Relevant Research

Friday, January 29, 2016


CLI is hitting the road! We'll be hosting events around the state to promote the free resources available through TSR Online. See if there is an event in your area! Talk to your Education Service Center if you're interested in attending!

  • February 3, Amarillo, ESC 16
  • February 16, Houston, ESC 4
  • February 18, Austin, ESC 13
  • March 4, San Angelo, ESC 15
  • March 8, Fort Worth, ESC 11
  • March 23, Beaumont, ESC 5
  • March 29, Victoria, ESC 3
  • April 8, Corpus Christi, ESC 2
  • April 20, Wichita Falls, ESC 9
  • April 27, San Antonio, ESC 20

Have you seen our new look? Last week, we launched a new look and feel for the Texas School Ready website and the CLI Engage platform! We hope you enjoy the new designs!

Looking for help resources? The CLI Engage redesign included adding some new pages into the website’s navigation bar – including a new Resources page filled with documents to help you use the tools and resources hosted on CLI Engage. (Note: this page is only accessible after you login to CLI Engage.)

Tell your friends – TSR Online welcomes former TSR participants starting February 1st! Starting next week, former TSR participants (sites and teachers) are encouraged to sign-up for TSR Online! Child care programs that previously participated in TSR are encouraged to sign-up by completing a short eligibility survey. Once confirmed, all teachers and administrators at the child care program can participate in TSR Online. This includes FREE access to TSR’s Online tools. Additionally, teachers who participated in TSR, but may have moved to a new program, are also encouraged to sign-up and complete the eligibility survey. Visit for more information and to sign-up!

Would you like to facilitate an eCIRCLE online professional development courses to teachers in your organization! Fill out the eCIRCLE Course Facilitator Approval Application

If you're in the Houston area, we hope you will join us for our Winter Lunch and Learn, "Testing: Friend or Foe?" This event will focus on the purposes of assessment, common misuses of assessment, and how CLI is involved in this hot-topic issue. Click here to register! 

CLI Engage Website

Texas School Ready Website

Children's Learning Institute Website

Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS)

The Children’s Learning Institute is dedicated to ensuring our professional development and child progress monitoring tools reflect the latest research in child development. This month’s TSR Connect focuses on the important school readiness skill of phonological awareness.

The Developmental Timeline is a realistic representation of time points that phonological awareness skills develop in children, based on the most current research on phonological awareness development, as well as a resource for teachers to plan developmentally appropriate instructional tasks. Phonological awareness is an auditory skill that involves an understanding of the sounds of spoken language. A child’s ability to recognize the structure of sounds in a language is highly predictive of a child’s later reading success

Phonological awareness generally develops from sensitivity to large units of sound, like words and syllables, to sensitivity to smaller units of sound, like individual phonemes. For example, children are able to detect and manipulate words in phrases before they can detect or manipulate syllables, and they can detect and manipulate syllables before they can detect or manipulate phonemes or individual sounds in words. In children, phonological awareness represents a crucial step toward understanding that letters or groups of letters can represent phonemes or sounds (the alphabetic principle).

The term “phonological awareness” covers several tasks that build upon one another, increase in difficulty, and develop at different points in a child’s development, based on the most recent research. Easier phonological awareness tasks include identifying and synthesizing sounds and words, such as blending. More challenging tasks require children to analyze, like segmenting and deletion. Phonological awareness includes being able to:

  • Recognize individual words in a spoken sentence
  • Blending and dividing words into syllables
  • Adding and taking those meaningful units
  • Recognizing and producing rhyming words
  • Identifying words that sound the same at the beginning
  • Blending words at the phoneme or single sound level

The ability to manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes, in words is the highest level of phonological awareness.  Although some prekindergarten children may be able to perform simple manipulations with individual phonemes (for example, removing /s/ from seat makes eat), it is not appropriate to expect all prekindergarten children to be able to perform difficult manipulations with individual phonemes [such as segmenting “stack” into its four constituent phonemes (/s/ /t/ /æ/ /k/)].

Some areas of child skill development reinforce development in another area; this is especially true for letter knowledge (such as letter-sound correspondence) and phonological awareness. Once letter knowledge skills develop in children, they can benefit from the inclusion of letters in phonological awareness activities, reinforcing development in both skill areas. 

If you were familiar with the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System in the past, you may have noticed that this year’s assessments include a separate set of phonological awareness subtasks labeled “Optional PA” in CLI Engage. Based on the new child development research that identified certain phonological awareness skills that develop later in the preschool year, the subtask for rhyming production was moved to “Optional PA.”The PA composite score (which includes the 4 required subtasks) is what indicates meeting or below benchmark. A red final PA score would indicate that the child is below benchmark and needs intervention in phonological awareness content in one of the required 4 subtasks. Teachers can look at individual subtasks for item analysis and select appropriate strategies from the CIRCLE Activity Collection. In the grouping tool there are two recommended activities for each of these 4 required subtasks. Additionally, links to intervention strategies in the CIRCLE Activity Collection for the 3 optional subtasks are now listed in CLI Engage resources page (scroll down to the CIRCLE Activity Collection). 

This change represents Texas School Ready’s continued efforts to ensure our tools and professional development resources incorporate new evidence.

Teaching Tips

Tips for Phonological Awareness

Use the links below to access the CIRCLE Activity collection about Phonological Awareness and tips focusing on rhyming. Please note you must be logged into Engage for these links to work.

Rhyming Rationale:

  • To direct children’s attention to the similarities and differences of the sounds of language at the end of words.
  • To focus attention on increasingly smaller parts in words.

Children will expand phonological awareness by identifying if pairs of words do or do not rhyme. 

Small Group Valentine Rhyme Activity:

Before the activity, pick ONE METHOD that children will use to respond when they hear a rhyme:

(1) students will put their hands up in the air in the shape of a heart, OR

(2) students will put their hand on their heart, OR

(3) students will hold up a paper heart cut out. 

Start the activity by saying:

Valentine, Valentine,

You're a special friend of mine.

Listen closely, do your part-

If my words rhyme, up goes your heart (or say "cover your heart" if doing that version)

Then say two words, and let the students respond!

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