Eye on ECCS: Language acquisition and literacy development

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NOTE: Occasionally throughout the school year, we will visit a school across Eastern Carver County Schools. Some weeks the plan may be to stop in multiple classrooms by grade, or by subject. Other weeks it may highlight a certain specialist group. The purpose is to give families and our community a glimpse into the every-day learning environment happening in our buildings. A chance to spotlight the incredible work our teachers and staff do on a daily basis for our students, and to showcase the incredible work our students produce as well. So, keep your Eye on ECCS!


At the Feb. 12 school board work session, Brian Beresford, Leader of Personalized Learning (Elementary), along with elementary literacy coach Carol Redmond and teachers Amy Blake and Joanne Torp, presented about the work being done with our youngest learners with language acquisition and literacy development.

Being a Reader (BAR) - Collaborative Classroom

BAR is the first of its kind curriculum to integrate foundational skills instruction, practice in reading comprehension strategies, and rich literacy experiences with explicit social skills instruction and activities that foster students’ growth as responsible, caring, and collaborative people.

Full implementation of the program with Eastern Carver County Schools at the elementary levels is ongoing with Grade 3 added this school year and Grade 4 slated for next year.

Reading strategy instruction is modeled with mentor text for each grade level. Students are gradually released for guided and independent practice.

In grades K-1, targeted support with explicit phonics and phonemic awareness instruction happens within small groups with classroom teachers. In grades 2-3, students work on explicit phonics pattern instruction during whole group word work instruction.

Recent data shows the work being done throughout elementary classrooms is making gains in test scores.


A recent visit to kindergarten classrooms at Jonathan Elementary showed BAR in action throughout the language arts instruction.

“What has been so impressive about the kindergarten team at Jonathan Elementary is how they can strike the perfect balance of both the art and the science of reading. Being a Reader is a great tool, and when it is placed in the hands of amazing teachers - we see great things happen,” Jonathan Elementary principal Pete Morse said.

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