Equitable Access to Literacy (EAL) Appendix

Equitable Access to Literacy Key Terms

Terms and Definitions

Cultural Responsiveness

Culturally responsive teaching can be defined as using the cultural knowl­edge, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning encounters more relevant to and effective for them. It teaches to and through the strengths of these students.

Geneva Gay

Domains of Reading

Five key concepts at the core of every effective reading instruction program:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

(National Reading Panel, 2000)

Educational Equity

The elimination of the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socioeconomic status or languages spoken at home.

Adapted from the National Equity Project. Educational Equity Definition.

Essential Practices for English Learners

Five Essential Practices for English Learners’ Success:

  • Know your English Learners (ELs)
  • Connect and Engage
  • Amplify Academic Language
  • Scaffold and Differentiate
  • Assess for Learning

Evidence-Based Literacy Instruction

Structured instructional practices, including sequential, systematic, explicit, and cumulative teaching, that:

  1. Are based on reliable, trustworthy, and valid evidence consistent with science-based reading research.
  2. Are used in core or general instruction, supplemental instruction, intervention services, and intensive intervention services.
  3. Have a demonstrated record of success in adequately increasing students' reading competency, vocabulary, oral language, and comprehension and in building mastery of the foundational reading skills of phonological and phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, phonics, spelling, and text reading fluency.
  4. Are able to be differentiated in order to meet the individual needs of students.

Explicit Instruction

Logically sequenced key skills, strategies, and concepts are clearly explained (broken down into smaller instructional units), and modeled, with well-chosen examples; students are not expected to develop these skills based mainly on exposure and/or incidental learning opportunities.

Archer & Hughes, 2011

Fidelity of Implementation

The implementation of a practice or program as intended by the researchers or developers is referred to as fidelity of implementation.

IRIS Center, 2022

Language Comprehension

The ability to understand the different elements of spoken or written language, with an instructional focus on:

  • Background knowledge
  • Vocabulary
  • Language structure
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Literacy knowledge

Multi Tiered Systems of Support

A framework through which teams make decisions based on data to provide differentiated classroom instruction and the necessary academic, behavior, and social-emotional wellness supports for all students across all schools.

Portrait of a Graduate

The FCPS POG prioritizes the development of knowledge, skills, behaviors, and experiences that will empower students to be productive citizens of a global community and successful in the workforce of the future.


Rigor is the result of work that challenges students' thinking in new and interesting ways.

It occurs when they are encouraged toward a sophisticated understanding of fundamental ideas and are driven by curiosity to discover what they don't know.


Science-Based Reading Research

Research that includes the use of evidence-based literacy instruction practices to promote reading and writing achievement that:

  1. Applies rigorous, systematic, and objective observational or experimental procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to
    • Reading development
    • Reading instruction
    • Reading and writing difficulties
  2. Explains:
    • How proficient reading and writing develop
    • Why some children have difficulties developing key literacy skills
    • How schools can best assess and instruct early literacy, including the use of evidence-based literacy instruction practices to promote reading and writing achievement.

Specialized Instruction

Adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child  so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children:

  1. To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability.
  2. Ensure access of the child to the general curriculum.


Structured Literacy

Explicit, systematic teaching that focuses on:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Word recognition
  • Phonics and decoding
  • Spelling
  • Syntax at the sentence and paragraph levels

.International Dyslexia Association

Word Recognition

The ability to translate letters and spelling patterns into words, with an instructional focus on phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition.

Assessment Terms and Definitions

iReady - Reading

Grade Levels

1 - 6 (Elementary)


The iReady assessment measures students’ performance and progress in certain foundational skills for reading; known as “domains.” Students receive questions in six (6) domains for reading:

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • High Frequency Words
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension: Literature and Informational Text

iReady Fluency Measure

Grade Levels

1 - 3 (Elementary)


A student’s reading performance and progress in:

  • Words correct per minute (WCPM)
  • Accuracy
  • Prosody (i.e., expression)
  • Comprehension of grade-level text

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screener (PALS)

Grade Level



PALS-K is a measure of students' knowledge of several important literacy fundamentals:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Alphabet recognition
  • Concept of word
  • Knowledge of letter sounds and spelling

Reading Inventory

Grade Levels

6 - 12


Designed for Grades K–12, this assessment measures vocabulary and comprehension proficiency with texts students will encounter both in and out of school.

Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL)

Grade Levels

3 - 12


The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establishes minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English. The SOL tests measure the success of students in meeting the Board of Education’s expectations for learning and achievement.

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