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This online professional development module addresses the following questions:

  • Should I teach students to use semantics and syntax to read words they don’t know?
  • Should I teach students to guess a word based on pictures, context, and/or the first letter of the word?
  • When a student struggles with the alphabetic principle, should the student practice reading decodable texts, leveled/predictable texts, or both? 

This module is the second in a professional development series on using research to inform literacy instruction. The series responds to questions educators frequently ask when planning for and providing effective literacy instruction. The focus of these modules is research—what research tells us about literacy knowledge and skills and what it tells us about reading and writing instruction.

Check with your district or charter school to learn whether it honors continuing professional education (CPE) credits issued from The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk.

Related Institute

Related Project

Published Date


Funding Source

Texas Education Agency


Content Area Instruction
Reading Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)

Type of Resource

Online Course


General Education Classroom Teacher
Higher Education Instructor
School Administrator
Technical Assistance Provider

Grade Level

Middle School
High School