Collaborative Literacy

Being a Reader

What is Being a Reader?

Learning to read is a developmental process that begins even before children enter school and proceeds at different rates for different students, creating a range of reading abilities in every classroom. To meet the needs of all readers, the program offers a strategic mix of whole-class and small-group instruction.

We all aspire to provide our students with the strategies and skills they need to learn in order to read well and to love reading. We want students to approach reading with motivation and confidence, to deeply comprehend text, and to grow as readers and thinkers and as caring and collaborative citizens. Being a Reader, part of Collaborative Literacy, is an early reading curriculum that supports students in achieving these goals through whole-class and small-group instruction.

Shared Reading

Whole-class Shared Reading lessons (grades K–1) foster oral fluency and a love of language while building classroom community. Shared Reading lessons also develop concepts of print, phonological awareness, letter and high-frequency word recognition, and understanding of author’s craft through repeated readings of stories, songs, and poems.

Word Study

During whole-class Word Study lessons (grade 2), students explore how words are put together using spelling-sound correspondences, inflectional endings, and strategies for analyzing and reading polysyllabic words. Meaningful prefixes and suffixes are introduced throughout the year along with common syllable types. Ongoing whole-class and pair work build students’ ability to work together, explain their thinking, and come to agreement.

Independent Work

In Independent Work lessons, students in grades K–2 learn why independent reading and writing are important to their growth. Throughout the year, students have ample opportunities to practice independent work habits for reading and writing while the teacher works with small groups or individuals. Developing strong independent work habits from the beginning of the year makes it possible for teachers to provide differentiated small-­group reading instruction.

Small-group Reading

During Small-group Reading lessons, students are placed in differentiated groups based on their developmental readiness. Once placed, each student moves at his or her own pace along a continuum of reading development that includes two phases of reading instruction: developing readers and emerging readers. Emerging readers receive instruction focused on phonics, high-frequency word recognition, fluency, and comprehension; developing readers receive instruction focused on fluency, comprehension, word-analysis strategies, and generating independent thinking.


Whole-class handwriting lessons (grades K–1) follow a clearly defined sequence. Students initially learn the stroke sequence during a whole-class lesson and then apply what they have learned in their Handwriting Notebooks.


Assessment resources in the Being a Reader program help teachers evaluate class progress as a whole and provide guidance for grouping and regrouping students for differentiated small-group work. Assessment tools are designed to identify student strengths, note areas where improvement is needed, and facilitate conferring with students about their progress. For phonics, decoding, and high-frequency word instruction, periodic assessment informs the pacing of instruction and identifies students who may need monitoring or extra support.

Engaging Literature

The literature in Being a Reader has been carefully selected to engage young children in the joy of reading while building the foundations for reading success.

Research-based and Standards-aligned

The unique pedagogy of Being a Reader is standards-aligned and has grown out of years of research on best practices in reading instruction and child development. Visit our resources to search for correlations to the Common Core and other state standards.

Digital Resources

The CCC Learning Hub houses the digital resources that accompany Being a Reader. These resources enhance students’ learning experiences and help teachers streamline their preparation, instruction, and assessment processes.