Meet our CKLA Ambassadors: A Pennsylvania teacher shares why she loves CKLA

By Amplify Staff
SoutherlinName: Alyssa Southerlin
School: Propel Montour Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
District: Propel Charter Schools
What grade do you teach: Kindergarten
How long have you been teaching CKLA: 2 years

What is your favorite part of CKLA and why?

My favorite part of CKLA is the format of the lessons, specifically the structure of the Skills Strand. I love teaching students the sounds before the letter names, since that’s how they learn to read. I love working on our workbook pages and hearing the students make the sounds as they trace the spelling. I always tell them that the only way to learn to read is to practice producing the sounds, and I love all of the opportunities CKLA provides them for this. We sing, clap, play instruments, and make as many sounds as we can during our skills block! I am also a huge fan of the pausing points and the remediation guide. When I have a struggling student, I know I can turn to the Assessment and Remediation Guide and find an intervention that is in line with the standards-based goals of the curriculum.

Do you have a favorite CKLA domain or unit to teach and why?

I love teaching the Kings and Queens domain! My students basically come in with no prior knowledge of kings and queens, and finish the domain being able to eloquently speak about the advantages and disadvantages of being royal! And my students are five! We make crowns to wear during the read-alouds and read trade books from the list in the front of the teacher guide to make even more connections. My students LOVED reading The Queen’s Knickers! We ended our study with a royal tea party this year; we played classical music, drank iced tea with our pinkies up, and showed off our royal manners. It was a blast and something the students will hopefully remember for a long time!

Alyssa Southerlin is one of our educator ambassadors. You can follow her on Twitter at @alyssouth. Do you have a question for a CKLA teacher? Are you interested in being an ambassador? We’d love to hear from you! Please send us an email at!
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