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Reading Horizons

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This year, we are implementing an intervention program, Reading Horizons Elevate®, which is based on the Reading Horizons method. It is a research-based program that teaches explicit decoding and spelling strategies, along with sight word recognition and vocabulary instruction. It also addresses fluency and comprehension in expository passage reading. The instruction is sequential and explicit, meaning that it starts with very simple concepts and builds logically to the more-complex ones.

Research has proven that these basic skills are necessary because those students who struggle with reading often lack necessary decoding skills that prevent their fluency and comprehension from improving.

Students will receive a combination of software and direct instruction to help address specific deficits.



Core Concepts and Reading Skills

Following is an overview of the program:

The Reading Horizons method is made up of three main components: the 42 Sounds of the Alphabet, Five Phonetic Skills, and Two Decoding Skills. Understanding and mastery of these core concepts lead to improved reading skills.


42 Sounds of the Alphabet

Students will be assessed to determine whether alphabetic instruction or review is needed, and the program will be set according to students’ individual needs.

Students will also learn the concepts of blends, digraphs, diphthongs and special vowel sounds and how to apply these sounds to different word patterns and different lengths of words.

Students then move into the five basic patterns of English words and syllables to help with automatic word pattern recognition.


Five Phonetic Skills

The Five Phonetic Skills allow students to identify the five common patterns of English words and “prove” the vowel sound in a word. Proving words using the Five Phonetic Skills is an indispensable tool used to decode, pronounce, and spell new words.

The Five Phonetic Skills are as follows:

• Phonetic Skill 1: When one guardian consonant — and nothing more — follows the vowel, the vowel will be short.

• Phonetic Skill 2: When the vowel is followed by two guardian consonants— and nothing more—the vowel will be short.

• Phonetic Skill 3: When a vowel stands alone, it will be long.

• Phonetic Skill 4: Silent E makes the first vowel long.

• Phonetic Skill 5: When vowels are adjacent, the second vowel is silent, and the first vowel is long.

These skills are gradually internalized and become automatic, resulting in greater reading speed and fluency


Two Decoding Skills

A skillful reader’s ability to read long words fluently depends on his or her ability to break words into syllables. The Two Decoding Skills allow students to break words of any length into syllables so they can apply the Five Phonetic Skills to each syllable to determine the word’s pronunciation.

The Two Decoding Skills are as follows:

• Decoding Skill 1: If there is only one guardian consonant following the vowel, that consonant will move on to the next syllable.

• Decoding Skill 2: When a vowel is followed by two guardian consonants, the consonants will split. The first consonant will stay in the first syllable, and the second consonant will move on to the next syllable


These skills are gradually internalized and become automatic, resulting in greater reading speed and fluency.

As these skills are taught, students simultaneously learn vocabulary skills, and they transfer these skills to controlled vocabulary reading passages and expository texts to improve fluency and comprehension.

If you would like to know more about the program, please visit

What your student will be able to do upon completion of this program:

If the program and method are followed explicitly, students will show greater competence in their abilities to:

• Listen.

• Become involved in the learning process.

• Analyze words.

• See the relationship between words and sounds.

• Apply the sounds and skills to independent reading.

• See the purpose and result of each step of the method.

• Express their thoughts through the knowledge of the program.

• Communicate to others via proper speech.

• Fully comprehend what they are reading.

• Decode unfamiliar words and decode multi-syllabic words with a system.

• Read with expression.

• Increase in confidence and feel good about themselves.