Reading Programs

Calvert County special education teachers use a variety of reading programs to assist students in gaining skills in decoding, phonetic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  Below you will find a short description of the programs currently in use, as well as lessons and activities  suggested by our teachers.  Each month, teachers from selected schools will add their ideas to the list.  Check this page frequently for additions from showcased schools!

Corrective Reading - Provides intervention for students in Grades 3 - Adult who are reading below grade level. This program delivers tightly sequenced, scripted planned lessons that give struggling students the structure and practice necessary to become fluent readers. This program uses Direct Instruction methodology. It has two major components that are separate programs - Decoding and Comprehension.

Fast ForWord -  The Fast ForWord® family of products develops the critical thinking, listening, and reading skills that are necessary for success in the classroom, the workplace and in everyday life.  Based on over twenty-five years of brain research, Scientific Learning's interactive, adaptive products use patented technology to target the language and reading skills widely recognized as the keys to all learning.  Scientific Learning products use neuroscience principles to create an optimal learning environment that enables you to simultaneously develop multiple skill sets to maximize learning, identify reading and language difficulties and attack the underlying causes of these difficulties.

Fundations® -  is a phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics and spelling program based upon the Wilson Reading System® principles and serves as a prevention program to help reduce reading and spelling failure. Teachers incorporate a daily Fundations™ lesson into their language arts classroom instruction. The lessons focus on carefully sequenced skills that include print knowledge, alphabet awareness, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and spelling. Critical thinking, speaking and listening skills are practiced during Story Time activities. 

Great Leaps - provides a systematic presentation of materials on sound awareness, letter recognition and phonics high-frequency words and phrases, and stories so that the average reading when proficient, will complete the page in exactly one minute or less with few or no errors.  This program supplements the teachers' ongoing reading program to improve the reading fluency and achievement of students.


LiPS® - The Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing® (LiPS®) Program (formerly called the ADD Program, Auditory Discrimination in Depth) successfully stimulates phonemic awareness.    Individuals become aware of the mouth actions which produce speech sounds.  This awareness becomes the means of verifying sounds within words and enables individuals to become self-correcting in reading and spelling, and speech. (see disclaimer at bottom of page)


Seeing Stars® - is an integrated reading and spelling program.  The program helps stabilize phonemic awareness and assists in the development of sight words and spelling.  Specific steps of imaging letters for phonemes through multi-syllable words helps establish reading and spelling in context.  (see disclaimer at bottom of page)



SRA Reading Mastery - uses the Direct Instruction method to develop phonics skills through carefully sequenced, explicit instruction in sound-symbol correspondences and an emphasis on blending the sounds.  Reading Mastery is unique in its use of a different orthography with lower case letters only.  This allows the program to limit its system to 40 sound-symbol correspondences and minimizes common errors such as b/d reversals. Higher levels of Reading Mastery focus on phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

Stevenson Program - utilizes concrete associations in the form of visual /departments/specialed/images/mnemonics reinforced by stories in order to teach decoding skills.  The skills are strategically sequenced to enable students to decode a large number of words early in the program.  The skills are taught in segments, usually phoneme/grapheme correspondences, called processing integrals.  The Stevenson Program provides daily practice in both encoding and decoding while relying on the visual associations essential to the program.

Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking® - is a strategy based intervention program to improve oral and written language comprehensions. The program helps students create an imaged "whole" or "gestalt".  Verbalization with visualization is taught in order to develop concept imagery needed for comprehension.  (see disclaimer at bottom of page)


Wilson Reading System - is a research-based reading and writing program. It is a complete curriculum for teaching decoding and encoding (spelling) beginning with phoneme segmentation. WRS directly teaches the structure of words in the English language so that students master the coding system for reading and spelling. Unlike other programs that overwhelm the student with rules, the language system of English is presented in a systematic and cumulative manner so that it is manageable. It provides an organized, sequential system with extensive controlled text to help teachers implement a multisensory structured language program.  The basic purpose of the Wilson Reading System is to teach students fluent decoding and encoding skills to the level of mastery. From the beginning steps of the program, it also includes sight word instruction, vocabulary, oral expressive language development and comprehension. Throughout the program, a ten part lesson plan, designed to be very interactive between teacher and student, is followed. The lessons progress from easier to more challenging tasks for decoding and spelling. The lesson plan ends with fluency and comprehension work.

Check back often to see all the interesting activities submitted by our teachers!!

Calvert Middle School

Explanatory Writing    "Puppet Project"    by Julie Tomasik

Have students make hand puppets with brown paper lunch bags.  Students can use construction paper, cotton balls, glitter, yarn, buttons, etc.  They should be creative but don't encourage too much detail.    When puppets are complete, have each student write a paragraph explaining, step-by-step, how they made their puppet.  Collect all puppets.    Students trade papers and try to make each other's puppets following the written directions in the paragraph.    Have students compare the original puppet to the one made by their peer.    Student will clearly see where gaps were made in their descriptions.    Have students critique each other and tell how the explanations could have been more clear and complete.

Calvert Elementary School   

Reading, Comparing & Contrasting  by Elizabeth Cook

1.  The student will be able to compare and contrast two different versions of Cinderella.
2.  The student will be able to use a Venn diagram to make comparisons.
3.  The student will be able to make predictions about a story.

Review or read the fairy tale, Cinderella with students.  If reviewing the story write on the board or overhead- characters, set, plot, and have students give that information.  Next read Cinderella's Rat by Susan Meddaugh, Houghton Mifflin, 1997. Read the first page (page 3) and stop.  Ask students to predict what surprises the rat may face.  Write these predictions down on chart paper, the board, or on the overhead.  Finish the book.  Compare the predictions the students made with what happens in the book.  Now draw your Venn Diagram either on a chart, the board, or overhead.  have students compare the story of Cinderella with Cinderella's Rat. Be sure to cover plot, setting, and characters. After the lesson have some cheese and crackers!

Reading   "Paper Doll"  Book Chain   
Submitted by:  Denise Lienesch

This activity is ongoing. I have used it as a follow-up task to Accelerated Reader activities (reading and taking the quiz).  It could also be used as an after-reading task following a read aloud or an independent reading assignment.  It might even be used as a stand-alone book report idea for the younger grades.

After reading a book (story, poem, etc.), the student is given a paper-doll shape made out of thick paper. The template I use is about 10 inches in length (from top of doll’s head to bottom of legs), and 9 inches wide (doll’s outstretched arms).

On the doll shape, the student is required to write certain information as follows:

Name of Book on right arm
Author and Illustrator on left arm
Genre (category) down the torso
Favorite Character on right leg
Favorite Page From the Selection and Why on the left leg

Lastly, the student is to decorate the face and add details to the body in the spirit of his/her favorite character.

Once the student has finished a doll, laminate it. Put it up on a prominent wall in your classroom. Fix it to the wall by "connecting" it to the doll beside it, in such a way that they appear to be holding hands (in a paper-doll chain sort of way). It is fun to see how long the chain can become in one school year!

Northern Middle School   


"Functional Friday Folders"
Submitted by:  Susie Agnolutto

After noticing a huge deficit in the functional reading skills of my 8th graders, I began what I call "Functional  Friday Folders."  Every Friday we work on functional, everyday life reading tasks such as reading recipes, movie guides, the TV guide, applications for actual jobs, driver license book (they love this), and advertisements from newspapers.  I make up reading comprehension questions based on labels for food, medicines, car care manuals, etc.  We keep all of this work in the "Functional Friday Folders," which I make worth 100 points a week.  I set up four of these activities at stations in the room.  The students rotate through each of the four reading station tasks as their own pace.  At the end of the period they have really accomplished a lot, and I feel this is something that is practical and necessary for real life for our students.


Dowell Elementary School   


Reading    Sight Words    Submitted by  Becky Leishear
Object: To organize flashcards to make review easy and portable
 Need: 1 empty photo album with plastic sleeves
              3x5 index cards
 Activity: 1) write sight words or vocabulary on index cards
                  2) place index cards into plastic sleeves of photo album
                  3) replace or reorganize cards as necessary or when mastered


Calvert Country School 

Reading Color Words   Submitted by Donna Will

Using a precut laminated Christmas tree (approximately 3 feet tall) together with circle shaped spaces made from primary colored construction paper and paired with1 color word written inside each circle, the students will place "ornaments" (laminated circle shapes also made from primary colored construction paper and paired with corresponding color words written on them) on the Christmas tree, matching the words to each color on the tree. A variation includes having the students only match the colors and not the words by turning over the "ornaments" on the tree.

Calvert High School 

Teaching Syllable Division Submitted by Katie Harrington

MATERIALS-Index cards, markers or crayons, scissors, and envelopes.

First, have the students write 2 syllable words on index cards.  Make the vowels with one color magic marker or crayon so they stand out.  Then, have the students use a different color to write the consonants.  Have the students use scissors to cut cards into 2 syllables and place the divided words into an envelope.  Have students keep the pieces and afterwards discuss syllable division principles as you do this activity.

Mt. Harmony Elementary School 


I have each student fill out a "Fact Sheet" with their name, address, birthday, and favorites like food, book, TV show, etc., plus a couple of open ended statements.  I post their papers on a bulletin board (without corrections in spelling).  Students are then given a "Class Quiz" to fill in during their free time for a week.  Prizes are awarded for highest scores.  Students learn about each other, and the importance of correct spelling.   

Classroom Quiz

How many students in this class live in Dunkirk?   ____

Who likes to eat mashed potatoes?  __________

Who plays soccer? ____________

Who would like to be a photographer when they grow up? ________________

If your zip code is 20736, what town do you live in? _____________    
How many people listed BLUE as their favorite color? _______ Who are they? ______________________________________

Who has a birthday the day after Ms. N’s? ______________

How many people were born in November? ______

What is Joshua’s brother’s name? __________

If you wanted to bring Mrs. H a treat, what should you bring? _________________

Who likes to read in their free time? _________________________

 Match each person’s name with their favorite T.V. show.

 Wrestling                            F

Teen Titans                           D

Ed, Edd, Eddy                        B

Fairly Odd Parents                J

Drake and Josh                      D

The Amanda Show                   S

Whose Line Is It  Anyway?    K

The Simpsons                        J

Find someone that you have something in common with  ________________  

How are  you alike?  ________________________________________

Reading Ideas Submitted by Bonnie


High Frequency Words-To help students remember these words use pictures and/or verbal cues (e.g. a picture of a tortoise and a hare).  The word this picture helps them remember is and.  A good clue for the is a picture of a bear going over a mountain ( a bear goes over the mountain.  The words a and I can be introduced as letters that are also words.  Any meaningful connection for the student works.  I remember one student who always remembered the word one because of the image of a one dollar bill.

 Fundations- To give students fluency practice with sounds I  have been placing my small magnetic cards on the board in random order for the students to "read fast".  My instructional assistant has also made charts resembling (but not the same as)  the 20 second fluency assessments for practice individually or in small groups. 

Mutual Elementary School

Reading Ideas 

Sticky Note Scavenger Hunt

Students will need to choose a book, preferably on their instructional level.  Give each student 5-10 small sticky notes (3X3 or smaller).  Then send them on a hunt for phonics!  Give them a list of 5-10 sounds or word families (new and review).  Set a time limit and see who can be the first to find a word with each sound or family.  Students put a sticky note on the book page when they find an example.  They need to be able to read the word in order for it to count. 

You can also use this activity to find rhyming words, spelling patterns, synonyms, antonyms, etc.

CCPS is NOT Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes nor is it affiliated with, certified, endorsed, licensed, monitored or sponsored by Lindamood-Bell, Nanci Bell, Phyllis Lindamood or Pat Lindamood. Lindamood-Bell - an international organization creating and implementing unique instructional methods and programs for quality intervention to advance language and literacy skills - in no way endorses or monitors the services provided by CCPS.