Question Detail

What are ways primary elementary teachers can support the developmnt of higher level thinking skills while teaching foundational skills in reading and math?

Sep 24, 2013 8:18am

K-2 teachers in Title 1 schools state that it takes a great deal of their time to insure that students master skills. They are looking for ways to support the development of thinking skills while also teaching basic concepts such as counting, phonics, etc.

  • English Language Arts / Math
  • Pre K-2
  • Common Core


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    • Sep 24, 2013 6:39pm


      Discussions are great way to promote higher order thinking skills. Sharing the CCSS with students helps them to learn what they are supposed to learn, and sharing the importance of those standards helps to build engagement. I have taught graduate classes in Universal Design for Learning for teachers K-12, and even though some K teachers are skeptical about sharing standards with students, they are always impressed with the discussions they have with students. Help them to answer the "why?" of their learning and you are teaching them to think. Try it!


      • Sep 26, 2013 6:24pm

        Hi Nancy,
        A great start might be through the selection of the read aloud in primary grades. Check out the exemplar texts in Appendix B ( While these are not intended to be a partial or complete reading list, they serve as handy guideposts as we think about the types of texts we might read to students in the earlier grades.

        Primary teachers might also think about building the habits of close and careful reading. There are several exemplars posted for primary grades at and at One of my favorites is "The Wind!" We also pull from the Basal Alignment Project lessons ( While they are rewritten for stories in basal readers in grades 3 -5, many of the texts are popular K-2 read alouds. (There is Ruby the Copycat, My Brother Martin, Penguin Chicks, etc.) The questions are aligned to the CCSS, and with small adjustments, can lead to rich discussion in the primary grades!

        Good luck!

        • Oct 7, 2013 1:27pm

          Wow. Thank you both (Katie and Torrey) so much. Your answers have me thinking. I will share with teachers and let you know how your advice worked for them. Thanks again.