Post 10: Scope and Sequence Ideas

One key feature of Structured Literacy is the idea of developing a Scope and Sequence of instruction. Although it is important to be thoughtful about the order of introduction of concepts, I have learned (through my Orton Gillingham training and through my general teaching experience) that there is no “one size fits all” Scope and Sequence. Moving from simple to complex makes sense in most cases, but there may be occasions when a student or group of students make a keen observation that is worth investigating, even though it might involve a concept that you hadn’t planned on introducing yet. It is always a balance between planning a logical sequence, while still meeting the needs, interests and observations of your students.

When planning a Scope and Sequence in Ontario, we have the additional difficulty of having to work with a language curriculum that contains little-to-no specific differentiation of skills taught from year-to-year. This makes it extra challenging for teachers who are trying to introduce concepts in a more systematic way. Luckily, there are some example Scope and Sequence outlines that we can refer to when doing our own planning. Different provinces, different countries, and different instructional programs have released ideas for a logical sequence of concepts to teach, moving from simple to complex. If you have purchased (or your school has purchased) a set program, there will obviously be a sequence to follow with materials to support that sequence. If you are working on your own to gather materials, you may find the following documents useful when laying out a plan for your year.

National Curriculum – England

The National Curriculum document from England has a very succinct appendix section that outlines English concepts to be taught by each year. It is well worth having on hand if you are looking for a concrete scope and sequence to get you started. It has an appendix for spelling and one for vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.

National Curriculum – English Programmes

New Jersey Tiered System of Supports

The New Jersey Tiered System of Supports has a nicely laid out sample Scope and Sequence that is adapted from The Fairleigh Dickenson Center for Dyslexia Studies. It has a good introduction that talks about how to use the Scope and Sequence and reviews the importance of “mastery” of a concept before moving in. It discusses how you can spend time on syllabication/syllable types, affixes and spelling generalizations while students are consolidating a taught phonogram.


S.P.I.R.E. Program

The S.P.I.R.E. Program also has a published Scope and Sequence that is available online. It is only an order of concepts, not a description. S.P.I.R.E is a complete program though, so you can also purchase an Instruction Manual, Student Readers, and Decodable Books to follow their set Scope and Sequence. I’ve included their outline here, as I’ve found it a logical and useful document when thinking about next steps for my own students.


New Brunswick Companion Documents

I’ve just recently discovered these documents, and feel that there is a lot of good information in them. They don’t necessarily always recommend an order of instruction, but have a good overview of concepts to be taught and strategies for teaching. There are 6 companion documents:

SyllaSense Decodable Readers

We’ve just released our new Scope and Sequence for SyllaSense! We decided to make it multifaceted, and moved beyond Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence. After much deliberation, we grouped our concepts into 5 categories:

  • Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence
  • Orthographic Conventions (Patterns
  • and Generalizations)
  • Morphology
  • Punctuation/Text Features
  • High Frequency Words

We’ve created and attached 3 different formats – a plain table, a booklet, and an 11 x 17 spread.

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