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Building Confident Readers Beginning in Kindergarten at M.C. Riley Early Education Center

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

One of the Beaufort County School District’s Core Beliefs is that “Early childhood learning experiences form the foundation of future school success.” The Foundation exists to support the mission and goals of the public schools of Beaufort County – including this core belief that learning at a young age is vital for our students’ future. That’s why we loved having the opportunity to help make this project at M.C. Riley Early Childhood Center a reality…

Thanks to a grant from the Foundation through the generous support of the Moss Creek Community Charitable Fund, Melissa Murray’s kindergarten students at M.C. Riley Early Education Center learned to have more confidence in their reading skills. The funds given through the grant went towards the purchase of a decodable book collection that provides research-based small group reading instruction focused on phonics.

Elementary Students Reading Decodable Books
Students at M.C. Riley Early Education Center Reading Decodable Books

You may be asking - what are decodable books? And why are they so important? Decodable books are simple books written for young readers that use the specific grapheme–phoneme correspondences. This provides students with the opportunity to use their developing segmenting and blending skills to read words while by recognizing words quickly and effortlessly from the very beginning of their reading journey. This allows students to experience independent reading success! Decodable books encourage sounding out words using decoding strategies rather than inferring from pictures or predicting from other cues.

This year, kindergarten through third grade teachers across the district participated in a LETRS training. This program breaks down the science of reading. It explains why a strong foundation of phonemic and phonological awareness is crucial in building confident readers. And these decodable books used in Ms. Murray’s class provided through the grant helped to support this important literacy initiative.

This decodable book series from the Open Court curriculum coupled with whole group instruction from the phonics-based program gave the students the confidence they needed to read! Students that did not speak English that came into school in early 2023 graduated from kindergarten not only reading, but they also felt secure due to whole group instruction and the use of these decodable books that helped to reinforce what they learned.

Students Reading Decodable Books
Students at M.C. Riley Early Education Center Reading Decodable Books

“What a wonderful addition to our classroom library!” said Ms. Murray. “It’s true that students learn at different times based on experience at home and school. These books have helped to level the playing field!”

Confidence in reading is a vital building block in being successful in school across all subject areas. And teachers like Ms. Murray who recognize this importance and strive for each student to succeed inspire the Foundation to keep supporting teachers and schools across the district in their meaningful quest to educate the next generation.

We are so thankful for our teachers and the support of organizations who support our mission and make grants like this possible like the Moss Creek Community Charitable Fund.


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