PreK-5 Literacy
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PreK-5 Literacy

PreK-5 Literacy



In fall 2017, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) started using a new literacy curriculum for its elementary students. The word literacy means the ability to read and write. Curriculum refers to the books and lessons that are used to teach students new skills like how to read and write.

MPS believes it’s important for students to connect to what they are learning. Children need to have opportunities to engage in meaningful lessons that they care about and reflect who they are as a person.  This is what is referred to as culturally relevant* teaching.

Teachers will use these new literacy materials and apply examples from students’ cultures to make learning more meaningful. This will better engage students and help them be more interested in what they are learning. When students are interested in what they are learning, they will have an easier time understanding the lessons and learn more quickly.

The new literacy curriculum focuses on five key parts of learning how to read and write:


  1. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and recognize the different sounds that make a word. Practicing the sounds of a word helps students learn to spell and improves their reading and understanding of what they are reading.  
  2. Phonics help children learn to read and spell by learning the sounds that individual letters make and the sounds that groups of letters make like “ing” or “tion.” Over time, children learn the relationship between written words and spoken words.
  3. Fluency is the ability to read and understand words quickly.
  4. Vocabulary refers to the number of words that a person understands. The more words a person knows and understands, the easier it will be for them to learn how to read and write.
  5. Text comprehension is how well someone understands what they are reading.

For the PreK Literacy curriculum, MPS selected Big Day PreK (Español, Hmoob, Soomali).

For the K-5 Literacy curriculum, MPS selected Benchmark Advance (Español, Hmoob, Soomali).

To learn more about these new reading and writing materials, attend your school's Literacy Night.


Culturally Relevant Teaching

MPS has adopted Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings definition in our work with teachers, administrators and staff:

“Culturally relevant teaching is a pedagogy that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes.”