To develop the high-level reading comprehension skills required to be College and Career Ready by the end of third grade, students need to develop both word reading and listening comprehension skills. The Queen City Readers initiative supports one of these key areas: word reading.
Queen City Readers targets foundational word reading skills covered in the kindergarten and first grade years. The content includes:
- Hearing sounds within words (phonemic awareness)
- Sounding out words (decoding)
- Spelling words (encoding)
- High-frequency word practice
These expectations are aligned with the North Carolina English Language Arts standards for kindergarten and first grade. Queen City Readers is grounded in an evidence-based, systematic approach to phonics instruction called synthetic phonics. Queen City Readers was intentionally designed to be delivered by adults with little to no training and no formal background in literacy or education. The materials are turnkey, meant to be used within a wide variety of settings with existing infrastructure, such as schools, community based organizations, and Houses of Faith. Volunteer tutors need only to view 15 minutes of asynchronous video training to be prepared to deliver a lesson. Initial pilots in spring 2023 showed promising results for kindergarten students.