Horizon's Literacy Framework

Literacy is the ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen in a way that allows you to communicate effectively. The power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live.

Horizon's Literacy Framework has been created collaboratively to guide teachers in designing learning that ensures a balanced approach which sees each student successful in acquiring all literacy skills. Please click here for the document.

Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment

The Fountas and Pinnell powerpoint is available here for your reference. This powerpoint was used with teachers new to the division and as a refresher for staff on how to use the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. 

Effective 2017-2018, all schools are expected to complete the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System for all their students until they reach the Z+ level. Student data shall be entered in each student's Dossier learner profile. 

How many times a year do we need to assess?

One assessment is required, but more may be done if progress monitoring. Some schools may wish to complete a second spring assessment.

When do schools assess?

Early fall, so that data can be used to inform instruction early. Spring assessment should be done early enough that results can be used before end of the school year.

Grade one testing


Should not be until beginning to mid-November as grade one students need time to begin their reading

Kindergarten testing

Kindergarten is not to be tested

Does the school need to keep all the student tests from year to year?

This is up to the individual school. It’s required that the results to be entered into Dossier on the student profile side.

Are the running records and the comprehension the only important information in the BAS assessment?

No, for struggling readers, teachers should be analyzing the MSV and picking teaching points for the student.

 How do teachers get training?

Please contact Terri Duncan for information

Do kids need to be tested in both the fiction and non-fiction at each level?

No, both are available so students can choose the fiction or the non-fiction book

Guided Reading

Identify the Difference Between Plot and Theme

From Jennifer Serravallo’s The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers (available for loan from Horizon's professional library. Contact Sheila Laqua at Division Office.

The best way to teach developing readers the concept of theme is through the analysis of the plot. How can we teach our students about themes that are rarely stated, and must be inferred? Explain to your students that plot is what happens in the story, while theme represents the bigger ideas of the story. The plot carries the big ideas and is comprised of events you can track. Try these teaching prompts: • What’s happening? • What’s most important about what you just told me? • What is your idea about what’s happening? • What else do you think is a possible big idea from the story? • When students identify the big ideas about what’s happening in a story, they can figure out its central themes.

Literacy Intervention

The Fountas & Pinnell Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) materials serve those students who need intensive support to achieve grade-level competency. These children are the lowest achieving children in the classroom who are not receiving another supplementary intervention. Each lesson in the LLI system also provides specific suggestions for supporting English language learners who are selected for the system.

Watch “Teaching Struggling Readers in Grades 5-12” Archived Webinar http://webinars.heinemann.com/fp-lli-teal-intl

(Registration in Canada: to view the webinar, select any State and enter your Province in the “County” section)

Word Study

Word walls are interactive displays used to learn and practice language conventions and spelling in the context of authentic reading and writing activities. They evolve over time and provide support and references for students. For more ideas and information on word walls visit the following links:


Structural Analysis is a strategy that develops students' ability to determine the meanings of words. Students systematically examine the words for meaningful parts such as the root word, prefix, or suffix. Knowledge of word parts is helpful both for word identification as well as for understanding the meaning of less familiar words when the context is not enough. For more ideas and information on Structural Analysis visit the following links:


Vocabulary both academic and non-academic vocabulary is key to students understanding and a fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge. Acquiring an extensive vocabulary is one of the largest challenges in learning a second language. Please see the following sites for ideas on how to build students vocabulary:

Strategy for academic language http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/ieptlibrary/documents/en/is/academic_language.pdf

Shades of meaning strategy to help students understand the subtle differences between related words http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/ieptlibrary/documents/en/is/shades_of_meaning.pdf