outlines afford school/districts autonomy to make local decisions regarding particular materials for (e.g., required books) and the sequencing and pacing of courses.

  5. What is the time requirement that schools must instruct students in reading and writing each week?
    Please refer to Part 100 of the Commissioner of Education's Regulations: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/part100/opener.html On this website you will find requirements for general school requirements, Prek-8 school requirements and diploma requirements.

  6. Where can I find the NYSED ELA Standards?
    Please visit the NYSED Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology website at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/ela/elarg.html

  7. Are there Pre-kindergarten Standards?
    The content areas of ELA, mathematics, social studies,science and the Arts contain pre-kindergarten expectations. They are can found at:

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  1. Where can I find information on the National Common Core Standards Initiative?
    Information about the Common Core State Standards Initiative can be found at:
    On this site you will find information, including a timeline for adoption, of the new NYS Common Core ELA and Mathematics standards.
  2. Is it the local school/districts' responsibility to design curriculum which will provide students opportunities to reach New York State learning standards?
    Yes. New York State is a "non-adoption" state. It is the responsibility of each local school district to develop curricula based on the New York State Learning Standards, select textbooks and instructional materials, develop pacing charts for learning (scope and sequence), and provide professional development to ensure that all students have access to instruction leading to attainment of these learning standards. For additional information regarding New York State English language arts standards, please refer to the 2005 English Language Arts Core Curriculum at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/ela/elarg.html

  3. I have heard that NYSED has started reviewing all of the content area standards. Where can I find information on this initiative?
    Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007 required the Regents to “periodically review and evaluate the existing regents learning standards to determine if they should be strengthened, modified or combined so as to provide adequate opportunity for students to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in employment or postsecondary education and to function productively as civic participants upon graduation from high school. On October 18, 2007 the Regents approved a perpetual standards review process to ensure that the learning standards are systematically reviewed, updated, and improved on a regular schedule so that all New York State students now and in the future will have the skills and knowledge they need for higher education, employment and citizenship. The BOR item can be accessed at: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2007Meetings/October2007/
    Information related to the Standards Review Initiative can be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/standardsreview/
  1. Can school districts require students to complete summer reading assignments?
    The State Education Department has long encouraged students to read during the summer. If your school district is requiring a student to complete a reading assignment over the summer, there are a few requirements to consider. Please see the following 2009 memo issued by the Department http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/ela/summerreading09.html . This memo gives guidance for locally required summer reading assignments.

  2. What are the five key reading components?
    The five key components of reading instruction include: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

    The Florida Center for Reading Research www.fcrr.org external link has many information, articles and resources available on their website for addressing these five key components.

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  1. What criteria should I use to evaluate a reading program?
    There are numerous ways to evaluate a reading program. The Center on Instruction offers: Reviewing a Reading Program: A Professional Development Module (K-12) to help in evaluating reading programs. It can be found at: http://centeroninstruction.org/resources.cfm?category=
    reading&subcategory =materials&grade_start=4&grade_end=12#175 external link
    . This module is designed to guide reviewers of reading programs through the review process to determine if a program is consistent with the scientific research on reading.

  2. How can I find out the readability level of a text?
    There are a variety of ways to determine the readability level of a text. One of them is to use the Fry Readability Formula. This formula is a readability metric for English texts developed by Edward Fry. The grade reading level (or reading difficulty level) is calculated by the average number of sentences (y-axis) and syllables (x-axis) per hundred words. These averages are plotted onto a specific graph; the intersection of the average number of sentences and the average number of syllables determines the reading level of the content. The formula and graph are often used to provide a common standard by which the readability of documents can be measured. It is sometimes used for regulatory purposes to ensure publications have a level of readability that is understandable and accessible by a wider portion of the population. To calculate a grade level score: Randomly select three separate 100 word passages. (Count every word including proper nouns, initializations, and numerals.) -Count the number of sentences in each 100 word sample (estimate to nearest tenth). Count the number of syllables in each 100 word sample. (Each numeral is a syllable. For example, 2007 is 5 syllables-two-thou-sand-se-ven-and one word.) Plot the average sentence length and the average number of syllables on the graph. The area in which it falls is the approximate grade.

  3. How can I help my struggling adolescent readers?
    There are many reasons that a student struggles with reading. Among them include an inability to decode and comprehend, language barriers, a low vocabulary and other learning disabilities. There are many great resources available on the Center on Instruction website for helping struggling readers. Please visit: www.centeroninstruction.org external link

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  1. What is AIS - Academic Intervention Services?
    AIS is additional instruction intended to assist students who are at risk of not achieving the State learning standards in English language arts, mathematics, social studies and/or science. AIS courses are non-credit bearing. The Commissioner of Education's Regulations regarding AIS can be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/part100/pages/topics.html

  2. What is RtI and where can I find information on it?
    Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi tiered intervention process for helping struggling students. NYS has a Response to Intervention Technical Assistance Center. It has information and resources for teachers, parents and administrators. It can be accessed at: http://www.nysrti.org/ external link. NYSED has put out a guidance field memo on RtI. It can be accessed at:
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/RTI.htm Additionally, information about the RtI TAC can be accessed at: http://www.nysrti.org/docs/SED%20Field%20Memo%20establishing
    (pdf document 44.17 KB)

  3. I’ve heard of the Striving Readers initiative. What is it?
    The Striving Readers program grants are designed to raise the literacy levels of adolescent students in Title I-eligible schools and to build a strong, scientific research base for identifying and replicating strategies that improve adolescent literacy instruction. This year, NYS is the recipient of a Striving Readers grant. An essential component of this year's grant is that a supplemental literacy intervention program must be implemented with fidelity and complete adherence to an intervention program design during the 2010-2011, 20011-2012, and 2012-2013 school years. Information on the Striving Readers grant can be accessed through the USDOE website at: http://www.ed.gov/programs/strivingreaders/index.html external link

  4. What is the role of a reading/literacy coach?
    There are many roles a reading/literacy coach can fill. Among them include helping students and teachers with reading/literacy questions and concerns. The Center on Instruction offers Leading for Reading: An Introductory Guide for K-3 Reading Coaches http://centeroninstruction.org/resources_searchresults.cfm?searchterms=
    external link. This suite of resource materials is designed to prepare school-based reading coaches who work with teachers to improve reading instruction in kindergarten through grade three.

  5. What kinds of assessments are available to evaluate a student’s reading and writing ability?
    There are a variety of assessments available. The Center on Instruction offers Assessments to Guide Adolescent Literacy Instruction (4-12). http://centeroninstruction.org/resources_searchresults.cfm?searchterms= Reading+Assessments external link. This guide provides information about the key elements of a comprehensive assessment plan to improve literacy instruction for adolescents and provides examples of assessments and assessment systems currently in use or under development to improve literacy instruction for students in grades 4-12. Additionally on this site, teachers and school leaders can find A Comprehensive K-3 Reading Assessment Plan: Guidance for School Leaders (K-3) Because scientific studies have repeatedly demonstrated the value of regularly assessing reading progress, a comprehensive assessment plan is a critical element of an effective school-level plan for preventing reading difficulties.

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Last Updated: January 13, 2012