Literacy Specialist
(303) 772-3711 x 116
Room 101

My name is Ali Miller and I am the Literacy Specialist here at Imagine Firestone. Previously I was an elementary classroom teacher for 15 years and since then I have been working in Literacy.  I have my BA from Pepperdine University and my MA from University of Colorado, Boulder.  I also have certifications in Literacy and ELL instruction.  My husband, Kurt, and I live in Niwot, Colorado.  We have two children. Ryan, who is in the Leeds Business School at CU and Jenna who is a second-grade teacher here at Imagine.  In my free time I love to play tennis, hike, cycle and garden.  

                                    Units of Study

August and September:
Literacy testing will be done in the first few weeks of school.  
Once we have results from this testing we will determine students who will need additional support with their reading. 

Both PALS and STAR assessments have been completed.  Students have been selected for literacy services based on both of these assessments.  Students who scored below proficient will receive pull-out services in the reading room with Mrs. Miller or Mrs. Smith.  Additionally they will receive instruction in Guided Reading groups as well as Core Knowledge Language Arts instruction from their classroom teacher.  Literacy groups began on September 7.  Notification forms went home for those students that have been selected for services. Teachers most likely informed you by email as well.  Be on the look out for homework envelopes from our literacy programs as students are able to check out books from us every day.  Reading logs do not need to be signed daily.  These are just the way I track which books your students are checking out from my book collection. 

Upcoming in October we will be teaching and reviewing  Unknown Word Strategies  (See Unknown Word Strategies under resources).

In first grade we will be working on Systematic Sequential Phonics, Heggerty Phonemic Awareness and reading phonics based decodable texts.  Your child should be bringing these home to reread and practice. 

 In second grade we will be working on improving fluency, reviewing our long vowels and decoding multisyllabic words. We will be practicing our sight words and working on our fluency.

 In 3rd and 4th grade we will begin Close Reading Strategies and annotating text.  See our Annotating Symbols below.


Kindergartners have been mastering their letter names and letter sounds.  We have been working on our phonemic awareness with rhyming, phoneme segmentation and blending.  This is all laying the groundwork, so we can begin reading decodable phonics texts.

First graders have been learning their long vowels, blends and digraphs.  Now they are reading scholastic phonics readers and leveled texts that get more advanced each month.  We have reviewed all Word Attack Strategies (See chart), so they have lots of "tools" to decode words.

2nd graders have mastered all the Word Attack Strategies and are now focusing more on Comprehension Strategies (See chart).
We've been working on Close Reading, Annotating Text and become more fluent readers.

3rd graders have been focused on fluency and comprehension.  Most of the group is now reading on grade level, so we are expanding their reading to include a variety of genres and non-fiction texts.  We've also begun an "expert pack" on the Thirteen Colonies that includes a variety of texts, media and pictures that will enhance and build upon what they are learning in class.

4th grade has begun a novel study of The Magician's Elephant  by Kate DiCamillo.  This unit is intended to challenge this group and includes advanced vocabulary and higher level comprehension skills such as inferencing and synthesizing.

April and May:

Finishing strong...
All grades will have end of the year testing in STAR Reading and Math.  Our goal is to have well over a years worth of growth for each student.  We will continue to teach groups up until the last week, so we can help students achieve as much growth as possible.  

Students who are showing grade level proficiency in reading based on a body of evidence (STAR testing, running records, Aimsweb progress monitoring) will be exited from READ Plans.  Students who are not yet on grade level will continue on their plans

                               Focus Areas:

Comprehension:  We will begin with a basic retelling of the story or text.  With our older students we will work on Close Reading techniques and annotating text to gain a deeper understanding.

Accuracy:  We will work on decoding unknown words using a variety of unknown word strategies.

Fluency:  We will reread text to develop our fluency.

Vocabulary:  We will expand our vocabulary by learning new words from each text we read.

News and Notes:

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's literacy program here at Imagine please feel free to contact me.

Ali Miller
Literacy Specialist
(303) 772-3711 ext. 116

Unknown Word Strategies:

Comprehension Strategies:

            Summer School Options:

We have 3 options for our readers over the summer...

1.  The district summer school runs in June and July and is taught by the district's literacy teachers.  This intensive program is intended for students on READ Plans.

2.  Imagine's Intervention Reading Program:  Our literacy staff will be running a camp for the month of June for our READ students.  They will be using the Leveled Literacy Intervention program as well as other literacy resources to continue working with students on fluency, accuracy and comprehension over the summer.

3.  The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to keep your child accountable for reading over the summer.  Materials come home in the last few weeks of school.

Reading Resources:

Picture Match (K-1)
Starfall (K-2)
Suessville (K-2)
ICT Reading Games (K-2)
Florida Research Center on Reading(K-5)
Scholastic: (K-5)
St. Vrain Elementary Literacy Blog:
Story It:
Read Works:
K5 Reading:
Book Adventures:
Sleepopolis:  Bedtime Stories for Kids