Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) is a professional development program authored by Louisa Moats. LETRS empowers teachers with a solid foundation of the mental processes of reading by providing a deeper insight and knowledge of reading instruction. LETRS is designed to enhance the knowledge of every teacher of reading, regardless of the core curriculum used. The modules provide teachers with an understanding of how students learn to read and write, the reasons why some students fail to learn to read, spell or write, the instructional strategies best supported by research, and assessment practices that guide research– based instruction
Louisa Moats, Ed.D., author, Grades K-12
It is critical for the success of our schools and students that reading coaches, specialists and teachers have a deep structural understanding of language.
That is why well known reading expert Dr. Louisa Moats and Sopris West created LETRS. This breakthrough professional development program provides a comprehensive, fad-free understanding of how students read and write and how to improve and focus reading instruction.
Years of research and a lifetime of real-world education experience went into the development of LETRS. This unique professional development program empowers teachers with a solid foundation of the mental processes of reading and field-tested instructional strategies for each type of struggling reader.
LETRS provides teachers with the knowledge and skills to address one of our nations’s top priorities—closing the achievement gap.
Modules 1, 2, 3:
Module 1 – The Challenge of Learning to Read
When teachers are knowledgeable about what the brain does when reading, they are better able to appreciate and implement components crucial to reading instruction. With this goal in mind, LETRS Module 1 provides the foundational information so necessary for all those who interface with students’ reading skills. Key concepts include the discovery of how difficult reading really is, including reviews of MRIs to illustrate what physically happens in the brains of good and poor readers. Additionally, the stages of word reading will be reviewed, pairing this knowledge with student writing samples to illustrate how this information translates into the classroom setting. Discussions involving essential components of reading instruction beyond the “core five components” will be included, along with interactive illustrations of what might be happening for our poor reading students. Foundational information for all grade levels!
Module 2 – The Speech Sounds of English: Phonetics, Phonology, and Phoneme Awareness
While the term “phonemic awareness” is continually mentioned in reading instruction, exactly what this means often differs within reading programs and classroom instruction. LETRS Module 2 delves in detail into the workings of phonology and its importance in reading instruction for young readers and poor older readers. A progression of skills to teach and assess is clearly outlined, complete with interactive examples at all skill levels. The 44 specific speech sounds of the English language are detailed, along with “allophonic variants”, or what happens to students when sounds are not represented as they should be. Issues of dialect and English language learners (ELL) are addressed as they impact reading instruction. Principles of effective phonology instruction are demonstrated. Student spelling samples from all grade levels are reviewed to help participants make connections between students’ phoneme awareness and their reading and spelling skills. For grades K-3, and all professionals involved with older poor readers.
Module 3 – Spellography for Teachers: How English Spelling Works
Is the spelling of the English language really as unpredictable as we think? LETRS Module 3 outlines five major rules that govern the spelling patterns of the English language, dispelling the notion that our spelling is truly unpredictable. Once armed with this information, professionals will be better able to understand the “what” and “why” of teaching the orthography of the English language and its connections to reading. The continuum of spelling skills addressed spans the individual phoneme-grapheme connection to multi-syllable patterns and types to teach, including work at the morpheme and word origin levels. For grades K-3
Modules 4, 5, 6:
Module 4 – The Mighty Word: Building Vocabulary and Oral Language
Vocabulary instruction differs from other areas of reading. This module addresses varied approaches to instruction, including indirect (contextual) and direct methodologies, and stresses techniques for fostering word use, knowledge of word relationships, and awareness of word structure and its connection to meaning. Participants apply what they have learned about vocabulary instruction to several examples of narrative and expository text. For all grades
Module 5 – Getting Up to Speed: Developing Fluency
Comprehensive reading instruction includes deliberate fluency building at subword, word, phrase, and text levels for those students who are too slow. This module reviews the rationale for a fluency component in lesson design. Participants learn and practice techniques for speed drills, repeated readings, simultaneous and alternate oral reading, calculating reading fluency, and charting the results of exercises. For all grades
Module 6 – Digging for Meaning: Teaching Text Comprehension
Comprehension instruction is one of the most researched areas in reading education, yet one of the most challenging. This module addresses the research base for teaching comprehension, the reasons why children have difficulty with comprehension, and approaches for teaching comprehension at the phrase, sentence, paragraph, and passage levels. Questioning techniques and strategies useful before, during and after reading are reviewed. Exercises include text analysis for planning instruction. For all grades
Modules 7, 8, 9:
Module 7 – Teaching Phonics, Word Study, and the Alphabetic Principle
The inclusion of phonics as a necessary skill for early reading instruction has been well documented in reading research efforts. What this specifically means to those connected to reading instruction will be addressed in detail within LETRS Module 7. A perfect follow-up to LETRS Modules 2 and 3, all components of phonics instruction are modeled through videotaped vignettes of teachers in real-life classroom and instructional situations. The connections between sound and symbol, or phoneme and grapheme, are outlined in a logical scope and sequence for teaching young readers the specific decoding strategies necessary for successful reading. For grades K-3
Module 8 – Assessment for Prevention and Early Intervention
While the movement towards mandatory reading testing is pervasive, understanding exactly which skills should be assessed, with whom, and why, is crucial knowledge for all professionals involved in implementation of student reading instruction. Truly understanding how to use assessment information to drive instruction is the goal of LETRS Module 8. Participants will review example student data to help make decisions regarding instruction, specifically using the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) as a major screening and progress monitoring tool. No prerequisite knowledge of DIBELS is required in order to benefit from this module. For grades K – 3
Module 9 – Teaching Beginning Spelling and Writing
With major emphasis on the reading skills of our students, writing has often been ignored. What we now find are students whose reading skills are well documented and developed, with written language skills lagging well behind their abilities. LETRS Module 9 attempts to rectify this situation by addressing the components necessary for comprehensive written language instruction for young students. A specific look into the demands of writing, including how written language instruction is outlined, with identified best practices included to use within the classroom setting. For grades K – 3
Modules 10, 11, 12:
Module 10 – Reading Big Words: Syllabication and Advanced Decoding
The goal of this module is to prepare teachers of students in grades three and above to build upon a foundation of phonics with a structured system of word study and
advanced decoding. Objectives for module 10 include: map phonemes to graphemes in single syllable words; identify and combine six syllable types; divide multisyllabic words using several high-utility principles; sort past-tense and plural words by the sounds of inflection; explore word families derived from a common root; explore the role of prefixes and suffixes. For grades 3 and up
Module 11 – Writing: A Road to Reading Comprehension
This module is designed for intermediate, middle and high school teachers who wish to learn specific procedures for teaching reading comprehension through skill and strategy instruction that involves written responses. In the first portion of the module, participants in this module will review the many causes of reading comprehension difficulties, know the research consensus on teaching comprehension, and understand the importance of vocabulary knowledge for comprehension. The remainder of the module focuses on learning to implement the Key Three Routine, a model for comprehension strategy instruction that incorporates main idea, note taking, and summarizing into a series of activities that can be used with any content area. For grades 4 and up
Module 12 – Using Assessment to Guide Instruction
Assessment that informs instruction should be valid, reliable and efficient. This module describes why and how educational evaluation should be used for differentiating instruction from third grade and beyond. It includes informal tests and case studies that demonstrate the recommended approach. For all grades