Phonics instruction from the Texas Education Agency was released March 31, further informing the development of a new literacy framework affecting Katy ISD students in grades K-5, said Sanée Bell, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

Elementary literacy is part of the district’s Strategic Design Plan, which evaluates state priorities and current district practices. The framework will align with TEA guidelines for essential knowledge and skills, as well as science and reading standards, Bell said.

“The goal of the framework is to help districts ensure that instructional priorities, practices and materials are aligned with research and to build a shared understanding and vision for literacy instruction,” Bell said in an email. “The development of the instructional framework is a requirement of the TEA Strong Foundations Grant Program and provides structure and support to the [Katy ISD’s] literacy initiatives.”

According to Bell, one of the most significant changes to Katy ISD’s literacy framework will be the selection of new instructional materials that focus on explicit and systematic instruction in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

At a March 27 meeting, Bell told board members materials from education and learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt cost $5.63 million.

Other hallmarks of the updated framework include the discontinuing the use of current literacy materials, to be collected from all campuses by the end of the 2022-23 school year; and ongoing training for educators in the areas of reading development and instruction strategies.

These strategies will align with House Bill 3 Texas Reading Academies, passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in June 2019.

HB 3 Reading Academies aims to provide educators with the essential skills needed to ensure children develop a strong foundation in reading and writing, and ensure instructional materials and practices are grounded in the science of teaching reading, Bell said in an email.

Progress updates on key actions completed in April will be shared during the April 24 school board meeting, Bell said.