My Course Wish List

Your list is empty.

Explore online education in Tennessee

ASTL 5723/6723/7723 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

ASTL 5723/6723/7723 - Understanding and Implementing and Best Practices in Teaching Beginning Literacy (Literacy II)

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course engages participants in reading and discussions to explore theory, understand best practices, and implement best practices in literacy instruction grades PreK-3. This begins with an exploration of theory and best practices for family literacy from birth to school age. Theory and best practices will be examined from entrance into school, preschool to kindergarten, followed by explorations of best practices for teaching reading and writing in the primary grades. Students will be expected to work with primary grade children as they attempt to understand and implement best practices in emergent and early literacy development.

Course Outcomes:

Literacy II is based on two sets of national standards for reading professionals. The following chart includes matches between course learning objectives, Standards for Reading Professionals, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and course activity/assignment for assessment.

At the completion of this course, the successful student will be able to complete the following as it relates to PreK-3rd grade:

Course Learning ObjectivesStandards for Reading Professionals NBPTSActivity/Assignment for Assessment 
1. Evaluate current literature & theories about reading-language arts and best practice  1. Have knowledge of foundations of reading and writing2, 5 



Literacy Profile 

2. Describe and discuss the reciprocal nature of the literacy process of reading, writing, listening, & speaking for learners from birth through age 8; diverse learners1 Have knowledge of foundations of reading and writing1,2,5,9, 10, 11,12


Literacy Brochure

Literacy Profile 

3. Create learning activities that integrate among the language arts & across the curriculum 1, 2 Use wide range of practices 1,9, 10, 11, 12 Field Experience Plans 
4. Develop strategies to advance literacy, develop strategic readers, promote an appreciation of reading & create effective instruction. 2,4 Create literate environment 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 

Group Brochure

Project

Evaluation by Supervisor 

5. Develop age appropriate strategies to assist candidates in constructing meaning in their written work. 2: Use wide range of practices 1, 4, 8, 9, 10,11,12 Exams Literacy Profile 
6. Critique methods for teaching oral language development & speaking skills as essential components of literacy. 1. Knowledge 3. Use variety of assessment practices  2, 4, 8, 9, 10,11,12 



Literacy Profile 

7. Identify a wide variety of print & non-print resources to develop students’ viewing & visual representation skills. 4. Create literate environment 1,13 Literacy Brochure Literacy Profile 
8. Use standardized testing & results, naturalistic assessments, & observation documentation to plan, implement, & interpret children’s literacy development 3. Use variety of assessment tools and practices 2, 3, 4,10, 11, 12,14, 15 Literacy Profile Reflection Paper Discussions 
9. Display positive dispositions related to reading, writing, and the teaching of literacy. 5. View professional development as life-long career 15 Evaluation by Supervisor


Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Teacher certification, admission to the TN eCampus M.Ed program and completion of ASTL 5721/6721/7721.

Course Topics:

 Modules/ Objectives Topics Assignments

I. Diversity in children’s languages (Learning Objective 2) Establish network for communicating, learning in course; recognizing diversity in children’s languages, defining emergent literacy; recognizing & developing strategies for at-risk & special needs; modifying classroom & curricular outlines to match diverse cultural & language backgroundsSign-In Project; Discussion with Small Group; Discussions 
II. Family literacy & home-school relationships (Learning Objectives 1, 2, 3) Home school relationships; factors that promote literacy development; parental involvement; child care & nursery school; media & technology; newsletters & communication methods; family literacy programs; conferencing with families Discussions; Contract for Field Experiences; 
III. Foundations of early literacy development & reading-language arts (Learning Obj. 1,2) Theory & philosophy; current literature; research & practice; characteristics within age/stages: birth to three years; three to five years; five to eight years Literacy Brochure; Discussions 
IV. Understanding how young children learn to read and write (Learning Obj. 1,2) Emergent literacy; reciprocal nature of reading, writing, listening, speaking, & viewing; exposure to books & literacy development; guided reading & writing; psycholinguistic cueing system Field Experience Plans; Literacy Profile 
V. Understanding best practice (Learning Obj. 1,2,3) Phonemic awareness instruction; phonics instruction; fluency instruction; vocabulary instruction; text comprehension instruction Discussions; Literacy Profile; Field Experience Plans 
VI. Organizing and managing the classroom (Learning Obj. 4) Literacy-rich preschool - third classrooms; grouping & learning centers; thematic units & integrating literacy into content areas; integrating technology into literacy curriculum; resources for developing language arts; Discussions 
VII. Strategies for teaching writing & literacy development (Learning Obj. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Development of writing ability; strategies for writing development; strategies for spelling development; open-ended questioning & thinking strategies; KWL process;Discussions; Profile 
VIII. Strategies for promoting children’s literature (Learning Obj. 3,4) Strategies to include story reading, re-telling & storytelling; selecting children’s literature; promoting independent reading & writing; promoting an appreciation of reading Discussions; Literacy Profile 
IX. Strategies for assessing, documenting, and interpreting literacy development (Learning Obj. 4,5, 7, 8) Naturalistic assessment, standardized testing, screening & monitoring literacy development; using standards in documenting literacy growth; comparing & contrasting student artifacts; Discussions; Literacy Profile 
X. Teacher thinking & reflecting (Learning Obj. 8) Describing learning cycle & teaching cycle; describe personal changes in teaching; professionalism Final Reflection Paper 


Specific Course Requirements:

This course will be completed online through D2L. All content, e-lectures, and assignments are accessible in Course Content Modules; therefore, it is necessary to have access to the Internet frequently for extended periods of time. In addition, basic computer skills are necessary including the ability to browse Internet sites, create documents in word processing programs, upload and download files, create brochures, and access virtual libraries. Candidates must submit most assignments through the digital Drop Box in the D2L course.

There may be slight variations between public syllabi within courses. The D2L version of the syllabus is the official version for this semester.

The following items will be assessed to generate the course grade. Professional conduct includes productive interactions with peers, professor, classroom children and adults in field experiences; timely completion of assigned tasks and responsibilities; as well as adherence to academic honesty as reflected in University policies. 

Course Requirement: See Assignments within Course ModulesPercentage of gradePoints
Misc: Quiz a (10); Sign-In Project (20); Contract (10); Field Experience Plans (20); Evaluation (20); Reflection (20) 20% 100 
Discussion board participation related to readings and modules 5 scores @ 10 = 50 10% 50 
Midterm Exam 20% 100 
Group Brochure: individual (10); group (40) 10% 50 
Literacy Profile: Profile Draft 1 (20); Profile Draft 2: (20)Final Profile: (60)20% 100 
Module Quizzes (10 x 10 = 100) 20% 100 
 100% 500 points


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:


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:

A variety of assessment methods are used to generate grades for this course. Discussions are included to gain information on knowledge gained and synthesis of principles. Group work is monitored through the Group Brochure Discussion site. Timed quizzes and examinations will generate numeric scores. The exams will be offered during a designated time period, scored automatically, and linked in Assessments. Candidates will complete self evaluations of the Group Brochure and the Literacy Profile. See Getting Started: Due Dates for assignments. Reflection and Literacy Profile provide evidence of Candidate’s organization and writing skills as well as growth in utilizing course content and principles. 

Grading Procedures:

Evaluation will be based on student performance and participation. Assignments and discussion responses should be completed by the due dates posted in Getting Started: Due Dates and the course Calendar, so that the instructor can provide prompt feedback and constructive guidance to the student. Feedback will be given in comment section in Drop Box as well as through attached files and rubrics. Expect assignments to be assessed within 3-4 days after Due Date. Notify professor if scores/grades do not appear after 1 week of Due Date. See Checklist for assignments.

Grading Scale:

Percentiles/ Grade/ Points

90-100 / A / 450-500
80-89 / B / 400-449
70-79 / C / 350-399
60-69 / D / 300 - 349
1-59 / F / below 300

Assignments and Projects:

PLEASE NOTE: Specific information about assignments is located Contents: Getting Started: Assignments. See Calendar, Checklist (Assignments) and Due Dates in Getting Started Module for due dates, details and rubrics for each assignment.

Miscellaneous Section [100 points total] see below

Misc.: Quiz a (10) Download Respondus onto personal computer. Take Quiz a: sample to ensure ability to access. Everyone gets full points upon completion. Hint: Open Respondus prior to entering website for RODP course and then click on Assessments: Quiz A.

Misc.: Sign In Project [20 points] Due 1 week into semester. Rationale: This assignment is designed to establish important communication processes in the course and to expedite our getting to know each other.

  1. Read the Syllabus; check course Calendar (not used in this course); open My Profile to see where scores will be posted; open Assessments; and scan through Content modules;  
  2. Submit an entry to Discussion, “In the Hall” with brief information about your teaching and hobbies and respond to others. 
  3. Send message to professor through D2L Messages with: a) statement that you have read the Syllabus and understand the requirements (or ask questions); and b) information about yourself not included in “In the Hall.”
  4. a. Use Virtual Library and find 2 professional journal articles on preschool literacy that might provide information on any topics included in course syllabus. Create a word processing document that includes your Name; Date; List of articles with complete APA citations for each journal article, including call numbers and website with date retrieved; then Brief paragraphs describing (1) why these two sources were selected, and (2) how might they be useful in your research this semester? 

b. Describe two (or more) personal goals reflective of connections between course objectives and personal career. Deposit this file with 4a and 4b in Drop Box. Scoring Criteria for Sign-in Project: Timely submission, pertinent responses; complete, concise and clearly written information; highly reflective in nature with connections to course objectives; personal in nature; goals are consistent with teaching and learning; includes professional journal articles; and APA format.

Misc.: Field Experience Contract [10 points]: Due 2 weeks into semester. Rationale: To gain experience with planning, implementing, and assessing emergent learners’ literacy development. This assignment is linked to the Literacy Profile. Field Experience Directions: Work with a small group of children of pre-kindergarten or primary grades (Pre K - 3rd) for a minimum of 14 hours and implement best practices in emergent and early literacy development. During this time, work with small group while observing, documenting progress, and collecting artifacts of one particular child. If you currently teach a "typically developing" class within the age range it is acceptable to complete the hours in this class. If you teach another grade, it is essential to work with the appropriate age child; thus arrangements must be made to complete these hours outside your own classroom. 

The Contract is designed to establish the necessary setting and to provide the professor with suitable contact information. It is understood the dates and times might change during the semester. Everyone must submit a contract to professor providing site and phone numbers prior to beginning hours. Contract must include your name, home phone number, school teaching in and grade assigned to; name, address, telephone number of field placement requested with age/grade and teacher. Please alert the supervising teacher that your professor may call at any time during the semester to verify hours and to clarify placement. See sample in Getting Started: Assignments. Submit completed Contract in Drop Box by due date. 

Misc.: Field Experience Plans [20] Due 3-4 Weeks into semester. Rationale: Effective teachers are able to assess children with a variety of methods, interpret levels of development, and plan for specific lessons and activities to promote the child’s development. This will form the basis of Literacy Profile: Section 1: Background Information and Setting. (1) Describe Background information: child’s age in years and months, name, and setting of field placement. Include familial or other factors that might have an impact on the child's literacy development. (2) Describe plans for assessing the child including names of devices/tools/tests. (3) Describe brief plans for activities/lessons which will match the areas of focus in part 2. Note: The use of quality literature MUST be included as well as appropriate extension activities to support the literature. Plans must be made to include children's writing samples as part of the types of assessments. Submit in Drop Box by due date. These plans are preliminary, but will form the basis of Literacy Profile: Section 3: Plans. 

Discussion and Participation [50 points]: Due: Weekly. Scored every 2 weeks. Regular attendance and participation are required in this course in on-going discussions related to weekly or regular postings. There are 3 areas for discussions: Open Forums for all members to participate, and Brochure Forum with 3-5 members to participate. See Getting Started: Assignments for due dates of particular questions and also links in each module. Requirements are to post 3-4 times per week, to include at least one new individual response and at least two responses to comments by others at each posting. It is acceptable to share personal stories that enhance the discussions. If discussing a child in a classroom, be discreet by using initials or first name only. It is necessary to post to questions in every module, so provide thoughtful responses. A general rule of thumb is to post a major contribution and several responses to others each week. You are required to come to class 3-4 times a week. The professor will assess responses on postings alternating Monday mornings by 11 am, and will post points five (5) times during the semester. Short and vague comments such as “I agree” or “I disagree” are acceptable; however, they are not counted as meaningful responses. Criteria: Comments are grounded in readings, current issues, discussions, and theoretical perspectives. Responses show evidence of reflective thinking, changes over time, connections to readings, utilization of best practice, and support of peers. 

Literacy Brochure [50 points]: Requirement for E-Portfolio. Rationale: Reading to preschool children is the one of the most critical factors related to their later success in school. Helping adults to promote early reading, condensing current literature, and utilizing technological advances are critical reading specialists’ responsibilities. You will be assigned to a small group focused on literacy development of a particular age group by the professor: infants through 9 months; infants 9 months to 18 months, toddlers 18 months to 36 months, and 3's and 4's. The groups are mixed so you probably will not be researching the same age as you currently teach. The group is to work together to assign tasks, research the topic, compile information, and create a brochure that could be used in a workshop with families promoting literacy development for the age group. All members are required to work in the private chat room discussion area assigned, be part of the research and creation of the brochure, and respond to other groups’ brochures when posted. The professor is a member of all groups. Be aware that this assignment is NOT linked to the field experience age group/requirements. For submission, individuals will self assess using the rubric, reveal the Group Leader’s name, and submit in Drop Box. The Group Leader will post the Brochure in his/her Drop Box for scoring. After receiving feedback from the professor, additions/corrections will be made, and all Candidates will upload the Brochure and Rubric on the Candidate’s E-Portfolio. After the professor receives individual email messages saying the brochure has been uploaded, the Candidate’s scores will be released.

Criteria: colorful brochure, concise and pertinent information about reading development, includes at least 3 relevant websites, and all members involved. Group score is 40 points and individual score is 10 point. See Getting Started: Assignments for details and assessment rubric. See Discussions during first week for assigned group. The professor will send messages about your assigned group. 

Module Quizzes [10 x 10 points each = 100 Points]: Rationale: To review and assess knowledge gained in each module including terms, teaching strategies, and concepts. Each quiz includes a variety of question types worth 10 points total. Quiz settings are set for 20 minutes each with one opportunity only to participate. Quizzes must be taken in numerical order (unless authorized by instructor). 

Midterm Exam [100 points] on content knowledge and abilities gained from text chapters and discussions. Rationale: Effective teachers have knowledge of content, theory, and best practice and are able to utilize that knowledge in varied ways. Includes a variety of question types; is timed; and only 1 attempt allowed. See Getting Started: Assignment Due Dates and Checklist for dates of exam.

Literacy Profile [100 points]: Due: End of Semester. Comprehensive in Nature. Rationale: Effective teachers are capable of on-going planning, implementing, observing, assessing, interpreting, and utilizing data in improving children’s literacy development. This profile is a comprehensive assignment designed to engage the teacher in these processes and to solicit evidence to assess the teacher’s abilities. Due at end of semester. Due to the comprehensive nature of this assignment, a score of below 60 results in failure of this course. Directions: Work with small group of children as described in Contract and Plans. Observe one child and collect artifacts to support and show his/her progress in literacy development. Write anecdotal notes during teaching/observing hours as well as thoughts/ideas about literacy development. Assess the child’s level of development before, during and at end of hours in support of showing change over time. Plan appropriate activities and lessons aimed to enhance the child’s level and conduct 

At the end of the semester, use the information gained and write a detailed 5-12 page report as a teacher summarizing and using the following in all caps as headers: 1) brief BACKGROUND INFORMATION of child and setting; 2) the CHILD’S PROGRESS in literacy development with specific content from the sources reviewed in class, 3) specific TEACHER’S PLANS used (or could be used) in challenging or extending that child’s progress in EACH of the areas noted in section two; 4) specific and detailed SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS to help the child at home in each of the areas noted in section two; 5) overall SUMMARY of child’s literacy development including what you learned about the child during this process; 6) REFERENCES (see below); and 7) Appendix including list of all artifacts collected, dates of field experience visits, and attached artifacts that are cited within Profile as Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. 

The Candidate is further required to find and use two current articles (within 5 years) from scholarly professional journals to support interpretations. These articles must have detailed references at end of article and must be based on best practice and current research. While it is acceptable to use other texts, internet sources, and popular magazines, these are considered additional references. Cite from the articles within the body of the report, using APA format, using the author’s voice, and list full citation at end of paper. Avoid summarizing the articles, but rather integrate the information as descriptions of the child’s progress or interpretations unfold. All artifacts, notes, and entries must be dated and included in Appendix list in alphabetical order. See Module V: Assessments for details, samples, and rubric. For Submission, use Dropbox with completed the self assessment using the rubric, and Profile. 

The Literacy Profile is comprehensive in nature, so no final exam will be given.

Misc.: Evaluation by Supervisor: [20 points] Due: End of Semester. Arrange for field experience supervisor to evaluate teaching practices, assessment skills, and teaching disposition at least once during the placement hours. Use the evaluation form in Module V Assessments, sign and date the day of evaluation, have supervisor sign, and scan and attach the form to the professor along with the Profile. (Or mail the original to the professor). 

Misc.: Final Reflection [20 points] on teaching/learning process. Due: End of Semester. Describe in detail how your teaching has been impacted through this course. Include aspects of the learning cycle, the teaching/learning process, documentation/assessment/interpretations, or other topics of teaching literacy development. Feel free to brag of changes, of new ideas, and thoughts about improving practices. Use essay format in developing this paper and use references to support ideas/topics. Submit in Drop Box by Due Date. Requirements: Comments that show connections from course with evidence to support reflective thinking, changes over time, and knowledge of assessment and interpretations. 

Class Participation:

Candidates must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. Candidates must actively participate in threaded discussion events and are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource and check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements. Candidates are expected to log in a minimum of four times per week and should advise the professor ahead of time about planned absences. Plan on spending 3 hours per week on-line, and another 3 hours reading, studying, planning, and teaching. 

Late Policy:

Candidates are expected to work toward completion of the course work assignments in a timely manner as indicated in the syllabus. Should medical or other emergencies delay progress, an official excuse must be forwarded to allow for assignment extensions. Follow the dates as posted in Getting Started: Assignments: Due Dates and Checklist and look for new information on Home Page

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 May 22, 2017