Elementary Academics


Provide all PreK-12 teachers with effective instructional strategies for literacy that will enable every student to interact successfully with various texts and audiences as they become 21st century readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and consumers of digital media.


  • Cultivate skilled teachers who empower their students as oral and written communicators and analytical thinkers

  • Positively impact graduation cohort

  • Improve overall literacy proficiency in the district 


We provide reading instruction in the elementary, middle, and high school, that incorporates the deliberate and explicit teaching of reading skills and strategies that enable students to read with understanding. The focus for elementary grades is to build the foundational skills necessary for students to engage in an independent way with text.  Through daily instructional practices, students receive targeted focused instruction around the following five areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension.  Students are taught active reading strategies to self monitor their reading and these strategies are continued into the secondary level.  As students move into the middle grades, teachers continue to model the use of active reading strategies to help students become more proficient readers.   High school focuses on comprehension, critical thinking, and problem solving through the use of a variety of literary genres.  Teaching all students to read and think critically is our goal as we prepare students to be successful in school and in life.


We provide writing instruction in the elementary, middle and high school, that incorporates explicit teaching skills and strategies that enable students to write effectively for any purpose and intended audience. In the early grades, teachers provide instruction in writing skills through writer workshops that teach the processes of writing: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing . In middle and high school, students focus on the following features of writing: focus support and elaboration, organization, style (word choice and sentence fluency), and conventions, to expand and refine their written communication skills. This ongoing writing instruction, at every grade level and the use of writing in every content area, will enable our students to successfully complete all requirements of the Graduation Project.  As our students become strategic and independent communicators in both oral and written communication skills, they will be better prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

Everybody reads. Everybody writes.

Pre K-Elementary Literacy

The members of the literacy team provide training and support for the CMS Pre K and Elementary Comprehensive Reading and Writing Models that are designed to meet the needs of all students in CMS. We strive to reach our goal of creating students that compete locally, nationally, and internationally by providing a core literacy curriculum along with strategies for interventions and acceleration as needed.

Literacy Team members are responsible for planning and implementing monthly training for Literacy Facilitators from each of our elementary schools. Specific training is provided for further Literacy Facilitators to help them grow in the areas of reading and writing. Literacy Facilitators then train the teachers in their individual schools. This model helps CMS build capacity and ensures the use of best teaching practices in reading and writing.

High School Literacy

To facilitate the transition to high school, which is often overwhelming, students are scheduled in either Literacy I and/or II, Foundations of English, English I or English I Honors based on eighth grade EOG scores. The purpose of the interventions (Literacy I and/or II and Foundations of English I) is to provide students with additional academic support before they take English I. To better prepare all students, the Literacy team works closely with teachers to design and differentiate lessons with rigor to increase comprehension and critical thinking skills.

The Literacy team provides on-going professional development through both teacher alliances and department chair meetings. The professional development is tailored to meet the needs of a school, grade level, and learning community. In English I, the Literacy team helps teachers prepare students for the End-of-Course exam. The team also helps English II teachers prepare students for success on the NC Writing test in the Fundamentals of Writing course designed to provide additional writing instruction and strategies. The Literacy team also works diligently with teachers as they assist students with the Graduation Project in the English III and IV classes. Specific training is provided to teachers in AP (Advance Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) courses to ensure that students are prepared for the academic challenges and expectations of the accelerated classes.

Contest and Special Events


Charlotte Mecklenburg students are encouraged to participate in the programs and events sponsored by the district and local community.

  • NCETA (North Carolina English Teachers Association)

  • NCETA sponsors the following writing contest annually. Participants may receive monetary awards, publishing recognition, and/or scholarships.

  • The Watterson-Timberlake Non-Fiction Award

  • The Amy Charles Writing Award

  • The Wade Edwards Short Fiction Award

  • The North Carolina Poet Laureate Award

For additional information on contest rules and deadlines, visit the website at http://ncenglishteacher.org

Poetry Out Loud

The North Carolina Arts Council invites high school students to participate in the national poetry recitation competition. In 2010, Poetry Out Loud awarded over $100,000 in prizes to students and schools at the state and national level. For additional information, visit the website at http://ncarts.org/poetryoutloud

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Writing Contest celebrates the creative achievement of America's teens. Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to participate in the contest that offers recognition and scholarships. Works are judged on originality, technical skill, and emergence of personal vision or voice. Learn more about the writing categories and specific guidelines at www.artandwriting.org.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Contest

The MLK Writing Contest is a district-level celebration of student interpretation and creativity. School level winners are invited to participate in district and city-wide celebrations honoring Dr. King. For additional information contact Diane Powell at pa.thao@cms.k12.nc.us

Young Author's Writing Contest

Students in grades K-8 are eligible. Write and illustrate a storybook appropriate for a child between the ages of four and eight. Drop off entries ImaginOn or the Harris YMCA. For additional information contact charlotteparent.com

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.