What your child is learning and expected to know in grades K-12 

An explanation of which standards are being used in each grade (K-12)


Bookmark and Share

120-Minute Literacy Block

This year, teachers and students in all kindergarten through Grade 5 classrooms are following a 120-minute literacy block. This block of time provides a common way that will help our students transition more easily between grade levels and schools.

Here’s what a typical literacy block (or class period) looks like.



Reading and Writing Instruction

What teachers and students are doing

20 minutes

Phonics and Morphology

is teaching students how to connect sounds of language with corresponding letters or groups of letters, as well as teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce unknown words.

Morphology is giving students the skills to study word patterns and structures of language, such as meaningful word parts (like root words, prefixes, etc.).
  • Teachers guide students through a series of practice exercises of how words and word patterns work.

60 minutes

Reading Instruction

  • 30-35 minutes: Shared Reading of Complex Text
  • 20-25 minutes: Small Group Instructional Time

     - Independent Reading

     - Guided Reading

     - Literacy Work Stations

  • 5 minutes: Share and Final Check for Understanding
  • Teacher models the reading strategies to students and provides supports while reading.
  • Students are actively engaged in discussion around text.
  • The teacher provides opportunities for review and practice of the new skills presented.
  • Teacher meets with small groups of students to target specific reading skills where students need extra support.

40 minutes

  • 5-10 minutes: Mini-lesson on specific writing strategy
  •  25-30 minutes: Student writing practice
  • 5 minutes: Share and reflect on student work
  • Teachers guide students through a series of practice exercises on writing strategies.

Resources and Supports

There are a number of exciting resources and supports in place to make sure your child can learn and be successful.

  • We have more than 120,000 books for K-5 students that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the curricular resources provided as part of the Academic Plan.

  • Secondary students will have access to a wide variety of informational texts, including historical and contemporary speeches, newspaper and magazine articles, and scholarly journals.

  • Several first-grade classrooms are equipped with iPod Touch devices and iPads to promote phonics, comprehension and math fluency.

  • K-2 teachers implementing the CCSS for mathematics will have sets of manipulatives (hands-on tools) to engage in student-centered mathematics learning.

  • DCPS will continue to offer robust reading intervention programs to support struggling readers and English Language Learners, including Burst, Wilson Fundations, Wilson Just Words, Read 180, and Imagine Learning.

  • DCPS continues to work in a number of ways to transform our schools into inclusive learning environments for all our students, including students with individualized education plans (IEPs) and English language learners.

How to support your child

DCPS believes that parents and communities are key stakeholders in improving student achievement, ensuring school success and making our school district the best urban school district in the country. 

This applies especially in making the Academic Plan a success. There are a number of resources available from DCPS and other organizations such as the National PTA that can help parents support their children.

  • To learn how to support your child in a grade and subject implementing the Common Core State Standards, visit PTA.org to access the National PTA’s parent guides (available in both English and Spanish).

  • To learn how to support your child in a grade and subject implementing DC Learning Standards, download the following guides that DCPS published when the DC Learning Standards were first adopted in 2006.


« Early Childhood Paced Interim Assessments »

Inside DCPS Highlights.


DC.Gov Home Page              Best Of The Web Award

© 2011 District of Columbia Public Schools, 1200 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 442-5885