Three Cheers for Pre-K FAQs

A Complete Pre-K Literacy Curriculum

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How was the scope and sequence developed for all content areas covered?

Three Cheers for Pre-K consists of 9 month-long units of study based on engaging and relevant themes. It is a comprehensive system that will help you create an effective and developmentally appropriate classroom that is lively: filled with books, stories, songs, and conversations. Children can engage in purposeful play experiences as they develop academically, socially, and emotionally. Three Cheers for Pre-K focuses on vital learning outcomes within key domains, and is designed to ensure that all Pre-K children have the opportunity to work toward attaining these outcomes. Most learning outcomes are covered more than three times during the year, with a small handful that are only hit three times. The Scope and Sequence in the Professional Learning Guide gives a year-long snapshot that shows when skills are introduced and how they are reviewed and practiced throughout the year. Critical learning outcomes are met in the program’s core half-day instruction, and the Learn and Play segment of the daily routine extends purposeful play to a full day. Take an Interactive Tour to learn more.

How does the program promote Kindergarten readiness? 

Three Cheers for Pre-K offers comprehensive opportunities to monitor children's progress toward mastery of the Pre-K learning outcomes. Observational checklists can be used to collect data on children's development and mastery of skills and competencies. A Screening Assessment can be used at the beginning of the year to provide a baseline measurement of children's proficiency in emergent literacy and math skills. Progress Monitoring and End of Year Assessments are direct, one-on-one assessments of key emergent literacy and math skills. Teachers are also guided on how to keep Portfolios, which allow them to collect, organize, and track children's progress over time. The program is 100% aligned to prekindergarten learning outcomes, and the back of each weekly tab in the Teacher's Guides illustrates the vertical alignment of literacy and math knowledge to Kindergarten standards. Take an Interactive Tour to learn more.

How are emergent literacy skills taught within the curriculum, and is instruction direct, explicit, and systematic? 

Three Cheers for Pre-K provides a high-quality oral language and literacy-rich environment. Children read one new trade book per week; traditional tales, rhymes and fables are used to help develop key concepts and vocabulary within each theme, and Read More About It Big Books are used to develop core content knowledge while allowing for a balance of fiction and nonfiction. In every lesson, children listen actively, engage in rich discussion, share information, and work collaboratively. Children practice sequencing, story retelling, oral language development, oral vocabulary, oral expression, and writing, as it relates to each theme.

Story Time begins with a guiding question that connects children’s prior knowledge and experiences to new learning. Vocabulary Cards relate both to the guiding question and the story children will read. After reading, children make connections between a text and their own experiences, respond to questions using sentence frames, or retell details from the story using the Talk More About It Cards. On Day 5, children compare two selections they’ve read during the week and explore how they are alike and different.

Children transition seamlessly from listening and talking about a text during Story Time to related, purposeful language activities during Literacy Circle. Through explicit instruction, they develop phonological awareness, acquire alphabetic knowledge, and build an understanding of the functions of print. Alphabet knowledge allows children to associate printed text with spoken language, and daily practice provides the repetition children need to begin literacy learning. A research-based sequence of daily phonological awareness instruction in Literacy Circle starts with basic understanding and builds toward more complex skills. Children produce words that begin with the same sound as a given pair of words; transition to blending onset (initial consonant or consonants) and rime (vowel to end) to form a familiar one-syllable word with and without pictorial support, and ultimately hone the ability to recognize blend spoken phonemes into one syllable words with pictorial support. 

Group writing takes place in Literacy Circle covering the writing process outcomes, and students practice writing independently in Centers and during Small Group time. As examples, fine motor activities in the ABC Fun Center and Writer's Club include, but are not limited to: alphabet card tracing; letter formation, and letter trace using magnetic numbers and letters. Take an Interactive Tour to learn more.

How does the program provide direct instruction and opportunities for students to practice phonological awareness skills?

Systematic phonological awareness instruction in Three Cheers for Pre-K starts in Theme 2, Week 1, and is in alignment with the developmental timeline identified in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines. The first three lessons focus on blending syllables. The next four lessons focus on segmenting syllables. This is in keeping with the developmental timeline in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines from both the perspective that syllable blending is among the earliest phonological awareness skills to be acquired and within the timeline of the child's age for acquisition. Segmenting and/or blending syllables is returned to for more direct instruction and practice in Themes 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Work with onset and rime is introduced in Theme 3, Week 1. So on a developmental continuum, that should happen after syllables, and it does. And it fits in with the developmental timeline provided in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines. Direct instruction and practice on that skill continues for 5 consecutive lessons. Then additional direct instruction and practice occurs later in Themes 3, 6, and 9. 

Identification of rhyme begins in Theme 1 using the anchor text Maria Had a Little Llama, which is a book written in rhyme. Systematic instruction on rhyming words starts in Theme 2 Week 1 with four additional direct instruction and practice occurrences in that theme. This is in keeping with the developmental timeline which shows that identifying rhyme is an early skill. Additional direct instruction and practice occurs in Themes 5, 8, and 9.

Instruction on isolating and blending phonemes begins in Theme 3, Week 2 and continues for ten additional lessons in that theme. This approach also fits within the developmental timeline. Additional direct instruction and practice continues in themes 5, 6, and 9. Take an Interactive Tour to learn more.

How are the letters of the alphabet taught within the program, and is there research to support this instructional approach? 

Children are introduced to all letters of the alphabet in Theme 1, Week 1. Three new letters are introduced in each theme, and time is provided for children to review what has been taught up until that point. Every letter/sound is taught through a research-based 4-step routine of:

  1. See - letter/name identification
  2. Say - letter/sound identification
  3. Find - recognize the letter in text
  4. Write - air write /produce the letter

All letter names and letter sounds will have been taught, and children will have focused on learning to form, or write, each letter by Week 35 of Pre-K.

The routine in Alphabet Knowledge, which appears every time a letter is introduced, follows enhanced alphabetic knowledge research and consistently connects phonological awareness (i.e., sounds and syllables) with alphabet knowledge in the second step of the routine. This does not happen in instruction that is labeled phonological awareness so as not to cause confusion about whether the instruction is veering away from a focus on the sounds of the language. 

For the order of letter introduction, the instructional approach was guided by:

  • National Center on Improving Literacy
  • University of Oregon, Center on Teaching and Learning, Big Ideas in Beginning Reading
  • Keys to Literacy

Take an Interactive Tour to learn more.

Who are the authors of the program?

Zachary Champagne

Zachary Champagne is a math education enthusiast and a big fan of teachers and all the incredible work they do. He has been an elementary school teacher with a specialization in math and science in Jacksonville, Florida for the past 13 years. During this time, he received many state and national awards for excellence in teaching, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), Duval County Teacher of the Year, and Finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year.

Expertise: Math, Science, and STEM 

Dr. Patricia Edwards

Patricia Edwards is a professor of teacher education, the first African American president of the Literacy Research Association (formerly the National Reading Conference), and the 2010-2011 President of the International Reading Association. She has developed two nationally acclaimed family literacy programs: Parents as Partners in Reading and Talking Your Way to Literacy. Her research focuses on issues related to families and children.

Expertise: Parent involvement, community partnerships, multicultural literacy, early literacy, and family literacy 

Stuart J. Murphy

Stuart J. Murphy is a highly regarded visual learning specialist. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Stuart has a strong background in design and art direction. He also has extensive experience in the world of educational publishing and has co-authored more than a dozen textbook programs

Expertise: Social and emotional learning and virtual learning

Dr. Gilberto D. Soto

Dr. Gilberto D. Soto is a Professor of Music Education at Texas A&M International University where he teaches early childhood and elementary bilingual music education courses. Dr. Soto is the author of the bilingual music education books Fiesta de Canciones and Music of Our World: Mexico, and Teaching Music in the Multicultural Early Childhood Classroom. Dr. Soto holds a B.A. degree in Education from Universidad Aútonoma del Noreste, a B.A. in Music from Abilene Christian University, and an M.M. and Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Expertise: Early childhood bilingual music and movement

Dr. Lee Wright

Dr. Lee Wright is a specialist in early childhood education, focusing on classroom management and biliteracy. In his varied career, he has been a kindergarten teacher, literacy coach, state staff development specialist, corporate educational specialist, and professor. Currently, he trains educators on topics that focus on the importance of effective classroom management, small-group instruction, and early literacy.

Expertise: Early childhood education, classroom management, and biliteracy


Learn more about the Three Cheers for Pre-K Program Authors.

Learn More About Three Cheers for Pre-K