Growing Strong Readers with your PALS

Springtime in the classroom can feel like one of the busiest times of the year. It seems like there is just so much to do—and there is!

But as the weather warms up, everything and everyone is starting to bloom—and that includes your students! Those wee, shy kindergarteners who came into your classroom in the fall will soon be confident, rising first graders. They have grown in so many ways, including their literacy skills.

Your PALS spring scores can help you understand just how much and in what ways your students have grown from the fall. And, they can give you even more information about how to continue to grow strong readers this spring!




One of the important areas of growth to consider in kindergarten is Concept of Word (COW). Statewide data show that students who leave Kindergarten without firm COW in text are delayed in acquiring a reading vocabulary and may struggle to read in 1st grade. We can see this difference when we look at the fall PALS sum scores of these students when they enter first grade. The better students did on Kindergarten COW, the higher they scored on the PALS overall when they entered first grade.

Surprisingly, some children who are above the benchmark overall in PALS, and who may not even be on your radar as ‘at risk’ can show difficulties around concept of word. Giving these children a boost can make a huge difference in their transition into first grade.

At this point in the year, we want to target the kids with rudimentary COW  because they have the basic skills in place and with a few extra “nutrients”, they are ready to bloom! They are so close!

So, how do you help move your students from rudimentary to firm COW? After you administer the PALS-K Spring Assessment, use your “Performance By Task Report” to consider those who score between 4-6 on COW Word List. Depending on your number of students, here are some suggestions:

For just a few students…
1. Small group
2. Strategically call on them during whole class lessons
3. Individualized instruction
What Activity?
1. Buy My Sentence
2. Treasure Hunt
3. Make a Book
For lots of students…
1. Shared reading time
2. Circle time/calendar/morning meeting
3. Interactive writing
What Activity?
1. Sentence Sleuth
2. Morning Message
3. Sentence a Day




Enjoy tending your garden of beautiful, growing readers this spring!




More questions? VKRP provides support via the online chat feature when you are in the system, via email, and via toll free 866-301-8278 ext. 1

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