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ASTL 5721/6721/7721 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ASTL 5721/6721/7721 - Theory and Foundation of Developmental Literacy (Literacy I)

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course engages participants in professional reading about, and discussions of, the following: the nature of learning, the nature of language, how human beings learn languages, differences between receptive and productive language, the nature of the reading process, the nature of the writing process, how children develop their native language, what the relationships are among learning one's mother tongue and learning to read and write the same language, typical stages through which children pass as they develop literacy, and some of the more obvious implications for classroom instruction and assessment in reading and writing. This will lay the foundation for all further learning about the teaching of literacy.  The application of technology, diversity, and use of appropriate resources will be a part of this literacy course.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course the candidate should be able to:

  1. To become knowledgeable about language acquisition and how it effects literacy development
  2. To become aware of language differences in the classroom and how these influence literacy development
  3. To gain knowledge of the reading process, the reading continuum, and be able to identify the stages of reading for students
  4. To become familiar with current research, materials , strategies, procedures, and grouping techniques
  5. To translate the current knowledge and thinking into classroom practices that foster a literacy rich environment
  6. Determine the presence and/or absence of characteristics of textbooks that make them student friendly
  7. To become knowledgeable about the various programs and materials that are available for reading instruction
  8. Discuss characteristics of formal and informal assessment and how each fit in developing authentic assessments and portfolios for primary students
  9. Develop an informal test designed to determine student match with text difficulty 1
  10. Discuss an develop activities designed to teach vocabulary
  11. Develop activities that focus on comprehension 
  12. To become familiar with the reading/writing connection and how it impacts each curricular area
  13. To become acquainted with available educational technology that will complement literacy instruction
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

An undergraduate course in reading; teacher certification, and admission to the TN eCampus M.Ed. program or departmental permission.

Course Topics:

1. General Literacy Knowledge

a. Historical perspective of reading instruction

b. The student-centered classroom

c. The student as language learner

d. Students with special needs

e. Reading theories and their relationships to reading instruction

2. Emergent Literacy

a. Pre-independent reading stages

b. Independent reading stages

c. Pre-school experiences that influences literacy development

d. Instructional focus for pre-independent and independent stages

e. The reading/writing connection

f. The integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and visually information in the language- rich classroom

3. Balanced Literacy Programs

a. Developing a literacy program with the essential components Phonemic Awareness Phonics Comprehension Vocabulary Fluency

b. Classroom approaches and programs to literacy development Phonics Objective-Based programs Language experience programs Reading Recovery Literature-Based Thematic units Whole language

Integrated curriculum

Balanced literacy programs

4. Teaching Whole Language Format

a. Directed Reading Activity (DRA) and Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA)

b. Integrated curriculum via thematic units

c. Literature based themes, one author and illustrator, same genre, and similar characters

d. Specific formats established by certain programs, i.e., Reading Recovery, Phonics First, Basal Reading Programs

e. Mini-lessons

5. The Development of Specific Reading Skills

a. Cueing system: Semantic, syntactic, graph phonic, and pragmatic

b. Word knowledge Acquiring vocabulary Word identification and recognition Sight words Word walls Content Word identification using phonetic and structural analysis

6. Balanced Literacy Programs

a. Reader-Based Activating prior knowledge Schema Theory Language acquisition Cognitive processing Motivation, attitudes. and interest

b. Approaches to Literacy Development Levels of texts Structures of texts Text content Text features: Print size, illustrations, print size, graphs, and graphics The teacher's role

7. Technology Applications

a. Literacy programs

b. Web-based programs

c. Integrated learning

Specific Course Requirements:

Students must be able to create and submit word documents electronically. Students must be computer literate to a degree that enables them to participate in a productive manner in an online course. Students must be able to send and receive email. Students must participate in online discussions and submit all assignments to the dropbox.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Supplementary materials, articles, and other materials will be attached to the specified modules.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

This course does not have any examinations.

Grading Procedures:

Ten Modules: Each module worth 50 points each 500 points.
Three Extended Assignments: Each worth 100 points 300 points.
Discussion board participation with peers and professor 100. 900 Total Points

Grading Scale:

539 and Below=F

Assignments and Projects:

Assignment Modules and Extended Projects
Modules (10) assignments are required along with discussions with other participants and instructor. Most of the modules correspond with the chapters in the textbook.

Module 1: Reading and Learning to Read (chapter 1)
Module 2: Reading Instruction (chapter 2)
Module 3: Motivation and Engagement (chapter 3)
Module 4: Emergent Literacy (chapter 6)
Module 5 Word Recognition (chapter 7)
Module 6: Fluency (chapter 8) and Vocabulary Development (chapter 9)
Module 7: Scaffolding Students' Comprehension of Text & Teaching Comprehension Strategies (chapters 10 & 11)
Module 8: Encouraging Independent Reading & Reader Response (chapter 12)
Module 9: Writing and Reading (chapter 13)
Module 10 Differentiating Instruction and Intervention & Reading instruction for English Language Learners (chapters 5 & 14)

**Read All Assigned Chapters in Required Text

***Complete and Submit all Assignments into the Dropbox in a Punctual Manner

***Participate in All Assigned Discussions that are Assigned with Each Chapter

In-Depth Assignments:

  1. Philosophy of Reading
  2. Fry Readability using a Science or Social Studies Book
  3. Final Paper: Philosophy of Reading
Class Participation:

Students must communicate with other students in the chat room, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements, students must actively participate in threaded discussion events, and students must use the digital drop box for submitting assignments.

Late Policy:

Students are to check the calendar for the opening and closing and submitting dates for assignments. The assignments are to be submitted via the digital drop box within the submission time frames.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017