Robbinsdale Area Schools

Curriculum & Literacy

Structured Literacy in Rdale

Robbinsdale Area Schools uses a Structured Literacy approach to literacy instruction rooted in the Science of Reading Research. We believe these evidence based practices will lead to academic success for all students. The Robbinsdale Area Schools Literacy Framework focuses on explicit instruction in the five components of Literacy.

Rdale uses instructional practices to achieve the following outcomes:

  • all students reading at grade level 
  • all students develop and improve their literacy skills
  • enrich and accelerate literacy skills and ultimately all academic achievement
  • engage students using high quality, engaging teaching practices that are student centered
  • student mastery of the foundational reading skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency, as well as the development of oral language, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills
  • all students will be college and career ready
  • all students will be equipped to write in multiple genres to improve communication, reading, and life skills 
Group of students sitting at a table with books in a school library

Robbinsdale Area Schools Literacy Priority Outcomes

District Literacy Goal 2024-25

By the end of the 2024-25 school year, the percentage of students in Robbinsdale Area Schools that read at or above grade level as determined by meeting standards on the MN Reading MCA will increase from  40.3% to 50%. 

Robbinsdale Area Schools Literacy Plan

Literacy Instructional Framework

Overview of Science of Reading 

LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling)

Rdale literacy is rooted in the Science of Reading research. In order for teachers and leaders to effectively teach students to read, they must be educated and knowledgeable about the Science of Reading.  

Reading is not a natural skill.  A child will not naturally develop reading skills through exposure to text as previously thought. In order for a student to become a successful reader they need to be taught by someone who understands the theories and brain science involved in reading. Teachers need to provide explicit and systematic instruction in all the various skills necessary to be a successful reader.  

Build District Expertise in The Science of Reading

Building the knowledge and capacity of teachers in the Science of Reading provides a solid foundation for implementation of Literacy Instruction. Professional Learning for all teachers on the Science of Reading will continue to be provided.

Students holding books in a school library


Structured Literacy and Directives from MDE

The Rdale Literacy Plan has been developed and written using the guidelines provided from the Minnesota Department of Education and The READ Act. The plan will be updated to reflect any new legislation passed regarding literacy instruction.  

The goal of the READ Act is to have every Minnesota child reading at or above grade level every year, beginning in kindergarten, and to support multilingual learners and students receiving special education services in achieving their individualized reading goals Minn. Stat. 120B.12 (2023).

The Minnesota Department of Education promotes Structured Literacy as the statewide direction for all Minnesota Public schools. Structured Literacy is an approach to instruction that is beneficial to all students. 

Structured Literacy has three essential qualities

  1. Explicit- skills are taught so that all students demonstrate mastery of the skill or content, the teacher’s role is not just to explain and model, but also to check for understanding during instruction and provide feedback and instruction for students who aren’t immediately understanding
  2. Sequential- skills and concepts are taught in a logical order, begin with simpler concepts and get more difficult, teacher provides support throughout each concept
  3. Systematic- follows a well defined scope and sequence that guarantees students receive instruction in all areas, use high quality instructional materials, use evidence based practices, ensure sufficient instruction and practice, implement with fidelity, and differentiation is provided to meet students’ needs 
  4. Diagnostic- teachers will use data on their students’ learning progression to make instructional decisions. Teachers must provide individualized or small group instruction based on continuous assessment of student learning.  

Robbinsdale Area Schools will model the Literacy Block around this model to provide systematic, sequential and explicit reading instruction to meet the needs of all students.

Cultivate District Leaders to Leading Literacy Changes

In Robbinsdale Area Schools we empower our principals and instructional leaders to continue the learning process with our teachers on an ongoing basis. Principals are a key component to building effective literacy instruction practices at their building level. Building leaders are responsible for setting building level priorities and focuses year to year. The knowledge of the Science of Reading is key to establishing appropriate priorities. Principals determine teacher hiring criteria and make school level hiring decisions. They help determine professional development opportunities for teachers and oversee and conduct teacher observations and evaluations. A strong understanding of The Science of Reading is crucial for building leaders to make appropriate decisions to support teachers in increasing literacy levels of the students. 

Principals who engage in training on the Science of Reading and collaborate with other school leaders are more effective in addressing opposition, selecting evidence-based instructional materials and creating an environment that leads to greater literacy outcomes.

LETRS for Administrators

LETRS for Administrators is a professional learning opportunity specifically designed for building capacity of administrators and instructional leaders. This program provides a literacy framework that can be used to create a strong instructional plan. It helps leaders create efficient methods to analyze student data and establish effective literacy blocks. The program also includes tools and resources to support district and school literacy initiatives. 

District elementary principals, elementary assistant principals and instructional leaders along with secondary reading teachers are participated in this professional development in April 2023 and August 2023.

Literacy Coaching

We know through educational research that ongoing coaching is critical for teacher success. Without ongoing coaching on implementation of the learning teachers are much less likely to change their practices in their daily  instruction. Knowledge, training and observation are not enough to change practices in teachers, they need ongoing support and coaching. Ongoing instructional coaching has the highest impact on teacher practices.  

Through Bridge 2 Read implementation, observation, feedback and coaching are an expectation.  Building leaders (administrators, instructional coaches, MTSS support personal) will provide structured feedback to all teachers multiple times a year to improve literacy instructional practices.  Through this process teachers that need extra support with science of reading and structured literacy implementation will receive additional instrucional support and learning.  

Teachers who do not show proficiency in Science of reading training and implementation will receive ongoing professional learning through building and district professional learning.  Extra coaching and feedback sessions will likely be required. 

Literacy Focus in Early Learning

Language, literacy, and communication skills begin in the very first months of life and strong development of young children’s skills and abilities depends on interactions with families, teachers, caregivers, friends and stimulating environments. We recognize that young children are developing foundational knowledge and skills that will lead to more rigorous academic study in the elementary school years.

The Minnesota Department of Education’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress includes a Language, Literacy and Communications domain, within the domain are components: 

  • Listening and Understanding; Receptive Language
  • Communicating and Speaking; Expressive Language
  • Emergent Reading
  • Writing  

While Early Learning programming supports and engages students in all of the Language, Literacy and Communications components, the following are specific early literacy sub-component concepts:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Letter recognition
  • Concepts of print
  • Comprehension of narrative text
  • Writing conventions

Literacy Block in Elementary

In Rdale we will provide clear grade level guidelines for how the reading block time should be spent with a focus on both word recognition and language comprehension.

The National Reading Panel identifies five key concepts of effective reading instruction. In Rdale base our instructional practices on these five pillars to ensure a well rounded literacy program for all students. Throughout the Literacy Block all five of the pillars are be addressed with systematic and explicit instruction. 

Robbinsdale Area Schools Literacy Theory of Action

A theory of action is a framework that is used to establish clear goals and outcomes for all involved in the process of learning to read.  It includes strategies and interventions aimed at promoting literacy and involves identifying specific ideas and actions that will improve literacy outcomes.

Multilingual Learners

As outlined in the the Minnesota Department of Education’s recommendations for adhering to the LEAPS: Learning English for Academic Proficiency and Success Act 2014, Robbinsdale Area Schools is committed to an asset-focused approach to multilingualism through which we “promote multilingual instructional strategies (PD, coaches, etc.) and equitable programming (e.g.: dual language programs, bridging with home languages, biliteracy models/literacy squared, etc.)” (1B).  All English Language (EL) teachers have been trained in the Science of Reading through LETRS. Through professional learning provided by our literacy specialists and multilingual specialists, teachers build their repertoire of teaching strategies to ensure their instruction grows students’ language development and provides daily reading opportunities. Teachers also provide students with oracy development, daily low-stakes writing opportunities, and metalanguage skills to bridge their literacy skills from one language to another.  

Special attention is paid to multilingual learners' needs, which include: reading for meaning, not just decoding, seeing their first languages and cultures valued in the classroom, and direct instruction in phonics, especially when students’ home language operates from a different phonological system.  

Phonics and Word Study Curricular Resources

Robbinsdale Area Schools Utilizes the following curricular resources to support our instruction in phonics and word study:

  • Benchmark Curricular Materials
  • Bridge2Read Materials
  • Kilpatrick “Equipped for Reading Success: One Minute Activities”
  • Sound Wall Materials
  • Decodable Texts
  • UFLI- Intervention Only

Reading Corp and TLC

What is the Purpose of the Collaboration?

The goal is to combine resources and talent across Rdale and AmeriCorps to accelerate literacy learning.

2024-25 School Year

Schools with Reading Corp Tutors: FAIR Pilgrim Lane, Forest, Meadowlake, Neill, Noble, SEA, RSI, 

Schools with Total Learning Classroom Model: Noble, Lakeview, Northport, Sonnesyn

Any student scoring below grade level targets on FastBridge screening assessments are eligible to receive Reading Corps tutoring.  Students in Reading Corps receive 20 minutes of intervention per day during the school day. Students receiving Reading Corps services are progress monitored on a weekly basis using a standardized curriculum-based measure (FastBridge Test of Letter Sounds, Fastbridge Test of Nonsense Words English, Fastbridge CBM-R). These data are graphed to ensure that students are making progress in Reading Corps interventions. Reading Corps coaches use these data to guide intensification and modification to intervention sessions. Intervention modification and change decisions are reliant on regular, direct observation of tutoring sessions and the assessment and analysis of intervention fidelity data, dosage data and student engagement data. Students must have two of the last three progress monitoring data points above the upcoming seasonal benchmark target to exit from Reading Corps tutoring interventions. Students who exit from Reading Corps continue to be progress monitored weekly using a 1-minute FastBridge probe until the end of the school year.

Students Who Receive Special Education Services

Students in special education receive reading services in a variety of ways, as determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP)s. For students receiving specialized reading intervention through a resource or pull-out model, core literacy instruction takes place in the general education classroom and specialized reading interventions are delivered in a small-group setting. For students receiving specialized services in a self-contained setting, core curriculum may be supplemented with targeted intervention. In either setting, special education teachers, in collaboration with the student’s general education teacher, provide ongoing progress monitoring of reading performance to inform instructional decisions. 

Special education staff are trained in the Science of Reading. In addition to the items listed below, students who have an identified disability in the area of reading will receive support in reading using a direct instruction model following the structured literacy model.

Land acknowledgement
Group of students reading on the floor
High school students reading


Our elementary schools offer foundational learning for students based on the Minnesota state academic standards. This foundation is purposefully designed to provide learning in academic and social-emotional areas which will prepare students to be career, articulated skilled trades and college ready.

We embrace culturally relevant teaching and learning and strive to create authentic learning experiences for our students where they can see themselves in the learning and feel empowered to learn as much as they can to make the world a better place. 

Our elementary students receive instruction in:

  • Literacy and Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Music and Art
  • Physical Education
  • Media and Technology
  • Health
  • Social-Emotional Learning

Middle School

Literacy Focus Reading classes in Middle School
Grades 6-8

Robbinsdale Area Schools at the Middle School level focus on providing intervention and extensions based on individual student needs.  Students spend 45 minutes with their assigned reading teacher and 45 minutes in an intervention/extension group tailored to their individual needs, based on assessments. Students are continually assessed to determine progress in each group. Students are moved to different groups as data indicates. 

Students learn how to think in, around and through text. This allows students to increase their comprehension, expand their thinking, and learn to read for enjoyment.  

Reading Class Structures:

The learning environment consists of several  types of instructional methods:

  • Whole Class Read Aloud
  • Silent Reading Time
    • Students read books of their choice with assistance from the reading team/media center staff.
  • Opportunities to Discuss Text
  • Opportunities to Write About Text
  • Word Study
    • Increased literacy demands in content area classes reflect the need to explore new ways of navigating these demands. 
  • Intervention and/or Extensions (What I Need)
    • Based on individual student needs
    • Groups are flexible 
    • WIN Cycle is 6 weeks

High School

Literacy Focus in High School

Grades 9-12

The world demands that a literate person possess and intentionally apply a wide range of skills, competencies, and dispositions. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with histories, narratives, life possibilities, and social trajectories of all individuals and groups. Active, successful participants in a global society must be able to:

  • Participate effectively and critically in a networked world
  • Explore and engage critically, thoughtfully, and across a wide variety of inclusive texts and tools/modalities
  • Consume, curate, and create actively across contexts
  • Advocate for equitable access to and accessibility of texts, tools, and information
  • Build and sustain intentional global and cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought
  • Promote culturally sustaining communication and recognize the bias and privilege present in the interactions; Examine the rights, responsibilities, and ethical implications of the use and creation of information
  • Determine how and to what extent texts and tools amplify one’s own and others’ narratives as well as counter unproductive narratives
  • Recognize and honor the multilingual literacy identities and culture experiences individuals bring to learning environments and provide opportunities to promote, amplify, and encourage these different variations of language (e.g., dialect, jargon, register).

Adolescent literacy is understood as the ability to read, write, understand and interpret, and discuss multiple texts across multiple contexts. (International Literacy Association Position Statement: Adolescent Literacy).

For those students who are still struggling with phonics and/or fluency skills, which impede comprehension, a reading course is offered to provide extra support.