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Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

To find out about Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, and the Resources available, go to

For over a decade educators across the nation have used a range of reading and writing standards to guide literacy instruction in classrooms. Building on this firm foundation, the new Common Core State Standards shift gears to provide American youth with skills needed to be prepared for college and careers of the 21st Century. The roadmap to college and promising careers is more evident when standards of success are well-articulated and accessible – no matter where students live or where they attend school!

Research demonstrates that when children become proficient readers in their early years, they are more likely to remain better readers throughout their school years. With the CCSS, all students must be able to master texts of increasing rigor – with greater emphasis on expository or informational reading – so that by the end of high school, graduates are able to independently and proficiently understand the complexity of texts found in today’s colleges and careers.

To ensure that all learners reach this destination, the CCSS intentionally separate K-5 Foundational Skills from the K-12 Vocabulary and Comprehension Skills which are integrated across the four strands of reading, writing, speaking/listening and language.

The Common Core Foundational Skills are – quite literally – the “foundation” upon which all reading success is built and include:

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Word Recognition
  • Fluency

Kid Scoop helps teachers support Foundational, Vocabulary and Comprehension skills in a fun and interactive way! A dynamic weekly publication, Kid Scoop presents high interest informational text with colorful illustrations, charts, diagrams and activities that motivate and excite young learners. Thematic topics cover a wide range of interests and multiple content areas while extensions lead children to other sections of the newspaper for more expository reading – informational text resources such as newspapers. Students “learn to read” as they “read to learn” while practicing skills and strategies using an authentic resource.

Understanding the Common Core Foundational Skills

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify and use individual sounds—phonemes—in spoken words. Phonological awareness improves children’s word recognition.

Kid Scoop develops phonological awareness through using letters of the alphabet in activities such as:

  • blending phonemes to form words
  • counting, pronouncing, and segmenting syllables
  • recognizing and producing rhyming words

Teachers can use Kid Scoop to present individual letters and their sounds or as a resource to create word games inspired by the weekly theme. Students can explore the words on the page to identify chunks of sounds—or sort words into categories based on sound. With Kid Scoop there is no need to prepare copies—each copy is a consumable resource that can be cut up or written on—providing the perfect source for interactive instruction.

Phonics helps children learn the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. A strong foundation in phonics leads to an understanding of the alphabetic principle—the predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.

Kid Scoop provides opportunities for children to apply their learning about letters and sounds to the reading of words, sentences and short passages. This supports word recognition and improves spelling.

Teachers can use Kid Scoop stories to practice decoding skills or any number of phonics lessons on sound matching, identifying digraphs, forming plurals, and reading base words and affixes.

Word recognition refers to the ability to recognize written words—especially high frequency words—correctly and effortlessly, and is tightly linked to fluency and comprehension.

Kid Scoop helps develop word recognition skills indirectly when students engage in oral discussion using words included in each issue and directly when teachers explicitly present individual words included with weekly themes. Double Double Word Searches, newspaper activities, word games and puzzles all provide practice in word recognition.

Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Fluency moves students from decoding to understanding what they read and is essential for high levels of reading comprehension.

Using Kid Scoop, teachers model fluent reading for students and have students participate in silent reading, oral reading independently, in pairs, or in small groups. Through high interest stories and engaging expository passages, Kid Scoop motivates students to set goals for improved reading fluency.

Kid Scoop Builds CCSS Vocabulary and Comprehension Skills

Vocabulary has been described as “all the words known and used” by a person.

Having a rich and varied vocabulary has been empirically linked to academic achievement. Research supports that to retain words and comprehend meaning in text, students need repeated exposure to words in a variety of contexts. The CCSS clearly identifies three “tiers”—or types—of vocabulary:

  • Tier 1 Vocabulary: everyday speech usually learned in early grades
  • Tier 2 Vocabulary: general academic words which are more likely to appear in text than in speech
  • Tier 3 Vocabulary: “domain-specific” words unique to a field of study

Kid Scoop supports all three tiers of vocabulary. Cartoon characters guide students using everyday speech and direct quotations. Activities are introduced with directions that repeatedly include general academic words. Most exciting is the constant exposure to domain-specific words that are part of every lesson.

Comprehension is the reason for reading. Good readers have a purpose for reading and think actively as they read.

Kid Scoop supports comprehension in multiple ways including:

  • reading to gather information about the theme for the week
  • presenting information about how to complete a task using multiple steps
  • directing students to use the newspaper to extend learning and understand its structure
  • asking students to make sense of what they read by locating evidence to support responses
  • providing students with a weekly writing prompt related to the theme
  • understanding directions for activities across content areas including math, science, social studies, history, health and art
  • using engaging questions and puzzles to generate curiosity to read and learn more about a topic

Teachers can use Kid Scoop to teach previewing, reviewing, critical thinking, summarizing, identifying main idea and supporting details, problem and solution, or simply to gain new information about an interesting topic. In addition, the monthly Teacher Scoop includes suggestions for extension activities that inspire students to dig deeper into the newspaper to expand their learning.

Kid Scoop Supports the 4C’s of 21st Century Classrooms

Critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration—referred to as the “4C’s”—have been identified as essential core skills for success in 21st century work environments.

Kid Scoop provides an excellent venue to develop and practice the 4C’s. Students may collaborate in teams to complete core tasks or projects. Writing prompts hone communication skills. Activities allow opportunities for creative application of learning, and puzzles and games exercise critical thinking.

Kid Scoop News, Newspapers, Standards and Improved Test Scores

Research by the University of Minnesota finds that schools using the newspaper weekly or more often demonstrate an average gain of 10% on standardized tests. Schools with high minority and at-risk populations score as much as 30% higher. In short, when newspapers are used effectively in the classroom to support standards-based learning, test scores improve.

Standards on Every Page

In addition to positively impacting student achievement, Kid Scoop supports standards-based instruction. Each activity is linked to a particular content area and Common Core Standard. Since all CCSS are based on Anchor Standards, students are constantly previewing or reviewing skills no matter the grade level.

Standards-based Newspaper Ideas in Our Lesson Library

Teachers can also visit our website to find grade-level specific lessons related to what they are currently teaching in our “Lesson Library”. For example, if the Extra Extra activity in Kid Scoop is not precisely aligned to current instruction, teachers can visit the Lesson Library and search for an activity that is content specific for their grade level.

What if Kid Scoop Features a Topic I am Not Currently Teaching?

While the topic and activity on the page may be different from what a teacher is teaching right now, students are provided an opportunity to work with new vocabulary and practice previously mastered skills in context.

There are two important reasons to use Kid Scoop no matter what you are teaching. Research supports the importance of (1) previewing information to build background knowledge; and (2) revisiting learning through multiple exposures.

With Kid Scoop there is access to previewing and reviewing content to promote greater retention. In addition, the “big ideas” of CCSS include supporting inferences or claims with “close reading” and evidence in whatever text students are reading.