Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a. Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.
b. Associate the long and short sounds with the common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.
c. Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
d. Distinguish between similarly spelled words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ.


  • sounds
  • phonics
  • word analysis
  • grapheme
  • vowel
  • associate

  • Letter-sound correspondence
  • high frequency
  • consonant
  • distinguish
  • spellings
  • medial sound vowel

  • final sound
  • initial sound
  • identifying
  • differ
  • encoding

  • Students who have not mastered phonemic awareness will experience difficulty mapping sounds (phonemes) to letters (graphemes). 

  • Fluent reading depends on the ability to decode and use other word analysis skills.

  • Comprehension depends on fluent reading.

  • Failure to acquire basic phonics and word analysis skills limits the opportunities for students to build vocabulary and develop concepts when reading both narrative and informational texts.
  • Basic word analysis undergirds advanced word study which is necessary for reading and understanding increasingly complex content area texts across grade levels.
  • Difficulties acquiring phonics and word analysis skills can often be remediated with appropriate, focused, and intensive early intervention instruction.
  • Kindergarten students are able to produce the primary or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant. For example, they know that “s” usually sounds like the first letter in “snake”, but can also sound like a /z/ in “does”.
  • Kindergarten students can produce both the short and long sound for the five vowels.
  • When kindergarten students see an unknown word such as “flap”, they use their knowledge of consonant and vowel sound to decode the word /f/ /l/ /a/ /p/ and try to figure out the meaning or, with prompting and support from the teacher, learn the meaning of this new word. In other words, kindergartners are beginning to decode and read many one syllable regular words. As they move through the year, many kindergarteners begin to correctly decode and read even longer regular words using the phonics and word analysis skills they have learned.
  • As kindergarten students read familiar words over and over again they are building a vocabulary of print words that they are able to recognize and read automatically.
  • During morning meeting or read-aloud time or when using decodable readers, kindergarten students recognize and can read high frequency words such as the, of, to, you, she, me, is, are, do, does.
  • Kindergarten students are beginning to realize that the sounds of two letter blends such as /fl/ and /st/ are spoken more closely than are the rest of the sounds in the word (i.e., the /f/ and /l/ sound in “flap” blends together – you can hear each sound, but not as distinctly as the other sounds in the word.
  • Kindergarten students are able to explain the difference between two or three words that are spelled similarly, but are not the same. For example, given the words “mop” “top” and “tap”, students can “sound out” the words and, then, tell the teacher or their partners why the words are not the same. (i.e., “mop” has the beginning sound of /m/, but the beginning sound in “top” is /t/ and “tap” has the /a/ vowel sound and not the /o/ vowel sound as in the other two words.
  • Kindergarten students who know and can apply grade level phonics and word attack skills in decoding words have learned the following academic vocabulary terms decoding, same, high-frequency, letter-sound connection (correspondence), spelling, and similar and have reviewed terms such consonant, vowel, letter and sound such as in beginning, middle, and end of a word.

what's this

  • What affect does the ability to analyze and decode words have on a student’s vocabulary development?
  • What is the correct pronunciation of the sounds of each consonant and vowel? (See Appendix A, pages 17-18)
  • What are the most common high frequency words that kindergarteners should be able to recognize?
  • What types of instructional strategies support the development of phonics and word analysis skills? Are there songs, games, read-aloud books, and movement activities that support the teaching of phonics and word analysis skills?
  • What must teachers be aware of when determining an appropriate sequence for teaching sound-letter correspondence?
  • What resources and materials are recommended for teachers who wish to improve their knowledge of and ability to teach phonics and word analysis skills at the kindergarten level? Does my school library provide a professional book section? Do other teachers have skills and knowledge that I can use about this subject? (Refer also to the Center On Instruction’s web resource, Building the Foundation: A Suggested Progression of Sub-skills to Achieve the Reading Standards: Foundational Skills in the Common Core State Standards at Building the Foundation.
  • How can teachers effectively assess mastery of phonics and word analysis skills? (To screen for or quickly assess various foundational reading skills, link to the online PALS: Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening provided by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia)
  • What academic vocabulary terms should students learn as they work to meet this standard?
  • Where can I find additional information on the Common Core Standards Reading Foundational Skills? (Go to Appendix A, pages 17-22) 
  • How can teachers effectively assess mastery of phonics and word analysis skills?
  • What instructional materials support mastery of phonics and word analysis skills?

SAMPLE PERFORMACE TASKS – (1) Given a series of CVC words or pseudowords, the student should be able to produce the sound of the vowel in each of the words (i.e. mat, mop, sip, met, sup, lot, bat, rut).
(2) Students should be able to read and recognize common sight words in big books during read-aloud.


Go to RF.1.3 to see the progression of related skills.