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Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is defined by reading experts as the ability to “focus on and manipulate phonemes in spoken words” (NICHD, 2000). Express Readers’ attentions are on helping students understand that the sounds we speak translate into the words we read and the words we write.

Phonemic awareness is the concentration of the Daily Dos, a 10-15 minute daily practice of skills; the concepts and practice are also integrated throughout the curriculum. As children grow and acquire skills, PA adjusts within the program to include continued sound work alongside graphemes, such as in Wonder Words and Express Spelling.


Phonics is the attachment of spoken sounds to letters and letter patterns. Phonics is the technical process of reading; it is one piece in a range of skills needed to become a confident and capable reader, but a systematic phonics approach is essential and fundamental for effective reading instruction.

Phonics is explicitly taught in a specific sequence, practiced continuously with embedded review of previously taught phonics, and used immediately in relatable and decodable text to embed the knowledge for mastery.


Fluency is the ability to retain and retrieve phonics and words, the automaticity with which the words are decoded or recognized, and the proficiency in using intonation and expression to clarify the meaning of text.


A student’s vocabulary is the collection of words they have learnt together with the understanding that goes along with them. The acquisition of vocabulary occurs through channels like class discussions, read-alouds, and prior knowledge. Express Readers works best when utilized as a foundational skills program in conjunction with a curriculum of in-depth literature to guarantee several opportunities to increase vocabulary.

Express Readers programs all include rich and diverse vocabulary throughout and a large array of relatable visuals to help students develop language and make connections of words to meanings. Teachers are given the tools to provide valuable reading groups with discussions and scaffolded instruction into pulling meaning from text.


Comprehension is the action or capability of understanding. Comprehension in reading is being able to pull meaning from reading and make connections within that meaning.

Express Readers focuses on teaching students to read with the fluency and ease to understand the words being read. When a child finds reading difficult, his or her comprehension suffers. With each book and passage, Express Readers provides lessons and activities to practice comprehension

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