[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Noor Makboul



Want to learn about the most up-to-date research-based practices for how to teach children (PreK-2) to read? Do you have students in your class that are struggling readers and aren’t sure how to help them? Have you heard buzz words like the science of reading, heart words, sound walls and want to learn more? Teach in a balanced literacy format but want to include important elements from the Science of Reading? This is the class for you! Our text, Reading Above the Fray, introduces researched-based instructional practices to help students get the foundational skill needed to read. These strategies will also help to move from a balanced literacy classroom to a structured literacy classroom. You will be surprised how easy it is to implement these practices in the classroom, and you will see how much your students will grow as readers!

This course is appropriate for educators who teach reading in grades PreK-2.

Text: Reading Above the Fray by Julia Lindsay Amazon

Price: $30

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Understood key concepts of structured literacy
  • Learned about important skill students need in order to become proficient readers
  • Discovered ways to implement the researched based strategies in the classroom setting
  • Explored the importance of decodable texts, heart words, sound walls, and explicit phonics teaching
  • Gathered various resources that can be used to support students in the classroom
  • Expanded knowledge on the Science of Reading

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Reading Above the Fray: Reliable, Research-Based Routines for Developing Decoding Skills (The Science of Reading in Practice), by Julia Lindsay Amazon price: $30

None. All reading is online.





Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction

Read chapters 1 and 2 in the text.

Read the following articles:

  • Structured Literacy vs Balanced Literacy: What’s the difference? LINK
  • The 7 Deadly Errors for Teaching Reading LINK
  • The Science of Reading LINK

In 400+ words, introduce yourself (name, position/grade) and what led you to register for this class.

Questions to answer in your response:

  • What is your experience with teaching students how to read?
  • How do you approach teaching foundational skills?
  • How do you currently teach literacy: balanced literacy, structured literacy, something else?
  • Do you have a curriculum that you follow? If so, what is it? What do you like about that curriculum? What areas could be improved upon?
  • What do you already know about structured literacy/Science of Reading?
  • What are you hoping to get out of this class?

Assignment #2: Oral Language and Print Concepts

Read chapters 3 and 4 in the text.

Read the following articles:

  • Oral Language Development LINK
  • 20 Tips for Teaching Concepts of Print LINK

Plan an activity for your students or small group that both develops oral language skills and/or print concepts. Write a brief lesson plan (lesson plan template: LINK or create your own). Teach the lesson to your students or a small group of students.

In 200+ words, reflect on how the lesson went with your students.

  • What did you learn?
  • What went well?
  • What would you do differently?

Assignment #3: Phonemic Awareness

Read chapter 5 in the text.

Read and watch the following:

  • Phonemic Awareness LINK
  • Development of Phonological Skills LINK
  • Explore sample lessons from Heggerty: LINK and LINK
  • Equipped for Reading Success One-Minute Exercises Short Training LINK

In 300+ words, respond to the following prompts:

  • What is your experience teaching phonemic awareness?
  • How does the information you learned in the chapter, articles, website, and video impact your teaching?
  • If you already teach phonemic awareness, what do you use to teach it?
    • What skills are your students working on?
    • Where do you see areas of success? Areas for growth?
  • If phonemic awareness is new to you, what skills do your students need to work on based on your grade level?
    • How can you incorporate phonemic awareness into your daily schedule?
  • What questions or wonderings do you have about phonemic awareness?

Respond to another student’s post in the group forum in 2 to 3 sentences.

Assignment #4: Alphabetic Knowledge

Read chapter 6 in the text.

Read and watch the following:

  • THE ALPHABETIC PRINCIPLE: Paving The Way To Learning To Read LINK
  • Using the Versatile Alphabet Arch LINK

In 300+ words, write a summary of your understanding of the alphabetic principle.

  • How does this information impact your teaching? Impact your students?
  • What is an idea or activity that you could take to your students tomorrow?

Respond to another student’s post in the group forum in 2 to 3 sentences.

Assignment #5: Sound-Spelling Knowledge

Read chapter 7 in the text.

Watch Videos: Wiley Blevins videos LINK

In 300+ words, reflect sound-spelling relationships.

  • How do you currently approach phonics instruction?
  • What scope and sequence do you follow?
  • What will you change about your instruction based on this chapter?
  • What are some activities students do to practice sound-spelling relationships?

Respond to another student’s post in the group forum in 2 to 3 sentences.

Assignment #6: Decoding/Chunking/Fluency

Read chapters 8-10 in the text.

Read and watch the following:

  • Strategies for Teaching Continuous Blending LINK
  • 5 Secrets for Teaching Beginning Readers to Blend Sounds LINK

In 300+ words, write about decoding, chunking, and fluency.

  • How are these three skills connected?
  • What happens if one skill is lacking?
  • How can you support your students in developing these skills?
  • What changes will you make in your classroom?

Respond to another student’s post in the group forum in 2 to 3 sentences.

Assignment #7: Seven Syllable Types

Read the following articles:

  • The 6 (or 7) Syllable Types: What They Are, Why They Matter, And When To Teach Them! LINK
  • Syllable Types LINK

Create a collage or other visual representation illustrating the seven different syllable types. Consider using a creative image to help students remember the different types. Be sure to use word examples. Write 4-5 sentences explaining your image(s).

Assignment #8: A Call to Action

Create a brochure/newsletter/flyer/pamphlet (or other instructor approved idea) about the important skills needed for students to learn to read at your grade level.

Be sure to include:

  • The skill and why it is important (oral language, print concepts, alphabetic knowledge, sound-spelling knowledge, decoding, chunking, and fluency)
  • Grade level appropriate examples and activities (example: for phonemic awareness, kindergarteners would not be learning how to delete sounds as that is a 2nd/3rd grade skill)

You can determine who the audience is (parents, fellow educators, students) and how you present the material based on your audience.
Use our text and resources we have explored in your final product.

Consider using these website for additional information:

  • Common Core State Standards LINK
  • Reading Basics LINK

(Click on your grade level on the side for phonological, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary activities. You are welcome to explore and include comprehension and writing activities, but these are not the focus of the assignment.)



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #9: Chapter 7 Revisited: Heart Words

Part 1: Sight Words VS High-Frequency Words VS Heart Words

Read the following articles:

  • Sight Words VS High-Frequency Words LINK
  • A New Model for Teaching High-Frequency Words LINK

Create a collage or other visual representation illustrating the definition of sight words, high-frequency words, and heart words. Focus on the differences between these phrases, and be sure to include word examples. Write 4-5 sentences explaining your image(s).

Part 2: Word Mapping
Choose a list of FRY words that best align to what you teach your students as traditional ‘sight words’.

FRY LIST 1-100       FRY LIST 101-200        FRY LIST 201-300

For each word, determine if the word is decodable or irregular (heart word). Some ideas to consider as you look at words:

  • For Regular Words:
    Consider where you can teach these words in your scope and sequence?
    (Show this by using colors or in a list. Be sure to write some details about what your colors/lists mean)
  • Irregular Words (heart words):
    1)  Map the word (what are the parts of the word, and what sound do they make?
         what makes the word irregular?)
    2)  Consider how you would teach this word to students.
    3)  Can it be grouped with other similar words, or is it on its own? 
         (Show this by using colors or in a list. Be sure to write some details about what your colors/lists mean)

How to complete the assignment:

  • Print out the list and use different colors to sort the words into categories. Use another page to map out the irregular word


  • Make handwritten or typed-up lists to sort the words. Make a list of irregular words and map them there 


  • ​Another way to show your thinking

Use the following resources to explore alternative ways to teach these words/how to map the words:

Assignment #10: Sound Walls

Read the following articles:

  • 5 Reasons It’s Time to Use Sound Walls in Your Classroom and Ditch Your Word Wall LINK
  • Getting Started with a Sound Wall LINK
  • Why Teachers Are Adopting Sound Walls Over Word Walls LINK
  • Sound Walls 101 LINK

In 300+ words, write your thoughts on sound walls.

  • How would you use a sound wall in the classroom?
  • How might it benefit your students?
  • What questions do you have about sound walls?

Respond to another student’s post in the group forum in 2 to 3 sentences.

Assignment #11: Chapter 8 Revisited: Decodables

Read and watch the following:

In 400+ words, write what you would say to your administrator/colleague/a parent if they asked why you are using decodables and not leveled readers.

Be sure to explain:

  • The difference between decodable texts and leveled readers
  • The benefits of using decodable readers for students
  • How you will use decodable text to support your student's growth as readers.

Assignment #12: Student Study (500 Level ONLY)

Choose a student from your class that you want to learn more about as a reader. Over a week or two, conduct the following assessments:

  • PAST (Phonological Awareness Screening Test) LINK
  • Phonics Survey LINK
  • Decoding Inventory (from Chapter 8) LINK *Be sure to choose a text that follows your phonics scope and sequence*
  • Student writing piece

In 500+ words, reflect on what you learned about this student:

  • What did you notice about their phonological abilities? Areas of strength? Areas for growth?
  • What did you learn about their phonics knowledge?
  • How does that compare to your phonics scope and sequence? Areas of strength? Areas for growth?
  • How did they do with the decodable text? Areas of strength? Areas for growth?
  • What do you notice about your students’ spelling?
  • How does it compare to your phonics scope and sequence?
  • What would be your next steps for this student?
  • How can you help them continue to grow as a reader?

Assignment #13: Lesson Planning (500 Level ONLY)

Read the following articles:

  • How to Schedule Set Up Literacy Blocks That Align With the Science of Reading LINK
  • What does a Science of Reading Lesson Plan Look Like? LINK
  • How Do I Plan For Small Group Reading Instruction? LINK (This format can also be used for whole group)
  • Sample Lesson LINK

Using the information and formats you learned about above, write a series of lessons (3-4) that build on skills for students in your grade level. Consider the scope and sequence that you follow, and be sure to add in new, important concepts you have learned about. You can teach these lessons as a whole group or small group. Include an assessment at the beginning and end to see how your students did over the course of your lessons.
Use this lesson plan template: LINK.

Assessment: Your assessment should include decoding (reading the words) and encoding (spelling) that align with the topic you are teaching. You can choose to do the assessment for the entire class, or you can choose to do the assessment for 3-4 students of your choice. Be sure to provide the assessment in your assignment.

Note: You may not have 40-50 minutes a day for foundational skills as the lesson minutes state. I, personally, have 20-25 minutes a day in my classroom for foundational skills. Within a topic (ex: short a and short i), I make sure to do all the parts of a phonics lesson over the course of 2-3 (sometimes 4-5) days to ensure that students are exposed to the content and have adequate time to practice the skill.

Teach the lessons to your class or small group.

In 500+ words, reflect on your lessons:

  • What did you learn from this process?
  • What went well?
  • What would you change?
  • Looking at the pre/post-assessment data, how did your students do?

            1)  Areas of strength?
            2)  Areas for growth?

  • What are your next steps?

Assignment #14: Choice Assignment (500 Level ONLY)

Complete ONE of the following:
(You may want to create a folder (physical or digital) to store ideas and resources that you have gathered from this assignment- especially for the options that you don’t choose. You may want to access those resources in the future!)

Option A) Podcasts

1. Listen to Sold A Story Podcast (LINK/can also be found on other platforms)


2. Listen to the following episodes from Melissa and Lori Love Literacy Podcast (LINK/can also be found on other platforms)

  • Episode 23: Emily Handford Epically Defines the Science of Reading
  • Episode 51: The Science of Reading: An Equity Issue
  • Episode 63: Kindergarten Teachers Reaches 100% Success Using Evidence-Based Practices
  • Episode 80: A Primary Teacher’s Perspective on Science of Reading, Small Group Instruction, and Use of Sound Wall
  • Episode 120: Heidi Jane Drops Knowledge on Heart Words and So. Much. More!
  • Episode of your choice

In 600+ words (about 100 words per episode), write your response to the content of the episode.
Questions to consider in your response:

  • What did it make you think about?
  • Did something surprise you?
  • What are you wondering about?
  • How does it impact your teaching?

Option B) Instagram
Create or open Instagram (webpage or app).
Choose 6 accounts to explore:

  • @droppinknowledgewithheidi
  • @campbellcreatesreaders
  • @farmerlovesphonics
  • @snippetsbysarah
  • @mindfulteacherrachel
  • @mrswinterbliss
  • @get_literacy
  • @booksspeechandlove
  • @wordmorphed_
  • @educatorkathleen
  • @daydreamingaboutdata

  • @_readingrachel_

  • @literacy.edventures

Explore their posts, videos/reels, and websites.

Choose 2 images, posts, videos, or articles from each account you chose. For each account, write 100+ words about why you choose those items.

  • How will they impact your teaching?
  • What did you learn from them?

When turning in your assignment, be sure to include a link or image that you are referring to in your response.
Option C) Website Exploration

Spend some time exploring (read articles, watch videos) the following websites:

Write 100+ words about each link.
Questions to consider in your response:

  • What did you discover?
  • Something that you will share with others?
  • Something to use with your students?
  • What are you thinking about as you explore the links?

Option D) Professional Development

  • You have been tasked with creating a professional development session around foundational skills practices at your school for your colleagues.
  • Create a PowerPoint/google slides presentation (or other representation with instructor approval) presenting the topics from the book to your colleagues.
  • Your presentation should include:

          1)  Learning objectives/purpose for staff
          2) Clear examples to demonstrate the following topics: (10+ slides)

  • Oral language
  • Print concepts
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Sound-Spelling Knowledge (phonics)
  • Decoding
  • Chunking
  • Fluency
  • Elements of an effective lesson plan
  • Sound walls
  • Heart words
  • Decodable texts

          3) An opportunity for staff to practice or demonstrate their learning provided in the professional development

  • Reminder: Text is important on slides but should not take up the entire slide otherwise, participants will lose focus. Use videos or images with text to keep the message clear and concise.

Option E) Article and Summary

Read the following article: Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science (Moats, 2020) LINK then in 600+ words, summarize the key concepts presented by the author. What will be your next steps as an educator?
Option F)

Another assignment of your own design with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Noor Makboul, MAT, received a Masters Degree in the Art of Teaching from Lewis and Clark College in 2014. She has also earned her ESOL endorsement and will receive her reading endorsement in 2023. She currently teaches second grade in Cornelius, Oregon. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys finding new ways to engage and challenge her students. Outside of the classroom, she loves to read, do art projects, and spend time with her family.



  • Blevins, Wiley. Choosing and Using Decodable Texts: Practical Tips and Strategies for Enhancing Phonics Instruction. Scholastic, Inc., 2021, paperback, 128 pages, ISBN 1338714635. Blevins has so many great ideas for how to use decodable texts in the classroom. He walks the reader through before reading, during reading, and after reading activities. He also has a great section on how to choose strong decodable texts for students. Here is a link to a great presentation he gave on decodable texts: LINK
  • Burkins, Jan M., & Yates, Kari. Shifting the balance: 6 ways to bring the science of reading into the balanced literacy classroom. Stenhouse Publishers, 2021, paperback, 203 pages, ISBN978-1625315106.A great choice for beginning to learn about the Science of Reading. The authors provide some instructional shifts that can be made in the classroom to move towards a structured literacy approach.
  • ​Honig, Bill, et al. Teaching Reading Sourcebook. 3rd edition, Academic Therapy Publications, 2018, paperback, 848 pages, ISBN 1634022351.
    This book is 848 pages for a reason. It goes through every possible example and strategy for teaching students how to read. It is a bit dry at times but the content is fantastic. This book can be read cover to cover but can also be used to find specific information when needed.
  • ​Kilpatrick, David A. Equipped for Reading Success: A Comprehensive, Step-by-Step Program for Developing Phoneme Awareness and Fluent Word Recognition. Casey & Kirsch Publishers, 2016, spiral bound paperback, 1244 pages, ISBN 0964690365.
    A fabulous resource for teaching phonemic awareness. In 1,244 pages, Kilpatrick walks you through the research behind phonological and phonemic awareness as well as provides one minute drills to support student learning.
  • Moats, Louisa Cook. Speech to Print: Language Essentials for Teachers. 3rd edition, Brookes Publishing Company, 2020, paperback, 344 pages, ISBN 1681253305
    A great read for beginning Science of Reading. Moates helps the reader understand the complexities of the English language.
  • Prentice, Katie. “Katie's Science of Reading Resource Page.” Katie's Science of Reading Resource Page, pPNmPnhN0rqUVnI8ZC3MR4lNzDc&pli=1
    Katie Prentice is an instructional coach in Texas. She has spent a lot of time gathering some fabulous Science of Reading resources all in one page. Be sure to spend some time exploring these resources.